Topic Internet law basics

All spam in Canada to disappear July 1, 2014

spammmmmmm

Last Wednesday, the government announced that Bill C-28, aka Canada’s Anti-Spam law, aka CASL, aka “An Act to promote the efficiency and adaptability of the Canadian economy by regulating certain activities that discourage reliance on electronic means of carrying out commercial activities, and to amend the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Act, the Competition Act, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act and the Telecommunications Act” (no really that’s its official title, click the link) will come into force July 1, 2014, thus putting an end to spam in Canada forever. Or something like that.

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Quebec Court of Appeal declares your Terms of Use useless

It's a nice building

The Court of Appeal of Québec and its multiple phallic columns

It has been a very busy couple of weeks for internet law in Canada. Last week, the Supreme Court of Canada declared Alberta’s privacy law unconstitutional and essentially junked the whole thing. This week, the Conservative government introduced Bill C-13, the so-called “Cyberbullying legislation”, which some are already calling a bullshit excuse for more of the lawful access crap we had with Bill C-30. That’s some important stuff I’ll write about eventually, I swear. But I want to go back to the heady days of two weeks ago, when the Quebec Court of Appeal made a ruling against eBay that essentially makes my job drafting Terms of Use a complete waste of time. That’ll teach me to charge people hundreds of dollars an hour for it.

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Tour the interwebz with a lawyer as your guide

It may take a while

As the summer winds down, we’ve been feeling kind of philosophical. What does it all mean, and all that. As a practicing lawyer, I tend to focus on the little picture. We’ve got a problem, it relates to one thing, we try to solve it. FOCUS, dammit. That translates to the way I’ve written here at AM.com. A new piece of legislation passes, an interesting court case comes out, some government body releases a report, and we write about the minute details of a very small slice of law and the internet. We’ve never really looked at the big picture and the big issues. Until now.

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Some thoughts on online defamation because apparently I am an expert now

pssstt....If you have read the news in the last couple of weeks, or turned on CBC radio, or listened to talk radio, you may have read some quotes from me or heard the dulcet tones of my voice. I have been media whoring like, well, a media whore. Last week it was the Brian Burke lawsuit. This week it was the sad story of the British Columbia teacher who was totally screwed by his ex-girlfriend online and is still suffering for it. These cases have brought to light the messy ugly side of the internet. Or as some people have argued, a terrible overreaction in the Brian Burke case. Let’s use these cases to talk about online defamation, what you should know about it, and the effects on you as both a potential plaintiff and defendant, you cocksucking whore (see what i did there?).

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P0rn! Star Trek!

Now that I have your attention…

These are the slides for a presentation I gave last Thursday to the cool kids at the Intellectual Property, Information Technology and Policy Club of McGill’s Faculty of Law, which I thought you might enjoy. It really has porn and Star Trek in it! Unfortunately you don’t get the awesome banter I am famous for, but it’s still a fun presentation nonetheless. Did I mention Star Trek? And porn, the kind you see on www.tubev.sex?

As Scribd converts documents to PDFs when you upload, the YouTube videos in the presentation are unplayable from the slides. Here they are, in order:

Rhymin’ and Stealin’ Slide 6

Mister Worf, Fire the Mashups Slide 18

Oh, Pretty Woman Slide 24

Pretty Woman Slide 24

Just one more vid Slide 31

For the tl;dr crowd, here’s the conclusion of the presentation: you can be creative online, but you better not be a pirate and make any $$$ doing it.

Farewell Bill C-30, we hardly knew ye

better luck next time Vic

Greetings, internet denizens! Sorry for the lack of posting lately. I think the internet took the month of January off, so there was really no news to report. But yesterday, there was good news! The Conservative government has decided to kill Bill C-30, the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act, or as we liked to call it around here, the Vic Toews is an Idiot Act.

We wrote quite a bit about C-30 and its various nefarious schemes. Suffice it to say, when a Federal Minister says things like “you are either for this bill or you are a child molester” (I’m paraphrasing, but not by much) there is going to be some media attention. The internet exploded with rage (as it is wont to do) at the bill last February, and the government seemed shamed somewhat. Yesterday’s announcement was too long in coming yet welcome, and was an obvious reminder that people who actually know about the internet (i.e. me) must be listened to.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, in describing what changes the future might hold, said yesterday that amendments or modernization of Canadian law:

“will not contain …warrantless mandatory disclosure of basic subscriber information or the requirement for telecommunications service providers to build intercept capability within their systems.”

Let’s just leave that here for posterity to remind the government of its position on this, if when they bring up “lawful access legislation” again.

“Lawful” Access Shenanigans!

Vic vic vic [sigh]It’s been my dream to use the word “shenanigans” in a blog post for a long time. I really love the word; it’s got such a nice old-timey feel to it. So what would you call a bunch of ISPs, telecom companies, and industry groups getting together with the government in secret before the introduction of Vic Toews’ old friend, Bill C-30, The Catching Sexual Predators / Internet Spying / “Lawful” Access Bill? You are correct, sir. SHENANIGANS.

So Michael Geist (or more likely his army of students) did some yeoman’s work in filing an Access to Information request. They hit the motherload. Let Mr. Geist explain what they found:

in the months leading up to the introduction Bill C-30, Canada’s telecom companies worked actively with government officials to identify key issues and to develop a secret Industry – Government Collaborative Forum on Lawful Access.

Lovely! So in January 2012, a bunch of industry types and government reps sat down for a meeting. All the big boys were there – Rogers, Bell, Vidéotron. After some coffee and delicious muffins (or so I assume, maybe they were danishes), they sat around and figured out how to fuck over their subscribers at the government’s request. Fun! Just so you know they were serious:

representatives have been granted Government of Canada Secret level security clearance and signed non-disclosure agreements

So we’ve got the country’s oligopolisitic media / telecom companies and the government colluding in secret to try to pass legislation no one in the public wants. Just another day at the office.

“Happy” 4/20: Weed, the internet, and the law

Gotta love Willie!Whoa, duuuuude. It’s, like, 4/20 today. Recently, much has been made of florida marijuana laws in the ever-growing struggle for legalization, but the war seems to be going in the right direction. While you’re out there joining Willie and Woody and all our weed heroes celebrating, I’m here to like, totally bum you out man. Better turn on some Bob Marley or something while you read about all the ways you can get into trouble at the crossroads where weed and the internet meet. But first, if you are looking for a new pipe to enhance your cannabis smoking experience, then go to https://fatbuddhaglass.com/ to take a look at some of the latest products. There is no time like the present when it comes to celebrating 4/20 after all!

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Everything about Bill C-30 Vic Toews doesn’t want you to know

Check @Vikileaks30So, 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.

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Hot Parliamentary action this week

It looks so civilisedHoo boy, big week for internet law in Canada, in the House of Commons. Two important things are happening / have happened:

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.

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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