James Cameron Wins Yet Another ‘Avatar’ Theft Lawsuit

Tuesday, 21 January, 2014

Copyright law is actually not that boring if you put the right context and mindset when you try to understand it. Have a read of this THR article, “James Cameron Wins Yet Another ‘Avatar’ Theft Lawsuit” and the summary judgement ruling.

Battles and War in the fight for Fair Digital Copyright for Canada – Government to Reintroduce Bill C-32 “In Exactly the Same Form”

Friday, 9 September, 2011

My heart sank reading Michael Geist, Sept 9, 2011, “Government to Reintroduce Bill C-32 “In Exactly the Same Form”” So my concerns and worries expressed in my Sept 5th, 2011 article, “Fair Digital Copyright for Canada – Insights from a new Phd thesis by Blayne Haggart” may have come true. But I am not giving up easily and Canadians shouldn’t go down without a fight.

Here is an excerpt from Winnipeg Free Press, Sept 8, 2011, “Long-awaited copyright bill returns, but top court to wade in too” (emphasis added)

“One of the hotly debated issues around the bill, around how educators are able to use copyrighted materials, has now popped up before the Supreme Court.

The justices will be hearing a case about whether grade school teachers who make copies of textbooks for their students should be shielded from paying tariffs.

The same issue came up before the Commons committee last March. Groups who represent educators and provincial ministers of education would like to see more explicit protection for classroom copying included in the “fair dealing” section of the Act, while those who represent publishers say they deserve to be compensated for the textbooks they create.

NDP heritage critic Charlie Angus said the government should be listening to criticism of the bill and making changes before it is forced to by the courts.

“There are problems that need to be fixed and we can do this in a collaborative way or a confrontational way, but I would prefer to get this bill done,” Angus said.

“I want to know that they’re actually listening to the witnesses, because witnesses have identified some serious shortfalls with the bill that can be fixed.” […]

Internal U.S. embassy cables posted by Wikileaks this year suggested former industry minister Maxime Bernier offered to show American officials a previous copyright bill before it was tabled in Parliament.

The cables also detailed how the office of another former industry minister, Tony Clement, suggested Washington include Canada on an international piracy watchlist in order to push legislative efforts along.

Fair Digital Copyright for Canada – Insights from a new Phd thesis by Blayne Haggart

Monday, 5 September, 2011

A while ago, I was interviewed by Blayne Haggart, a Carleton University Phd student, for his doctoral dissertation on digital-copyright reform in North America (Canada, Mexico, and United States). We talked about my work with the Fair Copyright for Canada Facebook group plus organizing an impromptu citizens’ meeting with the then Minister of Industry Hon. Jim Prentice in December 2007 (see report here and here).

I want to publicly congratulate Blayne for defending his Phd thesis successfully in May 2011. Congrats Dr. Haggart!

In my congratulation email to Blayne, I wonder out loud the dilemma we face. I wonder if we, the Canadians who have cared so much about Digital Copyright that we spent hours to protest and sent in our written submissions for government’s various consultations over the years, have won these battles in defeating bad Digital Copyright bills but may ultimately lose the war to the lobby groups because of a Harper majority government?

I hope the Harper majority government will have learned to respect Canadians’ views expressed in the previous failed Digital copyright reform. Even though I am not optimistic as the lobby groups are strong, I am willing to be hopeful, in fact, I have no choice but be hopeful. Because at this point, a new bad copyright bill will lead to new protests and I would rather be doing something else!

Dr. Blayne Haggart’s Phd Thesis

Here is a link to Blayne’s full Phd thesis “North American Digital Copyright, Regional Governance and the Potential for Variation” (provided to me by Blayne and reposted with permission). (20210211 update: fix broken link. Now points to Carleton University’s Curve system.)

