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Ryan J. Black

Partner
Pronouns: he/him/his
About

Ryan Black practises technology-related business law, with a particular focus on consumer-facing online businesses, such as video games, esports, information technology e-commerce businesses. Ryan combines his expertise in these areas with a ‎background in corporate/commercial law, including mergers and acquisitions, licensing, ‎technology outsourcing, service provisioning, high-technology employment, commercial contracting, and venture capital funding, to provide ‎clients with market-leading legal advice.‎

Ryan also regularly assists clients in acquiring, selling or commercializing technologies, ‎whether it is negotiating or drafting a term sheet or contract, strategizing with management, ‎closing a deal, or dealing with contractual issues or disputes. Ryan works with companies ‎across Canada and internationally who are developers, publishers, platforms systems integrators, consultants, and service providers, particularly in the software-as-a-service, information ‎technology, and video game industries.‎

As a former software and Internet developer, Ryan has a unique insight to emerging technology matters important to today's businesses, such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, blockchain technologies, open source software, cloud computing, and social media. Ryan is a frequent speaker and presenter on a wide variety of legal matters including metaverse and AI topics, Canada's Anti-Spam Law (CASL), video game law and policy matters, technology trends and regulations, artificial intelligence, and intellectual property issues, and also is the co-author of "Internet Law Essentials: Canada's Anti-Spam Law", published by Specialty Technical Publishers. He has also presented evidence on the topics of deepfakes and election interference to the Canadian Senate’s Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, and was an invited participant in the consultation roundtables the Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada’s Guardrails for Generative AI Codes of Practice.

In addition to his substantial technology transactions practice, Ryan also delivers practical advice on protecting the valuable information they hold or generate, such as: protecting trade secrets or other intellectual property; responding to cybersecurity, ransomware or cyber-extortion threats; complying with privacy and other regulatory regimes, or industry standards bodies, regarding sensitive or personal information; and developing internal and external policies, training and compliance programs relating to these topics.

Ryan is currently a director of the Video Game Bar Association, dedicated to furthering the games industry and advancing the rule of law therein, as well as Vancouver Fireworks Festival ‎Society and Claren Academy Society. Ryan is also a ‎member of the firm’s National Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee. He is formerly the ‎lead Clinic Adjunct for the Centre for Business Law at the University of British Columbia Peter A. Allard ‎School of Law, and he has served as director (and Chair, Governance) of the Canadian Internet ‎Registration Authority from 2017 to 2021.‎

Bar admissionsBritish Columbia, 2006

EXPERIENCE

  • Acted for major platform in roll-out of global digital wallet for ecommerce store.‎
  • Acted for Sockmonkey Studios and its shareholders on its sale to Behaviour Interactive.‎
  • Acted for multiple major foreign games publishers in worldwide rollout of games, live services ‎and in-game purchases outside of Asia.‎
  • Acted for major sports and entertainment franchise in the launch of a non-fungible token ‎platform.‎
  • Acted for Wenco International Mining Systems in its acquisition of the business wearables ‎assets and ‎intellectual property relating to ‎SmartCap Technologies Pty Ltd.‎
  • Acted for B2B SaaS providers and procurers in major platform in-licenses and out-licenses ‎involving large ‎enterprise and ‎government.‎
  • Acted for financial institution in title sponsorship of Overwatch League esports team.‎
  • Acted for New World Interactive in the establishment of their Canadian studios and in NWI’s sale ‎to ‎Embracer Group AB.‎
  • Acted for major social media platforms, streaming services, online consumer service providers, ‎and ‎video game platforms regarding ‎entry into the Canadian market and compliance with ‎Canadian laws.‎
  • Acted for CharliAI Inc., an AI-powered workflow automation startup, in their seed raising.‎
  • Acted for Brace Yourself Games in the licensing and development of “Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt ‎of the ‎NecroDancer Featuring the ‎Legend of Zelda” (2019).‎
  • Acted for NuData Security Inc., a cyber-fraud detection and behavior analysis software platform, ‎from its ‎inception and ‎founding in 2007 through its sale to Mastercard Incorporated.‎
  • Represented Bit Stew Systems Inc. from its inception through multiple financings culminating in ‎its sale ‎to a subsidiary of ‎General Electric Co. in a cash transaction valued at US$153 million.‎
  • Lead counsel for Plentyoffish Media Inc. ("POF") and its founder Markus Frind in POF's ‎acquisition by ‎The Match Group for ‎US$575 million in cash; Canadian counsel for POF and The ‎Match Group since.‎
  • Ongoing acting for many internet, media, technology and video game companies on all ‎corporate and ‎commercial ‎matters including founding and formation, employment, leasing, ‎confidentiality and IP ‎protection, licensing, investment ‎and M&A.‎
Languages
  • English
Education
  • LL.B.,  University of Alberta, 2004‎
  • B.Comm. (with distinction), ‎University of Alberta, 2000‎

