Cloudflare the Enabler: It Needs To Make Some Hard Choices

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Cloudflare, the Silicon Valley based company that provides online protection for websites against cyber-attacks (among other services) has been in the news–yet again–because they finally fired 8Chan as a client, removing the protective wrapping that had allowed the website so closely associated with hate speech and racist rants to exist on the internet. 8Chan has become the vehicle of choice for the mentally deranged and disaffected social misfits who have perpetrated a number of killings, including the mass murders at a mosque in Christchurch New Zealand and the shooting of mainly Mexican shoppers at a Walmart in El Paso, TX. But this blog is not about 8Chan (which is a topic unto itself), but rather about Cloudflare, its enabler. Continue reading “Cloudflare the Enabler: It Needs To Make Some Hard Choices”

Google is Monetizing Human Tragedy: Why Aren’t They Held Accountable?

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My wife and I had just been visiting our daughter in her new home when we turned on the car radio. It was an interview on CBC with Andy Parker, whose daughter Alison had been murdered, live on TV, by a deranged former employee, back in 2015. The killer recorded and later uploaded video of Alison Parker’s death to the internet, in addition to the live broadcast of the tragedy. The radio story was about the trials of a father who was being trolled by hate-mongers and conspiracy theorists, and about his ongoing efforts to get the videos of his daughter’s murder taken down by YouTube. My heart went out to him. I understood what was driving him, what helps him get up each morning. It is to give some meaning to his daughter’s death by trying to make the world a slightly better place. And one of those things, in addition to better gun control, is to try to bring Google, owner of YouTube, to account for its actions, or rather, its non-action. Continue reading “Google is Monetizing Human Tragedy: Why Aren’t They Held Accountable?”

Polling Data and Copyright: Who Will Win the Next Election?

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Who will win the next election? That is the $64, $64 thousand or $64 billion question (depending on which generation you represent), and is the question on which political pollsters like to think they provide some insights. Which election are we talking about? If you are American, it is clearly the 2020 Presidential election, but if you live in Canada, it is probably the general election on October 21 of this year. If you are British, we’d be talking about the election that Boris Johnson may call to sort out the Brexit mess, and if you are Australian you might be thinking about the most recent election where, once again, the actual results confounded the pollsters. In fact, when it comes to political polling and the “next election”, we could be talking about any country where public opinion actually counts (i.e. not China) and where reading the pulse of the electorate is part of the political process. Not that pollsters get it right most of the time these days. Continue reading “Polling Data and Copyright: Who Will Win the Next Election?”

The Art in the Ravine—Can I Legally Post this Photo?

Photo: Author

This story starts with an abandoned rail line in the ravine behind my townhouse in Toronto, which I enjoy walking along with my six year old grand-daughter who thinks of it as her “secret railway”. It is very overgrown and hasn’t been used for years, but has an interesting history. Originally incorporated as the Ontario and Quebec Railway in 1881, until recently it still existed as a legal entity even though the company was absorbed by the CPR many years ago. Continue reading “The Art in the Ravine—Can I Legally Post this Photo?”

Google‘s “Stoush” with New Zealand: Who Will Prevail?

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Why is it that every time I write about Google, they have done something else to antagonize national governments? Once again they are in hot water in New Zealand, owing to Google’s proclivity to thumb its nose at small nations (and sometimes quite big nations) because, well, they’re Google and they’re big, and they’re everywhere. This time, as reported in the New Zealand media, Google violated a publication ban imposed in a high-profile murder case by circulating a British news story that identified the accused, showing his picture, and highlighting it all in a “what’s trending New Zealand” email to subscribers (a number of whom were in New Zealand). The NZ publication ban was imposed so as not to impair the accused’s right to a fair trial because of media reports that might influence a jury. Continue reading “Google‘s “Stoush” with New Zealand: Who Will Prevail?”

Canadian Copyright Review: The Case of Indigenous Culture

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As it prepares to take on the task of bringing forth amendments to Canada’s copyright legislation, the Canadian government will be digesting and assessing two recent Parliamentary reports dealing with copyright issues, Shifting Paradigms, the report of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage and the INDU Committee Report, the report of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology. The two reports came out within a couple of weeks of each other, and both put forward a number of recommendations, some of which were mutually inconsistent. The copyright community generally applauded Shifting Paradigms and while there were elements it supported in the INDU Committee Report, it is fair to say that it was less than enthusiastic about some of the latter’s recommendations, as I discussed in an earlier blog. However one area where both Committees shared the same wavelength was with respect to indigenous culture and the impact that copyright can have on native artists and traditional indigenous expression. Continue reading “Canadian Copyright Review: The Case of Indigenous Culture”

“Mural, Mural on the Wall: Who’s the Owner of Them All?”

(c) Michelle Loughery, 2007. By permission of the artist.

For a small town in British Columbia, it’s a tale of high drama and threatened lawsuits. Merritt, BC, population about 7000, is a small ranching, sawmill and tourist town situated in the Nicola Valley in the interior of the province, a 3 hour drive from Vancouver. I passed a university summer of my misspent youth there, working in the big open-pit copper mine (Craigmont) that used to be one of the mainstays of the economy. The mine is long closed and now the good citizens of Merritt use various techniques to attract visitors, such as holding an annual country music festival, (which in some years increases the population of the town some twentyfold), hosting the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame and displaying a number of creative murals that grace various buildings around town, all tied to the country music theme. It’s a rollicking little town that has become caught up in the crossfire of a copyright controversy. Continue reading ““Mural, Mural on the Wall: Who’s the Owner of Them All?””