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Canadian Court Rules Google Must Delete Pirated Products from SERPs Worldwide

     
9:15 am on Jun 29, 2017 (gmt 0)

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The Supreme Court of Canada has made a ruling that pirated products in Google SERPs must be deleted, not just in Canada, but World-wide. The court's explained the ruling saying that the order is not against free speech, but is to tackle the problem of sites that are in violation of a number of court orders. It's also a temporary injunction so that once the intellectual property dispute is sorted the order can be set aside.

In a 7-2 decision, the court agreed a British Columbia judge had the power to issue an injunction forcing Google to scrub search results about pirated products not just in Canada, but everywhere else in the world too.Canadian Court Rules Google Must Delete Pirated Products in SERPs Worldwide [fortune.com]


Needless to say, some welcome the ruling, such as the music industry in Canada, but there's a number of groups that feel it's a step too far.

I agree, it should not be up to rulings and laws in another country to determine what appears in the SERPS elsewhere, out of its jurisdiction.
10:35 am on June 29, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Google Must Delete Pirated Products
Does that mean they can't sell those flags with the Skull & Crossbones any longer? AR!
9:03 pm on June 29, 2017 (gmt 0)

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it should not be up to rulings and laws in another country to determine what appears in the SERPS elsewhere, out of its jurisdiction.


Not so: there are international treaties governing such court determinations. I find it unfortunate to so lightly pass judgement on the Canadian Supreme Court's understanding of international law. I have no doubt that they have better understanding of such matters than anybody else in this forum.

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12:43 am on June 30, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I think the Canadian Supreme Court knows the difference between Canada and the world.
9:53 am on June 30, 2017 (gmt 0)

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The problem is that if every country takes this approach then all SERPS everywhere will have to abide by the laws of every other country in the world.

Also note there were two dissenting judges.
6:45 pm on July 1, 2017 (gmt 0)

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To those who applaud it.... what if China decides they want to censor political dissent Google worldwide, or Iran rules to censor gay rights sites worldwide, etc so their citizens can't access it by going to google's web properties outside their countries
3:52 am on July 2, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Hip hip hooray for Canada!
12:15 pm on July 2, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Hooray to Canada, and all Canuks, including Albertans, for 150 years of continued progress - and for being an inspiration to the rest of us.

O CANADA - WE LOVE YOU!

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12:17 pm on July 2, 2017 (gmt 0)

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what if China decides they want to censor political dissent Google worldwide, or Iran rules to censor gay rights sites worldwide,

Thankfully, this is not a (corrupt) UN matter. It refers to reciprocal treaties between the democratic, politically civilized countries.

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2:23 pm on July 2, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Thankfully, this is not a (corrupt) UN matter.

Its a corrupt Canadian matter.
It refers to reciprocal treaties between the democratic, politically civilized countries.

This ruling extends to Google's search in all nations, not simply those with non-existing treaties allowing for the silence of speech across the border.
5:33 pm on July 2, 2017 (gmt 0)

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pirated products in Google SERPs


Not dealing with political results.....
8:51 am on July 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Why does this just apply to Google? I'm led to believe TOR uses duckduckgo as it's default search engine, surely that would be a good place to start?

And I agree with others that it is odd that Canada can rule on other countries' jurisdictions. I realise that mutual recognition of patents and trademarks is the bedrock of international trade, and this ruling probably falls under those agreements, but it still seems odd.

What if another country's supreme court makes a "worldwide" ruling that Google is only required to indicate pirated content, or not required to police it at all? Or even a lower court rules it is not applicable in the host county?

But then, this world-wide thing seems to be the trend. EUC is fining Google on worldwide income, not just income derived from the EU. Although, of course, Google hides it's EU income to avoid local taxes, which is an unstated grievance in EUC's position.

It is worth restating that mutual patents and trademark recognition is a totally different subject to censorship, political or otherwise
12:27 pm on July 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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censorship, political or otherwise

Crime is not covered under Free Speech protection, neither should it be.

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1:31 pm on July 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Crime is not covered under Free Speech protection, neither should it be.

Well, that's not what I was saying, but it's true nevertheless.

