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Teksavvy vs Voltage File Sharing Case Back in Court This Week

November 9, 2015 Leave a comment

Teksavvy and Voltage were back in court today exclusively over costs.  As some of you may remember, movie studio Voltage is seeking the identity of ISP Teksavvy users who allegedly shared the movie “The Buyers Club” over peer to peer file sharing networks.  Voltage wants to sue the Teksavvy users over copyright infringement, and Teksavvy was ordered to provide the info of users identified by Voltage sharing their movie.

This case will set a precedent for the telecom industry in Canada on how copyright complaints will be dealt with in the future.  As many of you remember I’ve commented a great deal on this case.  A summery of the policy debate I was a part of regarding this case, and how Teksavvy should have done a lot more to protect it’s customers privacy is here.

In this latest development, it appears that no technical challenge (or any legal challenge) of the evidence is going to be argued by Teksavvy.  Instead “new evidence” is apparently being filed to justify Teksavvy’s costs to take no position in court on the case.  Costs that the court found were excessively high.  IP Lawyer Howard Knopf’s most recent blog on this, is again another must read if you are following the case.  In it Knopf not just criticizes Teksavvy’s legal position but also questions CIPPIC’s role in the case stating:

Although CIPPIC is no longer actively involved on the file, the appeal material was eventually posted here by CIPPIC  late last week and this will be helpful to the public discussion generally and to law students in particular.  It will be recalled that CIPPIC stepped in earlier as an intervener, after Teksavvy took the position that it took no position, and sought adjournments so that CIPPIC could enter the fray. CIPPIC’s role was never entirely clear. It explicitly disclaimed any role in acting for Teksavvy or for the John or Jane Does. It did conduct some cross- examination and referred to the “hearsay” issue – the giant elephant in the room – in its written material in the disclosure motion but did not do so explicitly even once in its oral submissions before Prothonotary Aalto as confirmed by the transcript Teksavvy is trying to file. This may somewhat explain why Prothonotary Aalto’s decision does not once mention the word “hearsay”.

Knopf also went on to say:

According to the transcript of the substantive hearing before Prothonotary Aalto, CIPPIC was apparently more concerned more with broad “public policy” issues than with the more practical question of whether, in light of the BMG decision, there was arguably insufficient substantial, admissible, non-hearsay, and reliable evidence to justify denial of the disclosure motion and thereby stopping the case from even moving forward.

Questions on both Teksavvy and now CIPPIC as to why this case has gone this far when it didn’t have to, and Teksavvy customers privacy assured.

Copyright Notice Scheme Fails in 8 Days Due to Trolls

January 8, 2015 1 comment

Since January 1st 2015, Canadians that download off of bit-torrent started to get “copyright infringement” notices.  I’ve even questioned the amount of money Canadian Internet providers could make on the process.  The questions I raised ended up being used in court.  Today however, many Canadian Internet users are not getting notices of infringement from music publisher BMG. They are receiving legal threats through this system only eight days in.  As Micheal Geist (emphasis added) reports:

The notice falsely warns that the recipient could be liable for up to $150,000 per infringement when the reality is that Canadian law caps liability for non-commercial infringement at $5,000 for all infringements. The notice also warns that the user’s Internet service could be suspended, yet there is no such provision under Canadian law. Moreover, given the existence of the private copying system (which features levies on blank media such as CDs), personal music downloads may qualify as private copying and therefore be legal in Canada.

BMG is using a company called Rightscorp to track infringing users online.  Rightscorp is a well known name in the US for helping launch massive copyright lawsuits against internet users, and is on the brink of bankruptcy.

The notice sent by BMG/Rightscorp (which is viewable on Geist’s post) also threatens to cut off infringing users Internet access (which the law doesn’t permit) and falsely informs Canadian Internet users on the new law.   Users that receive these notices are also asked to pay a $20 fee to make these problems go away.  It’s important to note that if you have received this notice or any other through e-mail, your identity is not currently known.  Geist summarizes:

In a nutshell, Rightscorp and BMG are using the notice-and-notice system to require ISPs to send threats and misstatements of Canadian law in an effort to extract payments based on unproven infringement allegations. Many Canadians may be frightened into a settlement payment since they will be unaware that some of the legal information in the notice is inaccurate and that Rightscorp and BMG do not know who they are.

With Canadian Internet providers making a nice profit off of disclosing their customers information with a court order, will Canadian ISPs stand up to this abuse of the system, or as the case with US telecom, leave Internet users to their own devices and cash in on disclosing their users identities?

Users should not respond to these types of notices or attempt to settle.  It would provide information about you to copyright holders that they don’t currently have, which could include financial information, your address and phone number.

