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Voltage Pictures Launches Canadian File Sharing Lawsuit With Reverse Class Action Strategy

Michael Geist Law RSS Feed - Thu, 2016/04/28 - 09:20

Voltage Pictures, which previously engaged in a lengthy court battle to require Canadian ISPs to disclose the names of alleged file sharers, has adopted a new legal strategy. This week, the company filed an unusual application in federal court, seeking certification of a reverse class action against an unknown number of alleged uploaders of five movies using BitTorrent (The Cobbler, Pay the Ghost, Good Kill, Fathers and Daughters, and American Heist). The use of reverse class actions is very rare in Canada (only a few have been reported). There were attempts to use the mechanism in copyright claims in the U.S. several years ago without success.

The Voltage filing seeks certification of the class, a declaration that each member of the class has infringed its copyright, an injunction stopping further infringement, damages, and costs of the legal proceedings. Voltage names as its representative respondent John Doe (linked to a Rogers IP address). It admits that it does not know the names or identifies of any members of its proposed class, but seeks to group anyone in Canada who infringed the copyright on one of the five movies. Voltage does not say how many people it has identified as infringing its copyright. It urges the court to issue an order to stop the infringement and to assess damages to be paid by each person.

The case raises many questions, most notably whether a reverse class action can be used an effective technique to target copyright infringement. Class actions typically involve a representative plaintiff who represents many others who have suffered the same harms from the actions of the defendant. Reverse class actions feature a single plaintiff (Voltage) and multiple defendants (the alleged file sharers). The most comprehensive examination of reverse class actions in Canada I could find comes from Ian Leach, who notes that while the strategy has rarely been used, there have been a few such cases in Ontario (the federal court rules have similar provisions).

There are several barriers to starting a reverse class action. In 2013, an Oregon court dismissed a similar Voltage lawsuit, concluding that the company “was unfairly using the court’s subpoena power in a “reverse class-action suit” to save on legal expenses and possibly to intimidate defendants into paying thousands of dollars for viewing a movie that can be bought or rented for less than $10.” Another reverse class action was tossed in U.S. federal court in Illinois in 2011, with the judge expressing concern that the case was little more than a “fishing expedition.” A New York Law School Review note comprehensively canvasses the issue from a U.S. perspective, arguing that the cases cannot be certified under U.S. law and that they raise significant issues of fairness.

One of the biggest concerns involves questions of representation for the defendant class. Before certification, the court will want assurance that the interests of the defendants will be fairly represented. But who will represent those interests? Who will pay for the legal counsel?  Unlike a plaintiff-led class action, where lawyers are often willing to invest in the case, there is no payoff at the end of this case and finding someone to represent the class will be a challenge when the only named representative is John Doe #1. If the representation issue is addressed, there will be additional concerns related to commonality (there may be a common copyright claim, but the defences may differ) and identification of the scope of the class, which appears to be indefinite.

Beyond the certification challenges, one of the primary barriers to reverse class actions is that defendants have the option of opting out of the class. This suggests that even if certified, any and all defendants will have the right to opt-out. In other words, after going through the process of trying to meet the requirements for class proceedings, all the defendants will be permitted to simply walk away.

Opting-out will pose its own sets of challenges as defendants will presumably want to have their anonymity safeguarded if they choose to opt-out. Voltage may be counting on the possibility of self-identification as a deterrence against opting out, but the court could establish a mechanism to allow for full exercise of the right to opt-out without being forced to disclose personal identity. The privacy issue related to the identification of the individuals is a separate matter that has its own process under Canadian law.

Class action experts may be able to shed more light on the issues related to a reverse class action, but at first glance this Voltage lawsuit is a puzzling strategy that should face stiff opposition from courts concerned with procedural fairness and appropriate representation of the interests of all class members.

The post Voltage Pictures Launches Canadian File Sharing Lawsuit With Reverse Class Action Strategy appeared first on Michael Geist.

Canadian Officials Admit TPP IP Policy Runs Counter To Preferred National Strategy

Michael Geist Law RSS Feed - Tue, 2016/04/26 - 10:13

Today is World IP Day, which marks the creation of the World Intellectual Property Organization. Canadian policy has long preferred the use of international bodies like WIPO to advance its IP objectives, yet the intellectual property provisions in recently concluded trade deals such as the TPP and CETA run counter to Canadian strategy. That isn’t just the opinion of the many critics of those agreements. It is what government officials told International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland as part of her briefing materials.

The briefing document on intellectual property and the trade agenda, released under the Access to Information Act, leaves little doubt that trade officials are well aware that the Canadian position on IP in the TPP is inconsistent with our preferred position and that it will lead to IP trade deficits. The document states:

Canada’s preferred strategy is to establish international IP rules through multilateral forums such as the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). However, in the context of the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Canada negotiated trade obligations that, while reflective of recent domestic reforms, are beyond those standards set through multilateral forums, and which will likely require amendments to domestic practice, such as in the areas of geographical indications (GIs) and patent protection for pharmaceuticals.

The position within the government bears repeating: the TPP and CETA go beyond international standards and require changes to Canadian law. Indeed, as critics have consistently argued, the Canadian IP approach on the TPP is a loss for Canada. Again, here is what Canadian officials advised Minister Freeland:

Canada provides a high level of protection and enforcement for IP. However, key trading partners such as the United States and European Union can be expected to be critical of Canadian policy, particularly with regard to their export interests in the copyright and pharmaceutical sectors where their view of the appropriate policy balance differs from Canada. Canada is a net importer of IP meaning that there is a net loss on intellectual tech transfer and patent licensing payments as well as a trade deficit in IP-intensive industries.

The briefing continues by acknowledging that Canada has accepted IP requirements that exceed multilateral benchmarks in the TPP and CETA. Officials anticipate that these demands for further change will continue.

What is particularly striking about the briefing materials is that they are entirely consistent with criticism of the TPP and the argument that the IP provisions do not serve Canada’s national interest. Canadian officials plainly state that Canada faces a net loss in technology transfers and patent licensing payments as well as a trade deficit in IP intensive industries. Yet despite the express acknowledgement of the situation by Canada’s own trade officials (and the obvious awareness of Canadian leaders), they not only agreed to those provisions, they expect more of the same in the future.