Awards

  • Best Lawyers in Canada (Information Technology Law‎), 2020-2024; (FinTech Practice), 2022-2023; (Privacy and Data Security Law), 2021-2024
  • Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory (Computer and IT Law), 2020-2023; (Corporate Mid-Market), 2022-2023; (Technology Transactions), 2020-2023
  • Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory, Technology and Health Sciences Special Edition, 2023
  • The Legal 500 Canada (Corporate), 2022-2023; (Technology), 2022-2024
  • Listed as Thomson Reuters Stand-Out Lawyer (formerly Acritas Star Lawyer) 2019-2021, 2024
  • Lexpert’s Rising Stars: Leading Lawyers under 40 (2017)

Publications

  • "Detoxifying the Anonymous Internet One Troll at a Time: Norwich Orders", [republished by Internet and E-Commerce Law in Canada, vol. 23, no. 6, October 2022]
  • Shocking U.S. "Loot Box" Bill Should Surprise No One: The Video Game Industry Under Attack, May 2019
  • Financial Institutions: OSFI's Heightened Cyber Security Incident Reporting Obligations Now In Effect, April 2019
  • VFX Animators Awarded Overtime Pay: Decision Sets High BC Bar for "High-Tech Professional", April 2019
  • What Can and Should the Law Do About 'Deepfake': An Update, December 2018
  • A $250,000 Reminder that "CASL" is Not Just an Anti-Spam Law, July 2018
  • What Can The Law Do About ‘Deepfake'? March 2018
  • Practicing Safe Text: Drafting Tips from the Stormy Daniels NDA, March 2018
  • Seller Beware: The Dangers of Sales Language, January 2018
  • Internet Law Essentials: Canada's Anti-Spam Law (CASL), 2017 Edition, Specialty Technical Publishers, July 2017
  • Taking CASL by Storm: Compliance Tips for Investment Fund Managers, June 2017
  • CASL Private Right of Action Delayed; Enforcement by CRTC Continues, June 2017
  • Enforcement Advisory: Keeping Records of Consent under CASL, August 2016
  • Will Virtual Meetings Become a Reality in Canada? June 2016
  • Privacy Alert: Proliferation of Access Requests as New Tools Automate Request Generation and Distribution, June 2016
  • Video Games as Canadian Culture: Navigating the Investment Canada Act in Interactive Entertainment Acquisitions, May 2016
  • CRTC Imposes $1.1 Million Penalty for Alleged CASL Violation, March 2015
  • Internet Intermediaries and Copyright Owners Take Notice: Canada's Notice-and-Notice Regime Comes into Force, January 2015
  • Green Eggs And Spam: The Surprising Side Dish to Canada's Anti-Spam Law that May Catch Software Businesses Off Guard, December 2014
  • The Internet Never Forgets: Google Inc.'s "right to be forgotten" EU ruling and its implications in Canada, August 2014
  • Internet Law Essentials: Canada's Anti-Spam Law (CASL), Specialty Technical Publishers, May 2014
  • Canada's Anti-Spam Law: Are You Ready? May 2014