Canadians may find “CHAPTER 4: CANADA AND THE INTERNET TREATIES: ABORTED IMPLEMENTATIONS” (page 248 of the Phd thesis PDF file, and page 237 of hard copy) very interesting to read. Here is “Facebook activism comes to Canada” an excerpt from Chapter 4 subsection “ii. Facebook activism comes to Canada” under section “III. 2007-08: Bill C-61 and the triumph of the U.S. lobby” (page 297 of the Phd thesis PDF file, and page 286 of hard copy) (20210211 note: emphasis added, sorry, it highlights the bit I, Kempton, is mentioned by name),

ii. Facebook activism comes to Canada

Following his arrival at Industry Canada, Prentice attempted to introduce a DMCA- style copyright bill and ended up fomenting widespread public protests that panicked the government, confounded Cabinet colleagues and led to a six-month delay in the bill’s introduction that rendered it collateral damage when the September 2008 election was called. This uprising vindicated Austin and Bernier’s intuition about the political dangers of copyright reform. In the end, the Conservative’s Bill C-61, like the Liberals’ Bill C-60, never got beyond first reading.

In the October 16, 2007, Speech from the Throne, the Conservative government pledged to “improve the protection of cultural and intellectual property rights in Canada, including copyright reform” (Canada 2007). When the government placed An Act to Amend the Copyright Act on the Order Paper on December 10, 2007, observers of Canadian copyright expected that this new bill would be much closer to the DMCA than the Liberals’ C-60 had been.216

What happened next caught everyone off guard. The first weekend in December, Geist set up a Facebook page, Fair Copyright for Canada (FCFC).217 The site’s initial objectives were relatively modest: to inform people and to get people involved in opposing the bill. Its main demand was that the government listen to the public. Eventually, this demand became more specific: that the government hold public consultations on any new bill. Geist and others critiqued the upcoming bill by referring to it as the “Canadian DMCA.” This approach not only focused on a bad policy (i.e., DMCA-like law would be bad for Canada) but linked the issue to the always-latent sentiment of Canadian anti-Americanism. This symbolic bricolage, which played to a long-standing Canadian prejudice, was made more potent given the fact that the United States, and U.S.-based industries were the main groups lobbying for this bill. It was such a powerful linkage that it necessitated a direct rebuttal from the government, which insisted that the bill was indeed “Made in Canada” and his opponents were practicing base anti-Americanism.

With Geist’s Facebook page, the public interest in copyright that had been building for almost a decade exploded into view. After only a month (in January 2008), the page had almost 40,000 members; as of June 2010 it had just under 88,000 members. FCFC proponents argued these numbers represented frustration with the “resistance on the part of our policymakers to grapple with what’s really going on and to produce solutions that are right for us,” in the words of Toronto-based technology lawyer and FCFC member Rob Hyndman (Interview by author, April 22, 2008). In contrast, the government saw the protests as representing only a passionate minority causing “a lot of miscommunication, a lot of misinformation,” according to Jean-Sébastien Rioux, Chief of Staff to then-Industry Minister Jim Prentice (Rioux, interview by author, February 26, 2009).

Individuals also used the FCFC page to organize quasi-independent lobbying efforts, local FCFC groups and grassroots-action campaigns (Geist, interview by author, May 14, 2008). One member, Kempton Lam, a Calgary blogger, software engineer, consultant and documentary maker, used FCFC to organize an impromptu meeting (covered by the mainstream media) with Prentice during a Christmas Open House in his riding office on December 8. Between 40 and 60 people showed up and were eventually able to talk with the minister.218 This Facebook-based activism and the mainstream media press it attracted worried Conservative MPs, who had to deal with irate constituents on an unfamiliar issue, while cabinet ministers who understood the technology were also reluctant to move forward on this copyright bill (Austin, interview by author, April 30, 2008).”


“This dissertation proposes an historical-institutionalist framework for understanding regional governance issues in general and North American governance in particular. Using digital- copyright reform as a test issue, it demonstrates that regional institutionalization can preserve differences and does not necessarily lead to regional policy convergence. This conclusion emerges from historical institutionalism’s focus on understanding the interaction of the policy-relevant ideas, institutions and interests shaping a region, no matter on what “level” they may be located. Regional governance processes must be understood within their own particular historical contexts. This approach allows the researcher to account for relevant influences that are either downplayed or ignored in other approaches to regionalism.

With respect to copyright, this dissertation finds that U.S. digital-copyright policy is shaped decisively by its own domestic ideas, institutions and interests, with international and regional factors playing a minimal role. For Canada and Mexico, while the United States has attempted to influence copyright reform in its neighbours, both countries’ copyright policies continue to be influenced significantly by domestic factors, and both countries continue to display significant copyright-policy autonomy. U.S. ability to influence its neighbours is constrained by the North American Free Trade Agreement’s (NAFTA) guarantee of market access, which limits the U.S. ability to link copyright reform to improved access to its market, suggesting that NAFTA’s rules play a role in maintaining policy autonomy and reducing the potential for policy convergence.”

