While Industry Minister Jim Prentice and Canadian officials continue to remain mum about the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a report out of the U.S. suggests that there is considerable reason for public concern. Congress Daily (sub req) quotes a high-level official from the USTR as indicating that the talks are gaining steam, with a binding international agreement likely by the end of the year. The USTR official continued by noting that the treaty will focus on international cooperation, enforcement practices, and a legal framework. The article confirms that the USTR comments are consistent with the document leaked last week that has led to front page headlines in Canada.
This suggests that the two-part Prentice plan is rapidly coming together – a Canadian DMCA could be introduced next week, while by the end of the year Canada may have agreed to an international treaty that mandates new levels of surveillance for ISPs and border guards. The effect of these reforms will dramatically reshape Canadian law with Prentice and Prime Minister Stephen Harper rolling out the red carpet for President George Bush's demands and leaving Canadians wondering how their consumer, property, and privacy rights suddenly disappeared.