News

  • Pirate websites blocked by the Australian government are used 50 per cent less than a year ago after increased efforts from entertainment companies to stop illegal video sharing sites.
  • Copyright is not a private exclusionary property interest that needs to be weighed against the public interest. To be clear, it is indeed an exclusionary property interest (at least in theory) but it does not exist in opposition to the interest of the public. To my mind, it is indisputable, if rarely observed or acknowledged, that the public at large has a significant, indeed fundamental, stake in ensuring conditions that incentivize and nourish original creative expression.
  • For years, producers of creative content—from individual artists to mass-media corporations—have tried to engage with internet companies (mainly Google) in an effort to stop the facilitation of rampant, unlicensed access to their material. Whether the complaint is millions of unlicensed works on YouTube, or search results leading users to pirate sites, copyright owners are all-too familiar with the dual response We can’t and We shouldn’t. This is shorthand for the internet industry’s standard claim that they can’t effectively police their platforms; and even if they could, they shouldn’t because freedom.
  • Last week Fairplay Canada filed an application with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), asking for a new tool to help Canadian creators to combat online theft of their content by illegal piracy websites. It proposed that the Canada’s telecom regulator create an independent agency to identify websites and services that are “blatantly, overwhelmingly, or structurally engaged in piracy”. Following a fair procedural process, the agency could recommend that a site be blocked by ISPs. Then, if the CRTC agreed, that quasi-judicial administrative agency could use its lawful authority to order ISPs to block the site.
  • As a province that takes pride in its creative economy, tackling rampant online content theft that robs B.C.’s artists and creators of fair compensation for their work is long overdue. There is now a meaningful initiative to address this growing problem that increasingly undermines the business model of content creators and distributors, and hinders efforts to promote and sustain made-in-Canada content in the digital age.
  • Canadians and Kiwis have a lot in common. For one thing, they both live in the shadow of larger neighbours who tend to take them for granted. It is particularly galling when a stranger mistakes a Canuck or a Kiwi for one of those culturally-dominant larger neighbours because of an
  • Picking up on the piracy-doublespeak theme of my last post, let’s highlight a favorite talking point among piracy advocates and apologists, the one that goes like this: If the major producers were just smart enough to make works available conveniently and affordably, people would stop pirating. That was always a lie. And it’s been proven a lie by the filmed-entertainment industry because a huge volume of content—more than any normal person has time to watch—has been made conveniently and affordably available, and yet piracy continues to increase. More than that, piracy has become so sophisticated that potential new users of pirate sites don’t have to be sophisticated at all.
  • Representatives from platforms thought to include Google, Facebook and Twitter will meet with five EU Commissioners today to discuss progress in tackling the spread of illegal content online. While focus is being placed on terrorist propaganda and hate speech, intellectual property rights infringements are also high on the agenda.
  • As the founder and CEO of homegrown independent movie distribution company Anticipate Pictures, the 29-year-old has been acquiring and screening gems like German comedy Toni Erdmann and Syrian documentary City of Ghosts - highly-acclaimed but niche titles that otherwise would not have made it to the big screens in Singapore - over the past year.
  • The public debate about Internet piracy is typically seen as pitting the interests of producers versus the interests of consumers. On one hand, the empirical evidence is clear: piracy hurts producers by reducing the amount of money they can make from their creative efforts.

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