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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.

Canadian Government Establishes Two-Tier Approach for Trade Talks: Insiders and Everyone Else

As the future of the proposed Canada-European Union Trade Agreement becomes increasingly uncertain -- the EU has been unwilling to compromise on the remaining contentious issues leaving the Canadian government with a deal that offers limited benefits and significant costs -- the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) is likely to emerge as the government's new top trade priority.
05/08/2013 04:33 EDT
WikiMedia:

Is This Canadian Newspaper Breaking Copyright Law?

If someone wants to post a quote from anything written by the National Post, they are now presented with pop-up box seeking a licence that starts at $150 for the Internet posting of 100 words with an extra fee of 50 cents for each additional word (the price is cut in half for non-profits). None of this requires a licence or payment. If there was a fair dealing analysis, there is no doubt that copying a hundred words out of an article would easily meet the fair dealing standard. In fact, the Supreme Court of Canada has indicated that copying full articles in some circumstances may be permitted.
03/07/2013 12:13 EST
Getty Images

Should Anti-Spam Laws Come With Opt-In Consent?

For the past two days I've called attention to the shocking demands by business groups to legalize spyware by permitting the secret installation of computer programs to monitor activities of Canadians suspected a potential contravention of the law. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce's key concern is the very foundation of the law: opt-in consent.
02/08/2013 12:23 EST
Sun News/Alamy

Should Sun News Be Must-Carry? No, And Neither Should Anyone Else

Sun TV News, which previously disavowed mandatory distribution by likening it to a tax on all cable and satellite subscribers, now wants the CRTC to require those subscribers to pay it 18 cents per month until 2017. There are few, if any, broadcasters that can be considered so essential as to merit mandatory distribution.
01/29/2013 12:33 EST

The Myths About Canada's Anti-Spam Laws

Over the past couple of weeks, there have been a myriad of posts and articles criticizing Canada's anti-spam legislation. According to some posts -- primarily those by Barry Sookman -- the legislation will stop family members from sending commercial e-mail to each other, parents from promoting their children's lemonade stands, and discriminate against charities and schools. Is this true?
01/29/2013 11:38 EST
Alamy

Canadian Government Unveils Big Loopholes in Anti-Spam Regulations

Industry Canada unveiled long-awaited revised anti-spam regulations on Friday for the Canadian Anti-Spam Law. The regulations are in draft form and comments can be submitted to the government until February 3. Given the intense lobbying by business groups to water down the legislation passed in 2010 and the initial draft 2011 regulations, it comes as little surprise to find that the proposed regulations include several significant loopholes.
01/07/2013 03:35 EST
Alamy

Will File-Sharing Lawsuits Clog the Courts?

The Canadian Internet community has been buzzing for the past week over reports that a Montreal-based company has captured data on one million Canadians who it says have engaged in unauthorized file sharing. While that represents a relatively small percentage of Internet users in Canada, the possibility of hundreds of thousands of lawsuits over alleged copyright infringement would be unprecedented and raise a host of legal and policy issues.
12/05/2012 10:30 EST

The Limits of Liability in Canada's File-Sharing Lawsuits

Over the past couple of days, there have been multiple reports about the return of file sharing lawsuits to Canada, with fears that thousands of Canadians could be targeted. While it is possible that many will receive demand letters, it is important to note that recent changes to Canadian copyright law limit liability in non-commercial cases to a maximum of $5,000 for all infringement claims.
11/28/2012 10:56 EST

The Canada-EU Trade Agreement Leak

As International Trade Minister Ed Fast returns from negotiations in Europe that failed to secure a deal on the Canada-EU Trade Agreement, newly leaked documents to the CAQ and posted by LaPresse provide a detailed look at the remaining outstanding issues with details on the Canadian and European positions.
11/27/2012 05:32 EST

Canadian Law Enforcement Renews Demand for Internet Surveillance Legislation

The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police renewed its call for Internet surveillance legislation on Friday, urging the government to move forward with Bill C-30. It is striking that the government never mentioned cyber-bullying when it introduced Bill C-30. That is because the bill has little to do with cyber-bullying.
10/30/2012 03:10 EDT
AP

Why the CRTC Rejected the Bell-Astral Merger

The most important aspect of last week's decision is that the new CRTC -- make no mistake, this is a new CRTC with expectations from the government that it adopt a pro-consumer approach -- will put the public and the public interest at the heart of the review process.
10/22/2012 11:26 EDT
CP

Commission Rejects the Bell - Astral Deal

On Thursday, the CRTC rejected Bell's proposed acquisition of Astral. The quick, unanimous decision -- the hearings wrapped up just over a month ago -- leaves no doubt about CRTC chair Jean Pierre Blais' top priority. Simply put, the public (whether as the public interest or as consumers) comes first. In four months, Blais has transformed the CRTC into a pro-consumer advocate, creating the kind of regulatory agency that until recently was scarcely imaginable. The change is long overdue and credit must go to the new chair and to the government, which has presumably provided the mandate for real change in Canadian telecom and broadcast regulation.
10/18/2012 03:26 EDT
CP

Canada - EU Trade Negotiations Clouded by ACTA Concerns

The Canada - EU Trade Agreement negotiations continue this week in Brussels with both parties hoping to wrap up many outstanding issues. According to information provided by Canadian officials at a briefing earlier next month, the plan is to narrow the areas of disagreement to no more than ten issues, with ministers meeting in Europe in November to try to forge an agreement on the contentious areas.
10/17/2012 04:26 EDT
Flickr: Chris Bachner

Canada's Digitization Strategy Needs Dose of Fair Dealing

On Wednesday, a U.S. court ruled resoundingly for the universities, concluding that the practices fall squarely within U.S. fair use (good analysis from Grimmelman, Madison, Smith and Krews). The case is an important win for fair use and it points to a potential model for Canadian universities that have lagged behind in ensuring digital access to materials.
10/11/2012 02:28 EDT
Alamy

Copyright Lobby Demands Rollback of Recent Canadian Reforms in Secretive Trade Deal

More than ten years of contentious debate over Canadian copyright law appeared to come to a conclusion in late June when Bill C-11 passed its final legislative hurdle and received royal assent. Yet despite characterizing the bill as a "vital building block," the copyright lobby that pressured the government to impose restrictive rules on digital locks and tougher penalties for copyright infringement is already demanding further reforms that include rolling back many key aspects of the original bill.
09/25/2012 11:47 EDT
CP

If Toews Has his Way, Internet Spying Isn't Far Behind

Sometime in the next few weeks, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews is expected to be appointed to the Manitoba Court of Appeal. The Toews appointment is among the worst kept secrets in Ottawa, with the move causing a domino effect that will lead to a new minister and an opportunity for a fresh start on Internet surveillance legislation, one of the government's biggest political blunders to date.
08/21/2012 02:14 EDT
Alamy

CRTC Message to Broadcasters: Regulatory Games Coming to an End

Last week, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission announced that it is terminating the Local Programming Improvement Fund (LPIF). The fund, which was established in 2008, funneled over $300 million to broadcasters to support the creation of local programming. The decision caught the industry by surprise with the CBC calling it "astonishing" and Bell Media saying it is a "major concern."
07/24/2012 03:02 EDT