Teksavvy Vs. Voltage Update #2 December 2014

December 12, 2014 4 comments

It’s important to note before I start this blog, that as of January 1st, Canadians will start to become familiar with copyright notices if you download through the P2P networks.

I’ve gone through a lot of the court documents.  This blog has been referenced in court several times on both sides.  Seems that the Teksavvy and Voltage lawyers have been taking note of my journalism.  While I appreciate the readership, I am not happy on how both parties are using this blog, to essentially bill out and gain the upper hand in court.  For TSI’s part it billed out the court to essentially read an online debate with David Ellis I had on this blog regarding his mis-interpretation of copyright/privacy law.  For Voltage’s part, they look to be using one of my blogs they dubbed the “Koblovsky Post” in which I came up with some very limited hypothetical numbers they are trying to use to justify low balling the court. The conduct of both parties in this case is “outrageous”.

I’m still reading through these documents, however I’m writing one final post on this subject.  The rest I will keep to myself, and read whenever I feel an urge to go to a 3rd party ISP.  I will quote from my post on DSLR in which there are serious questions about TSI billing the court for fee’s associated with a new computer system they claim was needed to fulfill the courts request, because TSI is claiming it had a data corruption problem in one of their log files:

The courts in Canada are likely to rule on actual costs (or closest to them). TSI looks to be shooting very high and trying to get as much as they can, while Voltage is shooting very low and trying to pay as less as they can.

TSI will essentially play anything less than what they are asking for as a loss, and Voltage will play anything more as ridiculous. The PR on all sides is becoming rather child like in behavior, representative of how incumbent ISPs act, and does nothing to inform, nor protect affected customers.

I’m still pouring over these documents. I still don’t see any valid justification for a new SQL system. I’m also flattered both parties like my blog, and the hours of personal time correcting Ellis’s views on copyright, to which I didn’t receive a dime for. What I don’t like is TSI trying to get money from the courts to essentially read my blogs, and Voltage trying to use my blog to low ball the court. The purpose of the blogs were meant to inform the public and raise questions on both parties in a public forum, and not to be used in consultation for this case with TSI’s or Voltage’s lawyers. Too me that speaks volumes to the “merits” of both parties in this case, and others involved with it.

There are about 1000 different ways to solve IT problems. Part of what a System Analyst does is go through each of those ways to find the best fit for the best price for the problem and budget. Or if you like, the best and most efficient cost effective way to solve system or data flow problems. Usually new system development takes years of planning, and often is a result of changes in technology. A new system is hardly ever the solution to solve one or a few data problems. Data is data and can be very easy manipulated with existing tech. It’s usually several problems that also effect day to day operations before a new system is considered. There is no justification for purchasing a new system to solve one problem. So arguing costs and tech is exactly what both parties want, but I haven’t seen any justification nor process TSI had to go through (yet) in determining how they reached the ultimate solution of a new SQL system. I haven’t found any technical documents that usually accompany a decision to go to a new system, submitted by TSI.

If I’m missing something here, please quote relevant testimony. I’m still going through everything. I haven’t found one DFD or for that matter one flow chart. These documents are usually drawn up while troubleshooting a data related corruption problem, even if the previous system didn’t have documentation. All I see is hearsay on the justification of a new SQL system, met by a cross examination of a forensics expert on that hearsay evidence (which was a complete farce for both parties). I can’t seem to find any scientific imperial data or documentation that usually comes with the decision for a new system, which should be needed before the court considers any costs associated with the IT of this IMO.

Knopf has also posted on the recent court docs here:

»excesscopyright.blogspot.ca/2014···its.html

While I’m still reading up on the case, I will not be commenting any further on this blog, or to anyone else for that matter. Like Knopf I’ve also said enough in the past.  I’ve just about had enough of being used to add to the bottom lines of both parties, and this blog being used as a pawn in a proceeding I very much disagree with and how both parties have been acting. Giving any more air time on this blog or elsewhere to the two parties involved would be an utter sin without billing $346,480.68 in consultation fees.

Broadcast Standards Council and CRTC to Investigate Media Bias on Copyright

October 23, 2014 2 comments

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council replied to me today regarding my earlier complaint of bias reporting in the media surrounding the issue of fair dealing in copyright law, which was also a point of debate online.  The CRTC will be investigating the CBC’s involvement.   Here is what the Broadcast Standards Council sent to me today:

Dear Mr. Koblovsky,

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has received your correspondence concerning CTV National News with Lisa Laflamme broadcast on CFTO-DT (CTV Toronto) on October 8 and 9, as well as content on CTV.ca and CBC.

