Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Could Copyright Reform Make Googling Illegal?

The Globe and Mail's Jack Kapica is asking the question because Bill C-60 to amend the Copyright Act could make it illegal for anyone to provide copyrighted information through "information-location tools".

The question is being raised by Ottawa copyright lawyer Howard Knopf, of the law firm of Macera & Jarzyna Moffat & Co.

According to Knopf, the draft language "suggests that the reproduction and caching activity done by Google (...) and similar essential research tools would be illegal in Canada. It could be read by a court as a 'deeming' provision, which was hopefully not the intention (...) it could turn search and archive engine providers into enforcers for alleged copyright owners, some of whom will surely use their notice powers for abusive purposes. Or it may be a wedge for yet another instance of a tariff to be collected by an aggressive copyright collective."

One hopes that this is nothing more than exaggerated worrying. No doubt, this issue will be settled as the Bill winds its way through Parliament but the fact that this can even be raised is a good indication of the complexities of digital copyright issues.

In another story about copyright and search tools, the New York Times is reporting that the non-profit Internet Archive is being sued. [See also the article on the issue Law Firm Accused of Internet Hacking]

The Internet Archive stores snapshots of websites taken at different times and makes them available through the Wayback Machine search tool. By viewing old cached copies of Internet websites, you can prove what used to be shown on a particular Web page. So, for example, a party could determine when an infringer started selling goods in violation of trade-mark, for example.

In a lawsuit filed in Federal District Court in Philadelphia, a company is claiming that access to its old Web pages stored in the Internet Archive's database was unauthorized and illegal under 2 U.S. statutes, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

The plaintiff is alleging a variety of causes of action, including copyright infringement, conspiracy, trespass, and intrusion.

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share Subscribe
posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:19 pm


Post a Comment

<< Home