The post Canadian Officials Admit TPP IP Policy Runs Counter To Preferred National Strategy appeared first on Michael Geist.

Why Federal Leadership on Universal Broadband is a Need, Not a Want

Michael Geist Law RSS Feed - Mon, 2016/04/25 - 15:13

With one week still remaining in the federal telecommunications regulator’s hearing focused on the state of Internet access in Canada, the process has taken a surprising turn that ultimately cries out for leadership from Navdeep Bains, the Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development.

Jean-Pierre Blair, chair of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), opened the hearing two weeks ago with a warning: even if an ideal speed target could be identified, there was no guarantee of regulatory action. Blais urged participants not to confuse “wants” with “needs”, a framing that suggested the goal of the hearing was to identify the bare minimum Internet service required by Canadians.

My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that the remarks attracted immediate headlines that the Commission would not guarantee basic Internet speeds. The CRTC insists that only comments on the public record count, but it is obvious that the commissioners pay close attention to media commentary and social media postings.

Within hours of the first media report, Blais jokingly told one communications law professor that his class might consider analyzing how his remarks were turned into those headlines. In fact, the fixation with press coverage continued later in the week as Blais referenced “editorialists who never show up at our hearings but apparently have very strong views.”

The press and public coverage of the hearing – which unsurprisingly focused on the CRTC’s seeming reluctance to adopt ambitious forward-looking targets for universal Internet access – may have led to an unexpected abrupt shift in tone and policy. Days after the “needs” and “wants” talk, Blais offered a second set of remarks, this time describing the vital importance of Internet access as “self-evident” and characterizing the hearing as “a chance to create together a coherent national broadband strategy.”

The decision to change the focus of the hearing more than a year after submissions began may be unusual, but the CRTC is right. Canada desperately needs a national digital strategy with universal, affordable broadband as its foundation. However, whether the Commission is the right body to lead such a strategy is an entirely different matter.

A strategy focused on universal, affordable access raises two key questions. First, what are the minimum targets for download and upload speeds? Second, who will pay for the creation of universally available networks that guarantee access at whatever target speed?

Some of the major telecommunications companies have been urging the CRTC to adopt a “5 and 1″ approach representing 5 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload. They claim those speeds are sufficient to allow for the use of many Internet applications including online video and Internet telephony (though the ability for multiple people in a single household to use these services simultaneously is in doubt).

Yet a national broadband strategy must surely go beyond the bare minimum and the applications of today. Multiple users, video-based education programs, tele-health, virtual community meetings, interactive entertainment, 3D printing, and numerous Internet-enabled devices are more than just wants. They are the future of broadband for many Canadians and the reason why a country focused on innovation cannot be content with painfully slow, expensive Internet access.

A realistic target also requires realistic funding. The CRTC has a relatively small pot of money available and it may be limited to shifting dollars from conventional telephone contributions to the Internet. That approach is unlikely to yield the necessary investment to create a true 21st century digital infrastructure.

There is a role to play for Canada’s telecommunications regulator, but it cannot replace a long-overdue Internet infrastructure commitment from the federal government. The Liberal government emphasized infrastructure investment in its 2016 budget, but allocated relatively little to the digital side of the ledger. If anything is self-evident, it is that federal government leadership on broadband funding and policies that encourage greater competition is a need, not a want.

The post Why Federal Leadership on Universal Broadband is a Need, Not a Want appeared first on Michael Geist.

Plan for Universal Internet Needs Real Leadership

Michael Geist Law RSS Feed - Mon, 2016/04/25 - 15:09

Appeared in the Toronto Star on April 24, 2016 as Plan for Universal Internet Needs Real Leadership

With one week still remaining in the federal telecommunications regulator’s hearing focused on the state of Internet access in Canada, the process has taken a surprising turn that ultimately cries out for leadership from Navdeep Bains, the Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development.

Jean-Pierre Blair, chair of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), opened the hearing two weeks ago with a warning: even if an ideal speed target could be identified, there was no guarantee of regulatory action. Blais urged participants not to confuse “wants” with “needs”, a framing that suggested the goal of the hearing was to identify the bare minimum Internet service required by Canadians.

The remarks attracted immediate headlines that the Commission would not guarantee basic Internet speeds. The CRTC insists that only comments on the public record count, but it is obvious that the commissioners pay close attention to media commentary and social media postings.

Within hours of the first media report, Blais jokingly told one communications law professor that his class might consider analyzing how his remarks were turned into those headlines. In fact, the fixation with press coverage continued later in the week as Blais referenced “editorialists who never show up at our hearings but apparently have very strong views.”

The press and public coverage of the hearing – which unsurprisingly focused on the CRTC’s seeming reluctance to adopt ambitious forward-looking targets for universal Internet access – may have led to an unexpected abrupt shift in tone and policy. Days after the “needs” and “wants” talk, Blais offered a second set of remarks, this time describing the vital importance of Internet access as “self-evident” and characterizing the hearing as “a chance to create together a coherent national broadband strategy.”

The decision to change the focus of the hearing more than a year after submissions began may be unusual, but the CRTC is right. Canada desperately needs a national digital strategy with universal, affordable broadband as its foundation. However, whether the Commission is the right body to lead such a strategy is an entirely different matter.

A strategy focused on universal, affordable access raises two key questions. First, what are the minimum targets for download and upload speeds? Second, who will pay for the creation of universally available networks that guarantee access at whatever target speed?

Some of the major telecommunications companies have been urging the CRTC to adopt a “5 and 1″ approach representing 5 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload. They claim those speeds are sufficient to allow for the use of many Internet applications including online video and Internet telephony (though the ability for multiple people in a single household to use these services simultaneously is in doubt).

Yet a national broadband strategy must surely go beyond the bare minimum and the applications of today. Multiple users, video-based education programs, tele-health, virtual community meetings, interactive entertainment, 3D printing, and numerous Internet-enabled devices are more than just wants. They are the future of broadband for many Canadians and the reason why a country focused on innovation cannot be content with painfully slow, expensive Internet access.

A realistic target also requires realistic funding. The CRTC has a relatively small pot of money available and it may be limited to shifting dollars from conventional telephone contributions to the Internet. That approach is unlikely to yield the necessary investment to create a true 21st century digital infrastructure.