I was making a different point relevant to the Canadian court making a supranational judgement designed to protect patents and copyright (pirated products), and why that has nothing to do with foreign courts making supranational judgements about general "free speech" - which is a misunderstanding that others have.

There are treaties and conventions designed to protect patents and copyright, which are meant to cover the whole world, and have nothing to do with opening the door to Chinese censorship.

Without worldwide mutual recognition of patents, people could just steal the best ideas in one market and sell it in another.
3:02 pm on July 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Well, that's not what I was saying, but it's true nevertheless.


In the USA, the Supreme Court has rule otherwise on several issues. For instance, Brandenburg v. Ohio, 1969, The government cannot constitutionally punish abstract advocacy of force or law violation.

And what one country defines as crime, another doesn't. For instance in Canada a trademark may not be registered which is scandoulous, obscene or immoral, offensive or ridicules indigenous communities, racial groups, and religions - while the US Supreme Court recently ruled the US government cannot choose which trademarks may be approved based on whether it offends an individual or group. What if Canada decides the US trademark "The Slants" (which was part of the recent USA ruling. its a band with Asian members) is offensive and bans Google from displaying it worldwide, while it is legal in the USA?
4:10 pm on July 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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That is an interesting point that spans two current threads.

So, in this thread, Canada does not have the ability to require google to remove offensive stuff. Only to not enable infringement of copyright. Presumably, they would have to enforce copyright, even if they found it offensive, due to treaties.

However, in Germany, content publishers (currently not SERPs, but other Google properties such as YouTube) can be forced to remove stuff. But that is not a worldwide enforcement.
Germany passes #NetzDG law illegal content must be deleted in 24hrs [webmasterworld.com]
6:32 pm on July 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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. . . . for the times they are a changin . . . .

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1:54 am on July 6, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I don't see how Canada can force compliance unless there is a mutual compact, treaty, or whatever with the extra-territorial government involved pertaining to that particular ruling. If they can force other countries to comply regardless of laws in those other countries, then the camel's nose is in the tent, and Canada (or any other government, large or small) can do the same thing in ANY area, whether criminal, political, religious, or whatever.
7:23 am on July 6, 2017 (gmt 0)

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No, there is no international framework for religion or politics. There is an extremely limited framework for legal matters below State level (that's Nation State, not US State), and most intra-country judicial reach is by bi-lateral treaty (multinational in the case of the EU).

On the other hand, globalisation only works because there is an extremely developed international regime for dealing with trade, and in particular the protection of Intellectual Property (IP) across borders. Supply chains simply would not work without that.

Conflating an IP issue with criminal, political, religious, moral, ethical or any other type of matter reserved for the Nation State (or Body Politic) is to fundamentally misunderstand the case.

So, fundamentally Google could be bound by the Canadian ruling.

However, I still think the Canadian court is wrong. The Canadian supreme court might be able to rule on a company operating in it's jurisdiction, but it cannot bind other legislative bodies. What if another competent legal body makes an IP-related ruling that contradicts the Canadian ruling, either domestically or worldwide.

What if the US supreme court, pace heisje, rules that linking to a IP-infringer is not entablement, thus is not illegal and is therefore protected as Free Speech?

Then there is the practical issue- how does Google determine IP-protected goods? Does Canada maintain a list or infringing websites? Can others add to, or amend the list?

Is the list on a per-page or per-site issue, and how does that affect UGC sites where a small minority infringe?

Can Google be required to block it's own Image results?
2:14 pm on July 8, 2017 (gmt 0)

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When Obama took ICANN out from under US constitutional freedom of speech laws by handing it over to a consortium of countries to govern it was easy to see that individual countries would begin asserting their individual "authorities" over the internet. If you approved of Obama handing over ICANN then you should accept individual country rulings like this one because that is exactly what the intent was to begin with. Obama didn't lie, he said that this was actually the type of thing he would encourage so that the internet could be "moulded" to better suit everyone.

How far will it go? I'm not sure but I'd expect more and more countries to apply rules like this one. I've been hearing more and more rumblings about an "internet passport" too, but we are all along for the ride now.
 

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