Blackbeard and the Modern Day Pirates Commons)
Blackbeard (Creative Commons)

Edward Teach was a notorious pirate, Blackbeard by nickname. Despite the “swashbuckling” image of pirates­ and the glorification of their exploits that has come down to us through years of story-telling, Blackbeard’s stock in trade was stealing what belonged to others—just like today’s modern copyright pirates. That is what makes the story of Blackbeard’s ship, Queen Anne’s Revenge, (QAR) and the film-maker who filmed the wreck and its recovery efforts, so topical—and ironic. It’s a fitting reminder having just marked World Intellectual Property Day, 2016 that vigilance to protect copyright is as important today as vigilance against Blackbeard’s raids was almost 300 years ago. Continue reading “Blackbeard and the Modern Day Pirates”

Knitting, Crocheting and Copyright: Unravelling the Truth



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Recently a Manitoba based writer, Joanne Seiff, posted an op-ed on CBC (Time to Assess the True Cost of Digital Piracy) commenting on how digital piracy is undermining the delicate economic equation that allows both aspiring and established writers to continue to create new content for the benefit of the consuming public. Joanne has published two books, Fiber Gathering and Knit Green, available on Amazon, on the subject of knitting and textiles. Continue reading “Knitting, Crocheting and Copyright: Unravelling the Truth”

The TPP and Intellectual Property: Tilting at the Wrong Windmill

Don-Quixote-Windmill-e1424097291880( Balsillie, former co-CEO and founder of RIM, now Blackberry, has saddled up, mounted his horse and pointed his lance squarely at the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Charge! One of his recent opinion pieces, in Canada’s national newspaper, the Globe and Mail, is headlined, “For Canadian innovators, will TPP mean protection – or colonialism?” Not content with this coverage, he has taken his message beyond the print media to national radio, reiterating earlier criticisms in which he said that that Canada’s decision to sign the TPP would be the “worst thing in policy that Canada’s ever done” because of provisions hidden in the Intellectual Property (IP) chapter. Balsillie’s criticism was quickly picked up by arch-TPP critic Michael Geist who has made a cottage industry of criticizing the TPP. His creativity knows no bounds; so far he is on his 49th blog as to why the TPP is a bad idea from an intellectual property, privacy, cultural, internet, etc., etc. perspective. When will he make it a nice round 50? One could be forgiven for believing that Prof. Geist subscribes to the “every sparrow that falls” syndrome, used to describe critics of the original Canada-US Free Trade Agreement back in the 1980s. Continue reading “The TPP and Intellectual Property: Tilting at the Wrong Windmill”

A Whale of a (Copyright) Tale: An Update

whaleA few weeks ago I posted a blog about a lawsuit filed by the Vancouver Aquarium against film-maker Gary Charbonneau for copyright infringement. Charbonneau had made a film critical of the Aquarium’s cetacean (whale, porpoise and dolphin) rehabilitation program, in which he had used, without permission, copyrighted material from the Aquarium’s website in his film. The Aquarium sued for damages and sought an injunction compelling Charbonneau to remove the film from his website, and restraining its publication elsewhere, such as on Youtube.  Continue reading “A Whale of a (Copyright) Tale: An Update”

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