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Let’s read a privacy policy. For fun!

you WILL complyDo you use Google products? Of course you do. You’re probably using one right now. If you do, you got an email last week from Google saying that as of March 1st, you will be covered by their brand-spanking new Privacy Policy. Since there is nothing really exciting in Canadian internet law this week, I thought I’d take some time to read the thing so you don’t have to. As I write privacy policies for a living, I am confident I will be able to handle this task with all the usual straightforward hard hitting legal analysis you’ve come to expect from me. Or I could really pile on the snark. Join me after the jump to find out which one!

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…and we’re back. Protests work? Wow.

teeheeWhen this site along with tons of others went dark yesterday, we just assumed nothing would happen and today we would all get on with our lives. Well fuck me. This protest thing actually worked. Not that SOPA and PIPA have been withdrawn or anything, but a whole bunch of congressmen and senators withdrew their support for their respective bills. That group includes Senators Marco Rubio and Orrin Hatch, who were actually co-sponsors of PIPA, and Congressman Lee Terry who co-sponsored SOPA. Wow. And just as important, the day of protest rose awareness of the bills across the internet and mainstream media alike. I’m almost giddy today at the whole thing.

While the political fallout was great, from a fun point of view without a doubt the highlight of the day was #FactsWithoutWikipedia on Twitter. Absolute brilliant job, Twitterverse. Even yours truly got in on the act. Stupid hilarity like that is what the internet was made for.

Good job all around, internet!

How much more black could this be? None. None more black. SOPA/PIPA blackout tomorrow

smell the glove of SOPAThe internet is a-protesting! Tomorrow, many many important sites will go black to protest the SOPA and PIPA legislation in front of the House and Senate respectively. This blog will join them, leaving all three of my readers in the dark, so to speak. Why should a Canadian protest American legislation you ask? Damn good question. Read this. If you don’t want to read all of that, the simple fact is that the American legislation will have extra-territorial effects. That’s a fancy way of saying that any Canadian site with a .com address could be targeted. Like this one.

Fight the power. Fade to black. See you on Thursday.

http://allen.mendelsohn = $185,000

hey stick guy can you spare $185,000?As of today, ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the internet’s governing body, in a sense), is accepting applications for new generic Top Level Domains, or gTLDs. Don’t worry, I’m out of acronyms. These new gTLDs could be just about anything. What is this and why is this important and / or stupid? You’ll have to find out after the jump. Don’t worry, there’s video to make it fun!

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Happy (totally non-secular) Holidays!

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

Happy friggin holidays!

Kill Bill C-11 Vol. 4: MPs bitch slap each other

It looks so civilized

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.
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Hot SCC copyright action!

Nice house

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.

UPDATE – good Tweeters to follow along the hearings: Geist, Hayes, Glick, me. #SCCcopyrightpentalogy

A personal snark-free (well, mostly) note

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.