Posts Tagged ‘Canada’

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google canada logoTwo dozen human rights and civil liberty groups have thrown their weight behind Google’s challenge of a Canadian court decision it warns could stifle freedom of expression around the world and lead to a diminished internet of the lowest common denominator .In an appeal heard on Tuesday in the supreme court of Canada , Google Inc took aim at a 2015 court decision that sought to censor search results beyond Canada’s borders.

In 2012, Canadian company Equustek won a judgment to have a company banned from selling a counterfeit version of Equustek’s product online. Google voluntarily removed more than 300 infringing URLs. But as more sites popped up, Equustek went back to court — this time seeking a worldwide ban. A court of appeal in British Columbia sided with Equustek in 2015, ordering Google to remove all of its search results linked to the company. It is this ruling that Google is now appealing.

The human rights groups are focusing on the question at the heart of the precedent-setting case: if one country can control what you see on the internet, what is to prevent other countries from doing the same?  Gregg Leslie of Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press said:

It’s a worrisome trend, where we see individual countries trying to regulate the internet worldwide. And of course the consequences of that would mean that even countries like Russia and China could do the same thing and that will really affect the content available on the internet.

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Canada flagA contentious section of Canadian human rights law, long criticized by free-speech advocates as overly restrictive and tantamount to censorship, is gone for good.

A private member’s bill repealing Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, the so-called hate speech provision, passed in the Senate this week. Its passage means the part of Canadian human rights law that permitted rights complaints to the federal Human Rights Commission for the communication of hate messages by telephone or on the Internet will soon be history. The bill has received royal assent and will take effect after a one-year phase-in period.

An ecstatic Brian Storseth said his bill, which he says had wide support across ideological lines and diverse religious groups, repeals a flawed piece of legislation and he called Canada’s human rights tribunal a quasi-judicial, secretive body that takes away your natural rights as a Canadian.

Producing and disseminating hate speech remains a crime in Canada, but regulating it will fall to the courts, not to human rights tribunals. Under the Criminal Code, spreading hate against identifiable groups can carry up to a two-year prison sentence.

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Inner Depravity 2 titlesA Canadian jury has cleared Remy Couture of obscenity charges relating to his film making.

He was charged with three counts of corrupting morals by distributing, possessing and producing obscene material. The material in question depicts gruesome murders, torture, sexual abuse, assaults and necrophilia — all with young female victims.

Remy Couture received the verdict after two days of jury deliberation at a Montreal courthouse. He told reporters:

It’s like a 400-pound weight has been lifted. It’s been the most stressful thing I’ve ever had to go through in my life.

Couture said the ruling means he can continue to create his art, without infringement on his right to free expression.

During the trial, Couture argued his gory works, roughly a thousand images and two short videos that appeared on Couture’s website, Inner Depravity , should be considered art. The website was part of a personal project by Couture designed to raise the bar of his make-up and special effects work. Couture, who is self-taught, sought to bring a psychopathic killer character of his own making to life. Couture described it as a sort of fake diary of a serial killer, complete with his own universe inspired by horror movies and literature.

All of the works were staged with willing actresses and a combination of fake blood, latex and silicone to create life-like, horrific images. Couture testified the reason behind the work was to highlight his skills and abilities as a master of special effects horror and that the goal is to make his work look believable.

Defence experts testified that Couture’s work was in line with other similar work in the genre. A university cinema professor testified that what was acceptable in the genre had changed greatly over the span seven decades.

The artist told reporters that he was approached by a police detective about a pleading out and getting an absolute discharge in the case, but Couture has said that he went ahead out of principle. He said that pleading guilty or settling could set a dangerous precedent and raise questions about other kinds of work done by artists.

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See article from m.ctv.ca

inner depravity 2 logoA Montreal courtroom is booked for April determine whether a local filmmaker’s graphic horror flick is obscene.

Remy Couture faces obscenity charges for creating Inner Depravity, a short film series depicting gory scenes of murder and sexual assault.

The goal was to reproduce the deviant mind of a serial killer, said Couture, a special effects make-up artist who’s worked on films such as Barney’s Version.

The series, which once won most deranged movie of the year at a film festival, was posted online in 2005 and was eventually forwarded to Interpol and police in Montreal.

According to a statement on Couture’s website, Interpol was alerted to the film series by a German web surfer who was under the impression that the on-screen murders actually occurred. Police arrested Couture and raided his studio.

Couture maintains that he created the series to flex his skills as a make-up artist who got his professional start in the horror genre. The website featuring his project was only available to web surfers above the age of 18, he said in a statement. You can see the same thing in big budget movies so why mine is worse than the others, I don’t understand, he told CTV Montreal.

Police charged Couture with production of obscene material, mainly for his depictions of graphic sexual violence. The charges, however, have drawn criticism from fans and some in the artistic community. He pushed some boundaries because it is shocking with what you can see, but it’s in an artistic way, said Alexandre Duguay, a movie critic and horror aficionado.

Couture’s lawyer Veronique Robert said this is the first time she’s seen someone face obscenity charges for the content of a horror film. Previous obscenity cases have dealt with pornography.

Couture’s trial will begin in front of a jury in late April, three years after his arrest.

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See article from torontosun.com

cbsc logoThe Canadian music censor is being defiant after a wave of criticism over its decision to ban the nation-wide broadcast of an uncut Dire Straits song containing the word faggot.

Ronald Cohen, the national chair of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC), told QMI Agency he sees nothing wrong with the fact one person was able to stop every private radio station across Canada from playing the popular 1985 song Money for Nothing.

The number of complaints is irrelevant, Cohen claimed: Everybody is on our back about it (but) I think it was absolutely the right decision. This was a word that has no place today on the airwaves.

Cohen is unconcerned that the public was shut out from CBSC’s deliberations and sees no problems with the fact that neither broadcasters nor Canadians have any avenues to appeal the decision. If there was an appeal process, it would be cumbersome, he said.

Dire Straits’ keyboardist Guy Fletcher joined a chorus of fans on his website calling the ruling outrageous and the council’s decision hilarious for having missed the point of the band’s song about homophobia. What a waste of paper, he wrote of the decision.

The .British Caledonia Civil Liberties Association’s David Eby called the CBSC’s decision very patronizing and suggested the federal broadcast censor, the CRTC, should take over its functions to ensure some public oversight: It is difficult for us to understand how this private body can have such a profound influence on what Canadians see and hear without any accountability.

The CBSC has been the private broadcasters’ self-regulator since 1990, when they decided they didn’t want the federal regulator to oversee their content. Although neither body has the power to levy fines or stop the broadcast of any songs (even those banned), the CRTC can revoke television or radio licences or refuse to renew them when they are about to lapse.