Google v. Equustek: Unnecessarily Hard Cases Make Unnecessarily Bad Law

Google "G" LogoWhen lawyers say that hard cases make bad law, they usually mean that extreme or unusual circumstances provide poor basis for making legal rule that would have to be applicable to a wider range of more common cases. Sometimes the phrase describes cases that involve a party whose hardship draws sympathy even if its legal case is weak. But sometime hard cases can make good law, when they present smart judges with difficult dilemmas and force them to think hard and deep on their ruling and its broader consequences. Yet courts don’t always choose the cases that come before them and the possibility of a hard case making bad law is an occupational hazard of the legal system. Read more ›

Posted in Blog, Copyright, Patent, Trademarks

Productivity Commission: Tales of the Widespread Demise of Canadian Publishers are Just That

Earlier today, Australia’s Productivity Commission released its long-awaited Inquiry Report on Intellectual Property Arrangements. The Productivity Commission was set up by statute to provide the Australian Government independent research and advisory body on a range of economic, social and environmental issues, in order to help governments make better policies, in the long term interest of the Australian community.

The lengthy report and its recommendations should be of interest to many readers of this blog. With respect to copyright, one of the Commission’s main areas of study was whether Australia should adopt an open and flexible fair use regime and abandon its currently restrictive fair dealing approach. The Commission strongly recommends that it does. Of particular interest is the Commission’s analysis (and emphatic rebuttal) of the various claims made by copyright holders’ groups on the allegedly devastating impact of the recent developments in Canadian copyright law on Canadian authors and publishers. Read more ›

Posted in Blog, Copyright, Copyright Collectives, Stationers

The Copyright Board of Canada: A Regulator Lacking a Theory of Regulation

emblemI appeared today before the Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce, in the course of its study of the operation and practices of the Copyright Board of Canada. Here is my testimony: Read more ›

Posted in Antitrust / Competition Law, Blog, Copyright, Copyright Collectives, Stationers

Digital Exhaustion: North American Observations

The Castaway, 1908 Kindle Edition

The Castaway, 1908 Kindle Edition

My book chapter Digital Exhaustion: North American Observations has been published in the Research Handbook on Electronic Commerce Law, edited by John A. Rothchild. Read more ›

Posted in Blog, Copyright, My Research, Stationers

Fair Dealing: Have We Had Fair Use All Along? (HKU Public Lecture in IP)

HKU lawtec logo

I am excited and honoured to give the Hong Kong University Public Lecture in IP next Wednesday, Nov 9, 2016. The title of my lecture is “Fair Dealing: Have We Had Fair Use All Along?”

The lecture is based on this book chapter.

Conventional wisdom holds that while the fair use doctrine in the United States is omnipresent and flexible, fair dealing, its Commonwealth cousin is more rigid and can only apply to the specifically enumerated statutory purposes. Fair use, on this view, is an American invention—foreign to the copyright traditions of the rest of the common law world.
Reflecting on the recent Canadian experience, and exploring its relevance to Hong Kong, Professor Katz will recount the history of fair use and fair dealing. He will argue that that the distinction between a US-style open-ended fair use and fair dealing is a myth that can be laid to rest. Rather than being a foreign legal implant, embracing an open-ended fair dealing is not only possible under the current legislation, but also provides the most internally, historically, and constitutionally coherent only interpretation of the Canadian Copyright Act.

Date/Time: November 9, 2016 (Wed) from 1pm – 2pm
Location: Academic Conference Room, 11/F Cheng Yu Tung Tower, HKU

More details here.

Posted in Blog, Copyright, Copyright Collectives
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