There is a role to play for Canada’s telecommunications regulator, but it cannot replace a long-overdue Internet infrastructure commitment from the federal government. The Liberal government emphasized infrastructure investment in its 2016 budget, but allocated relatively little to the digital side of the ledger. If anything is self-evident, it is that federal government leadership on broadband funding and policies that encourage greater competition is a need, not a want.

Michael Geist holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law. He can be reached at mgeist@uottawa.ca or online at www.michaelgeist.ca.

The post Plan for Universal Internet Needs Real Leadership appeared first on Michael Geist.

wrapping copyright in the maple leaf

Fair Duty by Meera Nair - Sun, 2016/04/24 - 10:21

On Friday, The Globe and Mail published “Kids will suffer if Canada’s copyright legislation doesn’t change” by Kate Taylor. I usually enjoy reading Taylor’s work; her capacity to grasp the heart of an issue by delving into underlying facts is often impressive. Unfortunately, on this occasion, her exploration is incomplete and emotion is presented as analysis.

While amendment of the Copyright Act is a year away, there should be no doubt that lobbying has begun. As per the time-honoured script, the essential step is to wrap copyright in the maple leaf. The very fabric of Canada is under assault, and only strengthening copyright can save us all. The script makes for good drama, but is short on evidence.

Taylor, like John Degen last month and Heather Menzies earlier this year, places the challenges of Canada’s educational publishing industry at the feet of the 2012 statutory expansion of fair dealing. (Such a selective invocation of Canadian copyright-related history conveniently omits any mention of the role played by Access Copyright in bringing about the decline of collective licensing.) The claim that reduced revenue from textbook sales is due to unauthorized copying is not new. But when put to the Supreme Court, after consideration of all the facts, a majority of the judges felt that the conclusion did not logically follow:

Access Copyright pointed out that textbook sales had shrunk over 30 percent in 20 years.  … [but] there was no evidence that this decline was linked to photocopying done by teachers … several other factors [are] likely to have contributed to the decline in sales, such as the adoption of semester teaching, a decrease in registrations, the longer lifespan of textbooks, increased use of the Internet and other electronic tools, and more resource-based learning (para. 33).

But the rising use of Internet-based materials does not placate those who have taken it upon themselves to protect our children. Taylor writes: “ … teachers increasingly turn to free online materials, using fewer Canadian sources in the classroom and fewer materials directly tied to the provincial curriculum. [Advocates] are concerned there is no quality control of free material.” It is entirely plausible that the causality runs the other way: teachers are finding quality materials online, materials which also happen to be free. (The Khan Academy comes to mind.) But in the hands of those opposing any dilution of the traditional publishing industry, “free” and “online” are invoked with a dismissive air at best, or a pejorative connotation at worst.

Setting aside the prospects for alternative publishing models (for now), let us assume that Taylor’s, Degen’s and Menzies’ analyses are correct.  Let us assume that all the ills of the educational publishing sector are solely the fault of fair dealing. What then? Have any of them considered that years of expanding the scope of copyright has only meant that even more Canadian dollars flow out of the country than stay in? Since before Confederation, the market north of the 49th parallel has been dominated by foreign copyright holders. First British, then American. Copyright is a blunt instrument; any discussion of remedy via copyright should not ignore the trade imbalance. Applying copyright with broad brushstrokes through blanket licensing means fewer Canadian dollars are left to focus exclusively on Canadian creators.

Copyright governs much more than educational publishing, but even if it was confined to educational publishing, an important question has been left unanswered: Do Canadian sources make up the majority of all materials in all subjects taught in primary, secondary and tertiary education in Canada? If the answer is Yes, please provide evidence. If the answer is No, it is astounding that in the name of Canada, taxpayers, students and families are being chivied to provide more of our hard-earned dollars to predominantly benefit non-Canadian entities.

The effort spent railing about fair dealing could be better spent seeking measures that will target support directly to Canadian creators. Given the renewed spirit of federal-municipal relations, why not lobby for dedicated funding for school boards to support creation of open-education resources (OER) specifically to fill the need for Canadian content? Canadian history, geography, and politics could be addressed by local writers and illustrators, in collaboration with teachers, librarians, and archivists. How about seeking some manner of matched funds, to encourage every municipality to sponsor a writer-in-residence? What about expanding the existing Public Lending Right program to address nonfiction educational materials? A little imagination could bring about surprising dividends.

A Made-In-Canada approach to education is not a new concept. Law professor Myra Tawfik describes early 19th century efforts in Lower Canada to secure appropriate learning materials for children:

Lower Canadian teachers began to write or compile their own teaching manuals and schoolbooks. Preferring these to British or American imports and wanting to print multiple copies for use in their schools, they quickly discovered that the cost of printing their manuscripts was well beyond their means. Consequently, they began to petition the House of Assembly asking that it either assume the cost of printing or grant a sum of money to defray the costs (p.81).

Notably, when the House of Assembly delivered the requested support, it came with conditions regarding price and distribution.

As Canada approaches its 150th birthday, with a nod to the spirit that prompted the Massey Commission, the creation of the Canada Arts Council, and the emphasis upon Canadian Studies’ programs, it is time to focus on Canadian creators in a meaningful way.

 


Apple Encryption Saga and Beyond: What U.S. Courts Can Learn from Canadian Caselaw

Freedom to Tinker - Thu, 2016/04/21 - 07:00
It has been said that privacy is “at risk of becoming a real human right.” The exponential increase of personal information in the hands of organizations, particularly sensitive data, creates a significant rise in the perils accompanying formerly negligible privacy incidents. At one time considered too intangible to merit even token compensation, risks of harm […]

The Defend Trade Secrets Act and Whistleblowers

Freedom to Tinker - Wed, 2016/04/20 - 11:48
As Freedom to Tinker readers know, I’ve been an active opponent of the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA). Though my position on the DTSA remains unchanged, I was both surprised and pleased to see that the revised Defend Trade Secrets Act now includes a narrow, but potentially useful, provision intended to protect whistleblowers from trade secret […]

Canadian Copyright Bill for the Blind in Need of Fine Tuning

Michael Geist Law RSS Feed - Tue, 2016/04/19 - 14:04

As the political world was focused on the Liberal government’s inaugural budget last month, Navdeep Bains, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, introduced his first bill as minister by quietly moving ahead with plans to reform Canadian copyright law to allow for the ratification of an international treaty devoted to increasing access to copyrighted works for the blind.

