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“Yours, Mine, Ours” Copyright Discussion Panel Now Available Online

On November 28, 2011, CLaw and CIPPIC jointly organized a panel discussion on the current state of fair-dealing and copyright law in Canada.

Speakers included Gerry Burtenshaw (Legitmix), Jacques Ménard (DOC), Aidan O’Neill (Fasken Martineau), and Martha Rans (ALO), with David Fewer of CIPPIC as moderator. Attendees from the law school and the arts & cultural community at large were treated to a fascinating range of perspectives. Issues around the copyright “pie” such as practical impediments to the practice of visual artists and filmmakers, Bill C-11′s proposed “YouTube Provision”, and the law’s potential hindrance to technological innovation were discussed at length.

Listen in on the recording, available in its entirety here (or at the link below), and add your own views or comments to particular points of personal interest!

CLaw & CIPPIC “Yours, Mine, Ours” Copyright Discussion Panel | Audio Recording by UOttawaClaw

Canada Signs Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

Canada signed the international Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) on Saturday.

Canada, Australia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea joined the United States in agreeing to target the theft of intellectual property. The EU, Mexico and Switzerland remain open to participating at some point in the future, and have until May 2013 to sign ACTA.

The U.S.-led initiative requires signatories to create civil and criminal  enforcement mechanisms in dealing with intellectual property infringement. It targets pirated copyright goods, counterfeit trademark goods and goods used to commit IP theft.

The most contentious element of ACTA is the focus on digital locks. While in line with current U.S. policies, the circumvention of digital locks is not yet unlawful in Canada, and is being debated in the House as an element of proposed Bill C-11.

Government Re-Introduces Copyright Modernization Act

The Government of Canada is moving forward with new copyright legislation. Industry Minister Christian Paradis announced today the re-introduction of the Copyright Modernization Act. The bill is identical to the version presented to Parliament last spring before the federal election.

According to the Minister, the proposed legislation strikes a balance between the needs of copyright owners and users:

“Canadians will soon have modern copyright laws that protect and help create jobs, promote innovation, and attract new investment to Canada. We are confident that this bill will make Canada’s copyright laws forward-looking and responsive in this fast-paced digital world.”

Among other things, the bill expands categories of fair dealing to include education, parody and satire — provided these uses does not circumvene digital locks. The bill’s protection for digital locks has been controversial with critics including University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist.

Kindle Brings Fire to the Law of Cloud Computing

Today, Amazon announced the Kindle Fire tablet computer. Though the Internet is abuzz about the price (US$199), the device is also notable for its reliance on cloud computing.

At the product launch in New York, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos positioned the Kindle Fire as not so much a tablet but a media service enabling owners to access music, movie, and book libraries streamed direct from Amazon’s servers.

Cloud computing may be the future, but is the law equipped to address it? In a blog post entitled “Cloud Computing, Digital Lockers and Copyright: The Cloudification of Entertainment” lawyers Dan Schnapp and Matt Syrkin argue the law has yet to catch up to the technology:

[C]loud-based delivery, storage and consumption of entertainment content, whether overtly and implicitly, implicates many of the exclusive rights afforded copyright holders and stakeholders need to remain vigilant about allocating risk when the laws in the US and overseas have yet to suitably address the contours of these services and the corresponding technologies at play.

The authors come to their conclusions upon a survey of the two leading U.S. cases — Cartoon Network, LLP v. CSC Holding Inc. and Capitol Records LLC et al. v. MP3tunes, LLC — which show the courts have only begun to address the complex questions brought on by the cloud.