Thursday, May 29, 2008

Hands off my laptop

The Canadian Press and CanWest are reporting that the Canadian government is seriously considering implementing an Anti-counterfeiting law that would, among other things, permit ex parte searches for allegedly infringing materials. This raises the spectre of customs and border enforcement authorities searching laptops, ipods and other electronic devices.

Copyright deal could toughen rules governing info on iPods, computers

....The deal would create a international regulator that could turn border guards and other public security personnel into copyright police. The security officials would be charged with checking laptops, iPods and even cellular phones for content that "infringes" on copyright laws, such as ripped CDs and movies.

The guards would also be responsible for determining what is infringing content and what is not.

The agreement proposes any content that may have been copied from a DVD or digital video recorder would be open for scrutiny by officials -- even if the content was copied legally.

"If Hollywood could order intellectual property laws for Christmas what would they look like? This is pretty close," said David Fewer, staff counsel at the University of Ottawa's Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic. "The process on ACTA so far has been cloak and dagger. This certainly raises concerns." ...

In light of the private copying exception that is in the current Copyright Act, I can't imagine that a border guard has any ability to determine whether an MP3 is "infringing".

1 comment:

Demosthenes said...

Would PIPEDA have a role in protecting Canadian citizens from this type of thing, or does international treaty overrule it?