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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.

The Supreme Court and Canadian Copyright Law

The Supreme Court of Canada issued its much anticipated rulings in the five copyright cases (ESAC v. SOCAN, Rogers v. SOCAN, SOCAN v. Bell - song previews, Alberta v. Access Copyright, Re:Sound) it he...
07/12/2012 03:58 EDT

Are the Canadian Digital Lock Rules Unconstitutional?

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.
06/27/2012 05:27 EDT

Vic Toews Toes the Big Brother Line Once Again

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews is once against in the centre of a major privacy backlash. It has been reported that Canada Border Services has installed surveillance equipment in the Ottawa airport that will allow for eavesdropping on conversations. Canada has already suffered two serious threats to their privacy in recent months. Does it really need a third?
06/22/2012 12:09 EDT

Big Pharma Spending Continues To Decline As IP Demands Increase

The lead lobby for the pharmaceutical companies, RxD, brought former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney to Ottawa earlier this month to praise reforms from the 1980s that he argued have worked well for Canada. Yet those reforms came with a condition: in return for reforms that granted the companies far stronger patent rights, RxD companies promised to increase their spending on research and development in Canada so that it would rise to 10 per cent of total sales by 1996.
06/22/2012 03:41 EDT

The Secret Meetings That Locked Down Canadian Copyright

The Motion Picture Association - Canada reports meeting with Canadian Heritage Minister, Foreign Minister, and Industry Canada Senior Associate Deputy Minister all on the same day. These meetings occured less than three weeks after the introduction of Bill C-11 and the decision to sign the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). Ministers were willing to meet with the top U.S. copyright lobby group, but not with Canadian creator, consumer, or education groups who offered a much different perspective on legislative reform.
06/14/2012 05:27 EDT

Canada a Pirate's Paradise? Way Overboard

The Canadian intellectual property's lead lobby group, the Canadian IP Council (itself a group within the Canadian Chamber of Commerce) released a new policy document on June 7 that identifies its legislative priorities for the coming years. "Counterfeiting in the Canadian Market: How Do We Stop It?" is the most extremist IP policy document ever released in Canada.
06/11/2012 05:26 EDT

Paid Digital Downloads are Throwing Pirates Overboard

Not only is the Canadian digital market far larger than virtually every European market, it continues to grow faster than the U.S. digital music market as well. In fact, the Canadian digital music market has grown faster than the U.S. market for the past six consecutive years. Yet, Canadian artist revenue from Canadian sales is lower than most other countries.
06/07/2012 07:30 EDT

10,000 Consultations for Bill C-11? Tories Listened to Only One

Last week's House of Commons copyright debate on Bill C-11 included a curious comment from Industry Minister Christian Paradis, who, in trying to demonstrate the amount of debate that went into the bill, said that more than 10,000 consultations had been held across Canada. This claim is not accurate in the slightest.
05/29/2012 06:01 EDT

Canada's Telecom Companies Have a Big Secret

Canada's telecom service providers, which include the major telecom carriers and Internet service providers, have remained strangely silent on the issue of Canada's proposed Internet surveillance. Documents obtained under the Access to Information Act offer a troubling explanation for this silence.
05/22/2012 08:59 EDT

Canada Post Claims Ownership of All Postal Codes

Canada Post Files Copyright Lawsuit Over Crowdsourced Postal Code Database Canada Post has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Geolytica, which operates, a website that provides...
04/13/2012 01:56 EDT

The Other Tax Your Internet Bill Could Have Come With

In 2009, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) proposed several possibilities, including the creation of new public safety tax that would appear on monthly customer bills. As I noted in a post on fixing the bill, both the regulations and the cost issues should be made public before the bill is considered by a House of Commons committee.
03/16/2012 11:42 EDT

Government's New Telecom Policy: Nothing to Call Home About

The government unveiled its plans yesterday for the next spectrum auction but it remains too timid in places. The reliance on spectrum caps is reasonable, but the foreign ownership restriction changes do not go far enough and the decision to forego mandated open access is a blow to Canada's still-missing digital economy strategy.
03/15/2012 02:54 EDT

CIMA Needs to Change its Tune

The Canadian Independent Music Association is seeking changes to copyright reform Bill C-11 to the enabler provision that would create liability risk for social networking sites, search engines, blogging platforms, video sites, and many other websites featuring third party contributions.
03/05/2012 02:27 EST
Flickr: Daquella manera

Bill C-30: Big Brother Hidden in Section 14

If Bill C-30 becomes law, the government can order a telecom provider to comply with additional confidentiality requirements not otherwise specified. It can also order an Internet Service Provider (ISP) or telecom provider to install surveillance capabilities "in a manner and within a time" specified by the government.
02/22/2012 11:08 EST

Warrantless Access Unjustified in Surveillance Bill

A Public Safety document demonstrates that the intention is to use this data for purposes that do not involve criminal or child pornography concerns..Is the government really proposing to drop key privacy protections for non-criminal concerns?
02/14/2012 09:26 EST

Canadians Speak Out Against Digital Locks. But Who's Listening?

The second reading debate on new copyright legislation Bill C-11 will conclude today. Canadians have been speaking out on copyright reform in general and digital locks in particular for years with widely held views, but will the government listen with the bill now headed to committee for further hearings?
02/10/2012 11:50 EST

What If SOPA Came to Canada?

While SOPA may be dead (for now) in the U.S., lobby groups are likely to intensify their efforts to export SOPA-like rules to other countries. With Bill C-11 back on the legislative agenda at the end of the month, Canada will be a prime target for SOPA-style rules.
01/23/2012 01:52 EST