My weekly Law Bytes column (freely available hyperlinked version, Toronto Star version, homepage version) focuses on the recent USTR Special 301 report and its specific criticisms of Canada's copyright plans. The column highlights the gradual escalation of U.S. linkage of trade and intellectual property protection and calls for the creation of new IP Bullied List that would include at least a dozen countries bullied into agreeing to stronger IP laws, along with a Bullied Watch List that would include dozens of countries currently negotiating similar trade agreements.
The IP Bullied List would include at least the following 12 countries: Australia, Bahrain, Chile, Singapore, Morocco, Jordan, and the signatories to the Central America Free Trade Agreement (Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua). Each of these countries has reached trade agreements with the U.S. that include sizable intellectual property requirements.
The Watch List would be even longer, including individual countries such as Panama, Thailand, Malaysia, and Brunei that are all working on bi-lateral trade agreements. Moreover, a block of Middle Eastern countries (Algeria, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen) would make the list as part of the Middle East Free Area Initiative as would the five countries working on the Southern African Customs Union Free Trade Agreement (South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, and Swaziland). Further, every country in the Americas, including Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Jamaica, Peru, and Venezuela would be on the list by virtue of their participation in the Free Trade Area of the Americas Agreement negotiation.