Internet Platforms: It’s Time to Step up and Accept Your Responsibility (Or Be Held Accountable)

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Canada’s Minister of Heritage Melanie Joly is but the latest political leader to awaken to the new realities of the Internet age. Those Internet giants, the “platforms” or “Internet intermediaries” that provide the interface between consumers and those who create and produce the content that users seek, have been getting a free ride in terms of contributing to content creation while scooping up the lion’s share of the advertising dollars. The content creators, those who provide the honeypot that the consumer bees flock to, get the crumbs from the table (to mix a metaphor). According to Mme. Joly, it is high time the platforms started to accept some responsibility for the role they play in packaging, selecting and disseminating content, whether entertainment or news. Continue reading “Internet Platforms: It’s Time to Step up and Accept Your Responsibility (Or Be Held Accountable)”

The 2018 GIPC Index: Ranking 50 Countries by their IP (and Copyright) Standards

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For the sixth year in a row, the US Chamber of Commerce’s Global Innovation Policy Center, or GIPC (relabelled from its previous title of Global Intellectual Property Center) has published its annual International IP index measuring how countries around the world stack up when it comes to innovation and intellectual property (IP). This year the report covers more countries (50, up from 45) and is more comprehensive than ever. The Index benchmarks 40 indicators across the full range of IP issues, encompassing patent, copyright, trademark, trade secrets, commercialization of IP assets, enforcement, systemic efficiency and membership in and ratification of international treaties. As I commented last year, the Index makes a significant contribution to the measurement of standards and performance across a range of intellectual property indicators. Continue reading “The 2018 GIPC Index: Ranking 50 Countries by their IP (and Copyright) Standards”

The Effectiveness of Site Blocking: It is a Matter of Common Sense

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Much ink has been spilled of late regarding the new FairPlay Canada Coalition’s proposal to establish a process to have the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) require internet service providers (ISPs) in Canada to disable access to designated offshore websites that host stolen content. According to the proposal, these websites have to be “blatantly, overwhelmingly or structurally engaged in piracy”. In other words, they are not your average site hosting some infringing material, but websites dedicated whole hog to promoting stolen content. An independent agency would make recommendations to the CRTC as to which websites fit the category of blatant infringers. Continue reading “The Effectiveness of Site Blocking: It is a Matter of Common Sense”

InternetNZ’s Copyright Proposals: Neither Balanced nor Fair

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Copyright law is constantly under review–and that is a good thing–although the constant attack on the fundamental basis of copyright is, frankly, getting tiresome and dangerous. Last year Australia’s Productivity Commission undertook a major study of IP Down Under. Most of its “slash and burn” recommendations with regard to so-called “copyright reform” were wisely shelved by the Australian Government. Canada is currently just embarking on a mandated five-year review of its copyright law, with anti-copyright elements already gearing up for another attack on a regime which has already widened fair dealing exceptions beyond the level of sustainability for the publishing industry. Now New Zealand is preparing to embark on its own review and in preparation, InternetNZ, which styles itself as “a not for profit membership organisation…(that works)… to support the benefits of the Internet for New Zealand in a range of ways…”, has launched a glossy discussion paper titled “Getting Copyright Right in the Information Age”. As the title suggests, InternetNZ starts from the premise that the current copyright regime is not “right” for the Information Age, but rather “wrong”. This underscores the fundamental problem with the document. Continue reading “InternetNZ’s Copyright Proposals: Neither Balanced nor Fair”