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Technology law column by Michael Geist

Corporate Giants Call for Copyright Compromise

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Under most circumstances, Telus and Rogers Communications fiercely compete in the marketplace.  The same can be said for Google and Yahoo!, the world’s two leading rival Internet search companies.  Yet last week these companies joined forces with a who's who of the telecom, Internet, retail, and broadcast communities in a single cause - the call for fair and balanced copyright reform.

The Race Toward Clean Cloud Computing

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Imagine a world where most of the functions of our personal computers - running applications, communicating, and storing data - would not take place on those computers but rather at massive computer server farms located in remote locations and linked through high-speed networks.  This is not the stuff of science fiction but rather "cloud computing,"  one of the hottest Internet and computing trends.

Technology Plays Key Role in Obama Success Story

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The U.S. Presidential primary season is in full swing with millions of Americans ready to vote this week in the "Super Tuesday" group of state primaries.  The surprise of the campaign thus far has been the emergence of Democratic Senator Barack Obama, who is battling Senator Hillary Clinton for his party’s nomination.  

Is Prentice's Copyright Bill Born in the U.S.A.?

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With Industry Minister Jim Prentice preparing to unveil his controversial copyright bill, there has been considerable speculation about the role that the U.S. government has played in pressuring Canada to move on the copyright file.  U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Wilkins has been very vocal, repeatedly, if misleadingly, claiming that Canada's copyright laws are the most lax among the G7 nations.  

ISPs Face New Role in Network Control

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As digital technologies and the Internet began to emerge in the mid-1990s, many content companies responded by betting on the ability of technological protection measures to re-assert the control that was rapidly slipping from their grasp.  The vision of control through technology required considerable coordination - the insertion of encryption on content distributed to consumers, cooperation from electronics makers to respect the technological limitations within their products, and new legal provisions to prohibit attempts to pick the new digital locks.

Fair Copyright Provides Prentice With Reform Roadmap

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With the continued interest in Canadian copyright reform - the Fair Copyright for Canada Facebook group has grown to over 38,000 members and the local chapters across the country are gaining significant momentum - the most frequently asked question I receive is "what do you think fair copyright reform looks like?"  In other words, we know that tens of thousands of Canadians oppose a Canadian Digital Millennium Copyright Act, but what kind of reform would or should they support?  

Privacy Commissioner Warns Against Copyright Reform's Threat to Privacy

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As Canada's top privacy watchdog, Privacy Commissioner of Canada Jennifer Stoddart regularly appears before House of Commons committee hearings to identify the privacy implications of government bills.  Late last week, Stoddart went one step further by warning against the potential negative privacy impact of legislation that has yet to be tabled.  

Why is there no Canadian MIT?

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In 1999, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) faculty gathered to consider how they could use the Internet to advance knowledge and educate students around the world in science and technology.  The result was an ambitious plan - make the Institute’s course materials, including syllabi, lecture notes, and exams, freely available online for a global audience.

Eight Tech Law Issues To Watch in 2008

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Predicting the future of Canadian technology law is challenging at the best of times, but with upcoming national elections in the United States and possibly Canada, prognostications for the next twelve months are admittedly likely to be about as accurate as a coin flip. With that caveat in mind, I offer up eight issues to watch in 2008.

The Letters of the Law: The Year in Law and Technology from A to Z

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The past twelve months marked another remarkable year in law and technology featuring business developments, policy decisions, lawsuits, court rulings, and new legislation that will have a profound long-term impact on the Internet in Canada. From A to Z, there was rarely a dull moment in 2007.

A is for Access Copyright, the copyright collective that launched a $10 million lawsuit against Staples and the Business Depot over a decidedly old copying technology - photocopiers.

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