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Crowdfunding: A Canadian Update

IPBlog (Calgary) - Mon, 2014/10/06 - 15:00
- By Richard Stobbe A Canadian company, Vrvana, Inc. is seeking $350,000 through Kickstarter, to finance its development of a virtual reality headset marketed as the Totem. Vrvana has elected to pursue a reward-based crowdfunding model. For example, minimal donations of $15 come with a newsletter subscription and event invitations. The top end contribution ...

Ownership of Photograph by Employee

IPBlog (Calgary) - Mon, 2014/10/06 - 15:00
- By Richard Stobbe While our last post dealt with the creation of photographs and other works of authorship by primates, robots and divine beings, this story is a little more grounded in facts that you might see in the average work day. When an employee takes a photograph, who owns copyright in ...

Monkey See, Monkey Do… However Monkey Does Not Enjoy Copyright Protection

IPBlog (Calgary) - Mon, 2014/10/06 - 15:00
By Richard Stobbe I know this story crested a few weeks ago, but who can resist it? A famous 1998 Molson Canadian ad posed a Canadian version of the infinite monkey theorem. The cheeky ad, showing a seemingly endless array of monkeys on typewriters, sidestepped the more important question about whether the monkeys as ...

Confidentiality & Sealing Orders in Software Disputes

IPBlog (Calgary) - Mon, 2014/10/06 - 15:00
- By Richard Stobbe Two software companies wanted to integrate their software products. The relationship soured and one of the parties - McHenry - purported to terminate the Software Licensing and Development Agreement and then launched a lawsuit in the Federal Court in the US, claiming copyright infringement and breach of contract. ...

When Milk is Not Milk: Dairy Farmers of Canada v. Cytosport, Inc.

IPBlog (Calgary) - Mon, 2014/10/06 - 15:00
By Richard Stobbe You can't get a trade-mark registration for a word that will deceive consumers. Put into legalese, section 12 of the Canadian Trade-marks Act says a trade-mark is not registrable if it is either "clearly descriptive or deceptively misdescriptive ... of the character or quality of the wares or ...

Online Terms - What Works, What Doesn’t

IPBlog (Calgary) - Mon, 2014/10/06 - 15:00
- By Richard Stobbe The online fine print - those terms and conditions that you agree to when you buy something online - it really does matter where those terms are placed in the checkout process. A recent US case illustrates this point. In Tompkins v. 23andMe, Inc., 2014 WL 2903752 (N.D. Cal. June 25, ...

Copyright Litigation and the Risk of Double Costs

IPBlog (Calgary) - Mon, 2014/10/06 - 15:00
- By Richard Stobbe An American photojournalist, Ms. Leuthold, was on the scene in New York City on September 11, 2001. She licensed a number of still photographs to the CBC for use in a documentary about the 9/11 attacks. The photos were included in 2 versions of the documentary, and the documentary ...

Court Orders Google to Remove Site from Worldwide Search Results

IPBlog (Calgary) - Mon, 2014/10/06 - 15:00
- By Richard Stobbe In a recent decision by the British Columbia courts (Equustek Solutions Inc. v Jack , 2014 BCSC 1063), Google has been ordered to de-index a website selling goods that were the subject of intellectual property (IP) infringement claims. While this may seem quotidian - after all, Google does ...

course packs at home and abroad

Fair Duty by Meera Nair - Sun, 2014/10/05 - 23:21

As I caught up on my reading, I discovered that course packs continue to make headlines. The September 17th issue of Outlook India featured “Copy This” by Gautam Bhatia; a few days later, The Varsity (University of Toronto’s student newspaper) published “After Access Copyright” by Iris Robin. Both articles speak to the continued need to probe the use of course packs with nuance.

Bhatia expertly takes readers through an ongoing dispute whereby in 2012 Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press and Taylor & Francis, instigated a lawsuit against a copy shop operating at Delhi University. The alleged crime was copyright infringement in the production of course packs. (I had previously written about the suit here.) Further coverage from Spicy IP indicates that many of the excerpts reproduced fell within the quantitative measure of 10% (see here and here) that is considered fair use by American courts in the context of education. The guidance of 10% is also followed by many Canadian educational institutions.

