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  1. The body of a man found shot inside a burned out vehicle in Canada three years ago has been identified as that of Davis Wolfgang Hawke, a prolific spammer and neo-Nazi who led a failed anti-government march on Washington, D.C. in 1999, according to news reports. Homicide detectives said they originally thought the man found June 14, 2017 in a torched SUV on a logging road in Squamish, British Columbia was a local rock climber known to others in the area as a politically progressive vegan named Jesse James. Davis Wolfgang Hawke. Image: Spam Kings, by Brian McWilliams. But according to a report from CTV News, at a press conference late last month authorities said new DNA evidence linked to a missing persons investigation has confirmed the man’s true identity as Davis Wolfgang Hawke. A key subject of the book Spam Kings by Brian McWilliams, Hawke was a Jewish-born American who’d legally changed his name from Andrew Britt Greenbaum. For many years, Hawke was a big time purveyor of spam emails hawking pornography and male enhancement supplements, such as herbal Viagra. Hawke had reportedly bragged about the money he earned from spam, but told friends he didn’t trust banks and decided to convert his earnings into gold and platinum bars. That sparked rumors that he had possibly buried his ill-gotten gains on his parents’ Massachusetts property. In 2005, AOL won a $12.8 million lawsuit against him for relentlessly spamming its users. A year later, AOL won a court judgment authorizing them to dig on that property, although no precious metals were ever found. More recently, Hawke’s Jesse James identity penned a book called Psychology of Seduction, which claimed to merge the “shady world of the pickup artist with modern science, unraveling the mystery of attraction using evolutionary biology and examining seduction through the lens of social and evolutionary psychology.” The book’s “about the author” page said James was a “disruptive technology pioneer” who was into rock climbing and was a resident of Squamish. It also claimed James held a PhD in theoretical physics from Stanford, and that he was an officer in the Israeli Defense Force. It might be difficult to fathom why, but Hawke may have made a few enemies over the years. Spam Kings author McWilliams notes that Hawke changed his name with regularity and used many pseudonyms. “I could definitely see this guy making someone so mad at him they’d want to kill him,” McWilliams told CTV. “He was a guy who really pushed people that way and was a crook. I mean, he was a conman. That was what he was and I can see how somebody might get mad. I can also see him staging his own death or committing suicide in a fashion like that, if that’s what he chose to do. He was just a perplexing guy. I still don’t feel like I have a handle on him and I spent the better part of a year trying to figure out what made him tick.” The father of the deceased, Hy Greenbaum, has offered a $10,000 reward to any tipster who can help solve his son’s homicide. British Columbia’s Integrated Homicide Investigation Team also is seeking clues, and can be reached at [email protected] Source
  2. Clearview AI ruled ‘illegal’ by Canadian privacy authorities Image Credits: Design Cells (opens in a new window)/ Getty Images Controversial facial recognition startup Clearview AI violated Canadian privacy laws when it collected photos of Canadians without their knowledge or permission, the country’s top privacy watchdog has ruled. The New York-based company made its splashy newspaper debut a year ago by claiming it had collected over 3 billion photos of people’s faces and touting its connections to law enforcement and police departments. But the startup has faced a slew of criticism for scraping social media sites also without their permission, prompting Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to send cease and desist letters to demand it stops. In a statement, Canada’s Office of the Privacy Commissioner said its investigation found Clearview had “collected highly sensitive biometric information without the knowledge or consent of individuals,” and that the startup “collected, used and disclosed Canadians’ personal information for inappropriate purposes, which cannot be rendered appropriate via consent.” Clearview rebuffed the allegations, claiming Canada’s privacy laws do not apply because the company doesn’t have a “real and substantial connection” to the country, and that consent was not required because the images it scraped were publicly available. That’s a challenge the company continues to face in court, as it faces a class action suit citing Illinois’ biometric protection laws that last year dinged Facebook to the tune of $550 million for violating the same law. The Canadian privacy watchdog rejected Clearview’s arguments, and said it would “pursue other actions” if the company does not follow its recommendations, which included stopping the collection on Canadians and deleting all previously collected images. Clearview said in July that it stopped providing its technology to Canadian customers after the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Toronto Police Service were using the startup’s technology. “What Clearview does is mass surveillance and it is illegal,” said Daniel Therrien, Canada’s privacy commissioner. “It is an affront to individuals’ privacy rights and inflicts broad-based harm on all members of society, who find themselves continually in a police lineup. This is completely unacceptable.” Doug Mitchell, an attorney for Clearview, said: “Clearview AI’s technology is not available in Canada and it does not operate in Canada. In any event, Clearview AI only collects public information from the Internet which is explicitly permitted under PIPEDA. The Federal Court of Appeal has previously ruled in the privacy context that publicly available information means exactly what it says: ‘available or accessible by the citizenry at large.’ There is no reason to apply a different standard here. Clearview AI is a search engine that collects public data just as much larger companies do, including Google, which is permitted to operate in Canada.” Updated with comment from Clearview AI. Source: Clearview AI ruled ‘illegal’ by Canadian privacy authorities
