March 31, 2004

Great news for all Canadian Monkeys. Looks like sharing copyrighted material is legal in Canada. For now.
  • This is great. To Kazaa! This was all very confusing to me until I read the comparsion to libraries. From the article: In that recent case, the Supreme Court ruled that libraries were not "authorizing" copyright infringement simply by putting photocopy machines near books. The libraries were justified in assuming that their customers were using the copiers in a legal manner, the high court ruled. So, making something available to share does not mean that you're distrubting. Thank god for our courts.
  • That Canadian Supreme court decision is well worth reading. It is a very well reasoned and broad ruling with implications for all aspects of copyright in Canada. That case concerned photocopiers in libraries but the court went out of their way to explore all the aspects of copyright that could be affected by their ruling, rather then making a narrow decision that would only lead to more confusion. It's nice to see this new court decision makes the logical ruling that creating the potential for a crime is not the same as actually committing the crime. A crime is not what the RIAA says it is. I am particularly worried about Canada ratifying the WIPO treaties however, as they've been heavily subverted by the media conglomerates.
  • I don't have time to read the decision right now, but while it is certainly a good ruling, it's not necessarily authoritative. Given the other concerns he cited - that ISPs weren't the only practical source of getting at identity, or that there are privacy concerns - he may not have actually decided the case based on the copying reasoning. I realize I'm being a huge law geek saying this. I'm wondering if it isn't more directly analogous to the recent U.S. case with Verizon where they didn't have to turn over information, since they were only responsible for info held on their own servers. I'll ask my Intellectual Property law prof tomorrow and report back, I'm sure she'll have skimmed the case at least. I, on the other hand, have to do my assigned reading for that class instead. :)
  • There are monkeys in Canadia? Do they wear knit caps, drink Molson Ice, and talk "aboot" stuff? (/flings poo and hides behind a tree)
  • *puts beer down, adjusts toque, assumes fighting position* come on out from behind that tree jim_t, and i'll show you what canadian monkeys are all abOUT...!
  • livii, that's interesting to mention the privacy concerns. It's something that had been mentioned and emphasized for the time leading up to the ruling, but it seems almost absent from most of the articles serving as summary. I guess everyone is looking for a definitive answer on the filing sharing question and can overlook the other factors that were involved. I'd definitely like to know what a prof would have to say about the whole case. I'm sure that I'm missing some interesting analysis on all this.
  • "Before it constitutes distribution, there must be a positive act by the owner of the shared directory, such as sending out the copies or advertising that they are available for copying." Isn't sharing a directory via p2p "advertising"?
  • correct me if i'm wrong: wasn't there some sort of tax on Canadian CD's that covers the "cost" of copying them?
  • What the hell do you mean "cost"? /musician
  • Canada has a Private Copying Tariff added to the cost of blank media such as CDRs or MP3 players. The collected money goes to the Canadian Private Copying Collective which represents songwriters, recording artists, music publishers and record companies. So, in a sense, in buying blank media in Canada you are putting money into the hands of the music industry under the presumption you are using the media to opcy music whether your blank media is used to copy music or not.
  • I wonder how long it will take for the RIAA to lobby for an invasion of Canada.
  • Alright, here are my class notes on the ruling. Basically, my prof said that since this was a Federal Court ruling, and the parts on copying were not structured as obiter, it's an authoritative ruling and would put CRIA in a tight spot (although she hemmed and hawed on it for a while). HOWEVER, she's not convinced that it would stand up on appeal to the Federal Court of Appeal (which CRIA is going to file), and she called the findings "most peculiar" and said the judge made the most "extraordinary comments." Part of the problem is that the judge dealt with s.80(1) of the Copyright Act, which deals with the private copying exception. He said that downloading songs for personal use was not infringement. BUT, there are very specific words in that section, such as that personal copying must be to a specified blank audio medium (which are subject to tariffs, as discussed above) and computer hard drives or internet servers are not part of that definition. There might be leeway in that it's a very narrow exception that can lead to bizarre results, but for now, it's the law, so his decision could be overturned on that point. Also, in linking this to the CCH case (the law library case discussed above), he said there was no difference in the evidentiary situations. However, my prof feels (as did I when I read that case) that the context in CCH was extremely important, and informed the court's decision. The context here is really different, so she said this was a "questionable and surprising" finding. She also thought the finding that there was no evidence of distribution was very surprising. The possible positives are that CCH and another recent copyright case, Theberge, both sent a strong message that we have to balance user rights against creative rights, especially since creative rights were previously over-favoured. So this could be an example of a lower court responding to that message. Don't know if that helps any.
  • livii, thanks for posting those notes... you've effectivly taken away any of the excitement I had about the ruling... just too many questions it seems. The link to the Copyright act is interesting. The Question I have is what happens if I intend to move those files to a specified medium? That is, what if they are on the hard drive just as an intermediate step in the process? How does the law deal with something like that?
  • Sorry for sucking the excitement out, bah... Someone actually asked that very question in class today, but unfortunately, she kept interrupting the prof and I couldn't really follow the answer. I think the law, essentially, isn't prepared for that type of question. :) I know that's a shitty answer, sorry.