The World Intellectual Property Organization’s Marrakesh Treaty expands access for the blind by facilitating the creation and export of works in accessible formats to the more than 300 million blind and visually impaired people around the world. Moreover, the treaty restricts the use of digital locks that can impede access, by permitting the removal of technological restrictions on electronic books for the benefit of the blind and visually impaired.

My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that the Canadian decision to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty is long overdue. The Conservatives announced plans to do so in last year’s budget but waited to table legislation days before the summer break and the election call. With that bill now dead, the Liberals have rightly moved quickly to revive the issue.

The treaty (and the Canadian bill) addresses three key issues. First, the bill establishes a new rule that permits non-profit organizations acting on behalf of persons with a print disability to reproduce copyright works in accessible formats without the need for permission from the copyright holder. This ensures that more accessible works will be created and distributed in Canada.

Second, once an accessible version of the work is created, the bill also allows the non-profit organization to make it available upon request to persons with print disabilities in other countries that are part of the treaty. With many countries signing on, this approach offers the potential to significantly increase the availability of accessible works with exchanges across borders.

Third, the bill amends the overly restrictive digital lock rules enacted in the 2012 copyright reforms. The Conservative government claimed that an exception for the blind addressed concerns that the law could create significant access restrictions, but the reforms represent a tacit admission that the exception is ineffective. Interestingly, the same restrictive language is used in an exception designed to address privacy concerns, suggesting that further copyright reforms are needed.

While the introduction of the bill represents an excellent first step, upcoming committee hearings offer the opportunity to fine tune the Canadian approach, which is more restrictive than required by the treaty. For example, the Canadian bill envisions the possibility of establishing additional fees payable by the non-profit organization to copyright collectives. The Marrakesh Treaty does not require adding royalty payments and many countries (including the United States) do not have such a provision.

The Canadian approach to exporting accessible works to other countries is also unnecessarily complex. The export exception does not apply to works that are “commercially available” “within a reasonable time and for a reasonable price” in the other country.

The limitation seems likely to create uncertainty and legal risks for those using the exception, creating the danger that some organizations may be reticent about exporting works for fear of running afoul of the law. The limitation is not found in proposed implementing legislation developed by international groups representing libraries and those with print disabilities.

Despite its shortcomings, the decision to focus on the world’s first user rights treaty sends a strong signal that the government recognizes the importance of ensuring that the law does not unduly restrict access to copyright works. With the Marrakesh Treaty nearly reaching the 20 ratifications necessary to take effect, the government must move quickly if it wants Canada to stand as one of the original group of ratifying countries.

The post Canadian Copyright Bill for the Blind in Need of Fine Tuning appeared first on Michael Geist.

Copyright Bill for the Blind Needs Fine Tuning

Michael Geist Law RSS Feed - Tue, 2016/04/19 - 14:01

Appeared in the Toronto Star on April 18, 2016 as Copyright Law for the Blind Needs Fine-Tuning

As the political world was focused on the Liberal government’s inaugural budget last month, Navdeep Bains, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, introduced his first bill as minister by quietly moving ahead with plans to reform Canadian copyright law to allow for the ratification of an international treaty devoted to increasing access to copyrighted works for the blind.

The World Intellectual Property Organization’s Marrakesh Treaty expands access for the blind by facilitating the creation and export of works in accessible formats to the more than 300 million blind and visually impaired people around the world. Moreover, the treaty restricts the use of digital locks that can impede access, by permitting the removal of technological restrictions on electronic books for the benefit of the blind and visually impaired.

The Canadian decision to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty is long overdue. The Conservatives announced plans to do so in last year’s budget but waited to table legislation days before the summer break and the election call. With that bill now dead, the Liberals have rightly moved quickly to revive the issue.

The treaty (and the Canadian bill) addresses three key issues. First, the bill establishes a new rule that permits non-profit organizations acting on behalf of persons with a print disability to reproduce copyright works in accessible formats without the need for permission from the copyright holder. This ensures that more accessible works will be created and distributed in Canada.

Second, once an accessible version of the work is created, the bill also allows the non-profit organization to make it available upon request to persons with print disabilities in other countries that are part of the treaty. With many countries signing on, this approach offers the potential to significantly increase the availability of accessible works with exchanges across borders.

Third, the bill amends the overly restrictive digital lock rules enacted in the 2012 copyright reforms. The Conservative government claimed that an exception for the blind addressed concerns that the law could create significant access restrictions, but the reforms represent a tacit admission that the exception is ineffective. Interestingly, the same restrictive language is used in an exception designed to address privacy concerns, suggesting that further copyright reforms are needed.

While the introduction of the bill represents an excellent first step, upcoming committee hearings offer the opportunity to fine tune the Canadian approach, which is more restrictive than required by the treaty. For example, the Canadian bill envisions the possibility of establishing additional fees payable by the non-profit organization to copyright collectives. The Marrakesh Treaty does not require adding royalty payments and many countries (including the United States) do not have such a provision.

The Canadian approach to exporting accessible works to other countries is also unnecessarily complex. The export exception does not apply to works that are “commercially available” “within a reasonable time and for a reasonable price” in the other country.

The limitation seems likely to create uncertainty and legal risks for those using the exception, creating the danger that some organizations may be reticent about exporting works for fear of running afoul of the law. The limitation is not found in proposed implementing legislation developed by international groups representing libraries and those with print disabilities.

Despite its shortcomings, the decision to focus on the world’s first user rights treaty sends a strong signal that the government recognizes the importance of ensuring that the law does not unduly restrict access to copyright works. With the Marrakesh Treaty nearly reaching the 20 ratifications necessary to take effect, the government must move quickly if it wants Canada to stand as one of the original group of ratifying countries.

Michael Geist holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law. He can be reached at mgeist@uottawa.ca or online at www.michaelgeist.ca.

The post Copyright Bill for the Blind Needs Fine Tuning appeared first on Michael Geist.

Internet Voting? Really?