  3. How the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine differs from those already approved in Canada Ottawa has tentative deal to make millions of doses of vaccine candidate in Canada U.S.-based company Novavax has developed what's called a recombinant protein vaccine. It says harmless copies of the coronavirus spike protein were grown in insect cells. Scientists extracted and purified the protein and then mixed in an immune-boosting adjuvant. (Phil Noble/Reuters) The Novavax vaccine, now closer to joining Canada's COVID-19 inoculation program, differs from the two vaccines Canadians are currently receiving to guard against the respiratory illness, primarily because of how it's engineered to induce an immune response in the body. It's a protein subunit vaccine, meaning it uses nanoparticles of a lab-grown spike protein that mimics the natural spike protein on the surface of the novel coronavirus and which helps the virus bind to cells and cause infection. When the particles are injected into the body with an adjuvant — a compound that enhances immune response — the body learns to recognize and fight off the virus. Protein subunit vaccines don't elicit as strong an immune response as whole virus vaccines, so they often include an adjuvant. Novavax uses a proprietary adjuvant called Matrix-M, which is based on a type of compound found in many plants called a saponin. The company says it boosts the body's immune response and generates a bigger immune response with a lower dose. The tried-and-true method of making a custom copy of a virus spike protein has been used to develop vaccines against HPV, hepatitis B and influenza. The Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, on the other hand, use a newer approach. Both use messenger RNA (ribonucleic acid) technology, or mRNA, which the Centers for Disease Control says has been studied for more than a decade. Those vaccines give genetic instructions to the cell on how to make a piece of the spike protein that is unique to the virus that causes COVID-19. Maryland-based Novavax says its two-dose vaccine, which will be administered 21 days apart, remains stable at 2 C to 8 C, meaning it only needs basic refrigeration. Pfizer's vaccine needs to remain frozen before use at –70 C, while Moderna's vaccine needs to be stored at –20 C. Official guidelines say doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine should be given 21 days apart, while Moderna recommends spacing shots 28 days apart. Early findings from U.K. research show the Novavax vaccine appeared to be 86 per cent effective against a new variant of the virus first reported in Britain and 60 per cent effective against the variant circulating in South Africa, the company said on Jan. 28. The efficacy against the original strain of virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to be around 95.6 per cent. WATCH | Officials provide update on vaccine deliveries to Canada: Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin briefed reporters in Ottawa Thursday on Canada's vaccine procurement and distribution program. 2:40 Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada has signed a tentative agreement for Novavax to produce tens of millions of doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in Canada once it's approved for use. Novavax is still conducting clinical trials, but if Health Canada approves the vaccine, a new National Research Council-owned facility in Montreal will begin pumping out doses when the building is finished later this year. It would be the first COVID-19 vaccine to be produced in Canada. Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne says the Montreal facility should be in a position to produce the vaccine "by the end of the year." Novavax has said it plans to develop a new vaccine aimed specifically at the variant found in South Africa. WATCH | Growing concern about COVID-19 variants in Canada: COVID-19 numbers are falling, but Canadian health officials are becoming increasingly concerned about the presence of two coronavirus variants. A variant first found in the U.K. has been confirmed in three provinces while a variant first discovered in South Africa variant has been found in two provinces. 4:15 Corrections An earlier version of this story said the Novovax vaccine's efficacy against the original strain of virus was thought to be 89 per cent. It is 95.6 per cent. Feb 03, 2021 10:42 AM ET Source: How the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine differs from those already approved in Canada
