Outstanding detective work from the gang over at Torrentfreak, who have discovered that there is online pirating going on in the U.S. House of Representatives. The same House of Representatives that is currently getting ready to pass SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act. I’ll explain the details of this delicious pile of irony after the jump.
Sans snark, before Christmas Day ends, just wanted to wish my three faithful readers a very Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Good December 25th, etc. No matter what your faith (or questioning or lack thereof), have an awesome holiday season and a Happy New Year, from all of us (me) at allenmendelsohn.com.
So earlier this week Bell announced that it would stop its practice of throttling (or to use the telecom euphemism, Internet Traffic Management Practices, ITMPs) of their customers using peer to peer software starting March 1, 2012. This has been seen as a victory for the consumer and the open internet. That’s bullshit. After the jump I’ll explain why.
Earlier this week, the House of Commons reopened “debate” on Bill C-11, the Copyright Modernization Act. In part 4 of our series on the Bill, we take a little break from the substance to check out some of the choice quotes the MPs threw at each other when discussion began. Check out your parliamentary democracy in action after the jump.
This week at the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) is a HUGE one for copyright, and by extension for internet law. Today and tomorrow, appeals are being heard in five cases that will shape copyright law for years to come. Or until C-11 gets passed and that mess makes it to the Court. ANYWAY, Geist has a basic summary for you about some of the issues that are being heard. Here’s another one. And another. Sure, one more.
The big cases for the internet are SOCAN v. Bell, where the Court will decide if iTunes snippets for preview are fair dealing or not, and if they aren’t they then would be subject to a tariff (payment to the artist). There’s also Rogers v. SOCAN about streaming music and whether it’s “communications to the public” under the Copyright Act (which is important because it would then be protected as copyright in that stream, and subject to royalty payments). Finally, ESAC v. SOCAN (sensing a trend here?) will decide if music in video games downloaded over the internet should be subject to, you guessed it, royalty payments. (The other two cases are about copying works for use in the classroom and remuneration for music in movies and TV. Yawn.)
These are such an important two days in the copyright and internet law world I thought about live blogging the hearings. But I’m not insane (well…). You can watch the hearings here. Yay for an open Supreme Court! But dammit they need some onscreen graphics or something. Even I’m kind of clueless as to who’s who, or even what case is being heard.
The above video is a wonderful documentary about the Mile End Legal Clinic, an organization that did more good in the last month than you’ve done in your lifetime. The Clinic helps people who can’t afford a lawyer get access to justice and know their rights, thanks to the efforts of lawyers and law students. Notwithstanding its name, it serves people from all over Montreal and Quebec. And I am proud to say that last week, I was named to their Board of Directors.
Now, you may say “but we have legal aid to help people who cannot afford a lawyer.” Well we do, but the system is pretty fucked. To qualify for legal aid as a single person in Quebec, you must have an annual income of $13,007 or less. Stats Canada’s Low Income Cut-off (essentially the “poverty line”, but they’re too chicken-shit to call it that) for a single person in Montreal in 2010 is $18,759. So basically, you can be poor and not qualify for legal aid. That’s fucked up. And that’s why clinics like Mile End are so important, and why I’m excited to help them as a Board member.
So let’s start with this – give them money. Your personal tax year is coming to an end, and you need some charitable deductions, don’t you? Or, you know, helping people.