Intellectual Property Rights And The InternetPresentation Transcript
We will learn about the basics of Intellectual Property Rights in Canada.
We will overview how peer-to-peer file sharing works and why it sometimes violates laws.
We will do a case study on a P2P legal case in Canada:
isoHunt Web Technologies, Inc. v. EMI Group Canada Inc.
You will have an opportunity to investigate in groups other examples of P2P legal cases.
A short video about the current state of Canada’s Copyright Laws from the Globe and Mail.
Click here to launch the video.
The concept of Peer to Peer (P2P) file transferring is simple: One person at their computer sends a file to another person at their computer, electronically through a network.
It first became prevalent on a smaller scale through the chat rooms and networks known as IRC (Internet Relay Chat) which allowed users to send files back and forth.
The P2P revolution truly began with the introduction of Napster in June 1999 * .
Napster was a simplified program which allowed users to share their entire music (MP3) collections which were browseable and searchable by other users connected to the network with the Napster software.
At its height, over millions of users used Napster.
Napster ceased operating as an illegal file sharing network in July 2001 * .
BitTorrent file sharing is more sophisticated than normal P2P. As explained by Wikipedia:
First, a user playing the role of file-provider makes a file available to the network. This first user's file is called a seed and its availability on the network allows other users, called peers, to connect and begin to download the seed file. As new peers connect to the network and request the same file, their computer receives a different piece of the data from the seed. Once multiple peers have multiple pieces of the seed, BitTorrent allows each to become a source for that portion of the file. The effect of this is to take on a small part of the task and relieve the initial user, distributing the file download task among the seed and many peers. With BitTorrent, no one computer needs to supply data in quantities which could jeopardize the task by overwhelming all resources, yet the same final result—each peer eventually receiving the entire file—is still reached.
Here is a graphical representation of how it works:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BitTorrent_(protocol ) In this animation, the coloured bars beneath all of the 7 clients in the upper region above represent individual pieces of the file. After the initial pieces transfer from the seed (large system at the bottom), the pieces are individually transferred from client to client. The original seeder only needs to send out one copy of the file for all the clients to receive a copy.
A copyright, as defined by Wikipedia is:
Copyright is the set of exclusive rights granted to the author or creator of an original work, including the right to copy, distribute and adapt the work. Copyright lasts for a certain time period after which the work is said to enter the public domain... Copyright has been internationally standardized, lasting between fifty and one hundred years from the author's death, or a shorter period for anonymous or corporate authorship. Some jurisdictions have required formalities to establish copyright, but most recognize copyright in any completed work, without formal registration. Generally, copyright is enforced as a civil matter, though some jurisdictions do apply criminal sanctions.
Wikipedia explains copyright violations:
Copyright infringement (or copyright violation) is the unauthorized or prohibited use of works covered by copyright law, in a way that violates one of the copyright owner's exclusive rights, such as the right to reproduce or perform the copyrighted work, or to make derivative works.
For electronic and audio-visual media, unauthorized reproduction and distribution is also commonly referred to as piracy (an early reference was made by Daniel Defoe in 1703 when he said of his novel True-born Englishman : "Its being Printed again and again, by Pyrates").
The issue with P2P networks is that often times copyrighted materials are transmitted through the network.
This activity is, technically, illegal in most Western countries, but few have proper laws and enforcement setup to deal with it.
There are several international Copyright Laws which exist and include:
Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works
Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)
Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)
With specific regard to the download of music (MP3 files) in Canada, it is technically, legal (for the moment).
The ruling was upheld in a 2005 decision by Justice Konrad von Finckenstein, stating (about a P2P program), “ They merely placed personal copies into their shared directories which were accessible by other computer users via a P2P service”.
Further, his ruling stated that:
Downloading a song for personal use is not a copyright infringement.
Placing a song in an online music-sharing directory is NOT considered distribution.
isoHunt was found in January 2001 by Gary Fung, based out of Vancouver, BC.
The site served as a BitTorrent indexing site – which means the actual files (movies, mp3s, etc) were not hosted on ISOHunt servers, merely the torrent files which allowed the users who had the files share them.
Some staggering stats about isoHunt:
30 million unique visitors monthly (at its height)
10 million daily searches (at its height)
4,550,088 active torrent files (as of February 2010)
110,840,000 files being exchanged (as of February 2010)…
… Representing 10,388.66 terabytes of data (as of February 2010)
30,670,000 users currently sharing files (as of February 2010)
In ground of 3-4 find a legal case brought against one of the major P2P software programs discussed within this presentation or a website.
You must find at least three reputable sources which discuss the legal actions, history, and the case (BBC, Globe and Mail, Wired, etc).
Create a PowerPoint discussing the history and background of the site/program, the who, what, when and why of the legal actions brought against them and the current status or outcome of the legal action. Also, go to the following websites and read/watch more information about the sate of copyright law in Canada and make an argument for how you feel the laws should or shouldn’t be changed.