  4. The European Commission has published an updated list of foreign countries with problematic copyright policies. One of the highlighted countries is Canada which, according to the EU, has too broad copyright exceptions. In addition, the EU suggests that Canada should implement a takedown requirement to ensure that infringing content is swiftly removed by online services. The Canadian Government is no stranger to having its copyright policies critiqued. The US Trade Representative, for example, has repeatedly placed its northern neighbor on a “watch list” because it fails to properly deter piracy. While Canada has made several changes to its copyright regime in recent years, many rightsholders are not satisfied. Through political pressure from foreign governments, they hope to urge the country to address what they see as problematic issues. This doesn’t only take place through the US Government – the European Commission is chiming in as well. Repeating many of the points that were previously highlighted by the USTR, the Commission summarized its main complaints in a report on the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in third countries “The Canadian IPR system still features certain shortcomings. Despite recent positive developments, a number of issues remain to be addressed, in particular in copyright and related rights as well as in enforcement,” the European Commission writes. One of the highlighted problems is Canada’s fair dealing rules, which add educational use to the list of copyright infringement exceptions. According to the EU Commission, the language used in the law is too broad, damaging the rights of educational publishers. “Broad exceptions in copyright law are applied in a way that appears to be detrimental to right holders. EU stakeholders are particularly concerned about the fair dealing exception for educational purposes and the exception for non-commercial user-generated content,” the Commission writes. The same issue was previously pointed out by the US Government. That’s also true for the second problem, Canada’s lack of a takedown procedure to ensure that infringing content is removed by online service providers. Canada previously implemented a “notice-and-notice” scheme. This only requires services to alert infringing parties, but it should ideally be complemented with a takedown requirement, the Commission notes. “Stakeholders indicate that the ‘notice and notice’ regime for online copyright infringements, which came into effect in January 2015, still needs to be supplemented by a ‘notice and take down’ requirement, as well as by other measures to encourage all players to address online infringements in an effective way,” the Commission writes. “There is currently no requirement for the internet service provider (ISP) or the user to take down infringing material and the only way to enforce a takedown is via the courts,” it adds. The repeated use of the term “stakeholder” shows that the Commission heavily relies on input from copyright holders. While this is common, it may not be the most balanced approach. Finally, the Commission also points out that many pirate websites are still hosted in Canada. This is a concern, it writes, as rightsholders are not able to request an injunction to have websites blocked by ISPs. That last complaint is outdated, as Canada’s Federal Court recently issued the country’s first website blocking order. This is likely because copyright holders already submitted their complaints before that happened. All in all the complaints are nothing new for Canada’s Government so whether they will make an impact has yet to be seen. The country previously wasn’t very impressed by “one-sided” foreign complaints on its copyright policies. Canada is working on an update of its copyright law. Earlier this year, the Government’s Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology clearly rejected a non-judicial site-blocking regime, while it advised keeping the current safe harbor policy intact. A copy of the European Commission’s Report on the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in third countries is available here (pdf). Source
  5. Prime minister delivers address from self-imposed quarantine Parliament shuttered and curbs on international travel Canada has unveiled aggressive new measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak, shutting down parliament and advising against foreign travel, even as Justin Trudeau urged citizens to remain calm in a national address delivered from self-imposed quarantine. “We have an outstanding, we have outstanding public health authorities who are doing an outstanding job. We will get through this together,” said the prime minister, who has been in self-isolation after his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday.In his address on Friday, Trudeau said he remained symptom free. “Of course, [working from home] is an inconvenience and somewhat frustrating. We are all social beings after all,” he said. “But we have to do this because we have to protect our neighbours and our friends – especially our more vulnerable seniors and people with pre-existing conditions.” Officials announced a raft of new measures including closing parliament for five weeks and redirecting incoming international flights to a small number of airports as part of enhanced screening measures. The government also announced it will ban cruise ships with 500 people from docking in the country’s ports until 1 July – but stopped short of closing the borders. “Borders don’t stop travellers. Travellers find other ways into countries. Travellers become less honest,” said Patty Hajdu, the county’s health minister. “Canada’s approach from the very beginning has been to use science and evidence.” Instead, the government has asked Canadians to avoid non-essential travel outside the country and to limit contact with crowds. “Social distancing is an important contribution that everyone can make to our control efforts,” said Theresa Tam, the country’s chief public health officer. “This means avoiding crowded places and non-essential gatherings, considering shopping or taking public transport in off-peak hours and greeting one another with a wave