Patents & Copyrights

A letter in the Hill Times from CLUE's policy coordinator

This October 30th, 2006 issue of the Hill Times includes 3 letters to the editor in response to Canadian Recording Industry Association lobbyist Barry Sookman's opinion piece titled "Copyright reform: let the light shine in". The last of these letters is from me, and ends by noting that "The letter-writer is policy coordinator for Canada's Association for Open Source".

CLUE policy coordinator at the Alternative Telecommunications Policy Forum

CLUE supporters might ask what Telecommunications Policy has to do with Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS), and why I would be at the Alternative Telecommunications Policy Forum. My interest in FLOSS came out of my interest in community networking where networks and the software that controls them are decentrally controlled. It turns out that many of the recent and most controversial "copyright" related policies that threaten FLOSS, such as anti-circumvention policy (legal protection for DRM, DMCA, 1996 WIPO treaties), is also a derivative of telecommunications policy discussions, but with the opposite vision of these networks.

A perspective on the freelance journalism case from CLUE: Canada's Association for Open Source.

On October 12, 2006, the Supreme Court of Canada released a decision in a case first launched in 1996 by Heather Robertson, a freelance journalist, and Thompson Corporation, the then-owner of the Globe and Mail. (Citation: Robertson v. Thomson Corp., 2006 SCC 43)

e-gov in Canada is a myth

Today I received two pieces of information. One was my copy of Computerworld in which there was an article about how Michigan aims to emulate Canadaś e-gov. The second piece of information was in a note from Russell McOrmond about the slow response to petitioning against Bill C-60.

Education Ministers' Copyright Proposal Needs a Rewrite

Education Ministers' Copyright Proposal Needs a Rewrite - As thousands of children across the province return to school tomorrow, nearly everyone will be asking "what did you do this summer?" If the question were posed to Education Minister Sandra Pupatello, her candid reply might be that she was working with her fellow Provincial Ministers of Education on reforms that will have damaging consequences on Internet use in Canada.

US Supreme Court to hear "sw patents vs open source" case

Opponents of proliferating software patents who see them as a threat to open source software may finally get their day in court--the U.S. Supreme Court.

The case involves two brake pedal manufacturers. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a legal advocacy group, has filed a friend of the court brief in the case of KSR International v. Teleflex. The two parties will be arguing whether Teleflex has patented the right to put electronic sensors on brakes. The EFF has signed on to argue that the U.S. Patent Office's increasingly loose grants of patents is hurting innovation in many fields, such as electronic brake sensors, but that it's particularly worrisome for open source code development.

The rest of the story is at Information Week.

More CopyCamp information

The CopyCamp website has been updated with answers to many questions, providing more information for those thinking of attending this event in Toronto from September 28 to the 30'th. This event will bring together people from the arts community, the Free/Libre and Open Source Software community, and others interested in creativity and copyright together in one conference. The full list of questions includes:


  • What is CopyCamp?
  • What is an unconference? What is a camp? Is this one?
  • Who is running CopyCamp?
  • Is it free? Is it expensive?

FACIL monthly presentation: downloading, copyright and the recent infamous DADVSI French law

FACIL, is holding an event on Friday the 11th of August 2006, 18h00 at the CRIM (550 Sherbrooke O., suite 100, near metro McGill).

Read the English translation of the announcement. I will be there to help clarify where Canada differs from the French process and law.

FACIL is a non-profit organization that promotes the use of Free Software in Quebec.

Torvalds' comments on GPLv3 committees refuted: Looking for feedback.

A NewsForge article by Bruce Byfield includes:

Torvalds' comments should probably be read in the context of his statement that his particular concerns, notably the mention of DRM, have not been addressed. Yet, in fact, they have been. In an interview with NewsForge, Eben Moglen, who heads the revision process, specifically mentioned that some changes in the second draft were specifically made in response to Torvalds' concerns. Apparently, the changes were not enough to satisfy Torvalds, who has ideological differences with the FSF, but that is no reason to condemn the process itself as hypocritical.