Bhatia indicates that Indian educational institutions are being pressed to adopt blanket-licenses with respect to provision of course packs. Aware of the culture of licensing and market-superiority that was once the predominant atmosphere of copyright in North America, particularly in the United States, Bhatia writes:

Even in Canada, a country immensely richer than India, the problem has been noticed. Canadian universities initially agreed to a licensing arrangement that was pegged at a reasonable price. Once they opted in, however, the price steadily increased, until it became unsustainable.

Canadian courts have been far more sympathetic to the predicament of universities and students than their American counterparts. In two important cases, they eschewed the economic approach, identified [fair dealing] as a “user’s right”, and imposed the burden of proving direct financial damage upon the publishing houses. The publishing houses were unable to meet this challenge.

On reflection, that is hardly surprising. If students are not allowed to copy, it is not the case that they will spend ten times the money upon the original textbook. In most instances, they will simply be unable to do so. They will not buy the book at all. And if that is true in a country as rich as Canada, it is certainly true—in a much stronger sense—for one as poor as India.

Turning to The Varsity article; Robin writes that course pack fees have increased since the university moved away from its Access Copyright blanket license. On cue, representatives from writers’ organizations provided comments of the I-told-you-so variety. Whereas Lisa di Valentino considers the larger question of why and suggests: “More likely, this is an issue with communication, specifically between the library and the instructors.” Noting Robin’s coverage – that the University of Toronto  is engaging in outreach to acquaint teachers with a better understanding of copyright and case law, as well as the myriad of possibilities to reduce costs to students – di Valentino concludes with:

UofT (and other AC-less institutions) is going through a transition phase. Procedures and protocols are changing in ways that directly affect how instructors do their jobs. Copyright is not just for lawyers and librarians anymore. Copyright literacy is fast becoming a necessary element of faculty members’ toolkits.

As publishers, teachers, and students wrestle with the seeming problem of piracy (with its seeming solution of licensing), it is important to remember that copyright only applies to “substantial” reproductions of work. An insubstantial portion of a work does not qualify for protection (see Section 3.1 of Canada’s Copyright Act, or Section 14 of the Indian Copyright Act). We only need to rely on exceptions such as fair dealing when the amount reproduced exceeds the insubstantial, and is not already legitimate use by other means (i.e., library-subscriptions, open-access, publicly availablility, or Creative Commons).

Fair dealing should never be summarily reduced to a measure of quantity – fair dealing can amply support reproducing 100% of a work, depending on the circumstances. However, from an administrative perspective, using a guide of 10% is prudent; the amount is not only cautious but it may not even cross the threshold of substantial. As long as teachers are aware that 10% is not the ceiling, and that fuller scrutiny via the framework offered in CCH Canadian  facilitates a legitimate decision to copy, the flexibility possible within the system of copyright will be preserved.


Launching YouTube for Government

Google Public Policy BLOG - Thu, 2014/10/02 - 10:07
Cross-posted from the Google Politics & Elections Blog
Posted by Brandon Feldman, YouTube News & Politics

From live streams of the State of the Union and legislative hearings, to explainer videos on important issues and Hangouts with constituents, YouTube has become an important platform where citizens engage with their governments and elected officials.

In order to help government officials get a better idea of what YouTube can do, we are launching youtube.com/government101, a one-stop shop where government officials can learn how to get the most out of YouTube as a communication tool.


The site offers a broad range of YouTube advice, from the basics of creating a channel to in-depth guidance on features like live streaming, annotations, playlists and more. We’ve also featured case studies from government offices around the world that are using YouTube in innovative ways.

If you're a government official, whether you are looking for an answer to a quick question or need a full training on YouTube best practices, we hope this resource will help you engage in a rich dialogue with your constituents and increase transparency within your community.

Individual defendants found liable in Grooveshark case

Recording Industry vs The People - Mon, 2014/09/29 - 15:50

In UMG Escape Media, the Court has granted summary judgment finding the individual defendants to be liable for copyright infringement.

September 29, 2014, decision granting summary judgment against individual defendants Ray Beckerman, P.C.

New ruling in Capitol v MP3Tunes, reduces punitive damages, denies Robertson motion for new trial

Recording Industry vs The People - Mon, 2014/09/29 - 15:43

In Capitol Records v. MP3Tunes, the Judge has denied individual defendant Michael Robertson's motion for a new trial, but reduced the punitive damages award on the state law claims for pre-1972 recordings.

September 29, 2014, Decision, denying motion for new trial, and reducing punitive damages Ray Beckerman, P.C.

My In Real Life book-tour!