or elbow instead of a handshake, kiss or hug.” So far, Canada has conducted more than 15,000 tests and has 157 confirmed cases of the virus, most of which have been found in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia, she said. Despite the relatively low number of cases, the federal government and provinces have acted swiftly in recent days. British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec have all banned events larger than 250 people. Ontario, the country’s most populous province, will close schools for two additional weeks following spring break, as will Quebec. “The actions you take today will save lives,” Hajdu said. “This is a serious public health threat, and a crisis as well as an emergency.” As the country prepares for a slowdown, driven by both the coronavirus and a plunge in oil prices, Trudeau said his government plans to green-light a wide-scale economic stimulus plan in the coming days. “We are in the enviable position of having significant fiscal firepower available,” he said. Alberta’s premier, Jason Kenny, has called on the federal government to announce a stimulus of at least C$20bn (US$14.3bn) – roughly 1% of the country’s gross domestic product – to offset the looming economic impact of the virus. “We need to design policies that will really help liquidity and cashflow for businesses that are uniquely affected right now,” he said on Thursday. The prime minister has not yet put a figure on the stimulus plan, but said the action will target Canadians who are most vulnerable to a downturn. “No one should have to worry about paying rent, buying groceries, or additional childcare because of Covid-19. We will help Canadians financially.” Source
  6. Vader - formerly one of the most visible brands in the pirate IPTV space - shut down in May amid mysterious circumstances. As was initially suspected, it's now confirmed the platform was targeted by the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment. Following a secret legal process in Canada, the service is now on the hook for $10 million in damages. There are several large IPTV providers with brands that are well known across the unlicensed industry. One of those was Vader, otherwise known as Vader Streams, or just Vaders. Notable for its Darth Vader logo, the platform served large numbers of direct customers and subscription re-sellers with at least 1,300 TV channels and a library of VOD content running close to 3,000 titles. This May, however, something went seriously wrong. “We have no choice but to close down Vader. We can’t reveal much publically, but by now some of you should know through the other means what happened,” a notice posted to the site’s Telegram channel read. “We tried everything in our power to avoid this, to avoid any outage, but enough people worked against us.” With that, Vader went down, never to appear again. As highlighted in our subsequent review of the Vader closure, we had strong suspicions that anti-piracy giant the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) had become involved. We’d obtained an unverified copy of what looked like a cease-and-desist notice, apparently sent by ACE members to Vader, over its VOD content. Unable to confirm its authenticity, we made a decision not to publish it. However, it’s now 100% clear that ACE, the global anti-piracy company made up of dozens of powerful content companies, did indeed shutter Vader. And it’s now evident why they refused to comment. ACE proceeded against Vader through a secret court proceeding in Canada through which it obtained a so-called “Anton Piller” order, a civil search warrant that grants plaintiffs no-notice permission to enter a defendant’s premises in order to secure and copy evidence to support their case, before it can be destroyed or tampered with. A similar process was used against TVAddons founder Adam Lackman in 2017. While the case against Lackman is moving forward at glacial speed more than two years later, the Vader matter now appears to be over. After obtaining a permanent injunction from the Federal Court in Canada, ACE has shuttered the service and landed Vader with a bill for $10 million in damages. According to ACE, Vader must also “cede administrative control” over its entire “piracy infrastructure”, permanently cease-and-desist from doing anything in future connected to offering, selling, or promoting unlicensed streams, and/or developing, updating, hosting or promoting any Kodi add-ons connected to pirated content. “On behalf of all ACE members, I applaud the Court’s decision to permanently put an end to piracy operations conducted by Vader Streams,” Charles Rivkin, Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, said in a statement. “Actions like these can help reduce piracy and promote a dynamic, legal marketplace for creative content that provides audiences with more choices than ever before, while supporting millions of jobs in the film and television industry.” Robert Malcolmson, Senior Vice President Regulatory Affairs and Government Relations, Bell Canada – a prominent ACE member – described the action by the Federal Court as “strong and appropriate”, adding that “illegal streaming services like Vader Streams cause serious harm to creators and distributors, the entire broadcasting and cultural sectors and ultimately Canadian consumers.” While ACE says that Vader must “cede administrative control” over its entire “piracy infrastructure”, it remains unclear what that means in real terms. At the time of the shutdown, Vader said that it was “going to make sure, no Email, IP, account + reseller name goes to the wrong hands. Everything will be wiped clean and that’s all.” VIEW: Original Article.
