Music, much like all art and cultural productions, thrives because musicians are constantly borrowing, sharing, and reacting. Slap a copyright on a chord progression, melody, riff, or a tone and watch the endless variety, one of the most beloved qualities of music and the 21st Century, wither. That's why we're fighting back against TPP copyright extremism.
The threats of hundred-thousand dollar fines and getting booted off of the Internet came on the heels of a new law requiring ISPs to pass copyright infringement notices on to their subscribers. The ISP are now legally obliged to comply, forwarding the notices along to alleged infringers verbatim and, as it now turns out, without much attention to whether the content owners were even accusing the right person.
Hollywood has forgotten that as much as copyright can be an engine of free expression, it may also be a vehicle for its suppression. Hollywood studios should recognize that the more power they have to ensure that their content can't be accessed without their consent, the more vulnerable they become to be targets of threat and extortion by those who do not like their content.
The Pirate Bay is a popular website for the BitTorrent downloading of music, movies, games, software and much more. Swedish police raided the site by seizing its servers in Stockholm, allegedly in connection with violation of copyright law. The Pirate Bay shutdown isn't the first and likely won't be the last of its kind. Law enforcement agencies have been raiding the Pirate Bay service since 2006. The key challenge to pursuing consumers who share and download content in violation of copyrights is identifying them. Proposed solutions to this challenge pose serious privacy law concerns.
In today's world where digital innovation is driven by the ability to access and leverage the open Internet, the TPP proposes regressive Internet regulations that would be imposed on 12 countries party to the agreement (including Canada) by unaccountable U.S. conglomerates, with little to no meaningful consultation with the public.
Political speech is seemingly under attack from the last place we might expect: Canadian media broadcasters, that say parties can't use broadcasters' content in ads. Protecting copyright is not an illegitimate purpose, but this approach is less than ideal for political advertisements. Political parties rely on election advertising to persuade the electorate to vote for them. This political expression is a significantly important aspect of public discourse and should be accorded the highest priority and protection.
Big Media lobbyists and unelected bureaucrats are holding closed-door meetings in Malaysia this week, as they continue secret talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) -- a highly secretive and extreme trade deal that includes extreme new copyright rules that could end the open Internet as we know it.
Here at OpenMedia.ca, we've already been hearing from Canadians outraged that our own Members of Parliament are still being denied access to the TPP text -- access that has now been granted to their counterparts in Washington D.C. We know that Canadians will not accept their Members of Parliament being kept in the dark
The litany of complaints about the Copyright Board of Canada has mounted in recent years: The public rarely participates in its activities due to high costs, it moves painfully slowly, and its rules encourage copyright collectives and users to establish extreme positions that make market-driven settlements more difficult.
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.
As the 15th round of Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations draw to a close, the Internet freedom community is taking stock of what was said, and perhaps more significantly, what wasn't. Developments over the last few weeks suggest that the controversial treaty may be losing steam as public opposition gains momentum. The public outcry is starting to show the cracks in the push to criminalize our Internet use.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The House of Commons may have passed Bill C-11, but the constitutional concerns with the copyright bill and its digital lock rules will likely linger for years. Many experts believe that the government's decision to adopt one of the most restrictive digital lock approaches in the world. And guess what? It's vulnerable to constitutional challenge.