P.S. Blayne must be doing his job right since he received, in June 2010, some alarming and unseemly comments (terms like “radical extremist” being thrown around) from Minister James Moore. [HT Blayne]

Unfortunately, I think many people who don’t totally agree with Moore have sadly seen the dark sides of James Moore. In my case, I have shared my James Moore experiences in “Democratic right Twitter-blocked by @MPJamesMoore” (March 2011).

Leading Thinker Cory Doctorow’s Keynote Address at SIGGRAPH 2011

Saturday, 13 August, 2011

The following is one of Cory Doctorow‘s best speech. Cory is an editor of Boing Boing and one of the leading thinkers about Copyright. [HT my friend +Jan Rubak]

Leading Thinker Cory Doctorow’s Keynote Address at SIGGRAPH 2011

P.S. I can’t stop smiling when he starts talking, at ~12:49, about Canadian Heritage Minister [Twitter @JamesMoore_org].

Personal observation: Minister Moore believes in political debate and listening to citizen’s views as long as he can block you. See Twitter @no_mpjamesmoore

Canadian Copyright Bill C-32 submission

Friday, 28 January, 2011

Feel great! Finally got around to send in my Bill C-32 submission to the parliamentary committee (Committee’s mailbox at CC32@parl.gc.ca) three days before the 31 Jan, 2011 deadline!

Check out Prof. Michael Geist’s “Canadians Speaking Out on Bill C-32” for his views and other experts’ takes. And I found Project Gutenberg Canada’s submission very insightful.


“In order for briefs on Bill C-32 to be considered by the Committee in a timely fashion, the document should be submitted to the Committee’s mailbox at CC32@parl.gc.ca by the end of January, 2011. A brief which is longer than 5 pages should be accompanied by a 1 page executive summary and in any event should not exceed 10 pages in length.

Birgitte Andersen, Chris Castle, Bob Tarantino – P2P filesharing research and Internet gossip

Tuesday, 5 October, 2010

The names Birgitte Andersen, Chris Castle, Bob Tarantino are unfamilar to me until this morning when I read “Falling off the edge of a flat world? – Internet gossip on P2P filesharing research – a response from Professor Birgitte Andersen“, I can say the article is more intriguing than some fictions. It is also painful to see when someone, her professional credibility, and her peer-reviewed research for Industry Canada (Andersen-Frenz report (2007): The Impact of Music Downloads and P2P File-Sharing on the Purchase of Music: A Study for Industry Canada, PDF version) are attacked in the manner described.

Here is an excerpt from Professor Andersen’s “Falling off the edge of a flat world? ” (comments and emphasis added),

Campaign to discredit

You have got to ask yourself, – who will spend time going through years (across 2005,06,07) of internal and informal emails (obtained under the under the Access to Information Act) between myself and one of my consultancy contractors (Industry Canada), a past reviewer’s report of an early draft, selectively reading my publications since 2001, and producing about 20 printed pages (in two parts) of menacing rant appearing to try to undermine my (Andersen’s) research credibility and the Andersen-Frenz (2007) study for Industry Canada on “The Impact of Music Downloads and P2P File-Sharing on the Purchase of Music”. [comment: Wow!]

Amazingly, this two-part diatribe (published in May and June 2010) attacking me and my research is published as an apparently ‘independent’ analysis representing facts and not taking sides in the ongoing international debate on how policy should respond to unauthorized filesharing on the Internet and the digital economy of the future.

The blogger is in fact Chris Castle from ‘Christian L Castle Attorneys’ based in Los Angeles and San Francisco USA, and the firm’s web site lists that they represent the record labels, film studios, among others. Thus, one could consider they have a clear financial interest in the debate on intellectual property (IP) policy in the digital economy.  Another blogger spreading this unsubstantiated gossip on the Internet is Bob Tatantino [sp? Tarantino] from Heenan Blaikie’s Entertainment Law Group in Toronto.

Is this type of work commissioned? Peer- reviewed? (not likely!), and what interests surround the making and publication of it? [comment: Good questions.]

