It’s piracy week here at AM.com! This story is not necessarily a 100% internet law story (it’s maybe 87.3%) but it really caught my eye yesterday. And I think it does have a bunch of lessons for the internet law fans out there. Some dude in Winnipeg this week pleaded guilty to copyright infringement and got an 18-month sentence and a $20,000 fine. Once you pick your jaw up off the floor, I’ll explain how all of this is possible.
It was widely reported yesterday (first over the weekend by Torrentfreak), that links to the Pirate Bay were being blocked by MSN Messenger. Yes yes, I know, who uses MSN Messenger anymore? Some people, apparently! This seemed like an awesome story, the confluence of pirating, copyright, the intertubes, and the evil Microsoft empire. Right in my wheelhouse!
So I thought I would write a huge piece about freedom of expression, the internet, the future of copyright, and everything. But first, I felt that in the name of journalism (?), I should try to confirm the findings. Here’s what transpired over MSN (with the name of the recipient withheld for, uh, privacy?):
Well that was a bust. At least you’re spared my rantings. For today.
Howdy kidz! It’s Monday Morning, which is the absolute bestest time to read legislation! And read legislation we shall. Don’t go away, this is important! Maybe. Last week, Bill C-11, The Copyright Modernization Act (you should all know that by now), made it out of committee and will come back to the House soon for third reading, passage, then rubber-stamping by the Senate before it gets official Royal Assent. And we now have the details of the amendments that the Committee passed. Note that all the amendments passed were Conservative ones, and all the Liberal and NDP amendments failed. Try to act shocked. Anyway, I thought I would take a look at one of the amendments that directly affects the internet and our favourite method to locate torrent files, isoHunt. Let’s break it down after the jump.
In my business, there are no two more important people than Barry Sookman and Michael Geist. They are the giants of Intellectual Property and internet law in this country, and I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with both of them. What’s fun for the outside observer is that they are on opposite ends of the ideological spectrum. Sookman is a corporate guy working to protect the economic rights of the big boys, while Geist is sort of a Lawrence Lessig disciple who stands up for the little guy but who some believe goes a little too far in his disdain for a lot of legitimate protection for rights holders. This has led to some epic pissing matches between the two (though usually done politely), one just a month ago. The latest volley was lobbed yesterday, as Sookman wrote a piece that was, well, hmmm. Not so nice? I can’t really explain it. Join me after the jump for the juicy blockquotes.
Anonymous is all over Canadian news yesterday and today. I have been trying to avoid discussing them (it?) since I started this blog for fear of alienating any potential future corporate clients. I do have to make a living, you know. But I cannot ignore a big story that is all about law and the internet in Canada. Let’s dig through the muck after the jump.
I am currently hammering out a piece on the new policy for The Gazette’s Legal Matters. I’ll update this post with a link to that when it gets published, assuming they don’t reject it for my fucking salty language.
UPDATE – And here is The Gazette article. Fuck it’s not too bad. Enjoy!
UPDATE #2 – Check out what’s the most poular story on The Gazette right now:
Since both of my most faithful readers have sent this to me (tap of the gavel to Steve and moe), I guess I should post it. Also, all video of evidence of my CTV Newsnet appearance seems to have vanished due to the vast anti-privacy conspiracy, so you need something to watch.
“The State has no business in the hard drives of the Nation.” I want that on a T-shirt, pronto.
So, Bill C-30. Man that shit really blew up last week, didn’t it? It was such a disaster, respectable news organizations like CTV Montreal have turned to your barely respectable blogger for an interview today on the noon news (update – check the video player on the right at montreal.ctv.ca and click on Newsmaker: Allen Mendelsohn for the vid). Want a preview of what I am going to say? Join me for a tour through the Bill after the jump.
1. Bill C-11, the Copyright Modernization Act that I’ve written so much about, passed second reading and was sent off to Committee. As there was never a Canadian Schoolhouse Rock, you probably don’t know how a bill becomes law in this country. Here’s the process. The point is that C-11 is one step closer to law, and the Conservatives are making good on their promise / threat to get this done with as little further discussion and debate as possible.
2. Today, the government introduced Bill C-30 to the House, with the official title of the Act to enact the Investigating and Preventing Criminal Electronic Communications Act and to amend the Criminal Code and other Acts. You may hear it referred to as “lawful access legislation.” You may also hear it referred to as “internet surveillance” or “online spying” legislation. Ominous! And it is. Basically it will allow the police to get customer info from ISPs and telephone companies without a warrant. This means that they can find out you’ve been on https://www.fuckvideos.xxx/ even though you’ve done nothing wrong or illegal. Oh, and also force the ISPs to install technology that will let the cops monitor online activities in real time. The government says if you are against that kind of thing, you are pro child-porn. Well that’s a little harsh, just because someone wants to watch a little porn online doesn’t mean they’re going to watch child porn, there are thousands of legal adult porn sites online like https://www.fuckedtube.xxx/ to name just one of them.
I’m going to actually read C-30 and will prepare a more detailed post about it in the coming days. In the meantime, Geist has a good primer, and here’s the Parliament page about it. Let’s all not jump to conclusions. I am sure internet surveillance in real time can’t be that bad, can it?
EDIT: This post has been edited to reflect the correct name and number of the second piece of legislation, Bill C-30. In fact, I was looking at an older version of the bill that did roughly the same thing. It was misreported in the first story I had linked to, but that link has now been updated as well. I sincerely regret the error and apologize to my 3 readers.
HUGE day in internet law in Canada. No, really! The Supreme Court has issued a ruling that is a win for the ISPs (Bell, Vidéotron, etc.). Now normally I wouldn’t support anything that is a win for those robber barons, but in this case I’ll make an exception, because the Court came down for common sense. Deets after the jump.
In all the hubbub over the SOPA/PIPA protest last week, we missed a story that dropped Friday that is pretty important. Turns out that Rogers is throttling. Big surprise! And the CRTC does not like it one bit. Deets after the jump.