Saturday, March 10, 2007

From the Boiler Room to Spamalot to SOCAN's Proposed Internet Tariff 22

Michael Geist and Paul Kedfosky note that the SEC has suspended trading in 35 companies that use spam to tout stocks, an astonishing eight of which "were either headquartered in Canada, or had offices there."

I suppose that there is some perverse comfort in confirming the predictability of certain phenomenon:
  • Bad corporate behaviour emanating from or with a real and substantial connection to Canada often gets prosecuted not in Canada or not first in Canada but in the USA.
  • Before there ever was the internet or e-mail, there were stock market "boiler rooms" that touted stocks over the phone and across borders.
Canada's Supreme Court long ago held that a boiler room operator who arranged his affairs across several jurisdictions and was bilking Americans from the Toronto telephone sales solicitation room could indeed be prosecuted here in Canada. The case of Libman v. The Queen, [1985] 2 S.C.R. 178 is one of the seminal "real and substantial link" judgments.

And what, you might ask, does this have to do with copyright? The Libman case is is proving to have a real and substantial effect on Canadian copyright law as seen in the SOCAN v. CAIP decision from 2004 - which will no doubt loom large in the renewed round of SOCAN's eternal quest to achieve and enforce "Tariff 22", coming once again to the Copyright Board next month,.


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