|Doug K. Handshoe, copyright violator|
On Friday, February 14, 2014, Justice Kevin Coady of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, Canada, released his decision on Trout Point Lodge et. al. versus Douglas Handshoe. The Nova Scotia Courts then published the eighteen pages of well-articulated reasons at http://www.courts.ns.ca/decisions_recent/documents/2014nssc62.pdf. The judge summarized some of Douglas' publications about his legal opponents:
Back in April of last year, Doug wrote about how he's actually the victim of "harassment" from Canada. Huh? He also made sure everyone knew that he would teach those Nova Scotia judges a thing or two, because they've been "beclowned."
Looking at the Valentine's Day decision, it seems like Mr. Handshoe dealt with more than one Nova Scotia judge, and that he actually appeared and defended. No technical default this time. Oh yeah, and now Douglas is on the line for infringing copyright, not just defamation. Unless something has suddenly changed, the SPEECH Act doesn't block copyright judgments, Mr. Doug. In fact, looks like Canada-U.S. treaties mean that each country's copyrights get national treatment. Uh oh.
Trout Point Lodge pointed out on its blog that one of the sponsors of the SPEECH Act, U.S. Senator Leahy, has written about how important copyright is to "free speech." Imagine that. In a speech to the Media Institute, Leahy said:
Our Constitution is the source of another example – the protection of intellectual property. The only place in the Constitution as initially ratified that specifically mentions a “right” is in the intellectual property clause, which authorizes Congress to provide authors with the exclusive right to their works.
Copyright protection is not inconsistent with free speech. It actively advances the goals of the First Amendment by supplying the economic incentive to create and disseminate ideas. Justice O’Connor famously wrote that copyright law is the very “engine of free expression."
The opposite is also true. Allowing unfettered theft of copyrighted works, whether online or in the physical world, is a disincentive to speech. This is most often thought of as a problem for the music or movie industries. But the news organizations represented here also know that if their work cannot be protected and monetized, they have to cut reporters and editors, and our democracy suffers from fewer sources of quality news reporting and ideas as a result.
I will continue to promote the Internet but also want to protect the rights of creators in their works, so that there is more expression available for all of us to consider and consume. This protection for copyrighted works must exist in both the physical and the digital worlds.