Is it hypocritical, or even dishonest, that firms so closely linked to the interests on the one side of the copyright debate on digital economy policy present themselves as neutral carriers of ‘truth’ while accusing a neutral academic study of taking sides?  Do these firms have a conflict of interest? [comment: Interesting questions again.]

Interestingly, I was not informed of the publication of this work (but realized its existence as I received a number of unusual emails over the summer), which explains my late response.

[HT Geist]

Twitter debate btwn @doctorow & @mpjamesmoore (Minister of Canadian Heritage)

Monday, 26 July, 2010

This is one insightful twitter debate about Canadian copyright, Apple’s digital locks (TPM) and more, [via @doctorow captured by David Eaves]

Twitter debate btwn @doctorow & @mpjamesmoore Moore defended Apple’s digital locks. US now says ok to break http://bit.ly/9Pp3uw

Flawed Digital Copyright Modernization Act “Fixable”?

Thursday, 3 June, 2010

I’ve finished reading Michael Geist’s “The Canadian Copyright Bill: Flawed But Fixable” and started to read the Bill C-32 (PDF file). Here is an excerpt from Michael’s article,

“The foundational principle of the new bill remains that anytime a digital lock is used – whether on books, movies, music, or electronic devices – the lock trumps virtually all other rights.  In other words, in the battle between two sets of property rights – those of the intellectual property rights holder and those of the consumer who has purchased the tangible or intangible property – the IP rights holder always wins.  This represents market intervention for a particular business model by a government supposedly committed to the free market and it means that the existing fair dealing rights (including research, private study, news reporting, criticism, and review) and the proposed new rights (parody, satire, education, time shifting, format shifting, backup copies) all cease to function effectively so long as the rights holder places a digital lock on their content or device.  Moreover, the digital lock approach is not limited to fair dealing – library provisions again include a requirement for digital copies to self-destruct within five days and distance learning teaching provisions require the destruction of materials 30 days after the course concludes.”

My initial reaction was, “What the heck? Did the Government of Canada (the ministers) listen to Canadians in the Canada-wide online and offline consultations _at all_ ?

May be I shouldn’t have been surprised by the industrial biased when ministers Tony Clement and James Moore unveiled the bill at Electronic Arts instead of a more neutral location that might signified a more balanced approach to the two sets of property rights (rights holders’ vs consumers’).

Michael is more optimistic and generous and called the bill “Flawed But Fixable. I am more pessimistic and, I think, more realistic in not having high hopes. I will try to read and understand different parts of C-32 and feedback from different people.

Copyright Modernization Act (Bill C-32) introduced

Wednesday, 2 June, 2010

Update: – Have a look of Bill C-32 (PDF file). [HT Corey]

– Read Michael’s “The Canadian Copyright Bill: Flawed But Fixable” to find out his first impression from attending the media lockup. Here is an excerpt,

“The digital lock provisions are by far the biggest flaw in the bill, rules that some will argue renders it beyond repair.  I disagree. The flaw must be fixed, but there is much to support within the proposal. There will undoubtedly be attacks on the fair dealing reforms and pressure to repeal them, along with the U.S. and the copyright lobby demanding that their digital lock provisions be left untouched.  If Canadians stay quiet, both are distinct possibilities.  If they speak out, perhaps the bill can be fixed.  I’ll post an update of my 30 things you can do shortly.”

Copyright bill would outlaw breaking digital locks [CBC] The following is an excerpt from CBC.

  • “The express legalization of format shifting, or the copying of content from one device to another, such as a CD to a computer or an iPod.
  • The express legalization of time shifting, or recording television programs for later viewing but not for the purposes of building up a library.
  • A “YouTube” clause that allows people to mash up media under certain circumstances, as long as it’s not for commercial gain.
  • A “notice-and-notice” system where copyright holders will inform internet providers of possible piracy from their customers. The ISP would then be required to notify the customer that he or she was violating the law.
  • A differentiation of commercial copyright violation versus individual violation. Individuals found violating copyright law could be liable for penalties between $100 and $5,000, which is below the current $20,000 maximum.
  • New exceptions to fair dealing that will allow copyright violations for the purposes of parody, satire and education.”

Will read the bill in full to find out more when it is posted online.


