CSA’s Surreal Copyright Assignments

October 15th, 2018

It’s year seven of the Canadian Standards Association’s (CSA’s) abuse of authority campaign to eliminate its competitor, PS Knight Co, by driving us out of business.  Our computers are now crammed with legal documents.  In these seven years, and as of this afternoon, our legal files now contain 10,141 documents.  Not pages, but documents.  Some of these documents are thousands of pages in length, the largest of these being evidence submission files.  Put another way, our legal documents occupy over 280GB of disk space.

If you’re wondering, that is what it takes to defend one small business against the malice of the Federal Civil Service.

Well friends, as await the Federal Court Ruling from CSA’s latest duplicate lawsuit (the Ruling was expected on Friday but hasn’t arrived yet), and as we continue to wait for the Federal Court of Appeals Ruling on the other of CSA’s duplicate lawsuits, it might entertain you to read of the solidity of some of CSA’s foundational evidence.

Indeed, it may enlighten on why CSA’s abusing the legal process instead of working within it.

Recall that CSA’s first argument to Court, actually their foundational argument for all of their various litigations against us, is that they own the rule of law privately.  The first step in asserting ownership of any text is the filing of copyright assignments covering that text.

A copyright assignment is a document that transfers ownership of text from the author to the entity contracting that author.  If CSA pays Sally Somebody a pile of money to draft something, then CSA only owns that drafted something if Sally signs over the copyright for that text to CSA.  What she signs is called a copyright assignment.

To claim private ownership of electrical laws, CSA needs to show the Court that they have copyright assignments from all of the people who contributed to authoring those laws.

Well, to support its claim to own electrical laws, CSA filed a full set of 185 copyright assignments with the Court.  Sort-of.

Amid the mass of digital paperwork on our system, we have an analysis of CSA’s copyright assignments, exactly as they filed them in Court.  It turns out that CSA’s full filing isn’t nearly so full a filing as they claim. 

Actually, as far as we can tell, none of CSA’s copyright assignments are complete.  I say, “as far as we can tell,” because so much information is missing from their filing that in many cases it’s unclear how much more information ought to be present.

For example, a Mr. Richard Lachance has signed a CSA copyright assignment, but that’s all we know about this assignment.  There is no assignment number, no CSA identification number, no company reference at all, no position identified, nor any address, phone number, or any other contact information.  No.  What CSA filed in this form was the name “Richard Lachance,” and nothing else.

At law, a copyright assignment must be complete, it must have all of this information on every single form.  Yet none of CSA’s forms are complete, and most of these have most of the required information missing.

Another example;  Representing a company called, QPS Evaluation Services, we have a “D.”  That’s their first name, apparently.  Elsewhere, on a different entry, the CSA lists the letter “E” as one of its paid up and contributing members.  It’s like Sesame Street at CSA.  Seriously friends, the letter “E” does not have a membership number, nor CSA identifier, nor corporation, nor position, nor address……  There is nothing on the forms of either “D” or “E” to identify these CSA members or to validate their roles.  Or their existence, for that matter.

Moving on, while the CSA declines to identify the country of residence on the majority of its assignments, which renders all of these void, incidentally, they do list the United States as country of residence for thirteen of the CSA members who contributed to authoring electrical laws in 2012.  That’s a bit awkward, because giving foreign parties the right to amend domestic law is a violation of Section 46 of the Criminal Code.

That’s right, the CSA admitted breaching the Criminal Code in its own Court filings.

Then there’s a CSA member who lives on 13th Ave. The city isn’t listed, and neither is the province, or phone number so we can’t deduce location from the area code.  We don’t even know what country this person lives in.  Just that they’re on 13th Ave.  Somewhere.  In Jakarta, for all we know.

Folks, the filing isn’t valid if none of the parties -ironically including CSA- can verify the CSA’s signee.

The CSA’s membership numbers on these forms, used as identifiers of each assignee, are also noncompliant.  That is, the numbers filed don’t correspond to actual membership numbers.  Some quoted numbers are three digits, some four digits, some five digits, some are alphanumeric, some are hyphenated, and these issues are found throughout their filings.  About half of all membership numbers are missing entirely.  And CSA want’s the Court to take these filings seriously.

