BY TRISTIN HOPPER
THE VANCOUVER SUN
After more than 25 years of Canadian governments pursuing a hands-off approach to the online world, the government of Justin Trudeau is now pushing Bill C-10, a law that would see Canadians subjected to the most regulated internet in the free world. Although pitched as a way to expand Canadian content provisions to the online sphere, the powers of Bill C-10 have expanded considerably in committee, including a provision introduced last week that could conceivably allow the federal government to order the deletion of any Facebook, YouTube, Instagram or Twitter upload made by a Canadian.
BY MICHAEL GEIST
Equustek Solutions v. Google Inc., a case that originated in British Columbia, Canada, in 2014, captured international attention as one of the first internet jurisdiction cases to be considered by a nation’s highest court. Since then, the case has emerged as a cautionary tale about increasingly aggressive legal approaches with respect to the Internet, with significant implications for online governance.
BY MIKE MASNICK
Going back more than five years, we’ve been warning about the dangers of moving copyright enforcement down the stack, away from the actual hosting companies deeper and deeper into infrastructure. This was, of course, part of the goal of SOPA — to make infrastructure companies liable for infringement, and to force them to shut down entire sites.
BY RACHEL BROWNE
The Supreme Court of Canada ruled on Friday against VICE Media and national security reporter Ben Makuch in their battle against the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in a case that pitted the role of journalists against the role of police and prosecutors.
The ruling compels Makuch and VICE to hand over any source material regarding Makuch’s interviews with a Canadian man alleged to have joined ISIS. It’s an outcome that was feared by press freedoms advocates, who have argued that such a ruling would be a blow to journalistic integrity in Canada.
The Canada Revenue Agency has formally asked the CBC to hand over offshore tax-haven data from the massive Panama Papers leak, but the news organization is refusing. The commissioner of the agency, Andrew Treusch, sent an email on Friday to the president of the CBC asking for the data, saying the agency wants to begin work immediately on reviewing the information. CBC spokesman Chuck Thompson said the corporation rebuffed a similar request from the CRA in 2013 for another massive cache of tax-haven data — and will do so again “Simply stated, CBC News does not reveal its sources and we’re not about to start now as a result of this request,” he said. Earlier this year, the Panama Papers were made available electronically to CBC News and other select news organizations around the world, and stories about the contents began to appear this month. The blockbuster revelations are having serious political repercussions in some countries, while others are looking at ways to stop the wealthy from stashing cash offshore to avoid paying taxes.
Policy makers have long struggled to strike a fair balance in crafting rules to address allegations of copyright infringement on the internet. Copyright owners want the right to pursue damages and stop infringement, internet subscribers want their privacy and freedom of expression rights preserved in the face of unproven allegations, and internet providers want to maintain their neutrality by resolving the disputes expeditiously and inexpensively.
A German court has ruled that a man, whose Internet connection was used to share pirated films, cannot be required to ‘spy’ on his family members. The law firm representing the Internet subscriber stresses that these kinds of investigations violate the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, which protects respect for private and family life. Over the past decade, copyright holders have gone after hundreds of thousands of alleged pirates in Germany, demanding settlements ranging from a few hundred to thousands of euros. The targeted account holder is sometimes the perpetrator, but it could just as easily be another member of the household or even a complete stranger, especially if the Wi-Fi network is unsecured. This was brought up recently in a case before a District Court Charlottenburg, where a man was accused by the makers of the movie The Call.
BY MICHAEL GEIST
The Canadian government launched its much-anticipated copyright review last week, asking the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology to conduct a study on the issue that is likely to run for much of 2018. My Globe and Mail op-ed notes that while the timelines suggest that major changes will have to wait until after the next election, the report will be the foundation for future reforms to Canadian copyright law.
The instruction letter to the committee from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains and Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly points to the challenges of copyright, which invariably engages a wide range of stakeholders with differing perspectives.
Indeed, Mr. Bains and Ms. Joly note in their letter that “this diversity of viewpoints is because copyright affects a wide range of industries, works, and uses: from telecom and tech companies, to scientific institutions, and academia, from photographs, music, and books, to augmented reality content; and from museums, art galleries, and brick and mortar stores, to machine-readable data, and beyond.” Reconciling such a broad range of interests with a law that affects all Canadians is exceptionally difficult.
Internet censorship. Website block lists. Stiff financial penalties for Internet providers who allow their customers to view sites forbidden by the government. This may the stuff of day-to-day life in authoritarian regimes, but it’s certainly not the sort of thing you’d expect to see here in Canada. Sadly, an extreme new law recently passed in Quebec means all of this could soon be the reality right here at home.
The Supreme Court of Canada has granted leave to hear an important case respecting the ability of Canadian courts to enjoin the behaviour of organizations with respect to their operations outside of Canada. On February 18, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada granted Google Inc. leave to appeal the judgment of the British Columbia Court of Appeal in Equustek Solutions Inc. v. Google Inc., in which the BCCA upheld an interlocutory injunction prohibiting Google from including specific websites in its search results worldwide. The plaintiff’s request for the injunction against Google arose from a lawsuit in which the plaintiff alleged that the defendant was passing off its goods as those of the plaintiff. After the plaintiff commenced the proceeding, the defendant left BC while still selling the knock-off goods over the internet, relying on search results to reach customers. The plaintiff alleged that it lacked an effective way of stopping the defendant’s conduct, and sought an interlocutory injunction prohibiting Google from displaying the defendants’ websites in its search results anywhere in the world. The Supreme Court of British Columbia deemed the injunction necessary to ensure that the orders against the defendants were effective, and granted the injunction. Google appealed, arguing that the injunction represented an impermissible exercise of extra-territorial jurisdiction; improperly ensnared an innocent third-party (Google); and exceeded the Court’s jurisdiction. Google also argued that the injunction violated Google and the public’s right to freedom of expression.