With this Notice Paper, looks like the bill is coming soon. Will have to take a closer look of the bill when it is tabled. [HT Michael Geist]

Check out  “An Unofficial User Guide to the Coming Copyright Bill

Tony Clement: Copyright bill will be introduced before the summer recess

Friday, 19 March, 2010

Industry Minister Tony Clement is telling The Wire Report a Copyright bill will be introduced before the summer recess. I hope the government will have a much improved bill this time around because I don’t think anyone want a repeat of the bill C-61 experience.

[HT Michael]

CBC and iCopyright – a marriage doomed to fail

Wednesday, 3 February, 2010

It is amazing to read “Canadian Broadcasting Corporation signs up with weird American copyright bounty-hunters” and found that CBC and iCopyright have been so out-of-step of their understanding of what is legal in Canada with respect to copyright. Read more from Jesse Brown’s iCopyright post and open letter to CBC.

I hate to point out to supposed “lawyers” at CBC and iCopyright what law or court cases they need to read (assuming they know how to read), they can certainly start with 2004 Supreme Court of Canada ruling, “CCH Canadian Ltd. v. Law Society of Upper Canada“. I thought any self-respecting copyright lawyers would have taken the time to read the case in the last 6 years. Ah, I guess I may have assumed wrong.

[HT Eaves]

Lawrence Lessig’s Last Speech on Free Culture

Tuesday, 8 December, 2009

Just finished watching RiP : A remix manifesto (a film from NFB), a documentary film made with open source and remixed work about copyright and remix culture.

The RiP DVD has a copy of speech that is available online and I highly recommend, Lawrence Lessig’s Last Speech on Free Culture (delivered in 2008).


Tuesday, 1 December, 2009

Questions about ACTA in House of Commons today.

So far the opaque ACTA negotiation makes me nervous. I hope Ministers Tony Clement and James Moore knows they can’t consult us and then ignore our opinions. That will be very bad.

[via Michael Geist]

Copyright Consultation Submissions in numbers (5 days in July)

Wednesday, 5 August, 2009

Repost data from Michael’s “Tracking the Copyright Consultation Submissions: July 20 – 24, 2009

We have less than six weeks left in the consultation – speak out on copyright today and keep the momentum going !



Number of Supporters

Submissions against another Bill C-61


Submissions in favour of shorter Copyright term


Submissions against anti-circumvention or in favour of limiting DRM/Digital locks


Submissions in favour of stronger personal use/copying and backup protections


Submissions in favour of an “open copyright” system


Submissions advocating an end to the Crown Copyright


Submissions opposed to adopting an American-styled DMCA


Submissions in favour of stronger fair use/fair dealing protections


Submissions opposed to implementing WIPO


Submissions in favour of eliminating all copyright


Submissions against a three-strikes rule


Submissions that favour a “notice and notice” approach


Submissions in favour of instituting a levy for file-sharing


Submissions in favour of greater exemptions for education/research


Submissions in favour of establish a good-faith defence that the user believed their use of a work was fair and non-infringing


Submissions in favour of stronger penalties for copyright infringement


Submissions in favour of turning copyright into a crime



Like the Harper’s Index (more here), sometimes numbers can tell us a story.

We have less than six weeks left in the consultation – speak out on copyright today and keep the momentum going !

Copyright e-Consultation (July 20 to Sept 13, 2009)

Wednesday, 5 August, 2009

Canada is having a fresh round of copyright consultations, face-to-face, and more importantly online e-consultation from July 20 to Sept 13, 2009. And all Canadians are welcomed to share their views and send thier inputs.

Since copyright affect all Canadians, did you know the old Bill C-61, if it had passed, would have made all Canadians who own a affordable/”cheap” Chinese-made DVD player a “copyright-criminal”? Since the Chinese-made DVD players can play DVDs from all regions, it “breaks” the DVDs’ digital locks and thus broke the law and making us all “copyright-criminals”!

Now, I am reposting the following message to members of the Facebook group “Fair Copyright for Canada – Calgary Chapter” and hope Canadians will take a few minutes to read and understand the issues and submit their concerns and views.


Dear Fair Copyright Calgary Chapter members,

This group has been quiet for the last few months but I’ve some good news to share.

Our long & hard fought copyright battles (protests and meeting with various MPs) since Dec 2007 have resulted in Canadians winning the rights to have the federal gov consult with us first before they try to update the existing copyright legislation.