Freedom to Tinker - Mon, 2016/04/18 - 07:00
Recently I gave a TEDx talk—I spoke at the local Princeton University TEDx event.  My topic was voting: America’s voting systems in the 19th and 20th century, and should we vote using the Internet?  You can see the talk here:    

On distracted driving and required phone searches

Freedom to Tinker - Fri, 2016/04/15 - 07:00
A recent Arstechnica article discussed several U.S. states that are considering adding a “roadside textalyzer” that operates analogously to roadside Breathalyzer tests. In the same way that alcohol and drugs can impair a driver’s ability to navigate the road, so can paying attention to your phone rather than the world beyond. Many states “require” drivers to consent […]

Gone In Six Characters: Short URLs Considered Harmful for Cloud Services

Freedom to Tinker - Thu, 2016/04/14 - 07:37
[This is a guest post by Vitaly Shmatikov, professor at Cornell Tech and once upon a time my adviser at the University of Texas at Austin. — Arvind Narayanan.] TL;DR: short URLs produced by bit.ly, goo.gl, and similar services are so short that they can be scanned by brute force.  Our scan discovered a large […]

Intervening at the CRTC: Nothing Encourages Participation Like Background Checks and Legally Mandated Undertakings

Michael Geist Law RSS Feed - Wed, 2016/04/13 - 09:45

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s hearing on basic telecommunications services launched earlier this week with the Commission continuing its effort to engage the public with an open discussion forum that will allow for comments to placed on the record (comments outside of the CRTC universe – op-eds, blog posts or social media comments do not count). While CRTC chair Jean-Pierre Blais has emphasized his interest in hearing from Canadians, the recent experience of Concordia University professor Fenwick McKelvey highlights how more work is needed to remove barriers that may inhibit independent experts from participating in the process.

McKelvey told me he was very happy to participate, yet consider the barriers faced by academics or other independent experts seeking to contribute to the CRTC process. First, McKelvey (along with other academic intervenors) faced questions from Telus about their background, expertise, and funding. Telus demanded that each answer the following questions:

Did you receive any funding to support your intervention? If so, from whom?
Do you have a position at a university, or elsewhere, or are you in a centre, institute, or similar organization, that supported your intervention? If so, please describe your position at the centre, institute, or similar organization and identify the source(s) of funding.
Please describe any other entities with which you are or have been affiliated which have interests or have intervened before the CRTC or Industry Canada with respect to telecommunications policy and regulation issues.
Please provide a current copy of your curriculum vitae for the public record.

When the academics refused to disclose the information, Telus responded with lengthy arguments on why they should be required to provide all of this background information despite the fact that it has nothing to do with the substance of the hearing. Those demands alone might be enough for some to avoid the CRTC process.

While the demands for background checks came from Telus, the CRTC commissioners did themselves no favours in the first day of the hearing. Coming at the end of a long day, McKelvey brought two experts to discuss Internet measurement along with students to witness the proceedings. As the discussion became increasingly technical, Commissioner Molnar stated:

I have just one last question and I think this might be an undertaking, because you rapidly get beyond my technical capacity to understand what you’re saying, so in writing is easier for me.

After Molnar explained the legally required undertaking, McKelvey responded that he had concerns about timing, leading to the following exchange:

1880 MR. McELVEY …I would like to discuss with them whether it’s feasible within the May 5th timeline and am I allowed to say that I will get back to you on whether that’s feasible?
1881 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: I wouldn’t think so.
— (LAUGHTER)
1882 MR. McELVEY: I don’t — I mean it’s my first time. I really do mean it as a genuine —
1883 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well I appreciate that, that it’s your first time, but normally people come ready for the possibility of having to answer within that timeline.

CRTC veterans and commissioners are likely to read the exchange and shrug their shoulders. Those are the rules – if you want to participate, you can find yourself subject to legally mandated undertakings that must be completed within tight time frames. While that may work well for government institutions and large companies with ample resources devoted specifically to these issues, for the average Canadian seeking to have their voice heard, this is likely to be viewed as a significant barrier to participation.

The post Intervening at the CRTC: Nothing Encourages Participation Like Background Checks and Legally Mandated Undertakings appeared first on Michael Geist.

Why Universal, Affordable Internet Access is a Job for Everyone

Michael Geist Law RSS Feed - Tue, 2016/04/12 - 09:15

The future of Internet access in Canada takes centre stage this week at a major hearing focused on whether it’s time to update the rules associated with universal access to communications services. Canada has long had regulations in place that ensure that basic telephone service is available to everyone, using a funding model that subsidizes higher costs in rural communities.

My weekly technology column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that for most Canadians, however, basic telephone service no longer adequately addresses their needs. Today the Internet is widely recognized as the most indispensable communications tool, providing access to everything from electronic messaging to entertainment. While debates over broadband access have lingered for more than 15 years, there are still thousands of Canadians without service, owing to the lack of access or affordability.

The urban-rural digital divide frequently dominates Internet access discussions, yet a comprehensive national policy must also take affordability into account. Indeed, recent data indicates that there are two digital divides in Canada: the divide between those with and without access to high-speed Internet services (with access rates lower in rural communities) and the divide between subscribers and non-subscribers among those that have access. Affordability remains one of the most commonly cited reasons for not subscribing to an Internet access service despite its availability.

With dozens of groups slated to appear at the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) hearing, there will be considerable pressure to declare Internet access an essential service and establish policies that ensure that all have affordable access.

A universal service program for the Internet would be a step in the right direction, but it would be a mistake to leave the issue solely to the telecommunications regulator. Fostering universal, affordable broadband access is a job for everyone with the need for active participation from all levels of government, the private sector, and community organizations.

Despite the federal government’s commitment to infrastructure spending in the most recent budget, very little was allocated in the short term for broadband services. Ensuring that all communities have access will require a public investment – the private sector will unsurprisingly prioritize the most profitable markets leaving some communities without access – along with policy frameworks that facilitate increased competition from independent providers and support the emergence of community-owned broadband services.

There are also opportunities for provincial and municipal governments in this area. Provincial governments should leverage existing networks, particularly those within education and health institutions, to bring access to the wider community. At a municipal level, using local construction initiatives to lay high-speed fibre accessible to any provider offers the chance to dramatically alter the competitive landscape.

The affordable access solution must also extend beyond government policy and funding with the private sector playing a critical role. For example, last week Rogers announced that it is extending its Connected for Success program to its entire cable footprint, effectively making affordable broadband access available to thousands of low-income Canadians.

