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Canadian Spam Bill: Electronic Commerce Protection Act Introduced

By Internet Lawyer

canadaIf it becomes law, the proposed Electronic Commerce Protection Act (ECPA) will provide our neighbors to the north with overdue protection against unsolicited commercial email (spam).  The ECPA will include hefty fines – up to $1 million for individuals and up to $10 million for other types of offenders. The Act would create a Spam Reporting Centre (reporting similar to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission) and Industry Canada would be the national coordinating body responsible for educating businesses and consumers about their rights and responsibilities under the Act.

Should the ECPA become law, email marketers will need to comply with it when dealing with Canadians. This is in addition to the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act and other countries’ anti-spam laws. A good rule of thumb is – when in doubt, do not send an unsolicited commercial e-mail to anyone. That includes sending an unsolicited e-mail asking someone to opt into your mailing list.

Graphic credit: Drapeau Animation Canada

Copyright Thought Crime and the Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2007

By Internet Lawyer

The Bush administration is supporting a new intellectual property (IP) law that should be opposed by any sane individual. Of course, that excludes most politicians who are lining their pockets with money from the entertainment industry.

What is going on? The White House is supporting the Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2007…a horrendous bill that includes the following:

1. Making it a crime to attempt copyright infringement. In other words, you do not have to actually infringe on a copyright. Simply attempting to do so is a crime. And who decides what is an attempt? Does thinking about copying a CD constitute a crime? Bet it does to RIAA.

2. You could be sentenced to up to life in prison for using pirated software. Call this the “Bill Gates” provision.

And it gets worse…

3. Instead of tracking terrorists, Homeland Security gets to track bootleg CDs and report to RIAA when it finds them being imported. Who cares about that dirty bomb being smuggled? Apparently it is more important to track black market Britney Spears and Beyonce.

Call your Congressional representatives and let them know that you oppose this monstrosity and will vote against any politician who supports it.

Hat tip to Declan McCullagh at

Utah Jumps the Shark With Trademark Protection Act

By Internet Lawyer

Utah is known for dim bulbs in Congress trying to legislate tech issues without a clue what they’re doing. It harkens back to the day when Utah’s WordPerfect was the most popular word processor and Novell was still headquartered in Orem.

No longer on the cutting edge, the state now attempts to make itself relevant for something other than HBO’s Big Love.

Utah’s legislature has just passed a law that attempts to restrict the way you do business on the Internet. Called the “Trademark Protection Act,” this poorly written legislation creates an “electronic registration mark.”

How can this affect you?

The law might be violated if you use as an advertising keyword (such as in Google Adwords or other pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns) a mark that has been registered in Utah under the new law.

Imagine the chaos if all 50 states set up such laws and you had to pay annual registration fees in each to protect your mark.

Look for this bill to be struck down as unconstitutional. The state is interfering with interstate commerce. In the mean time, tread carefully when doing business in Utah.

Hat tip to Danny Sullivan at