With the clear and unacceptable defects in Bill C-61 are still fresh in our memories, it is extremely important for each of us to take a few moments to email our submissions. Yes, it is as easy as an email !

*** Online Consultation ***

The public and online consultation period is from July 20 to Sept 13, 2009.

The Copyright e-consultation site has instructions to submit your views and many useful resources (events archives, discussions, comments, and public submissions).

Prof. Michael Geist has created a specific site to share his insights specific to this consultation.

And Michael’s “short answer” on copyright.

*** Calgary Round Table on Copyright***

On July 21, 2009, Rob Tiessen (chair of the Canadian Library Association‘s Copyright Working Group) attended the Calgary Round Table and Rob has kindly shared with his meeting notes. Pls follow this link to read his notes.

*** Sharing our views about copyright ***

Yes, we won the rights to be heard. Now, lets speak out by sending in our email submissions.

So lets keep it up by redouble our effort to share our views and remind the government of the problems in the ill-conceived Bill C-61. Especially we now have two new ministers that are working on the copyright file, Minister Tony Clement (Industry) and Minster James Moore (Heritage), who seem to be willing to listen to Canadians.

Lets exercise our rights and “Speak Out On Copyright” by check out the above links, and send in your submission via email.

Kempton Lam
Fair Copyright for Canada (Calgary Chapter)

Copyright Round Table in Calgary

Wednesday, 5 August, 2009

Rob Tiessen (chair of the Canadian Library Association‘s Copyright Working Group) has kindly provided us with his meeting notes at the Calgary Round Table on Copyright on July 21, 2009. The following are his notes.

Thanks Rob.


As chair of the Canadian Library Association‘s Copyright Working Group, I was asked to represent CLA at the Calgary Round Table on Copyright on July 21, 2009.  The Federal Government is consulting Canadians on modernizing copyright in Canada.  Part of the process includes Copyright Round Tables in Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Gatineau and possibly more locations.

The following organizations gave presentations at the Calgary Round Table:

  • The Canadian Association of Broadcasters – Gary Maavara
  • The Canadian Chamber of Commerce – Lee Webster
  • The Canadian Library Association – Rob Tiessen
  • The Canadian Publishers Council – Catherine Campbell
  • Digital Alberta – Rene Smid
  • The Retail Council of Canada – Peter Pilarski
  • Shaw Communcations – Cynthia Rathwell
  • The University of Calgary Student’s Union – Kay She

The following Government representatives attended the Calgary Round Table:

  • The Honourable Tony Clement.  Minister of Industry.
  • Ms. Colette Downey.  Director General – Marketplace Framework Policy Branch – Industry Canada.
  • Ms. Barbara Motzney.  Director General – Copyright Policy Branch – Canadian Heritage.
  • Ms. Zoe Addington.  Policy Advisor to Minister Clement –

All the Government representatives were very engaged in the process.  Minister Clement asked many follow up questions to the participants.

The Canadian Library Association presented on the following points.

Fair Dealing:

  • We would like to see the most important elements of the CCH Supreme Court Judgment incorporated in the Copyright Act.
  • Canadians who act with a good faith belief that their actions with respect to a work are within fair dealing or are protected by some other user right should not be subject to statutory damages, similar to the provisions in section 504 of US copyright law.

Read the rest of this entry »

Canadian Copyright Consultation

Monday, 20 July, 2009

[via Michael Gesit]

“The Canadian copyright consultation has launched with a site that offers Canadians several ways to ensure that their voices are heard.  As expected, there is a direct submission process, an online discussion forum, and a calendar that includes information on roundtables (by invitation only) and public town halls (the public can register for the town halls to be held in Montreal and Toronto).  The site features an RSS feed, there will be audio/video transcripts of the roundtables, and there is even an official twitter feed.
The consultation features five key questions:

  1. How do Canada’s copyright laws affect you? How should existing laws be modernized?
  2. Based on Canadian values and interests, how should copyright changes be made in order to withstand the test of time?
  3. What sorts of copyright changes do you believe would best foster innovation and creativity in Canada?
  4. What sorts of copyright changes do you believe would best foster competition and investment in Canada?
  5. What kinds of changes would best position Canada as a leader in the global, digital economy?

Read more in Michael’s entry.

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