The Guardian reports that British Prime Minister, David Cameron, believes that the UK should adopt a US-style “fair use” regime (and as expected, criticized by the music industry, publishers, etc.). Apparently, Cameron was convinced that a company such as Google could not have started up in the UK after Google’s founders explained to him that their service “depends on taking a snapshot of all the content on the internet at any one time”, and felt that the UK copyright system “is not as friendly to this sort of innovation as it is in the United States”. Google’s founders and Cameron …

Where will the next Google come from? Read more »

Last week, the Canadian Intellectual Property Council released a commissioned report on the effects of music file-sharing in Canada.  The report, titled The True Price of Peer to Peer File-Sharing, is based on a study conducted by Dr. George Barker, director for the Centre for Law and Economics at the Australian National University.  Dr. Baker revisited survey data gathered by Industry Canada between 2005 and 2008, which served the basis for a study by Birgitte Andersen and Marion Frenz, titled Don’t Blame the P2P File-sharers: The Impact of Free Music Downloads on the Purchase of Music. In their study, Andersen and Frenz invested …

CIPC Study on P2P File-sharing Doesn’t support its Policy Recommendation Read more »

This post originally appeared on the UofT Faculty of Law Blog on Dec. 8, 2007.  Since it’s still relevant, I’m posting it again. A bill entitled Bill entitled “An Act to amend the Copyright Act” is likely to be handed down next week.  While the bill itself is probably drafted already, its content will be deliberated in Parliament.   Therefore, Canadian policymakers may wish to consider looking at the new copyright act which the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, passed last month (downloadable here, in Hebrew; English translation now available here).  There are at least two reasons to look at Israel’s new act:  one …

What Can Canada Learn from Israel about Copyright Reform? Read more »

Modern trademark scholarship and jurisprudence view trademark law as an institution aimed at improving the amount and quality of information available in the marketplace.  Under this paradigm—known as the search-costs theory of trademarks—trademarks are socially beneficial because they reduce consumer search costs, and as a consequence provide producers with an incentive to maintain their goods and services at defined and persistent qualities. Working within this paradigm, my recent paper refines the search-cost theory of trademarks.  It highlights an important point whose significance hitherto has largely escaped notice, namely that reducing search costs and providing incentives to maintain quality are distinct functions, although they …

The Linguistic and Trust Functions of Trademarks Read more »

The Social Science Research Council submitted a Comment to the USTR about software piracy, as part of the public hearing process for the 2011 Special 301 Report.  The submission cites, and largely echoes, my 2005 paper on network effects and software piracy.  Nice. The SSRC provides the following summary of its submission: Unlike recorded media business models such as the CD and DVD businesses, piracy is not primarily a drain on the software business, but rather a critical part of the business model that allows the building market share in low income countries and the effective locking out of open …

The Social Science Research Council Comments on Software Piracy Read more »