Seminars

  • Moderator, “Negotiating Commercial Contracts”, Tokyo Video Game Law Conference, November ‎‎2023‎
  • Speaker, “Generative AI for Senior Counsel: What Every Lawyer in BC Needs to Know”, Canadian ‎Bar Association BC Branch, October 2023‎
  • Speaker, “Using AI as a Tool for Lawyers”, Advanced Legal Research and Writing, UBC Allard ‎Law School, October 2023‎
  • Moderator, “AI in Games”, Video Game Bar Association Summit Northwest, October 2023‎
  • Roundtable Consultant, “Canadian Guardrails for Generative AI – Code of Practice”, Innovation, ‎Science and Economic Development Canada, September 2023‎
  • Presenter, “Loot Box Laws of the World”, Video Game Bar Association Summit, May 2023‎
  • Moderator, “Generative AI in Games”, More than Just A Game (London), April, 2023‎
  • Presenter, “Deceptively Obvious (Contracts), Games Industry Law Summit - On Tour I, April 2023‎
  • Moderator, “Building Better Digital Ethics and Laws: Meatspace meets Metaverse”, GDC, March ‎‎2023‎
  • Moderator, “The Current And Future Ethical Challenges In Games: XR and the Metaverse”, GDC, ‎March ‎‎2023‎
  • Conference Organizer, “#Techlaw2022”, CLE Society of BC, October-November 2022‎
  • Moderator, “Square Peg, Four-Dimensional Hole: Applying Existing Regulatory Frameworks to ‎the ‎Metaverse”, DLA Piper Media, Sports, and Entertainment Summit, September 2022‎
  • Presenter, “Content Law”, Pocket Gamer Connects (Helsinki), September 2022‎
  • Presenter, “Making Legal Sense of the International Business of Games”, DLA Piper Helsinki, ‎September  ‎‎2022‎
  • Presenter, “M&A in the Games Industry”, Pocket Gamer Connects (Toronto), July, 2022‎
  • Presenter, “Preparing For an Exit - An Essential Guide”, Pocket Gamer Connects (Toronto), July, ‎‎2022‎
  • Moderator, “M&A and Investment in Games Industry”, Video Game Bar Association Summit, May ‎‎2022‎
  • Presenter, “Finding Your Groove in the Legal Profession”, CLE Society of BC, March, 2022‎
  • Presenter, “Level Up Your Game: A Discussion of Copyright and other IP issues in interactive ‎Entertainment”, Toronto Intellectual Property ‎Group (TIPG), April 29, 2021‎
  • Panelist, “International Roundup of Copyright Issues in Video Games” Copyright Society Midwinter ‎Meeting, February 25, 2021‎
  • Panelist, “Things That Go Bump In the Chat Logs”, Roundtable Discussion, Video Game Bar ‎Association, October 28, 2020‎
  • Speaker, "Ask Game Lawyers Anything: This Normally Costs Money!" PAX Online, September 19, 2020
  • Moderator, “Consumer Protection and Regulation”, Roundtable Discussion, Video Game Bar Association, August 26, 2020
  • Clinic Adjunct Interview, Business Law Clinic History Project, Peter A. Allard School of Law, The University of British Columbia, July 23, 2020 
  • Guest Lecturer, The Business of the Practice of Law, Peter A Allard School of Law, Dr. Carol Liao “Business Organizations”, November 2019
  • Co-Organizer,1-day Video Game Law 101: Freemium Edition Conference, DigiBC (Vancouver), October 2019
  • Moderator, Ask Game Lawyers Anything: This Normally Costs Money, PAX DEV and PAX West (Seattle), August 2019
  • Co-Panelist, So, About That Loot Box Bill… PAX DEV (Seattle), August 2019
  • Panelist, E-sports Bar Association Conference (LA) International Law Panel, June 2019
