The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

Justin Ling

Internet law

Hosting hate and limits to freedom of expression

By Justin Ling August 18, 2017 18 August 2017

Hosting hate and limits to freedom of expression


Following the events of Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend, The Daily Stormer has been forced to retreat to the darknet.

While the average person was likely be unfamiliar with the site, until recent events, it is infamous in alt-right and far-right circles for its virulent anti-semitism, racism, and all around offensive content.

The Daily Stormer has had its fair share of legal troubles over the years, but the site has managed to stay online.

That changed on Monday, when the site’s host — GoDaddy — announced they would be booting The Daily Stormer from its domain hosting services. When the site moved to Google’s hosting service, they received a similar notice: The site is a violation of the host’s terms of service.

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International law

Google's US court challenge to SCC "repugnant" order

By Justin Ling August 4, 2017 4 August 2017

Google's US court challenge to SCC "repugnant" order

The long-running legal wrangle between Google and Equustek Solutions Inc, a B.C. technology company, is far from over.

In June, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld an injunction against Google forcing it to remove search results for a former Equustek distributor, who had been violating the company’s intellectual property through shell companies in different jurisdictions outside Canada.

Now it is Google that has changed venues to challenge the Equustek ruling. It filed a 13-page application in a California court trying to block the Canadian order.

 “Google now turns to this Court, asking it to declare that the rights established by the First Amendment and the Communications Decency Act are not merely theoretical,” the application reads. “The Canadian order is repugnant to those rights.”

Google is seeking a preliminary injunction to stop enforcement of the Canadian order as it “violates principles of international comity, particularly since the Canadian plaintiffs never established any violation of their rights under U.S. law.”

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Justice Canada

Justice Canada to overhaul litigation management software

By Justin Ling July 27, 2017 27 July 2017

Justice Canada to overhaul litigation management software


The federal Justice Department is on track for a big software update.

It posted a request for information this week, seeking software developers to propose a new solution for their litigation management programs.

That new software, which will replace the current tools, would be designed to search, tag, and preserve documents in various government systems and mark them as relevant for ongoing litigation. The ideal legislation would also be able to archive and crawl webpages, monitor sites for changes, store legal research on the issue, and centralize all relevant information on a chosen case.

The new software would be used to manage workflow and discovery for the 2,000 employees of Justice dealing with some 42,000 litigation cases each year.

The aim is to get the new software online by April, 2020.

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NAFTA: data flows back on the trade agenda

By Justin Ling July 21, 2017 21 July 2017

NAFTA: data flows back on the trade agenda


It’s like malware that just keeps coming back.

The removal of data localization restrictions is back on the trade agenda, with the backing of U.S. President Donald Trump.

When the White House released a statement of negotiating objectives for NAFTA trade talks with Canada and Mexico, trade experts welcomed the mostly moderate position it staked out: the U.S. Trade Authority suggested that the expansive continental trade deal ought to remain mostly as-is — albeit with some changes to dispute resolution, duty application for online-shopping, and country-of-origin labelling, as well as on a few other fronts.

But one of the priorities touches upon cross-border data flows.

The administration is hoping to “establish rules to ensure that NAFTA countries do not impose measures that restrict crossborder data flows and do not require the use or installation of local computing facilities.”


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Intellectual property

Copyright fees at York: Federal Court rejects fair dealing

By Justin Ling July 13, 2017 13 July 2017

Copyright fees at York: Federal Court rejects fair dealing

A lengthy copyright battle, which a Federal Court judge compared to the chain of events that sparked World War I, between York University and a rights holder consortium has resulted in a blow for the fair dealing exemption.

The decision, says Canadian copyright expert Michael Geist, “moves in precisely the opposite direction with restrictive language that other courts and the Copyright Board have rejected.”

The case goes back to 2010, when the Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency (also known as Access Copyright) proposed to the Copyright Board of Canada that post-secondary institutions be charged $45 per each full-time employee (or equivalent) per year.  That represents a major hike from the previous $3.38 annual fee, topped up with a $0.10 per page royalty, that had applied up to 2010.

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