Well, we didn’t take them seriously.  We asked CSA about these numbers during Discovery testimony, about why they were in so many formats and why so many were missing.  The CSA had no answer. 

So they can’t explain why their assignments are missing the required information, nor why the information which is present is so faulty, nor why any of us should take any of this seriously, save that they’d really like us to.  And that was the sum of their response in questioning.

Now lets turn to authorizations.  You’ve probably seen legal forms with sign lines at the bottom, and on these forms is found some small-printed blurb such as; “I, the undersigned, am authorized to endorse for Some Company, located at….”  The small print here is pretty important, because if the signee doesn’t have authorization to sign, then the whole form is void, hence the need for that authorization blurb.

None of CSA’s forms have any authorization text at all.  At law then, all of CSA’s assignments have no validity.

Alright, but, for argument, let’s just ignore all of the glaringly obvious and quite fatal flaws in their filing.  Let’s just say that all of their 185 copyright assignment are valid in spite of their invalidity.  If so, then all these signatories were authorized to transfer copyright in their work to CSA, according to CSA’s filing.

But is that so?

Nearly all of CSA’s signatories have signed representing companies and governments, foreign and domestic.  The signees are mostly senior technical personnel.  Is it reasonable that technical personnel, regardless of seniority, have been authorized by their respective employers to bind these employers in a legal contract to transfer from their employers the ownership rights naturally accruing to those employers by dint of the contributions of their own staff, in their own offices, on their own company time?

Hell, no?

I used to work in a large multinational, in a role requiring quite a bit of interaction with external contractors on the particulars of their contracts.  I can say with that experience that’s highly unlikely that these signing employees had signing authority for this kind of value transfer. 

In other words, even if CSA’s forms had the required authorization blurb, its almost certain that the signatories themselves were not empowered by their employers to sign, making the sum of their signatures invalid.

Looks bad for CSA, doesn’t it?  Well, it gets worse.

Beyond the assignments themselves, to claim copyright over any text its necessary to demonstrate a clear connection between the signee and the finished product.  That is, even if its committee work, the CSA would need to prove through evidence that each signee was in the committee room, was contributing in the drafting process, and made a meaningful contribution to the wording of the final text. 

Alas, the CSA has no evidence at all for any of their assignments.  None.

In contrast, readers will recall that PS Knight registered a copyright for our contributions to electrical law, these contributions being made over the course of six decades and comprising ~5% of the 2018 Code.  To support our copyright assignment, we filed several thousand pages of drafts, handwritten working papers, original meeting minutes and schedules and agendas, and even included several hours of audio recordings of Code meetings featuring PS Knight contributions. 

I mean, we’ve got this locked.  The CSA, however, has nothing.  At all.  And it gets worse.

Recall that each iteration of electrical law contains only 2% of new text.  Everything else is carried over from previous editions. 

Well, CSA only started collecting copyright assignments for the 2012 edition, meaning that 98% of the Code in that year is, by their own admission, without CSA copyright.

In fact, in 2018, the CSA only has copyright assignments for 6% of the Code (that is, an average of 2% per Code year in each of 2012, 2015, and 2018).  And that 6% figure assumes that all of CSA’s, shall we say, fluid copyright filings are accepted without questioning their absurdity.

And for all that, CSA’s dodgy copyright assignments are supposed to secure private ownership of the law itself, a body of text intrinsically public in nature, as we’ve been arguing from the get-go.

Get the idea?  Objectively, the arguments between CSA and PS Knight are not equivalent.  They are not of roughly equal weight.  They are not equivalently supported by evidence.  They’re not equal.

You see why CSA’s trying so hard to bankrupt PS Knight before trial?

It’s year seven, and we’ve not seen the inside of a court room on the CSA case that started all this.  Instead, CSA’s filed endless motions, demanded pointless hearings, requested that the Court split CSA’s case into multiple segments, each handled by hearing rather than trial, and they’ve duplicated their lawsuit by filing against us multiple times in the same jurisdiction -anything, really, to avoid trial on their evidence.

And, as you know, CSA’s started sabotaging our business, blacklisting us and other, just as nice niceness.  The CSA has crawled into quite a gutter lately, and right now we can only disclose a fraction of it.

We await the various Rulings.  We hope they come quickly.