The Rogers program first launched in Toronto in 2013 in partnership with Toronto Community Housing, offers broadband access for $9.99 per month. Once the program is fully implemented, the low cost service will be available to residents at more than 500 non-profit housing organizations.

The Rogers program is notable in part because it is the only such initiative in Canada. While the major telecom companies seemingly have little trouble matching price increases, they have been discouragingly unwilling to mirror the Connected for Success program.

On top of the issues around access and affordability, there is also the need for community programs dedicated to digital literacy, so that those new to the Internet can maximize the benefits. While younger Canadians have never lived in a world without the Internet, many others do not know where to start.

The Internet has dramatically changed our world, touching on virtually every aspect of society. Changing our rules on essential services to account for the digital world is long overdue.

The post Why Universal, Affordable Internet Access is a Job for Everyone appeared first on Michael Geist.

Affordable Internet Access is Everyone’s Business

Michael Geist Law RSS Feed - Tue, 2016/04/12 - 08:58

Appeared in the Toronto Star on April 11, 2016 as Affordable Internet Access is Everyone’s Business

The future of Internet access in Canada takes centre stage this week at a major hearing focused on whether it’s time to update the rules associated with universal access to communications services. Canada has long had regulations in place that ensure that basic telephone service is available to everyone, using a funding model that subsidizes higher costs in rural communities.

For most Canadians, however, basic telephone service no longer adequately addresses their needs. Today the Internet is widely recognized as the most indispensable communications tool, providing access to everything from electronic messaging to entertainment. While debates over broadband access have lingered for more than 15 years, there are still thousands of Canadians without service, owing to the lack of access or affordability.

The urban-rural digital divide frequently dominates Internet access discussions, yet a comprehensive national policy must also take affordability into account. Indeed, recent data indicates that there are two digital divides in Canada: the divide between those with and without access to high-speed Internet services (with access rates lower in rural communities) and the divide between subscribers and non-subscribers among those that have access. Affordability remains one of the most commonly cited reasons for not subscribing to an Internet access service despite its availability.

With dozens of groups slated to appear at the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) hearing, there will be considerable pressure to declare Internet access an essential service and establish policies that ensure that all have affordable access.

A universal service program for the Internet would be a step in the right direction, but it would be a mistake to leave the issue solely to the telecommunications regulator. Fostering universal, affordable broadband access is a job for everyone with the need for active participation from all levels of government, the private sector, and community organizations.

Despite the federal government’s commitment to infrastructure spending in the most recent budget, very little was allocated in the short term for broadband services. Ensuring that all communities have access will require a public investment – the private sector will unsurprisingly prioritize the most profitable markets leaving some communities without access – along with policy frameworks that facilitate increased competition from independent providers and support the emergence of community-owned broadband services.

There are also opportunities for provincial and municipal governments in this area. Provincial governments should leverage existing networks, particularly those within education and health institutions, to bring access to the wider community. At a municipal level, using local construction initiatives to lay high-speed fibre accessible to any provider offers the chance to dramatically alter the competitive landscape.

The affordable access solution must also extend beyond government policy and funding with the private sector playing a critical role. For example, last week Rogers announced that it is extending its Connected for Success program to its entire cable footprint, effectively making affordable broadband access available to thousands of low-income Canadians.

The Rogers program first launched in Toronto in 2013 in partnership with Toronto Community Housing, offers broadband access for $9.99 per month. Once the program is fully implemented, the low cost service will be available to residents at more than 500 non-profit housing organizations.

The Rogers program is notable in part because it is the only such initiative in Canada. While the major telecom companies seemingly have little trouble matching price increases, they have been discouragingly unwilling to mirror the Connected for Success program.

On top of the issues around access and affordability, there is also the need for community programs dedicated to digital literacy, so that those new to the Internet can maximize the benefits. While younger Canadians have never lived in a world without the Internet, many others do not know where to start.

The Internet has dramatically changed our world, touching on virtually every aspect of society. Changing our rules on essential services to account for the digital world is long overdue.

Michael Geist holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law. He can be reached at mgeist@uottawa.ca or online at www.michaelgeist.ca.

The post Affordable Internet Access is Everyone’s Business appeared first on Michael Geist.

celebrating a parody, 49 years later

Fair Duty by Meera Nair - Tue, 2016/04/05 - 23:00

The inclusion in 2012, of education, in the categories qualifying for fair dealing, has received disproportionate attention, made up of as much umbrage as applause. Far more important additions made at the same time, parody and satire, have almost gone unnoticed. Their protection was long overdue.

The first case in Canada to address parody against a charge of copyright infringement was Ludlow Music Inc. v. Canint Music Corp (1967). The dispute centred on the song This Land Is Your Land, written by Woody Guthrie (1912-1967). Canadian songwriter Alec Somerville, of The Brothers In Law, crafted new lyrics to Guthrie’s tune and retitled the song as This Land Is Whose Land.

But distribution was short lived. In a case which began on 6 April 1967 and ended on 10 April 1967, Somerville’s creation was declared as infringing upon the copyright of Woody Guthrie’s work. Jackett P. of the Exchequer Court of Canada granted an injunction restraining further sales of the album.

It must be noted that royalties were offered for use of the tune of Guthrie’s creation, under the premise that there were two copyrights at issue: (1) the copyright of the tune and (2) the copyright of the lyrics. While Somerville relied on Guthrie’s tune, Somerville’s lyrics were entirely his own creation. However, that offer was rejected and Jackett P. decided that both tune and lyrics are encircled by a song’s copyright.

Ironically, the tune was hardly Guthrie’s alone. Nick Spitzer of NPR writes:

Guthrie had a keen ear for the recordings of Virginia’s Carter Family, and he was not afraid to borrow. A 1930 gospel recording, “When the World’s on Fire,” sung by the Carters, must have provided the tune for what would become “This Land Is Your Land.”

In Ramblin Man: The Life and Times of Woody Guthrie (2004), biographer Ed Cray further traces the tune to the southern gospel hymn Oh my loving brother. But this too is hardly surprising. Creative effort necessarily relies, consciously or not, on borrowed aspects of earlier works–creativity is always a collaborative undertaking. Skillful borrowing is the very essence of parody as it must capture the distinctiveness of the original creation and the creator.

