• - 2023-09-29 -

    In a 2-1 decision, the Federal Court of Appeal has affirmed a lower court decision that found that Google Search did not qualify for an exception to PIPEDA for the collection, use, or disclosure of personal information for journalistic, artistic, or literary purposes.

    The decision arises from a reference brought by the Privacy commissioner of Canada in respect of whether Google Search was subject to PIPEDA, Canada’s private sector commercial privacy legislation. Google argued that it was not engaged in commercial activity when it provided search results, and that any search results leading to journalistic content would qualify for PIPEDA’s exception for journalistic, artistic or literary purposes.  At first instance, Associate Chief Justice Gagné concluded that in offering Search, Google was in fact offering a commercial service and that it did not qualify for the journalism exception. 

  • - 2023-09-29 -

    CIPPIC has enjoyed success in its intervention in the appeal of a denial of default judgement in a file-sharing case:  Voltage Holdings LL.C. v Doe #1, 2023 FCA 194.

    In 2022, Voltage Pictures sought default judgement against a number of unnamed defendants alleged to have either directly shared files of a movie or to have allowed their internet connections to be used for that purpose. CIPPIC intervened in the motion, arguing that Voltage had not made out its case and in any event was proceeding on an incorrect theory of “authorization” of infringement. Justice Furlanetto refused to grant the motion for the reasons CIPPIC argued.

    Voltage appealed, arguing that Justice Furlanetto had erred in two ways:

  • - 2023-06-26 -

    The Federal Court, for a second time, has denied Voltage permission to proceed in its class lawsuit for file-sharing.

    Procedural Background

    In 2016, Voltage Pictures LL.C. sought to certify a class proceeding for copyright infringement against a class of unidentified internet subscribers alleged to have been found sharing movies online through the BitTorrent file-sharing protocol. To succeed in bringing the class proceeding forward, Voltage had to convince a judge that the requirements of the test for certification of a class action had been met, namely:

    (1) the pleadings disclose a reasonable cause of action;

    (2) there is an identifiable class of two or more persons;

    (3) the claims of the class members raise common questions of law or fact;

    (4) a class proceeding is the preferable procedure for the just and efficient resolution of the common questions of law or fact; 

    (5) there is a suitable class representative; and

    (6) the plaintiff must propose a workable plan for advancing the litigation and keeping class members informed.

  • - 2023-06-15 -

    CIPPIC is pleased to announce the publication of two reports today that raise concerns with Bill C-27, the federal government’s legislative proposal to reform Canada’s private sector privacy laws.

    Our first report, entitled “Every Child Left Behind,” details how the proposed Consumer Privacy Protection Act (“CPPA”) fails to adequately protect the privacy rights of Canada’s children. C-27’s provisions to protect the privacy rights of children are unjustifiably weak, and they fall far short of the measures being enacted in peer jurisdictions—such as California and the United Kingdom—to protect children’s online privacy. Our report suggests several potential amendments to the CPPA that, in our view, are well within the federal government’s powers to enact.

    Our second report, entitled “Planned Obsolescence,” details the shortcomings of the proposed Artificial Intelligence and Data Act (“AIDA”) by benchmarking it against the European Union’s proposed AI Act. Our report recommends that AIDA be strengthened in at least three ways: by extending its coverage to the federal public sector, by providing clearer definitions for key terms, and by reforming its proposed accountability structure to ensure effective enforcement.

