Just as parliamentarians voted to break for the summer, the Industry Committee (member list here) issued its report on counterfeiting and piracy, unambiguously titled Counterfeiting and Piracy are Theft. The report and its recommendations are stunning as they represent the most lopsided copyright related report since Sam Bulte chaired the Canadian Heritage Committee. The Committee acknowledges that the statistical evidence is "at best, very crude estimates", so it chose to adopt a 1998 OECD study that places global counterfeiting at US$600 billion (never mind that the OECD has just released a report setting the number at one-third that figure).
While no one supports counterfeiting, the Committee's zeal to address the issue is striking, even going beyond the roadmap from the Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network. In particular, the report makes the following recommendations:
- ratify the WIPO Internet treaties (seemingly because the U.S. has placed us on the Special 301 list)
- increase damages and penalties under the Copyright Act
- create a new offence for the distribution of pirated works
- create a new offence for the manufacture or distribution of circumvention devices for commercial gain
- create new administrative penalties for the importation of counterfeit and pirated goods
- create a new criminal offence for manufacturing, reproducing, importing, distributing, and selling counterfeit goods
- strengthen civil remedies for counterfeiting and piracy infringement
- increase the resources allocated to the RCMP and Justice to counter counterfeiting and piracy
- prioritize RCMP and Justice copyright enforcement
- encourage prosecutors to seek more significant penalties for counterfeiting and piracy violations, including imprisonment
- create a new IP Crime Task Force
- new border measures, data sharing, and the creation of an IP registry
The government will be required to respond to this report in the fall. While it may not accept all the recommendations, this report dramatically escalates the pressure for one-sided copyright reforms that mirror DMCA-style laws.
Update: The CACN unsurprisingly welcomes the report, specifically noting the call to ratify the WIPO Internet treaties, while stating that "the time for research, study, and talk is over."