Canadian Copyright Review: My Submission on International Site Blocking

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The Parliamentary Committee undertaking the mandated five year review of Canada’s Copyright Act closed receipt of submissions on December 10 and its hearing of witnesses two days later. The next stage will be for the committee to digest the many submissions and hours of testimony it received and come forward with recommendations for the government to consider. Continue reading “Canadian Copyright Review: My Submission on International Site Blocking”

The Kevin Lindgren Prize for Copyright: Insights from Young IP Lawyers-To-Be in Australia

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On my recent trip to Australia I was honoured to be asked to participate as a judge in determining the winner of the annual Kevin Lindgren prize for the best copyright presentation by an Australian law student. Named in honour of Dr. Kevin Lindgren, AM QC, former Federal Court Judge and President of the Copyright Tribunal, this year was the third year that the prize has been presented by the Copyright Society of Australia. Dr. Lindgren was there and participated as one of the three judges, along with lawyer Alida Stanley, Australian Copyright Council Board member, and yours truly. Continue reading “The Kevin Lindgren Prize for Copyright: Insights from Young IP Lawyers-To-Be in Australia”

The Push for Platform Accountability is Going Global

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It’s no secret that the issue of internet platform accountability—holding massive internet intermediaries such as Facebook, Youtube and Google accountable for the way in which they deal (or more to the point, do not deal) with illegal content on their services– has become a hot button issue politically in many countries. The willingness to give a free pass to these internet giants, beginning some two decades ago in order not to “stifle” innovation in the digital era, has worn thin. The old adage of “don’t blame the telephone company for obscene phone calls” doesn’t cut it anymore, especially when the platforms clearly have the ability to curate and select content to push to users according to what they think individual users prefer, to identify various attributes of content on their platforms (through mechanisms such as ContentID) and to promote or demote search results, to cite some concrete examples. Continue reading “The Push for Platform Accountability is Going Global”

New Zealand Launches its Copyright Review: Calculating the Economic Benefits will be a Key Issue

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New Zealand has just launched its long-anticipated Copyright Act review, releasing an Issues Paper on November 23. This paper kick-starts a consultation process that will continue through to until next April. The release of the paper is the first stage of consultation in the review of the Act, and involves “identifying problems with the way the Copyright Act is operating or opportunities to improve its operation”. The paper outlines the background of copyright law in New Zealand, puts forward a number of factors potentially affecting the application of the law, and poses no less than 97 questions on which the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is seeking input. These questions are wide-ranging and cover everything from the scope of fair dealing exceptions to the potential impact of copyright on Maori culture. Continue reading “New Zealand Launches its Copyright Review: Calculating the Economic Benefits will be a Key Issue”

Fair Use or Fair Dealing? The Debate Continues “Down Under”

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The ongoing debate as to which system of copyright exceptions works better, US style “fair use” or the “fair dealing” (specified exceptions) approach common to most countries–and particularly to those whose copyright laws are based on the UK Copyright Act of 1911–continues “Down Under”. Both Australia and New Zealand have the issue currently under review. Proponents of fair use in Australia have been provided with ammunition from two government reports, the Report of the Australian Law Reform Commission in 2014 and the Report of the Productivity Commission in 2016. Both recommended that Australia move to a fair use system based on the argument that it is more suitable for the digital economy and will support greater innovation. This argument is based on the premise that technology moves fast and specified fair dealing exceptions cannot adapt quickly enough to technological change. In other words, fair use is more flexible, or so the argument goes, because a fair use approach could be applied to new situations not foreseen by legislators at the time that fair dealing exceptions are enacted or updated. Continue reading “Fair Use or Fair Dealing? The Debate Continues “Down Under””

Canada’s Notice and Notice Regime: The End of Speculative Invoicing (It Won’t be Missed)

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In what was an entirely predictable move, the Government of Canada has announced, in draft omnibus legislation, that it will end the practice of allowing settlement demands (speculative invoices) to be incorporated into notices forwarded by ISPs and other platforms on behalf of content rights-holders to users suspected of engaging in online copyright infringement. The demise of this practice will not be lamented by anyone except perhaps the law firm working for Voltage Pictures, the most prolific user of the system. Continue reading “Canada’s Notice and Notice Regime: The End of Speculative Invoicing (It Won’t be Missed)”

Hyperbole Alert! EFF and Cory Doctorow on Australia’s Very Effective Site Blocking Regime: What Are They So Afraid Of?

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When you see a blog with the title SOPA.au, you know the BS machine is getting cranked up over at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). The EFF and Cory Doctorow seem to be particularly frantic that Australia’s regime for blocking offshore pirate websites is not only working well but is being strengthened. Doctorow has reached into his hyperbole bag to pull out epithets to try to discredit a regime that is working very well for Australians, calling it “the world’s most extreme” and describing it as a “failed censorship system”. Doctorow claims that;

the entertainment companies insisted that the censorship system in the 2015 law would drive people away from infringement and into legit markets. Three years later, they’ve admitted failure… (and) are now calling for much more censorship in a new copyright bill”.  Continue reading “Hyperbole Alert! EFF and Cory Doctorow on Australia’s Very Effective Site Blocking Regime: What Are They So Afraid Of?”