  • Panelist, Video Game Bar Association Conference (LA) International Digital Media Business Incentives and Foreign Investment, May 2019
  • Panelist, 5th Games Law Summit (Vilnius) Canada Video Game Legal Topics, April 2019
  • #Techlaw2019 Legal Topics For Business Lawyers, Chair of 5-part TV series for Continuing Legal Education Society of BC (Vancouver), February 2019
  • Panelist, Legal Innovation Forum (Vancouver) Talent, Education and Purpose, November 2018
  • Organizer, 2-day Video Game Bar Association Summit North (Vancouver), October 2018
  • Speaker, Intellectual Property Institute of Canada (Vancouver) AI, IP and Ethics, October 2018
  • Expert Witness for Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics (Ottawa), Deepfakes and Election Interference, October 2018
  • Moderator, Ask Game Lawyers Anything: This Normally Costs Money, PAX DEV (Seattle), August 2018
  • Co-Panelist , "I Agree", the Internet's Biggest Lie: T&C/Privacy post-GDPR, PAX WEST (Seattle), August 2018
  • Co-Panelist, PAX WEST (Seattle) Loot Crates & Tokens; aka "Games, Stop Acting like Casinos", August 2018
  • Getting It Right the First Time: Ensuring Enforceable Contracts from the Start, Presenter, Employment Law Seminar 2016, Vancouver, BC, November 17, 2016
  • Speaker, Lessons Every Startup needs to Know: Tales from the Trenches, Moderator, Vancouver Startup Week, Vancouver, BC, September 28, 2016
  • Speaker, Make the Most of your Advisors (and Save Money Doing It!), Vancouver Startup Week, Vancouver, BC, September 28, 2016
  • Co-Presenter, Under Attack – Online Threats to Reputation, Prosperity and Peace of Mind, Canadian Bar Association BC Branch Freedom of Information & Privacy Law Section annual conference, Vancouver, BC, June 2, 2016
  • Panelist, Cyber Security Readiness: Detecting, Responding and Avoiding Threats, Portfolio Management Association of Canada's Vancouver Compliance Forum, Vancouver, BC, May 18, 2016
  • Co-Panelist, Gaming, Gambling or Addiction? F2P Scientific and Legal Perspectives, Game Developers' Conference, San Francisco, CA, March 14, 2016
  • Co-Panelist, The Science of Video Game Addiction, PAX West, Seattle, WA, August 29, 2015
  • Co-Panelist, Protect Yourself! FAQ about DMCA and Other Takedown Systems, PAX Dev, Seattle, WA, August 27, 2015
  • Presenter, CASL Update, Canadian Bar Association BC Branch Freedom of Information & Privacy Law Section annual conference, Vancouver, BC, May 8, 2015
  • Co-Panelist, "Cyberbullying" - A Catch Phrase or a Real Problem, PAX Prime, Seattle, WA, September 1, 2014
  • Co-Panelist, The Indie Legal Roundtable, PAX Dev, Seattle, WA, August 28, 2014
  • Canada's New Anti-Spam Law - what it really means, how it affects you, and why every business in Canada should care, Vancouver, BC, June 10, 2014
  • Moderator, Shooters and Shooters: Exploring the Connection between Video Games and Mass Shootings, PAX Prime, Seattle, WA, September 2, 2013
  • Lead Panelist, Gaming or Gambling: Scientific and Legal Perspectives, PAX Prime, Seattle, WA, August 31, 2013
  • Co-Panelist, The Indie Developer's Legal FAQ, PAX Dev, Seattle, WA, August 29, 2013
  • Co-Panelist, Gaming or Gambling: Scientific and Legal Perspectives, PAX Dev, Seattle, WA, August 27, 2013