The first step in the CBSC’s complaints-resolution process is to ask the broadcaster to respond to you.  So, by copy of this letter, we are asking CTV to respond your concerns about the newscast on TV within 21 days.  We are also asking them to conserve a copy of the official logger file of the broadcast in question.  Most complaints are resolved through this dialogue between the complainant and broadcaster, so we hope that the response you will receive from the station addresses your concerns in a satisfactory manner.

If you are not satisfied with the broadcaster’s response, you can request that the CBSC review the broadcast.  Please fill out the Ruling Request form on the CBSC’s website, at this URL [http://www.cbsc.ca/english/complaint/form-rulingrequest.php?] within 14 days of receiving the broadcaster’s response.

Regarding CBC, The CBSC’s members consist only of Canadian private broadcasters and CBC is a public broadcaster (i.e. it receives funding from the government). We have, however, forwarded this part of your complaint to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) which is an entirely separate organization from the CBSC, and is the government agency responsible for overseeing the Canadian broadcast system and for accepting complaints about public broadcasters and other stations which are not CBSC members.

Finally, in Canada there is no organization that regulates internet content.  The CBSC cannot deal with complaints about internet content, even if that content is related to a CBSC broadcaster member station and posted on their website.  The programming posted online is often different than what was originally broadcast. Since the Codes that the CBSC administers apply only to content broadcast on traditional radio or television, we cannot take any action about your concerns regarding CTV.ca.

If you have any questions or comments about your file, please do not hesitate to contact me and I will be glad to be of service.

Sincerely,

Mrs. Solange Courteau

Communications Coordinator

Canadian Broadcast Standards Council

Rick Mercer: Not Informed or Copyright Troll?

October 15, 2014 1 comment

The answer to the above question may play out in the next few days.  Last night Rick Mercer ranted (more felt like a lecture from my parents) on the issue of copyright.  As many of you may know, I used Rick Mercer as an example of why fair dealing is necessary in my blog post last week.  It appears the answer to the question I posed last week: “Is Canada’s Broadcast Media Consortium Using Attack Ad Scandal to Push Copyright Political Agenda?” is in fact YES!  Mercer has come out with a video strongly suggesting that we should scrap the fair dealing clauses all together:


From Howard Knopf, to Michael Geist, to Ariel Katz, to Dwayne Winseck and Openmedia (who just released their report calling for expanding fair use provisions), disagree with Rick Mercer’s take/position on fair dealing and have commented on the attack ad issue publicly. These are the experts!

A big online debate is about to happen regarding the nations copyright policies, instigated by what I believe to be the big media industry lobbyists from CBC, CTV, Global, Rogers, Bell (copyright extremists or terrorists take your pick, both fit but I like copyright troll the best since nothing has been about attack ads with this group from CBC, CTV, Bell, Rogers, it’s about getting paid) who are holding our newsrooms, journalists and Rick Mercer hostage at the moment, ahead of an election.  Big media hates fair dealing!  The next few days are going to be interesting.

This blog will be following and participating in those debates, so don’t forget to subscribe if you are interested in following this.

More to come…

Conservatives Propose to “Amend” Fair Dealing Not Replace It

October 14, 2014 4 comments

Over the weekend, I’ve had some time to look at the fine print of the “leaked” Conservative Cabinet document of the Conservatives plans to introduce new copyright laws to allow them to legally use news content for political advertising.  Some have strongly suggested that these new plans will allow more privileges to politicians than the public over fair use laws and free speech.  A closer examination of the documents reveal the Conservatives plan to amend (or add to) the copyright act, not replace the fair dealing clauses that apply to the public.  From the very last sentence in the Cabinet proposal on the fair dealing amendment proposal:

“If supported, the amendment would be incorporated into the budget implementation act and enter into force upon Royal Assent”

In the House of Commons last week, Heritage Minister Shelly Glover stated:

“We believe that (using news clips for advertising) has always been protected under the fair dealing provision of the law and if greater certainty is necessary, we will provide it.”

The reasoning for this amendment by the Conservatives to clarify the law, comes as the party is under threat from the big media companies that they would not comply with existing fair dealing legislation that applies to the public, and politicians.

The Conservatives could have done a better job communicating this to the public.  They could have stated the amendment was to the copyright act, not the budget implementation bill.  However Cabinet documents linked to above were leaked internal cabinet documents.  I don’t think they were expecting these to become public, and most likely part of a conversation around how to deal with a threat from the media companies on not complying with fair use, which is a much bigger threat to civil liberties and free speech in this country ahead of an election, than communication missteps from the Conservative Cabinet on this.

