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

Newspapers by Allan Foster (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/2uxm9t

My Appearance Before the Senate Committee on Transport and Communications: Why Copyright Reform Isn’t the Answer to the Challenges Faced by the News Media Sector

Yesterday I took a break from talking about Bill C-10 to appear before the Senate Standing Committee on Transport and Communications as part of its study on Bill S-225, Senator Claude Carignan’s bill that proposes copyright reform as a mechanism to address the challenges faced by the news media sector (the bill is the focus of this week’s Lawbytes podcast, featuring a conversation with Senator Paula Simons). I was joined by representatives from News Media Canada and Facebook, which made for an engaging discussion. My opening statement is posted below:

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June 17, 2021 9 comments News
Newsy by Kurayba (CC BY-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/7Mbr7v

The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 92: A Conversation with Senator Paula Simons on Copyright, the Internet and the Future of Media in Canada

Earlier this year, Senator Claude Carignan introduced Bill S-225, a bill that purports to address concerns about the viability of the Canadian media sector by amending the Copyright Act. The Senate has been studying the bill in recent weeks with Senator Paula Simons serving as the bill critic and one of the leads on the issue. Senator Simons was a longtime journalist before being appointed to the Senate and while an ardent supporter of local journalism, she has been critical of the proposed legislation. She joins the Law Bytes podcast to discuss the state of journalism in Canada, why she doesn’t think the social media companies “stole” stories from the media, and what Canada should be doing to encourage innovation in the media sector.

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June 14, 2021 2 comments News
Montreal.  2019-09-27. by Justin Trudeau https://flic.kr/p/2hoJgMm

Why the Liberals Have Become the Most Anti-Internet Government in Canadian History

The Liberals led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were first elected in 2015 on a platform that emphasized transparency, consultation, and innovation. The signals were everywhere: it released  ministerial mandate letters to demonstrate transparency, renamed the Minister of Industry to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development to point to the importance of an innovative economy, and soon after the cabinet was sworn in, Canadians were awash in public consultations (I recall participating in an almost instant consult on the Trans Pacific Partnership). With promises of entrenching net neutrality, prioritizing innovation, focusing on privacy rather than surveillance, and supporting freedom of expression, the government left little doubt about its preferred policy approach.

As I watched Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault yesterday close the Action Summit to Combat Online Hate, I was left with whiplash as I thought back to those early days. Today’s Liberal government is unrecognizable by comparison as it today stands the most anti-Internet government in Canadian history:

  • As it moves to create the Great Canadian Internet Firewall, net neutrality is out and mandated Internet blocking is in.
  • Freedom of expression and due process is out, quick takedowns without independent review and increased liability are in.
  • Innovation and new business models are out, CRTC regulation is in.
  • Privacy reform is out, Internet taxation is in.
  • Prioritizing consumer Internet access and affordability is out, reduced competition through mergers are in.
  • And perhaps most troublingly, consultation and transparency are out, secrecy is in.

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April 16, 2021 46 comments News
Gutenberg Galaxy by Marshall McLuhan by no_typographic_man (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/8hhvER

Registration for Extension: My Submission to the Copyright Term Extension Consultation

Earlier this year, the Canadian government launched a timid consultation on copyright term extension. After years of rejecting copyright term extension beyond the international law standard of life of the author plus 50 years, the Canadian government caved to pressure from the United States by agreeing to the equivalent of life of the author plus 70 years in the U.S.-Canada-Mexico Trade Agreement (USMCA). With a 30 month transition period to allow for consultation, this represents an opportunity to mitigate against the harms of term extension.

I submitted my response last night and it is posted here. The submission cites a wide range of experts – including Justice Minister David Lametti and former US Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante for the proposition that registration for the additional 20 years is not only permissible under international law, it is desirable.  I also include a lengthy appendix of the some of the Canadian authors and leaders whose works will not enter the public domain if term is extended. These include Gabrielle Roy, Marshall McLuhan, Margaret Laurence, Louis St. Laurent, John Diefenbaker, Tommy Douglas, René Lévesque, Jean Lesage, John Robarts, and Bora Laskin.

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April 1, 2021 4 comments News
Blocked websites by Tactical Technology Collective https://flic.kr/p/8KDGTc (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Blocking is Back: Why Internet Blocking is the Next Big Canadian Policy Battle

In early 2018, Bell led a consortium of companies and organizations arguing for the creation of a new website blocking system in Canada. Complete with a new anti-piracy agency and CRTC stamp of approval, the vision was to create a new system to mandate site blocking across ISPs in Canada. Canadians challenged the so-called FairPlay proposal and the CRTC rejected the Bell application on jurisdictional grounds. Since that time, the Canadian courts have been dealing with site blocking requests (the Federal Court of Appeal is soon set to hear arguments on the issue) and the Canadian copyright review conducted by the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology decided against recommending the creation of a new administrative system for site blocking.

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March 17, 2021 31 comments News