I'm heading out on tour with my new graphic novel In Real Life, adapted by Jen Wang from my story Anda's Game. I hope you'll come out and see us! We'll be in NYC, Princeton, LA, San Francisco, Seattle, Austin, Minneapolis and Chicago! (I'm also touring my new nonfiction book, Information Doesn't Want to Be Free, right after -- here's the whole schedule).

IT Contracts - Conference in Calgary

IPBlog (Calgary) - Thu, 2014/09/25 - 09:00
By Richard Stobbe On October 14 and 15, 2014, I will be presenting on "Drafting IT Agreements" at the Essentials of Commercial Contracts (Calgary) Conference. This conference will discuss the legal and business framework of commercial contracts, negotiations and practical drafting tips. The session on information technology (IT) contracting will review key considerations in ...

An American Attorney in Canada (Part 2: Anti-Spam)

IPBlog (Calgary) - Wed, 2014/09/24 - 13:00
By Richard Stobbe Canada and the USA. We enjoy the world's longest undefended border... a border that unfortunately does not screen spam. If you are an American attorney with US clients doing business in Canada, then you should be aware of a few things, like our lack of imaginative legislative acronyms, such as ...

Fighting Online Hate Speech

Google Public Policy BLOG - Tue, 2014/09/23 - 14:04
Posted by Christine Y. Chen, Senior Manager, Public Policy
Earlier today, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) released its “Best Practices for Responding to Cyberhate.” For two years, Google has participated in an industry working group convened by the ADL where, together with several other companies, other NGOs, and academics, we have exchanged insights and ideas on how to balance the need for responsible discourse with the principles of free expression. The best practices set forth by the ADL grew out of these conversations and we are excited to see them being shared with the wider Internet community.

In line with the practices set forth by the ADL, we work hard at Google to combat the spread of hateful content in order to maintain safe and vibrant communities on platforms like YouTube, Blogger, and Google+. We don’t allow content that promotes or condones violence or that has the primary purpose of inciting hatred on the basis of race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity, age, nationality, or veteran status.

To make sure these communities stay vibrant, we also depend on our users to let us know when they see content that violates our policies. The Google Safety Center gives an overview of the tools that people can use to report content that violates our user policies on different products.



Here are more details about some of our content policies and how to flag violations:

  • YouTube: If you see videos that run afoul of our Community Guidelines, you can report it by clicking on the flag icon below the video player. Then click on the reason — such as “hateful or abusive content” — that best fits the violation for the video, and add any additional information that will help our reviewers make a decision. We have teams around the world reviewing content flagged by users 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and they will remove any videos that violate our guidelines.


  • Blogger: Our content policies describe what kinds of content are and are not allowed in blog posts. If you’re on a blog that seems problematic, click the “More” drop-down at the top of the page, then click on “Report abuse” and follow the prompts to alert us about any policy violations. If the blog owner has hidden that link, you can still report it by going to this Help Center page.  Select the type of content policy violation you’re reporting—such as “hate speech” or “harassment”—and click through to enter the URL of the blog in question.


  • Google+: Our user content policy outlines how we want to ensure a positive experience for our users. If you see inappropriate content, this Help Center page explains what to do. In a Google+ post, click the arrow in the upper right of the post, then click on “Report this post” to get to a pop-up where you can select the reason—like “hateful, harrassing or bullying”—for your report. To report a Google+ comment for a policy violation, click on the gray flag next to the comment.


These reporting systems operate much like an online neighborhood watch. We ask your help in maintaining a community that provides a positive and respectful experience for everyone. The Internet has enabled anyone to become an artist, a writer, or a creator by simply using a keyboard and few clicks to reach out to the rest of the world. The release of the ADL’s best practices are a good reminder that we must all work together to keep the Internet a safe and open place to exchange information and ideas, where people can connect and engage with each other in unprecedented ways.

UP Global White Paper: Announcing 5 Ingredients For ‘Fostering A Thriving Startup Ecosystem’

Google Public Policy BLOG - Tue, 2014/09/23 - 13:03
This is a guest post from our Google for Entrepreneur's partner Marc Nager from UP Global - ed.
While supporting thousands of community leaders over the past six years, UP Global has consistently found itself at the center of larger conversations about what makes entrepreneurial ecosystems thrive.
Fundamentally, our goal is to provide a global framework for these conversations, that can be adapted to support the unique efforts of the community leaders and entrepreneurs - wherever they may be.
We are pleased to announce the release of the Fostering a Startup and Innovation Ecosystem white paper. This research project extends our commitment to entrepreneurs around the world, and substantiates our optimism for the economic progress that occurs every day. We hope the conversations around these topics continue as we work together towards providing global access to entrepreneurship.



