Fair Dealing by Giulia Forsythe (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/dRkXwP

Fair Dealing by Giulia Forsythe (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/dRkXwP

Copyright

A Quarter-Billion Dollar Bag of Beans: Responding to Ken Whyte’s Attack on Library Book Loans

A Quarter-Billion Dollar Bag of Beans: Responding to Ken Whyte’s Attack on Library Book Loans

Ken Whyte’s Globe and Mail op-ed on “throwing the book at libraries” over their effect on booksellers and authors is an outlier that is typically best left ignored. Days after the Globe devoted three pages to the op-ed decrying library book loans, there have been some notable responses from people such as Meera Nair and Brewster Kahle, but not even a tweet from groups such as the Association of Canadian Publishers, Access Copyright, or the Writers’ Union of Canada that the piece purports to support. I suspect that this is because there is no there there: libraries are widely regarded as essential community resources that play a critical role in learning, access to knowledge, community integration, and discovery of books. If anything, there is concern that libraries are facing significant budget cuts, which may adversely affect smaller and rural communities.

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July 30, 2020 7 comments News
SADTU National, Copyright Bill Protest, https://twitter.com/SadtuNational/status/1231905922806620160?s=20

The LawBytes Podcast, Episode 59: “It’s a Racist Policy” – Ben Cashdan on the U.S. Effort to Derail South Africa’s Copyright Reform

South Africa spent years embroiled in a high profile effort to update its copyright law responding to concerns from creators, the education community, and the visually impaired that the longstanding laws did not serve the national interest and were harming creativity and access to knowledge. Its Parliament ultimately passed progressive reforms in 2019, but the bill languished on the desk of President Cyril Ramaphosa, who faced enormous trade pressures from the United States and European Union to not sign the bill and stop it from becoming law. Last month, he seemingly caved to the pressure, citing constitutional concerns in sending it back to the Parliament.

Ben Cashdan is a South African documentary film maker and television producer who was active during the copyright reform process. He worked with Recreate ZA, which brought together a broad coalition of creatives, to advocate for both the interests of owning copyright in their own works, and in fairly using copyrighted materials in the creation of new works He joins me on the podcast this week to discuss the decade-long reform process, the external pressures, and explains why he thinks those pressures should be viewed as racist policies.

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July 13, 2020 0 comments Podcasts
IMG_4345 by Julia Reda https://flic.kr/p/SPvBjc (CC0 1.0)

The LawBytes Podcast, Episode 57: Julia Reda on What Canada Should Learn from the European Battle over a Copyright Link Tax

Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault recently suggested that the government’s support for news media should be replaced by copyright rules that would open the door to payments from internet companies such as Google and Facebook. Guilbeault indicated that a legislative package was being prepared for the fall that would include a press publishers’ right is that is commonly referred to as an internet link tax.

Julia Reda is a former Member of the European Parliament who for several years was the most active and visible politician in Europe when it came to copyright reform. That multi-year debate ultimately led to the adoption of a link tax and upload filters with a European directive. She joins me on the podcast to talk about that experience, why she believes a link tax harms freedom of expression and diversity of media, and what lessons Canada should draw from the European experience.

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June 29, 2020 1 comment Podcasts
linktaxmonopoly_1 by Boing Boing (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0) https://boingboing.net/2018/06/18/licensing-news.html

Pay to Link?: Canadian Heritage Minister Guilbeault Backs Bringing the Link Tax to Canada

Last week, Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault called into question his own government’s policies on supporting news media, suggesting that those programs should be replaced by copyright rules that would open the door to payments from internet companies such as Google and Facebook. Mr. Guilbeault indicated that a legislative package was being prepared for the fall that would include new powers for Canada’s communications regulator and what are commonly referred to as Netflix taxes and internet linking taxes.

My Globe and Mail op-ed notes the government’s support for new internet taxes should not come as a surprise. There were strong signals that the spring budget – postponed indefinitely due to the current public health crisis – was going to include expanding sales taxes to capture digital sales such as Netflix or Spotify subscriptions.

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June 23, 2020 11 comments News
Tommy Wiseau-Greg Sestero at Fountain IMG_9688 by David Kenedy (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/jw5iEw

The LawBytes Podcast, Episode 52: Fair Dealing for Film Makers – Bob Tarantino on the Copyright Implications of the Room Full of Spoons Case

Dubbed by some as the worst film ever made, The Room has become a cult-like film classic. Written, directed, produced and starring Tommy Wiseau, the movie was the subject of the 2017 film The Disaster Artist and a documentary titled Room Full of Spoons by Canadian documentary filmmakers who wanted to tell the story of the film and its popularity. The documentary has been the subject of years of litigation with Wiseau at one point obtaining an injunction to stop its release.

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice recently released an important decision in the case with significant implications for creators involving copyright, fair dealing, moral rights, and a host of other legal issues. Bob Tarantino, Counsel at Dentons Canada LLP, joins me on the podcast this week to discuss why the decision will be welcome news for documentary filmmakers.

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May 25, 2020 2 comments Podcasts