versal thorn in the side of businesses big and small.
On a recent trip to Canada’s capital, I found myself walking up those storied steps alongside my family and a flock of tourists. About halfway up, I overheard a small child clinging to his father’s hand with his feet moving in a different direc- tion than his eyes say out loud to himself that the imposing claymore sword held point-down from the chest by Justicia was “just like the Giant Sword from Minecraft,” the popular online game.
It was also a perfect opportunity for one Canadian justice with a shining international reputation to unleash a sound- bite jab with the force of a big swing from Justicia. Justice Rosalie Abella told reporters that “We have not, to date, accepted that freedom of expression requires the facilita- tion of the unlawful sale of goods.” Germany, among others, agrees with Abella. A recently passed German law compels online outlets like social media platforms to promptly remove and report unwanted materials. But it’s all a shooting fish in a covered barrel marked ‘Defi- nitely Fish in Here’ scenario – internationally speaking, of course. We’re still naïve about the internet – philosophically, puni- tively, individually and collectively – and that’s OK, we probably never will be in total agreement. We just have to accept that, for now at least, it’s dangerous to censure to the point of international precedent infractions that are at their very core the highest form of flattery – imitation – and part of a learning curve that
Little did that child know how insightful his observation was (or maybe he did, he could be a big reader).
Justicia just started to swing his sword all over the internet, in a manner of speaking.
In the week before the nation’s 150 th birthday, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Google must deindex certain search results – particularly those that were allowing the intellectual property rights of litigants to be violated during ongoing legal proceedings.
Google’s only real complaint was the size of the sword: Canada wants its ruling to extend well beyond its borders.
Google is happy to deindex in The Great White North, but its representatives argue that Justicia has no place on the world stage and that Canada is in danger of violating a prin- ciple of international law known as “comity,” which is a kind of “don’t throw your junk in my backyard” law. The United States, for one, built its Constitution on a foundation that circumvents such international – and internal – incursions that are so often shrouded in shared notions of justice. The case of Google v. Equustek saw a British Columbia tech firm move to block an international business entity from reselling pilfered intellectual property on untouchable websites and servers across the globe – an undeniably uni-
Richard Nixon, among others, bent by hand over four decades ago.
It’s not perfect and people get burned everyday but when you’re Google, the laws of someone else come along with you into every courtroom and I don’t know if there’s anyone with a prefix like The Honourable – or The Honorable – who can definitively make a difference. Source: Bloomberg
JULY 2017 • SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS MAGAZINE
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