An essay published in The Spectator on 20 May 1853, makes this point forcefully:

Every line ought to make us say, that is pure Tennyson or pure Browning, as the case may be; though the notion of the poem as a whole being connected with Tennyson’s or Browning’s name, should be an instant cause of laughter. … The parodist, then, to be successful, must have the most delicate sense of literary form and the fullest sympathy of comprehension for the work of those he parodies, as well as a true sense of humour and a special dexterity in the use of words and phrases.

That capacity, to invoke an original, to have a fullest sympathy of comprehension of the parodied work, as well as to couple humour with dexterity when crafting a new work, might have been written with Somerville in mind. Just as Guthrie’s work was in reaction to the  syrupy nature of Irving Berlin’s creation God Bless America, Somerville provided a more accurate and irreverent view of Canadian history. His variation on Guthrie’s song was expressly intended for release in 1967, the year of Canada’s centenary. (The album carrying the song was titled Exposé 67.)

Yet that fact likely added to the problem; the dispute was not settled on musicology alone. In 1959, Ludlow Music Inc. had licensed Guthrie’s work for adaptation and distribution in Canada, via revisions prepared and performed by The Travellers. The rights for this authorized Canadian version were held by Ludlow Music Inc. and the song was to play a prominent part in the centennial celebrations of 1967:

This song is a patriotic song and has been widely distributed in schools throughout Canada. The song will again be published in 1967 by the Centennial Commission in the songbook “Young Canada Sings — “Le Jeune Canada Chante”, 10,000 copies of the songbook will be distributed throughout Canada. Attached … is a copy of a letter from The Centennial Commission to Ludlow Music, Incorporated requesting permission to use the song “This Land is Your Land”. Ludlow Music, Inc., has consented to such use in both 1966 and 1967 (para. 11).

Ludlow Music Inc., unimpressed with Somerville’s work, sought to protect the innocence of the Canadian public:

… the use of words which are in bad taste and insulting to the Canadian public with the music of the composition “This Land is Your Land” will cause incalculable damage to the Plaintiff and destroy the meaning and acceptance of the song in the minds of the Canadian public (para. 12).

It is difficult to assess Canadian sensibilities of 49 years ago, but likely we are more resilient today. Canadians may judge for themselves, the merits of This Land Is Whose Land.

 

 

 


Ontario Music Fund Oversight Hits Sour Note: Gov Docs Discuss “Breach of Integrity”

Michael Geist Law RSS Feed - Mon, 2016/04/04 - 10:26

The Canadian music industry gathered in Calgary last weekend for the Juno Awards, the industry’s biggest awards gala that has grown into a week-long event. While the award show is the public face of the Junos, behind the scenes are years of negotiations with governments to provide millions in public funding.

With Ontario hosting the Junos twice in three years – Hamilton hosted in 2015 and Ottawa is slated to host in 2017 – the provincial Liberal government has committed to enormous taxpayer support. My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) reports that according to internal documents recently obtained under the provincial access to information laws, that funding has sparked concerns within government departments due to the mushrooming budgets, inflated claims about the economic impact of the awards, and what officials have described as a “breach [of] the integrity of the objective grant assessment process.”

Earlier this year, I wrote about the problems associated with the Ontario Music Fund (OMF), the provincial government’s flagship funding program for the music industry. The fund, which is administered by the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC), has doled out nearly $30 million in two years despite little public transparency on how the money has been spent and questionable claims about job creation.

It represents a major lobbying victory for Music Canada, which counts the three major foreign record labels (Sony Music Entertainment Canada, Universal Music Canada, and Warner Music Canada) as its primary members. Those three companies averaged more than $830,000 per award in the first year of the fund, far beyond the benefits received by domestic record companies.

Music Canada has close links to the Liberal government, contributing thousands of dollars in recent years to party coffers under the political financing rules that Premier Kathleen Wynne has now promised to amend after reports last week revealed demands that cabinet ministers raise hundreds of thousands of dollars from business and labour groups.

The OMF record label funding has raised eyebrows within the industry, but it is the diversion of fund support for the Juno awards that sparked internal controversy. The issue started with a July 2013 letter from the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS), the organization that administers the Juno Awards, to the office of then-Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport Michael Chan requesting funding support for the 2015 and 2017 awards. The letter was copied to the OMDC and Music Canada.

The government moved quickly on the issue, envisioning using the music fund, which was only finalized after the initial CARAS letter, to provide the majority of support. There were questions, however, about proposed budgets that were far higher than previous Ontario-hosted Juno awards. For example, OMDC provided $195,000 for the 2011 Junos held in Ottawa (Celebrate Ontario contributed another $200,000). This time, the OMDC was being asked for at least five times that amount for the 2015 Junos alone.

Chan wrote to CARAS in October 2013, indicating that it should submit an application to the music fund. The application was delivered one month later and quickly reviewed by the OMDC. While it provided supportive comments to the government, ministry officials were concerned that there was still no detailed budget and that the economic impact figures included double counting, which officials said “inflates the true impact of the awards in Ontario.”

Those concerns were relayed to the OMDC, which remarkably redrafted some of the CARAS materials. That led one ministry official to write that “I do not feel it is appropriate for the CEO of OMDC to be revising and expanding on an argument from an applicant for why they should be funded, especially since, if funded, the funding would flow through the OMDC. This seems to breach the integrity of the objective grant assessment process. I understand that other staff members in our unit have similar concerns.”

Despite the concerns, the Ontario government announced plans several weeks later to support the 2015 Juno Awards with the OMDC providing $1 million in funding. When asked about the decision making process, a ministry spokesman stated that “funding decisions are made by an Oversight Committee including senior executives from both OMDC and the Ministry of Tourism, Sport and Culture.” Last fall, the Liberal government sang a similar song, promising $750,000 to support the 2017 Juno Awards in Ottawa.

The post Ontario Music Fund Oversight Hits Sour Note: Gov Docs Discuss “Breach of Integrity” appeared first on Michael Geist.

Out of Tune?: Government Documents Reveal Concern With Integrity of Ontario Music Fund Assessments

Michael Geist Law RSS Feed - Mon, 2016/04/04 - 10:18

Appeared in the Toronto Star on April 4, 2016 as Ontario Music Fund Oversight Hits a Sour Note

The Canadian music industry gathered in Calgary last weekend for the Juno Awards, the industry’s biggest awards gala that has grown into a week-long event. While the award show is the public face of the Junos, behind the scenes are years of negotiations with governments to provide millions in public funding.