  7. GATINEAU, QC, Oct. 28, 2019 /CNW/ - The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) has been joined by privacy commissioners from around the world urging for the recognition of privacy as a fundamental human right, vital to the protection of other democratic rights. Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien and his international counterparts have adopted a resolution on privacy as a fundamental human right and precondition for exercising other fundamental rights in Tirana, Albania at the 41th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners. The United Nations declared privacy an inalienable and universal human right in 1948, and in 1966 the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights reaffirmed the central role that privacy plays in democracy. Since then, over 80 countries worldwide have enshrined privacy rights for individuals in their laws and regulations. "This resolution plays an important next step in the commitment to privacy as a fundamental human right worldwide," says Commissioner Therrien. "Privacy plays a vital role in enabling other key rights, such as human dignity, freedom, equality and democracy. It also supports responsible innovation by promoting trust in both government and business." The resolution, an initiative of the OPC, notes growing support and increased calls from civil society, academia, media organizations, legal professionals and others to assert and protect privacy rights globally. It calls on governments to reaffirm a strong commitment to privacy as a right and value in itself, and to ensure legal protections. It asks legislators to review and update privacy and data protection laws, and encourages regulators to apply relevant laws to activities in the political ecosystem. Finally, it calls upon businesses to show demonstrable accountability across commercial activities; civil society organizations (including media and citizens) to exert their privacy rights; and for all organizations to assess risks to privacy, fairness, and freedom before using artificial intelligence in their activities. The OPC also co-authored a resolution on cooperation between data protection authorities and consumer protection and competition authorities. The office co-sponsored four other resolutions: Resolution on the promotion of new and long-term practical instruments and continued legal efforts for effective cooperation in cross-border enforcement Resolution to address the role of human error in personal data breaches Resolution on the Conference's strategic direction (2019-21) Resolution on social media and violent extremism content online About the Privacy Commissioner of Canada The Privacy Commissioner of Canada is mandated by Parliament to act as a guardian of privacy in Canada. The Commissioner enforces two laws for the protection of personal information: the Privacy Act, which applies to the federal public sector; and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, Canada's federal private sector privacy law. SOURCE Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada For further information: Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, [email protected] Related Links https://www.priv.gc.ca Source
  8. The company behind the war drama film The Outpost has filed a mass copyright infringement lawsuit in Canada. The statement of claim targets 841 'Doe' defendants who allegedly downloaded and shared the movie, demanding an injunction plus damages under the Copyright Act. The claim states that all defendants ignored two warnings to cease and desist. Mass lawsuits targeting Internet subscribers who allegedly downloaded and/or shared copyrighted material have been a common tactic for content companies over more than 15 years. The targets are nearly always BitTorrent users since without using a decent VPN, they are easy prey for anti-piracy companies. The practice is widespread in the United States and in many countries across Europe but Canada is also popular with mass litigants, who are often labeled ‘copyright trolls’ due to their tactics. Statement of Claim Filed in Federal Court of Toronto Filed on September 23 by Outpost Productions, Inc., the action targets 841 IP addresses allocated to the same number of ‘Doe’ defendants, none of whom are currently known by name to the plaintiffs. It’s alleged that each person downloaded and/or uploaded the 2020 war drama movie ‘The Outpost’ in breach of copyright law. According to the claim, the defendants shouldn’t be surprised that they are being targeted. After their infringement was detected on BitTorrent networks, they were each sent a notice via their ISPs informing them that they had been observed online sharing the movie. If they stopped at that point, no further action would be taken, they were told. No Defendants Responded or Took the Advice to Stop After the first notices were sent out, an anti-piracy company working on behalf of Outpost Productions continued to