Foreword by Mary Grove, Director of Google for EntrepreneursEntrepreneurship and innovation are thriving in communities all across the globe, and we see the transformative power entrepreneurs have to build products and companies that improve their communities, cities, and ultimately the world. Over the last several years, we’ve seen a surge in entrepreneurial activity in cities as far ranging as Damascus to Detroit, Sao Paulo to Nairobi, led by local leaders and influencers.
UP Global is a best in class organization empowering communities with the support and resources they need to foster local innovation and entrepreneurs. Their belief is that everyone in the world should have the opportunity to go from idea to startup, and the organization has over 7,000 volunteers across 125 countries who are often involved or eager to join in larger conversations with corporations, universities, and policymakers about building and fostering a favorable climate for entrepreneurs in their local community.
There is plenty of research out there that provides advice for entrepreneurs and highlights a few common ingredients that help to foster successful ecosystems. This white paper underscores the five critical ingredients that support flourishing entrepreneurial ecosystems: talent, density, culture, capital, and regulatory environment. My hope is that we continue the conversation about how to foster these ingredients in our daily work.  As a board member of UP Global and a close partner of theirs through Google for Entrepreneurs, I am more excited than ever about the organization’s continued support for entrepreneurial communities and the powerful opportunity these communities have to impact the world.

Supreme Court of Canada on Internet Privacy

IPBlog (Calgary) - Mon, 2014/09/22 - 15:00
- By Richard Stobbe The Supreme Court puts it mildly in its opening line: "The Internet raises a host of new and challenging questions about privacy." One of those questions is whether an IP address can be considered personal information. An internet protocol (IP) address is the unique numeric identifier of a particular ...

Homeland wins Copper Cylinder award for best Canadian YA sf novel


The Copper Cylinder Prize, voted on by members of the Sunburst Award Society awarded best YA novel to Homeland; best adult novel went to Guy Gavriel Kay's River of Stars.

It's a fantastic honour, in some ways even better than winning the juried Sunburst Award, because popular awards are given to books that have wide appeal to the whole voter pool. I'm incredibly grateful to the Sunburst Award Society, and also offer congrats to Guy for his well-deserved honour.


Sunburst Award Society Announces the Winners of Its Third Annual Copper Cylinder Awards

Privacy for Normal People


My latest Guardian column, Privacy technology everyone can use would make us all more secure, makes the case for privacy technology as something that anyone can -- and should use, discussing the work being done by the charitable Simply Secure foundation that launches today (site is not yet up as of this writing), with the mandate to create usable interfaces to cryptographic tools, and to teach crypto developers how to make their tools accessible to non-technical people.

I think that the real reason that privacy is so user-unfriendly is that the case for privacy is intensely technical. The privacy risks presented by everyday internet use involve subtle and esoteric principles – understanding the risks of having your computer turned into a node in a botnet; or having its passwords harvested; or having your search- and browser-history logged and used against you (either to compromise you directly, or in use for attacks on your password-recovery questions); and having your metadata mined and joined up in ways that reveal your deepest secrets or result in false, incriminating, and hard-to-refute accusations being made against you, potentially costing you the ability to get credit, board an airplane, or even walk around freely.

You don’t need to be a technical expert to understand privacy risks anymore. From the Snowden revelations to the daily parade of internet security horrors around the world – like Syrian and Egyptian checkpoints where your Facebook logins are required in order to weigh your political allegiances (sometimes with fatal consequences) or celebrities having their most intimate photos splashed all over the web.


The time has come to create privacy tools for normal people – people with a normal level of technical competence. That is, all of us, no matter what our level of technical expertise, need privacy. Some privacy measures do require extraordinary technical competence; if you’re Edward Snowden, with the entire NSA bearing down on your communications, you will need to be a real expert to keep your information secure. But the kind of privacy that makes you immune to mass surveillance and attacks-of-opportunity from voyeurs, identity thieves and other bad guys is attainable by anyone.


Privacy technology everyone can use would make us all more secure [Cory Doctorow/The Guardian]

(Disclosure: I am a volunteer on Simply Secure's advisory council)

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