With Ontario hosting the Junos twice in three years – Hamilton hosted in 2015 and Ottawa is slated to host in 2017 – the provincial Liberal government has committed to enormous taxpayer support. According to internal documents recently obtained under the provincial access to information laws, that funding has sparked concerns within government departments due to the mushrooming budgets, inflated claims about the economic impact of the awards, and what officials have described as a “breach [of] the integrity of the objective grant assessment process.”

Earlier this year, I wrote about the problems associated with the Ontario Music Fund (OMF), the provincial government’s flagship funding program for the music industry. The fund, which is administered by the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC), has doled out nearly $30 million in two years despite little public transparency on how the money has been spent and questionable claims about job creation.

It represents a major lobbying victory for Music Canada, which counts the three major foreign record labels (Sony Music Entertainment Canada, Universal Music Canada, and Warner Music Canada) as its primary members. Those three companies averaged more than $830,000 per award in the first year of the fund, far beyond the benefits received by domestic record companies.

Music Canada has close links to the Liberal government, contributing thousands of dollars in recent years to party coffers under the political financing rules that Premier Kathleen Wynne has now promised to amend after reports last week revealed demands that cabinet ministers raise hundreds of thousands of dollars from business and labour groups.

The OMF record label funding has raised eyebrows within the industry, but it is the diversion of fund support for the Juno awards that sparked internal controversy. The issue started with a July 2013 letter from the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS), the organization that administers the Juno Awards, to the office of then-Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport Michael Chan requesting funding support for the 2015 and 2017 awards. The letter was copied to the OMDC and Music Canada.

The government moved quickly on the issue, envisioning using the music fund, which was only finalized after the initial CARAS letter, to provide the majority of support. There were questions, however, about proposed budgets that were far higher than previous Ontario-hosted Juno awards. For example, OMDC provided $195,000 for the 2011 Junos held in Ottawa (Celebrate Ontario contributed another $200,000). This time, the OMDC was being asked for at least five times that amount for the 2015 Junos alone.

Chan wrote to CARAS in October 2013, indicating that it should submit an application to the music fund. The application was delivered one month later and quickly reviewed by the OMDC. While it provided supportive comments to the government, ministry officials were concerned that there was still no detailed budget and that the economic impact figures included double counting, which officials said “inflates the true impact of the awards in Ontario.”

Those concerns were relayed to the OMDC, which remarkably redrafted some of the CARAS materials. That led one ministry official to write that “I do not feel it is appropriate for the CEO of OMDC to be revising and expanding on an argument from an applicant for why they should be funded, especially since, if funded, the funding would flow through the OMDC. This seems to breach the integrity of the objective grant assessment process. I understand that other staff members in our unit have similar concerns.”

Despite the concerns, the Ontario government announced plans several weeks later to support the 2015 Juno Awards with the OMDC providing $1 million in funding. When asked about the decision making process, a ministry spokesman stated that “funding decisions are made by an Oversight Committee including senior executives from both OMDC and the Ministry of Tourism, Sport and Culture.” Last fall, the Liberal government sang a similar song, promising $750,000 to support the 2017 Juno Awards in Ottawa.

Michael Geist holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law. He can be reached at mgeist@uottawa.ca or online at www.michaelgeist.ca.

The post Out of Tune?: Government Documents Reveal Concern With Integrity of Ontario Music Fund Assessments appeared first on Michael Geist.

U.S. State Department vs. USTR on Eli Lilly and Canadian Patent Utility Rules

Michael Geist Law RSS Feed - Fri, 2016/04/01 - 10:09

The Eli Lilly claim against Canada for hundreds of millions due to a court decision involving patent utility has attracted considerable attention with fears that the case foreshadows many more corporate lawsuits if the Trans Pacific Partnership becomes a reality. While the Canadian government has raised doubts about the independence of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce intervention in the case, the government must be a bit confused on where the U.S. stands on the issue. Yesterday, the U.S. Trade Representative issued its 2016 report on foreign trade barriers and stated the following on the case:

With respect to pharmaceuticals, the United States continues to have serious concerns about the impact of the patent utility requirements that Canadian courts have adopted.

That is consistent with the Eli Lilly argument, yet last month the U.S. State Department provided its own submission in the case. The U.S. government appears to undermine USTR arguments, seemingly siding with the Canada on the issue. The U.S. submission states each country has the right to determine how it implements the utility requirement, the possibility of revocation of patent rights, and for its patent laws to evolve:

To satisfy the utility requirement, such inventions must be “capable of industrial use” or “useful.” The NAFTA does not prescribe any particular definition of the terms, “capable of industrial application,” or “useful,” but the text notes that these two terms may be deemed to be synonymous. Article 1709(1) provides each NAFTA Party with the flexibility to determine the appropriate method of implementing the requirements of Chapter Seventeen, including the utility requirement in Article 1709(1), within its own legal system and practice.

The U.S. submission continues:

Article 1709(8) provides that a Party may revoke a patent only when, inter alia, “grounds exist that would have justified a refusal to grant the patent[.]” Thus, if a court, in determining whether to revoke a patent, finds that “grounds exist” that would have provided the Party’s patent examining authority to refuse to grant the patent, then revocation of that patent would not be inconsistent with Article 1709(8). Article 1709(8) does not mean that courts are limited to reviewing the specific grounds of refusal before the patent examiner; the use of the present tense “exist” in Article 1709(8) confirms this interpretation. Nor can it mean that NAFTA Parties are required to freeze their intellectual property laws indefinitely from the date of review of a given patent. Article 1709(8) allows for evolvement of patent law.

In other words, it would appear that even the U.S. has now abandoned Eli Lilly and undermined its own trade representative’s claims about Canadian law and trade barriers.

The post U.S. State Department vs. USTR on Eli Lilly and Canadian Patent Utility Rules appeared first on Michael Geist.

Why Making Johnny’s Key Management Transparent is So Challenging

Freedom to Tinker - Thu, 2016/03/31 - 09:53
In light of the ongoing debate about the importance of using end-to-end encryption to protect our data and communications, several tech companies have announced plans to increase the encryption in their services. However, this isn’t a new pledge: since 2014, Google and Yahoo have been working on a browser plugin to facilitate sending encrypted emails […]
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