monitor BitTorrent swarms sharing the movie. During this period, it was possible to determine that the 841 IP addresses listed in the claim were still downloading and/or sharing the content days and in some cases weeks later. As a result, they were sent a second notice, again via their ISP. “As a result of each Defendant’s failure to respond to the First Notice and his or her continuation of the Unlawful Acts, a second notice..was sent to the Defendant by Counsel for the Plaintiff after the forensic software detected that the same IP address was offering for upload the same work,” the plaintiffs write. “This Second Notice indicated that the work had not been removed and that legal action may be taken as against such Defendant. The Defendant failed or refused to respond to the Second Notice and continued his or her Unlawful Acts.” The claim notes that it is illegal under the Copyright Act to make content available for download, advertise a work for download, and illegal not to take “reasonable, or any, steps” to ensure that the person downloading the work is authorized to do so by law. ISPs Log IP Addresses By Time and Date At this stage the true identities of the Does are not known by the plaintiffs but the claim notes that their respective ISPs carry time and date logs that allow them to correlate an IP address to the identity of a specific customer. “The ‘customer’ may be the infringer of copyright, in particular if the assigned IP address is only used by a single device,” the claim adds, cautiously. However, even if the IP address is shared with multiple devices, the customer “should have, and ought to have, the knowledge of who was using the customer’s internet account at the specifically identified date and time.” While the plaintiffs believe that it will be possible to trace an IP address to an ISP customer, they further note that “further examination of the customer” may be necessary. Identifying Who Actually Infringed is More Difficult Households with an ISP connection often have several users, each doing their own thing on their own devices. This can cause problems when trying to pin a specific act on an individual using the same IP address as everyone else. This eventuality is tackled in the claim by holding the person who pays the bill responsible for the actions of everyone else. “(s)ome of the Defendants may not be the direct infringer, but through negligence or wilful blindness has authorized others to do the foregoing acts, including the Unlawful Acts. In this regard, the Plaintiff pleads that each Defendant possessed sufficient control over the use of his or her internet account and associated computers and internet devices such that he or she authorized, sanctioned, approved or countenanced the infringements…,” the claim adds. There are 841 IP addresses listed in the lawsuit and while we haven’t researched every single one, a random sample of around 100 reveals that the addresses are registered to well known Canadian ISPs including Bell, Eastlink, Rogers, SaskTel, TekSavvy, and Telus Communications. Claim for Injunction and Damages The main goal in this and all similar claims is for the plaintiffs to receive financial compensation for the alleged actions of the infringers while preventing any infringement from continuing. In respect of the former, that can only be achieved once alleged infringers have been identified by their ISPs. That is usually achieved via a so-called Norwich Order, which allows plaintiffs to bring an action against an innocent third-party (in this case ISPs) tied up in some wrongdoing to compel them to participate in a discovery process, i.e matching IP addresses to names and addresses, before handing those lists to the plaintiff. Historically, TekSavvy is the most obvious ISP when it comes to the possibility of protecting its customers from being identified but whether it will put up a fight in this matter is currently unknown. While the plaintiffs urge the court to prevent the defendants from continuing to infringe, the Doe defendants are being sent a copy of the case by the court, advising them that if they do want to put up a defense, they must do so within 30 days of receiving the claim. This and Earlier Cases Linked to Millenium Media As reported in February, more than 3,300 defendants are being targeted in similar actions brought by companies behind the movies Angel Has Fallen and Rambo: Last Blood. In common with The Outpost, all entities are directly connected to Millenium Media, whose affiliates sued and then reached a settlement with torrent site YTS. Part of that settlement involved YTS handing over user data to the companies in question, something that is now resulting in alleged pirates being sued in the United States. There is currently no suggestion that YTS data is being used in the present action. A copy of the Statement of Claim can be found here (pdf, via Excess Copyright) Source: TorrentFreak