  • - 2023-03-16 -

    CIPPIC today released a report highlighting several additional problems with the federal government’s proposed Online News Act, which seeks to extract money from large online companies like Google and Facebook to help fund Canadian journalism. The new report, entitled Bad News, highlights how key provisions of the Online News Act may be vague to the point of being unconstitutional, while excluding many of the most dynamic sectors of the evolving Canadian news media landscape from financial support. The report also details how the Online News Act undermines longstanding exceptions to the Copyright Act that are meant to protect the public interest, while also distorting Canadian digital policy away from regulating the toxic, ad-supported business models of major Silicon Valley companies. The reliance the Online News Act places on extracting profits from big tech companies to fund Canadian journalism may well explain the weakness of Bill C-27, the federal government’s much-delayed privacy reform bill, which fails to adequately regulate targeted digital advertising. CIPPIC’s report is authored by student intern Lexie Misterski, who is a second-year law student at the University of Ottawa, and its director, Vivek Krishnamurthy. The full text of our report can be downloaded by clicking here.

  • - 2022-10-30 -

    CIPPIC has filed its Responding Memorandum of Fact and Law with the Federal Court of Appeal in Voltage v Doe. The appeal involves CIPPIC’s successful intervention in Voltage Pictures’ motion for default judgement in one of its numerous mass copyright infringement proceedings in the Federal Court of Canada. Voltage had sought judgement against 30 anonymous internet subscribers whom Voltage had alleged it had caught sharing one of its movies through BitTorrent and who had failed to file a Statement of Defense.


    CIPPIC’s argument comes down to three core positions:


  • - 2022-10-24 -

    CIPPIC Director Vivek Krishnamurthy highlighted the risks that Bill C-11 poses to the right to free expression in Canada and beyond in his testimony before the Senate Standing Committee on Transport and Communications on October 18, 2022. By extending Canada’s incredibly broad definition of “broadcasting” and “programs” to practically all audiovisual content online, subject only to the weak and confusing exceptions for “social media”  provided by s. 4, Bill C-11 provides an ideal template for authoritarian governments to emulate in regulating social media content for their own ends. Bill C-11’s provisions in this regard are especially problematic since they are tied to measures that seek to promote what the government defines as “Canadian content” on social media services. The danger of such a regime in the online sphere is clear to see as increasingly authoritarian countries like India seek to strip members of minority communities of their citizenship rights. Krishnamurthy’s Senate testimony is available to view on the Parliamentary website.

  • - 2022-10-24 -

    CIPPIC is looking for a bold and dynamic technology lawyer to join our team as a Staff Counsel! Working closely with CIPPIC's staff and students, our new Staff Counsel will advance CIPPIC's mission of promoting the public interest in technology law and policy debates in Canada and beyond. This is a unique opportunity for an early career lawyer with an interest in law and technology or in law teaching to join the CIPPIC team and make a real difference on the development of law and policy in areas from copyright to privacy to telecommunications law.

    The Staff Counsel's work includes: 
    - representing CIPPIC and external clients before courts and administrative tribunals; 
    - participating in legislative, administrative, and multi-stakeholder processes relevant to CIPPIC's mandate; 
    - engaging with the public on these issues by speaking to the media and developing educational materials; and
    - working closely with CIPPIC's law student interns on all of the above and provide them with an outstanding clinical legal educational experience.

  • - 2022-10-13 -

    Professor Jane Bailey offered submissions on behalf of CIPPIC at the hearing of R v Downes, an important voyeurism case. This issue before the Court involved the interpretation of the "place" provisions of the Criminal Code's prohibitions against voyeurism. These provisions protect Canadians against surreptitious observation and recording when we have a reasonable expectation of privacy and are in “a place in which a person can reasonably be expected to be nude...”.


  • - 2022-07-15 -

    The Supreme Court of Canada today released its long-awaited decision in Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada v. Entertainment Software Association, 2022 SCC 30.

    Canada amended its legislation in 2012 to, in part, implement Canada’s obligations under the 1996 WIPO Copyright Treaty. The Treaty included an obligation to ensure that authors’ rights include the right to benefit from “pull” technologies - business models that make content available to consumers at a time and place of their choosing (in contrast to “push” technologies like radio, where the broadcaster determines the time and place).  At issue was the impact of the "making available" provisions of the Copyright Act: do these entitle copyright owners to payment for making a work available to stream, and a second payment when the stream actually occurs?