Disabling Access to Infringing Offshore Websites (Site Blocking) and Free Speech on the Internet: There is no Contradiction

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If a transparent, government-regulated mechanism, with an appeal process, was put in place to require ISPs in Canada to block access to offshore pirate websites that “blatantly, overwhelmingly or structurally” engage in or facilitate copyright infringing activities, would that constitute a “dangerous, anti-speech and anti-consumer proposal”? Apparently so, according to anti-copyright commentator Michael Geist, echoed by US online magazine, TechDirt, which headlined its story Canadian ISPs And Hollywood Agree On Plan To Make Themselves Judge, Jury and Website Executioner”. Clearly hyperbole knows no national boundaries. Continue reading “Disabling Access to Infringing Offshore Websites (Site Blocking) and Free Speech on the Internet: There is no Contradiction”

That Was the Year That Was: Looking Back at Some International Copyright Issues in 2017

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2017 was quite a year on the trade policy front. It saw Britain triggering the Brexit exit clause and then trying to work out with the EU the modalities for UK-EU relations after British withdrawal. It saw the start of NAFTA re-negotiations between Canada, Mexico and the US, a process which has seen accusations of intransigence by the negotiating partners and has led to active debate within the US as to the wisdom of some of the US negotiating objectives. 2017 was also the year when the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was re-invented as the TPP11 (i.e. the original TPP minus the US). While all of these agreements had implications going far beyond copyright issues, copyright was very much a part of the mix. Continue reading “That Was the Year That Was: Looking Back at Some International Copyright Issues in 2017”

When “Ticking the Box” is Not Such a Good Idea

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As we get geared up for the Christmas (oops, I mean “seasonal”) shopping extravaganza, one’s thoughts turn to what to get for those hard-to-buy-for family members. Giving a good book is usually a winner, but there is always the question of “has she read it”, or “will he like it?” Or, “do they still read hard-copy books?” For a few years, buying a DVD series always seemed like a good idea but that seems to be somewhat out of fashion in this age of streaming content. Could I buy a gadget to make their viewing experience better? There are lots of offerings out there, generically known as Kodi boxes, but beware. Many are not what they seem, or put another way, many will lead consumers into a morass of grey market activity where they really shouldn’t go. And recent tests have shown that there are lots of unbranded “Kodi” boxes out there that are unsafe and don’t meet even basic electrical safety standards. (Kodi itself is a legal software installed in set top boxes). Continue reading “When “Ticking the Box” is Not Such a Good Idea”

Google’s End Run on the Canadian Supreme Court’s De-Indexing Order: Strengthening Arguments for Site Blocking

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Google has successfully convinced a judge in the tech industry-friendly US District Court of Northern California (covering Silicon Valley naturally) to issue a temporary injunction nullifying the enforceability in the United States of an order from a Canadian provincial court in British Columbia (BC), upheld on appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC), to delist from its global search results all references to Datalink Technologies Gateways and its counterfeit product, an internet router called the GW1000. Datalink was found by the BC court to have infringed the copyright and stolen trade secrets from Equustek, a BC company, and passed off Equustek’s products as its own. Continue reading “Google’s End Run on the Canadian Supreme Court’s De-Indexing Order: Strengthening Arguments for Site Blocking”