Hugh Stephens

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Hugh Stephens

Hugh Stephens

Hugh Stephens has more than 35 years of government and business experience in the Asia-Pacific region. Based in Victoria, BC, Canada, he is Distinguished Fellow at the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, Vice Chair of the Canadian National Committee on Pacific Economic Cooperation (PECC) and Executive Fellow at the School of Public Policy, University of Calgary. He also teaches in the MBA program at the School of Business at Royal Roads University, Victoria. Before returning to Canada in 2010, he was SVP (Public Policy) for Asia-Pacific for Time Warner, based in Hong Kong, after a career of 30 years in the Canadian Foreign Service. While with Foreign Affairs, Mr. Stephens served as Assistant Deputy Minister for Policy and Communications, and served at six Canadian missions in Asia including as Canadian Representative in Taiwan. He has written extensively on Asia Pacific trade and investment issues, and on intellectual property topics, and has commented frequently in the Canadian media. He writes a weekly blog on international copyright issues under the title www.hughstephensblog.net.

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The term “fake news” was rarely heard a couple of years ago, before Donald Trump’s rise to power, but it has unfortunately become ubiquitous. Whether it is the President accusing the media of “fake news” because it has reported something that he doesn’t like, or the creation of fake news by Trump himself by making statements and observations that are loosely or not at all tethered to the facts, fake news has come to dominate the headlines. One way to propagate fake news is to create a misleading but attention-grabbing headline and selectively assemble (or ignore) “facts” to support it. Regrettably some Canadians appear to be adopting the same tactics. I was reminded of this when I read Michael Geist’s bizarre recent blog which he titled “Movie Industry Denies Lawsuit Strategy Despite Proliferation of Lawsuits and Settlement Demands Against Thousands of Canadians”. While somewhat amusing for its leaps of logic, the title and the blog itself are a perfect example of the fake news phenomenon.

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Tagged in: Canada Copyright
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The wheels of copyright change are grinding away in Australia, both through legislative review and court actions. I hesitate to call the process “copyright reform” because one person’s reform is another’s regressive step. The government has chosen the term “copyright modernisation” and a public consultation has been launched with a final submission date of July 4. The review is designed, in part, to gauge public support for copyright proposals included in a report on intellectual property issued by the Productivity Commission back in 2015 and 2016.

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Google is at it again. According to press reports in the New Zealand Herald, Google refused to comply with a New Zealand court order to suppress details and remove content related to a local murder trial because, according to a representative of Google NZ, “Google LLC, was a separate legal entity incorporated in the US, meaning New Zealand’s courts and laws held no power over it.” Tell that to the Supreme Court of Canada.

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