Media Mentions

  • "B.C. taking steps to protect people from having intimate images shared online without consent", CTV Vancouver, May 4, 2023
  • "The Internet Is Ruined. The Metaverse Can Still Be Saved," WIRED, April 21, 2023
  • "Prada’s VR experience brings Milan to your couch, but there are risks to be managed," World Trademark Review, June 11, 2020
  • "Epic suing a former Keywords employee for leaking Fortnite Chapter 2 secrets", GameDaily.biz, November 13, 2019
  • "Small businesses caught in legal missing middle", Business in Vancouver, November 7, 2019
  • "Microsoft confirms that human contractors have listened to Xbox players' audio", GameDaily.biz, August 22, 2019
  • "E3 data breach that exposed 2,000 journalists' private data puts ESA in legal crosshairs", GameDaily.biz, August 3, 2019
  • "Deepfakes: preparing for the trademark infringement of the future", World Trademark Review, July 23, 2019
  • "Taking Care of Business? Experts Call New BC Law a Gift to Corporations", The Tyee, June 4, 2019
  • "ESA: loot box proposal 'flawed and riddled with inaccuracies,' bill gains bipartisan support", GameDaily.biz, May 28, 2019
  • "North Van entrepreneur's struggle with Kardashian empire a cautionary tale", CTV Vancouver, May 7, 2019
  • "Deepfakes and Brand Sabotage" by David Pring-Mill, Data, Strategy, Technology, December 3, 2018
  • "Psychologist calls for F2P game designers to be more aware of addiction dangers" by Colin Campbell, Polygon, March 14, 2016
  • "Why Canada's anti-spam laws may be keeping Canadians off Jeopardy!" by Robin Levison King, The Star, February 19, 2016
  • "Canadian anti-spam legislation off to slow start, but seeing results" by Steve Mertl, Yahoo! News Canada - Daily Brew, March 31, 2015
  • "What do you think about Canada's new anti-spam legislation" Cross Country Checkup on CBC Radio, July 6, 2013
  • "What does the law apply to?" CTV News, June 30, 2014
  • "Stringent anti-spam legislation comes to Canada on July 1st" The Simi Sara Show, CKNW Radio, June 26, 2014
  • "New anti-spam laws affect virtually every business in Canada" by Nelson Bennett, The Vancouver Courier, June 23, 2014
  • "The Ifs, Ands and Buts of New Anti-Spam Legislation" by Nelson Bennett, Business in Vancouver, June 17, 2014
  • "Anti-spam rules to weigh on all commercial email", AGCanada.com, June 16, 2014
  • "How New Anti-Spam Laws will Affect your Business" by Nelson Bennett, Real Estate Weekly, June 13, 2014
  • "Spam law to affect virtually every business in Canada" by Nelson Bennett, Business in Vancouver, June 10, 2014
  • AM 650's The Law Show with Stirling Faux, Radio broadcast regarding "Being a Lawyer", June 8, 2014
  • "Specialty Technical Publishers Announces Publication of Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL) Guide", PR Web, May 20, 2014
  • AM 650's The Law Show with Stirling Faux, Radio broadcast regarding "Canada's Anti-Spam Law", May 11, 2014
  • AM 650's The Law Show with Stirling Faux, Radio broadcast regarding "Intellectual Property Law", October 27, 2013

Teaching and Community Involvement

  • Clinic Adjunct, Business Law Clinic, Peter A. Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia, August 2019 to 2023
  • Pro Bono Legal Advisor, Business Law Clinic at the Allard School of Law (UBC) (2019-2023)‎
  • Founding Donor, Peter A Allard School of Law Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award
  • Director, Board of Directors, Vancouver Fireworks Festival Society‎
  • Director, Claren Academy Society
  • Business and Technology for Lawyers (5-part series featuring Technology Issues in Contracts, High Technology Employment, Cybersecurity & Privacy and The Future of Tech Law for Lawyers), Chair, CLE BC, Feb-May 2019
  • CLE-TV: Anti Spam Update: Prepare for End of CASL Transition (online) CLE BC, June 2017
  • Regular lecturer at UBC Business Law Clinic speaking to intellectual property, technology and dealing with start-up companies, 2016, 2015
  • Business and Technology for Lawyers (5-part series featuring Anti-Spam Law Update, Technology Issues in Contracts, Social Media & Privacy, Copyright Act Update, and IT Best Practices for Lawyers), Chair, CLE BC, 2015
  • CLE-TV: The New Anti-Spam Law: It's Broader Than You Think, Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia, April 2014
  • Privacy Update 2013: Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation, Speaker, CLE BC, May 2013
  • Legal Strategies in Business Acquisitions 2011: Intellectual Property Matters, Panelist/Speaker, CLE BC, February 2011
  • U.S. Legal Issues in Technology Companies, Speaker, Acetech Symposium, June 2009
  • An Introduction to Intellectual Property, Speaker, Early Career Masters Course, Sauder School of Business (UBC), 2009

Memberships And Affiliations

  • Director, Video Game Bar Association
  • Director, Board of Directors, Vancouver Fireworks Festival Society (responsible for the annual Honda Celebration of Light)
  • Class 1 Trademark Agent, Canadian College of Patent Agents and Trademark Agents
  • Member, DLA Piper (Canada) LLP National Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee‎

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