Internal CBC documents from the middle of March this year also suggest that the media consortium very well knew how fair dealing worked in this case:

Bzl-i6xCIAA8Wih.png large

Yet the consortium went to air with the notion that the Conservatives were “stealing” (implicating an illegal act) news content, when they knew under law that wasn’t the case.  The public was purposely mislead on the law by the media, using public discourse around attack ads as cover.  That’s a much more serious issue that needs to be addressed ahead of an election where the electorate will be very cautious around what the law is in the next election due to the robocalls scandal.  If we don’t have media acting independent of bias when it comes to reporting on the law in the next election, it will not be a free or fair vote, which is one of the reasons why I’m complaining about the way this has been reported to the public.  I say this as someone who often criticizes policies on this blog as it relates to copyright and civil liberties, and with no political bias.

Ariel Katz Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, who also holds the Innovation Chair in Electronic Commerce, produced an excellent blog this morning on how the media consortium might also be infringing on the competition act:

The Government’s proposal—a proposal that seems to be unnecessary and misguided at once—might have been prompted by an agreement between the major electronic media organizations not to broadcast political ads that contain audio or video content appearing to come from news services owned by CBC/Radio Canada, CTV/Bellmedia, Global/Shaw, or City/Rogers. If what those documents appear to reveal is true, then the document that those documents reveal might be an illegal one, contrary to section 45 of the Competition Act. Thus, a story that broke as a minor (albeit important) news item about copyright reform, may turn out to be a much bigger story about possible violation of the Competition Act by Canada’s major media outlets.

Katz also went on to state (emphasis added):

Attack ads may be distasteful, or even according to some views harmful to the political process, but they are not illegal. Likewise, using excerpts of content from their own programs may be annoying for some broadcasters, but as even some of the broadcasters’ legal advisers agree, the Copyright Act does not prohibit that. If the broadcasters aren’t happy with this state of the law it is open to them to convince Parliament to change the law (within the bounds permissible for such limitation on freedom of expression that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms would permit). Or, better still, they can fight the speech that they don’t like with their own better speech; after all, unlike most Canadian, they have unfettered access to the media—they are the media. What they cannot and should not do is enter into agreements that allows them, by virtue of their control of the most important media outlets, bypass the political process, impose their own wishes, and make their own wishes effectively the law of the land.

My Canadian Broadcast Standards Council Complaint on Media Consortium

October 11, 2014 5 comments

I’m an independent blogger with post-secondary education in Broadcast News from one of CTV’s root schools.  I hold no political affiliation, nor do I belong to any lobby group, or work for/affiliated with any private or public interest group.

On October 8th, CTV broke a story regarding the use of news material in Conservatives attack ads on CTV National News.  On October the 9th, CTV and its affiliates throughout the day ran the follow up to the story, in which many experts disagreed with the original news story that Conservative Attack Ads are stealing content from news agencies. Michael Geist, Dwayne Winseck, Howard Knopf were all interviewed by CTV News Channel on October 9th. These people are a group of media/copyright law experts. During CTV National News, on October 9th, 2014 at approx. 10:08pm EST on CTV News Channel (syndicated throughout the nation at different times), CTV followed up on the story however did not run any opposing views to the narrative that using news content in political attack ads is stealing, to which under fair use provisions in law is not.  In fact the CTV National News Director opted for interviews that using news content for political ads under these circumstances is wrong, when the experts were on record all day in CTV’s newsrooms explaining that it wasn’t.  The news team at CTV National News had ample content canned with opposing views which the news director at CTV National News opted not to use.

https://twitter.com/jkoblovsky/status/520983159429922817

Further documentation obtained through access to information reveals CTV executives (among others involved), concluded that under the fair use provisions of copyright law, using news content for the purposes of political advertising was not wrong under the law, yet CTV who broke the story choose a different narrative (See CTV National News Cast lead story on October 8th, 2014), all while knowing what the law stated around fair dealing, which was utterly misrepresented by CTV.

https://www.scribd.com/doc/242562324/CBC-Political-Ads-ATIP

From what the experts have said, and from the documentation provided, CTV National News has intentionally mislead the public on a matter of policy and law due to what can only be described as self-interest from the CTV National news team.

https://jkoblovsky.wordpress.com/2014/10/10/is-canadas-broadcast-media-consortium-using-attack-ad-scandal-to-push-copyright-political-agenda/

This puts into question journalistic independence on public policy which the CBSC is responsible to investigate, among other agencies.   I would ask that in addition to CTV’s involvement, that the CBSC also follow up on the initial reporting from CBC, Global, Rogers affiliates on this story that aired between October 8th – 9th 2014.  Documentation provided through access to information of these stations executives and news anchors around fair use, paint a very different picture around what they knew of fair use, and what was reported.  Please follow up on this complaint, and provide a detailed investigation on this matter, and how the CBSC plans to rectify the matter within law.

Categories: cdnpoli, Copryight, CRTC, Politics Tags: , , , ,
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