Brexit and Copyright: An Update on the Road to D-Day

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As Britain staggers to the finish line of the Brexit process—a line that is still moving as this is written—many, many uncertainties remain. As but one thorny example, how can the now-invisible border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland continue in its present form after Brexit if Britain is no longer in the EU? This is a demand that Ireland is insisting on as part of the Brexit negotiations. Northern Ireland could be given a “special status” within Britain but then that would mean creating a barrier between the north of Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom, an outcome that is anathema to the dozen Ulster Unionist Members of Parliament who are propping up Prime Minister Theresa May’s government. Continue reading “Brexit and Copyright: An Update on the Road to D-Day”

Fake News Comes to Canada: Misleading Headlines and Distortion of the Facts Regarding the Fight Against Copyright Infringement

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The term “fake news” was rarely heard a couple of years ago, before Donald Trump’s rise to power, but it has unfortunately become ubiquitous. Whether it is the President accusing the media of “fake news” because it has reported something that he doesn’t like, or the creation of fake news by Trump himself by making statements and observations that are loosely or not at all tethered to the facts, fake news has come to dominate the headlines. One way to propagate fake news is to create a misleading but attention-grabbing headline and selectively assemble (or ignore) “facts” to support it. Regrettably some Canadians appear to be adopting the same tactics. I was reminded of this when I read Michael Geist’s bizarre recent blog which he titled “Movie Industry Denies Lawsuit Strategy Despite Proliferation of Lawsuits and Settlement Demands Against Thousands of Canadians”. While somewhat amusing for its leaps of logic, the title and the blog itself are a perfect example of the fake news phenomenon. Continue reading “Fake News Comes to Canada: Misleading Headlines and Distortion of the Facts Regarding the Fight Against Copyright Infringement”

India Joins WIPO Internet Treaties: A Major Step Forward

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On July 4, the Indian government announced that India will accede to the two WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) Internet treaties, the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT), 1996 and the WIPO Performance and Phonographs Treaty (WPPT), 1996. The Press Information Bureau statement indicated that accession to the Treaties will allow India to enable creative rights holders to secure a return on investment on the production and distribution of creative works, to create a level playing field for Indian rights holders and to “contribute to the development of a vibrant creative economy and cultural landscape.” Continue reading “India Joins WIPO Internet Treaties: A Major Step Forward”

Inside Dale Chihuly’s Studio “The Boathouse”

Credit: Author

Last October I wrote a blog posting about glass artist Dale Chihuly’s travails with a lawsuit brought against him by a former associate (or employee, his status is not clear), Michael Moi, who claims that he co-authored many of Chihuly’s works over the past 15 years. Moi is suing Chihuly for copyright infringement, and (naturally) substantial damages. As far as I am aware the case has yet to be heard, although there were legal wranglings in the fall that led to the disqualification of Moi’s lawyers. Continue reading “Inside Dale Chihuly’s Studio “The Boathouse””

Piracy, Technology and Economic Development: The Indonesian Case

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It’s a perverse paradox that technological advances and economic development–something that all developing countries strive for in order to raise productivity and the welfare of their citizens–‎come with a heavy price tag. In some cases, it is economic despoliation; in others it is growing corruption and highly unequal distribution of wealth; in still others it is the exploitation of technology by bad actors for undesirable ends. We are all aware of the blessings of technology, from medicine to manufacturing to communications–and have been told that nothing should be allowed to slow down this progress. In the area of communications, the Internet has become the bearer of many good things–and some not so good things—such as invasion of personal privacy and content-theft (piracy). Continue reading “Piracy, Technology and Economic Development: The Indonesian Case”

The Latest Tactics of those Opposed to “Piracy Site Blocking” in Canada: Try to Discredit the Process and the Proponents

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In the famous 1942 film Casablanca, Police Captain Louis Renault (Claude Rains) declares himself to be “shocked, shocked”, that gambling is going on in Rick’s (Humphrey Bogart’s) Bar, as Rains quietly palms his winnings while closing the bar. This line has become synonymous with feigned outrage and is a good description of Michael’s Geist’s “exposés” of the FairPlay Canada Coalition campaign to convince the CRTC (Canada’s broadcasting and telecommunications regulator, aka the Commission) to adopt a process of requiring Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block offshore websites that are “blatantly, overwhelmingly or structurally engaged” in content piracy. Using the Access to Information process, Geist has “revealed” that Bell Media, one of the leading elements in the Coalition, actively sought out support from various stakeholders, including George Brown College and Brock University. Continue reading “The Latest Tactics of those Opposed to “Piracy Site Blocking” in Canada: Try to Discredit the Process and the Proponents”

So You Admire Your Neighbour’s House? Best Not to Copy the Design

Steve Russell/Toronto Star

If you have always admired or even envied your neighbour’s house—those special features like the gabling, the placement and colour of the windows and window frames, the design of the chimney, and so on–and are tempted to hire an architect to copy it, perhaps you should think again. That’s the lesson that has emerged from what we could call the “Strathearn design case” in Toronto. (named after the street on which the home with the copyrighted design was located). Continue reading “So You Admire Your Neighbour’s House? Best Not to Copy the Design”