  9. Canada's Federal Court of Appeal has to decide whether the country's first pirate site blocking order can stay in place. Internet provider Teksavvy objected to the far-reaching measures but, according to a new filing from media companies Bell, Rogers, and TVA, website blocking is lawful and much-needed. Last year Canada’s Federal Court approved the first pirate site blocking order in the country. Following a complaint from major media companies Rogers, Bell and TVA, the Court ordered several major ISPs to block access to domains and IP-addresses of the pirate IPTV service GoldTV. There was little opposition from Internet providers, except for TekSavvy, which quickly announced that it would appeal the ruling. The blocking injunction threatens the open Internet and is not permitted under Canadian law, the company argued. Landmark Case What started out as a small copyright case against a relatively unknown IPTV provider transformed into a landmark court battle. If upheld, the order would open the door to dozens, if not hundreds, of similar blocking requests. As such, the appeal attracted widespread interest. Over the past months, various stakeholders had their say in court, to oppose or support the site-blocking measures. Last week, respondents Rogers, Bell and TVA filed their memorandum of facts at the Federal Court of Appeal, to argue in favor of the blocking order. The three companies are copyright holders but Bell and Rogers are also Internet providers, which means that they themselves have to implement site blocking as well. They will gladly do so of course, as they see no other option to bring online piracy to a halt. Pirates Continue to Evolve According to Rogers, Bell and TVA, pirates continue to evolve. Over time, this has made it harder to stop them, especially when the operators of pirate sites and services are anonymous. “Over the years, the tools used to distribute infringing content have moved from physical media, to satellite signal piracy, to peer-to peer Internet systems, to online streaming. Each new technological advance brings infringing content closer to users, while at the same time allowing infringers to move away from the spotlight and remain anonymous,” the companies write. The companies started this legal battle by filing a lawsuit against the pirate IPTV service GoldTV. This resulted in a court order that required the operators to halt their activities. However, the order was simply ignored. With few other options left, the rightsholders asked for a site-blocking injunction, which was granted. According to TekSavvy, this order violates Canadian law and regulation, which is now the focus of the appeal. Site Blocking Not Mentioned in Copyright Act One of the main contested issues is whether courts can grant site-blocking injunctions under Canada’s Copyright Act. According to TekSavvy, they can’t, as this enforcement effort isn’t specifically mentioned in the law. This is where Canada differs from many other countries where site-blocking injunctions were issued. In the EU, for example, the availability of site-blocking measure injunctions is codified in the European Parliament’s Copyright Directive. TekSavvy argued that without a specific or explicit mention in the law, blocking injunctions shouldn’t be granted. However, in their memorandum, the copyright holders disagree. They argue that courts should have “unfettered discretion” to issue any type of injunction if a party’s copyrights are at stake. “In order to argue that a type of injunction is unavailable, it is therefore not sufficient to demonstrate that the Copyright Act does not explicitly grant that power. Rather, a clear statutory restriction of the Court’s inherent injunctive powers must be identified,” they write. Net Neutrality? Another argument that was brought up in the appeal deals with net neutrality. TekSavvy mentioned that the Canadian telecoms regulator CRTC is the proper authority to decide on blocking orders. After all, ISPs are not allowed to meddle with traffic without CRTC’s approval. Bell and the other rightsholders disagree. They note that, in this case, the ISPs don’t decide unilaterally to block content. They do so following a court order, which should be allowed. “The present case does not involve a common carrier unilaterally controlling or influencing the content it carries at its own discretion,” they write. “Rather, it involves the Court concluding that a communication is illegal on a strong and uncontested prima facie basis and, as a result, enjoining common carriers to block access to that content” Bookstore Analogy The copyright holders go into detail on a variety of other issues and also touch on the possible freedom of expression concerns. To illustrate this, TekSavvy used a bookstore analogy where ISPs were ordered to remove “books” from “virtual shelves”. This is not disputed by Bell, Rogers and TVA. They follow the analogy but stress that, in this case, the books are clearly illegal and that the “authors” and “publishers” (the pirate IPTV service) can’t be reached. “While the injunction under appeal ‘removes books from the virtual shelves’ of ISPs serving the majority of Canadian Internet users, these ‘books’ do not contain expression that could attract Charter protection, and they are clearly illegal,” they note. As with every appeal, it will ultimately be up to the court to decide the outcome. Depending on one’s own conviction, there is something to say for both sides. However, it will ultimately depend on how the Federal Court of Appeal interprets the law. — A copy of the memorandum of fact and law, submitted by Bell, Rogers and TVA, is available here (pdf) Source: TorrentFreak
