News - All

  • – 2011-12-05 –

    All too often, the crux of a legal case becomes an argument between large organizations over minute points of law. However, make no mistake about it: the copyright cases before the Supreme Court of Canada tomorrow will directly impact the everyday activities of most Canadians.  Our interns produced several excellent videos to illustrate the ramifications of these appeals:

  • – 2011-12-02 –

    Next Tuesday, CIPPIC will make oral arguments in the "Copyright Pentalogy", a set of five copyright case that the Supreme Court of Canada will hear from December 6-7.  These cases are likely to have a major impact on the scope of your fair dealing rights, as well as on how much you will pay in the future for online music, videos, and video games.  You can watch CIPPIC's oral arguments online on Tuesday at the Supreme Court of Canada's live webcast.

    The Supreme Court already granted CIPPIC leave to make written submissions on these important issues. CIPPIC provided the Court with advice in the following factums...

     

  • – 2011-10-19 –

    The Supreme Court of Canada ruled this morning that the online posting of a hyperlink does not constitute a publication of a defamatory statement.  This unanimous decision in Crookes v. Newton upholds online free speech rights, maintaining that an online link will only be defamatory if it actually repeats defamatory material.

    In its decision, the Court largely concurred with CIPPIC's arguments at the hearing that a hyperlink merely identifies the location of an article, but does not incorporate the text or in any way adopt it.  Links among websites create the fabric of the web and play a pivotal role in social media as users rapidly share links amongst each other.  The threat of liability for the mere posting of a link would unnecessarily chill the further development of online media and social spaces.  The S.C.C.'s ruling importantly permits internet users to continue sharing links without looking over their shoulders.

  • – 2011-10-12 –

    Municipalities create and own a valuable set of data.  This data ranges from bike lane maps to trash collection schedules to city financial statements. Over the past few years, many Canadian municipalities have setup “open data portals” to release this data to the public.  This increases the effective use of the data by allowing citizens to retrieve, view, and re-use city information.

    All city open data portals require users to agree to the terms of a license. Unfortunately, many of these licenses fall short of making the data truly "open" and reusable.  This report focuses on one problematic restriction: the “share-alike” obligation.  Although share-alike can serve a useful purpose in some contexts, it does not fit well with municipal open data portals.  Read the full report here.

  • – 2011-10-05 –

    The CRTC issued today the results of Broadcasting and Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2011-344, a 'fact-finding' expedition launched in may of this summer with the objective of re-examining the impact of online video distribution services (referred to somewhat derogatorily as 'over-the-top' services) on traditional broadcasting Act objectives. The fear underpinning this fact-finding expedition was that new online video services such as Netflix will introduce competition a character that traditional broadcasters cannot compete with. In its submission, CIPPIC argued that cries of alarm from traditional broadcasters are greatly exaggerated, and that the commission should refrain from taxing or otherwise regulating online video services or risk stifling online innovation and service migration. CIPPIC also argued that, by its nature, the Internet avoids problems relating to distribution of Canadian content as issues of scarcity do not arise. In its report, issued today, the Commission adopted this 'hands-off' approach, at least until the issue is scheduled for re-assessment in 2015. The Commission also mentioned the need to develop new tools for more accurate assessment of the impact and scope of online video services, and, unfortunately, appeared to have accepted the need to monitor the 'out of control' network (wireline and mobile) traffic growth online video is generating. CIPPIC has addressed traffic growth fear-mongering in past submissions to the CRTC, and most recently in its comments and replies to the TNC CRTC 2011-77.

  • – 2011-09-29 –

    The Government of Canada announced a new copyright bill this morning, entitled the Copyright Modernization Act. The government claims it is identical to Bill C-32, which the Conservative minority tabled last year. This bill proposes many important updates to Canadian copyright law. If passed, it will legalize  activities that Canadians already do on a daily basis: record television, copy songs onto MP3 players, and make backups of DVDs. The bill contains provisions to legalize the ordinary digital activities of many internet services, such as search engines and websites. It also importantly extends fair dealing to include education, parody and satire.

    Unfortunately, the bill also succumbs to U.S. pressure and makes fair dealing -- including the new exceptions for the many ordinary activities of Canadians -- illegal whenever there is a "digital lock" on a work.  A digital lock will trump all other rights, forbidding all fair dealing and keeping a work locked up even after its copyright term expires. Overall, these digital lock provisions are some of the most restrictive in the world.

  • – 2011-09-26 –

    If you own a .ca domain and are a registered CIRA member, it's time to get your vote on! This week, a total of four CIRA Board of Director positions are up for election. There are only two days left to cast your ballot through the quick online process at elections.cira.ca.

    The internet is a public resource and we all need to ensure that the public interest is at the forefront of internet policy.  We at CIPPIC encourage you to vote for those candidates with the public interest of an open, equally accessible, and secure internet at the forefront of their minds. In particular, we can speak to the excellent capabilities of Bill St. Arnaud, Kevin McArthur, and Marita Moll.

  • – 2011-08-16 –

    CIPPIC has filed a motion to intervene in the Supreme Court of Canada case of Rogers v. SOCAN. This follows CIPPIC's filing of a similar motion last week to inteverne in a companion case, ESA v. SOCAN. In these two cases, SOCAN proposes that it should be allowed to levy more fees on online distributors of music and videos games. However, as CIPPIC proposes to argue, these online distributors already pay fair compensation to rights holders. They do so by licensing the right to reproduce and distribute music online, in much the same manner that traditional retail services obtain the rights to sell CDs and sell video game on DVDs. The additional fees that SOCAN proposes will only slow innovation and raise costs to customers.
     

  • – 2011-08-09 –

    CIPPIC speaheaded a group of privacy experts comprised of academics and public interest organizations today in calling on the government to rethink a set of legislative proposals (innocuously dubbed 'lawful access') that threaten to seriously undermine online privacy. In doing so, the group of privacy experts have added their voices to the 46,000+ Canadians who have already signed an online petition, Charlie Angus and Jasbir Sandhu (NDP Privacy Spokesman and Public Safety Ciritic, respectively), the BC Civil Liberties Association, as well as to Canada's federal and provincial privacy Commissioners, collectively, all of whom have already stated grave concerns with respect to the proposed erosion of online privacy.

    Presented as merely an application of existing powers to the evolved technological landscape, in the words of Canada's Privacy Commissioners, "it would be misleading to suggest that these bills will simply maintain capacity." In fact, as previously introduced, the legislation represents a serious increase of power that the privacy experts have referred to as 'chilling' and, in addition there is the "everpresent threat of abuse." This type of expansion in surveillance power should only be undertaken with great care and where demonstrably necessary. Again, in the words of Canada's Privacy Commissioners, "at no time have Canadian authorities provided the public with any evidence or reasoning to suggest that CSIS or any other Canadian law enforcement agencies have been frustrated in the performance of their duties as a result of shortcomings attributable to current law, TSPs or the manner in which they operate."

  • – 2011-07-25 –

    This Wednesday, July 27th, the Forum to Stop Online Spying will be held at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. The forum will examine issues arising from proposed cyber surveillance legislation that threatens to undermine online privacy in serious ways. The forum will be hosted by the SFU School of Communication, with support from OpenMedia.ca, the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association, and the BC Civil Liberties Association.