Open Source Resources

There seems to be a run on BusyBox litigation this fall and the lawyers at the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) have been busy; last week they filed another copyright infringement lawsuit against Verizon Communications, Inc., alleging violation of the GNU General Public License (GPL). The open source movement is expanding past the world of software into areas of biological and life sciences. Because of the growing interest in this area, we have decided to compile a list of resources regarding open source organizations and law.


Software Freedom Law Center:

Free Software Foundation:

Open Source Initiative: 

Biotech / Life Sciences

The BiOS Initiative:

BiOS Compatible Agreement Listing:

Public Intellectual Property Resource for Agriculture:

Tropical Disease Initiative:



LES Presentation Slides: lespresentation-open-source.pdf

Calgary – 16:00 MST



Filesharing Update: A Torrent of Lawsuits

In our earlier post we reviewed a recent US lawsuit against (the now-famous) Jammie Thomas involving filesharing and copyright infringement allegations south of the border.  That fight is continuing and lawyers at the Electronic Frontier Foundation have decided to assist on the appeal.    

In Canada, the filesharing site Demonoid closed its doors last month after cease-and-desist letters from the Canadian Recording Industry Association.  Their site now contains the simple greeting: “The CRIA threatened the company renting the servers to us, and because of this it is not possible to keep the site online.”  CRIA succeeded in shutting the site down, but filesharing sites are like prairie dogs – the moment one pops down a hole, another is emerging somewhere else. 

It appears that the real fight is brewing in Quebec over the filesharing site QuebecTorrent.  Last month, 31 members of the recording industry (including Sony BMG Music Canada, Universal Music Canada and EMI Group Canada) launched a lawsuit against the site, seeking a preliminary injunction to shut it down.  QuebecTorrent managed to defeat that application and keep its doors open for the time being. This case may represent the first opportunity in Canada to test — or make — the law in this area, so both sides are preparing for the fight.  At the moment, filesharing is not specifically legal in Canada although no court has had an opportunity to review the specifics of a filesharing case.

This is one to watch.


Calgary – 11:22 MST

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Online Defamation Decision

There have been a string of cases in Canada dealing with defamation in the internet context, providing useful guidance in this area.  It seems that old fashioned defamation in hard-copy newspapers will remain a quaint memory from the last century.  The last case we covered was from British Columbia – the latest decision comes out of Ontario.

In Warman v. Fromm and Canadian Association for Free Expression Inc., (Ontario Superior Court of Justice – Case No. 04-CV-26550SR), the court reviewed a string of defamatory postings and rejected the defence of fair comment.  The court awarded general and aggravated damages totaling $30,000, and ordered the defendants to post full retractions within 10 days.

Calgary – 10:35 MST

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