  10. Canada's Federal Court of Appeal has to decide whether the country's first pirate site blocking order can stay in place. It's a far-reaching decision that has gained the interest of a wide range of copyright holder groups. A few days ago, representatives from the music, publishing, and sports industries requested to be heard as well. Two years ago, Canadian broadcasting giants Groupe TVA, Bell, and Rogers took the relatively small pirate IPTV service GoldTV to court. What started as a straightforward copyright lawsuit soon became much more than that. With the pirate site not responding, the rightsholders requested an injunction requiring local ISPs to block the service. Fast forward a few months and Canada became the first North American country to implement a court-ordered Internet provider blockade of a pirate site. This was a big win for the three companies whose plan for a Government-sanctioned pirate site blocking scheme was previously denied. And, given the interest in site-blocking orders around the world, it was likely just the start. While most ISPs accepted the order without protest, TekSavvy appealed. This appeal is ongoing and has gained the interest of many copyright groups, which would all like to have their say in court. Last week, several companies and groups representing the music industry, publishers, and sports organizations, asked the Federal Court of Appeal to have their say in the matter. As so-called intervenors, they plan to stress the importance of pirate site-blocking. The first filing comes from the International Confederation of Music Publishers (ICMP), Music Canada, and IFPI. They inform the court that their opinion should be heard as they have vast experience with anti-piracy measures, which they believe are vital to the survival of the music industry. The music organizations inform the court that they have “significant international experience” when it comes to “effective enforcement” against Internet piracy. This includes site-blocking efforts in other countries. In addition, they argue that they have a good understanding of the broader implications of these anti-piracy measures, which can guide the Federal Court of Appeal to make the right decision. “[A]s representatives of the music industry, which has long been at the forefront of the battle against online copyright piracy, the Music Industry Associations seek to assist the Court in understanding the broader impacts of its decision across the cultural industries,” their submission reads. The second motion to intervene comes from a broader group of rightsholders. This includes several publisher groups, such as the International Publishers Association, and sports companies, including the Premier League and streaming service DAZN. Similar to the music industry, the groups offer to bring their own unique perspective to the table. They argue that their respective industries are harmed by piracy and see site-blocking as a prime tool to limit the effects. The groups don’t agree with Teksavvy’s argument that blockades violate freedom of speech values or rights and would like to present their own argument in court. In addition, they also counter similar arguments from United Nations Special Rapporteur David Kaye, who previously warned that website blocking is an extreme measure that could restrict people’s freedom of expression. “The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression analysis is flawed, is inconsistent with the international jurisprudence, and should not be relied on by this Court,” the publishing and sports groups write. In their motion, the groups acknowledge that any site-blocking decision should balance the interests of copyright holders, ISPs and internet users. However, they believe that the scale clearly tips in their favor. The Federal Court of Appeal will now review the motions to see if the music industry, publishing and sports organizations can have their say in court. If anything, this broad interest shows that if Teksavvy loses the appeal, many more site-blocking applications are expected to come in. A copy of the motion from the music groups is available here (pdf) and a copy of the publishers and sports groups submissions can be found here (pdf). Source
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