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Michael Geist

Law professor, columnist, author

Dr. Michael Geist is a law professor at the University of Ottawa where he holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law. He has obtained a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) degree from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, Master of Laws (LL.M.) degrees from Cambridge University in the UK and Columbia Law School in New York, and a Doctorate in Law (J.S.D.) from Columbia Law School. Dr. Geist is an internationally syndicated columnist on technology law issues with his regular column appearing in the Toronto Star and the Ottawa Citizen. Dr. Geist is the editor of From "Radical Extremism" to "Balanced Copyright": Canadian Copyright and the Digital Agenda (2010) and In the Public Interest: The Future of Canadian Copyright Law (2005), both published by Irwin Law, the editor of several monthly technology law publications, and the author of a popular blog on Internet and intellectual property law issues.

Dr. Geist serves on many boards, including the CANARIE Board of Directors, the Canadian Legal Information Institute Board of Directors, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s Expert Advisory Board, the Electronic Frontier Foundation Advisory Board, and on the Information Program Sub-Board of the Open Society Institute. He has received numerous awards for his work including the Kroeger Award for Policy Leadership and the Public Knowledge IP3 Award in 2010, the Les Fowlie Award for Intellectual Freedom from the Ontario Library Association in 2009, the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Pioneer Award in 2008, Canarie’s IWAY Public Leadership Award for his contribution to the development of the Internet in Canada and he was named one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2003. In 2010, Managing Intellectual Property named him on the 50 most influential people on intellectual property in the world.

Click here to view Dr. Geist's complete biography.
Steve Russell via Getty Images

The Battle Over The Future Of Broadband In Canada

The issue of affordable high-speed Internet access in Canada is no better exemplified than through the actions and beliefs of three mayors across the country: Toronto's John Tory, Ottawa's Jim Watson, and Calgary's Naheed Nenshi. The way each city's mayor submitted letters to the federal government either defending the interests of Bell or the CRTC can show us a lot about how each leader intends to approach broadband infrastructure in their municipalities.
01/13/2016 04:25 EST
Tom Merton via Getty Images

Liberal Copyright Reform May Nix Canadian Access To U.S. Netflix

The prospect of considering expanded blocking for copyright purposes validates the fears of civil liberties groups that the introduction of blocking requirements invariably expands to cover a wider net of content. Canadian copyright was already on track for a boisterous debate in the coming years with changes such as copyright term extension mandated by the Trans Pacific Partnership and a review of the law scheduled for 2017. If government officials envision adding VPN usage, access to U.S. Netflix and website blocking to the list of issues, copyright could emerge as one of the government's most difficult and controversial issues.
12/09/2015 11:34 EST
Shutterstock / Brian A Jackson

How the TPP Puts Canadian Privacy at Risk

One of the most troubling, but largely ignored effects of the TPP involves privacy. Privacy is not an issue most associate with a trade agreement, however, the TPP features several anti-privacy measures that would restrict the ability of governments to establish safeguards over sensitive information such as financial and health data as well as information hosted by social media services.
10/14/2015 05:53 EDT
CP

Sorry Bell, Accessing U.S. Netflix Is Not Theft

Bell's claim that the minority of Canadian subscribers who access U.S. Netflix through VPNs are "stealing" simply does not withstand legal scrutiny. Those subscribers might be breaching the Netflix terms and conditions, but that is not breaking the law.
06/08/2015 12:39 EDT
shutterstock

What to Consider if You Receive a Copyright Infringement Notice

I've received daily emails from people who have been sent a copyright infringement notification as part of Canada's notice-and-notice system. While I'm unable to provide specific legal advice, I can provide more information that may assist in making an informed decision about a system that was designed to discourage infringement.
04/13/2015 12:31 EDT
Alamy

Vertically Integrated TV Giants Are the CRTC's Hidden Target

Why is the CRTC focusing on vertically integrated companies rather than on Netflix? It comes down to competition. Rather than viewing Netflix as a threat, the CRTC rightly sees it as a pro-competitive entrant that creates more consumer choice and forces others to innovate. Its real concern lies with the vertically integrated companies, who may find it in their interests to create competitive barriers since increased consumer choice could be viewed as a threat to their broadcast interests.
03/23/2015 05:57 EDT
CP

Harper's Anti-Terror Bill Puts Every Canadian in Danger

The scale of information sharing being proposed by Bill C-51 is unprecedented, the scope of the new powers conferred by the Act is excessive, particularly as these powers affect ordinary Canadians, and the safeguards protecting against unreasonable loss of privacy are seriously deficient. While the potential to know virtually everything about everyone may well identify some new threats, the loss of privacy is clearly excessive. All Canadians would be caught in this web.
03/20/2015 01:27 EDT
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Raising the Broadcast White Flag: What Lies Behind Bell's Radical Plan to Raise TV Fees, Block Content, Violate Net Neutrality & Fight Netflix

Bell announced that it completed its $3.2 billion acquisition of CTV on April 1, 2011. Less than four years later, company executives say that their business is unsustainable and effectively admit that they cannot compete. In most sectors, that would be grounds for unhappy shareholders and corporate change. In the Bell world, it means intense lobbying for radical regulatory reform to raise television fees, block content, violate net neutrality, and fight Netflix.
03/09/2015 05:09 EDT
CP

Why James Moore Should Take Some Blame For The 'Threatening Letters' Fiasco

Rightscorp, a U.S.-based anti-piracy company, is using Canada's new copyright notice-and-notice system to require Internet providers to send threats and misstatements of Canadian law in an effort to extract payments based on unproven infringement allegations. Not only does Moore bear some responsibility for establishing the notice-and-notice rules without regulations, but there is now no quick fix.
01/12/2015 04:33 EST
Tim Robberts via Getty Images

Canadian Telcos Want to Build Surveillance-Ready Networks

Perhaps the most notable revelation from documents obtained under the Access to Information Act is that Internet providers have tried to convince the government that they will voluntarily build surveillance capabilities into their networks. A 2013 memorandum prepared for the public safety minister reveals that Canadian telecom companies advised the government that the leading telecom equipment manufacturers, including Cisco, Juniper, and Huawei, all offer products with interception capabilities at a small additional cost.
12/15/2014 01:34 EST
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Does the CRTC Have the Legal Authority to Challenge Netflix?

Last week's very public fight between the CRTC and Netflix escalated on Monday as Netflix refused to comply with Commission's order to supply certain confidential information including subscriber numbers and expenditures on Canadian children's content. While the disclosure concerns revolve around the confidentiality of the data, the far bigger issue is now whether the CRTC has the legal authority to order it to do anything at all.
09/23/2014 12:39 EDT
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The CRTC's Future of TV Hearing: "There is No Such Thing as Too Much Choice"

The CRTC hearing is ultimately about shifting away from that model by providing consumers with more choice. That change should force broadcasters to improve their products and broadcast distributors to offer competitively priced services. As the Rogers approach to streaming hockey demonstrates, if they fail to do so, consumers now have other options.
09/08/2014 12:16 EDT