Archive for April, 2009

Clement’s Office Says Copyright Consultations Coming This Summer

Among the myriad of reports on the USTR's legally dubious decision to place Canada on the Priority Watch List, one from Reuters is particularly noteworthy as it includes a reaction from Industry Minister Tony Clement's spokesperson.  Darren Cunningham is quoted as saying "we are looking forward to doing consultations on […]

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April 30, 2009 14 comments News

New Zealand Plans To Scrap Copyright Law and Start Over?

The National Business Review in New Zealand reports that that country's government plans to freeze any further reforms of its copyright law with the view to rewriting it for the digital age from scratch. (hat tip: Creative Freedom NZ) Update: Mark Harris and Rick Shera cast doubt on this NBR […]

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April 30, 2009 4 comments Must Reads

The Absurdity of the USTR’s Blame Canada Approach

The IIPA, the lead U.S. lobbyist on international IP matters, has issued a press release on the USTR Special 301 report, welcoming the inclusion of Canada on the Priority Watch List.  Yet the release inadvertently demonstrates why the designation is so absurd.  Included at the end are the estimated software piracy percentages for each country on the list.  While the BSA claims are themselves subject to challenge, compare Canada to the remainder of the list.  Canada comes in at 32%.  The remaining countries (no rates are listed for Algeria, Israel, or Venezuela):

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April 30, 2009 Comments are Disabled Stop CDMCA

The Absurdity of the USTR’s Blame Canada Approach

The IIPA, the lead U.S. lobbyist on international IP matters, has issued a press release on the USTR Special 301 report, welcoming the inclusion of Canada on the Priority Watch List.  Yet the release inadvertently demonstrates why the designation is so absurd.  Included at the end are the estimated software piracy percentages for each country on the list.  While the BSA claims are themselves subject to challenge, compare Canada to the remainder of the list.  Canada comes in at 32%.  The remaining countries (no rates are listed for Algeria, Israel, or Venezuela):

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April 30, 2009 16 comments News

U.S. Targets Canada Over Copyright in Special 301 Report

The U.S. Trade Representative released its Special 301 report today, in which it casts judgement on the intellectual property laws of dozens of countries around the world. To the surprise of no one, Canada finds itself playing the role of Bill Murray in Groundhog Day as it once again is target.  In fact, this year the U.S. aims to increase the pressure by elevating Canada to the Priority Watch List (a more sinister designation than the previous Watch List), implausibly claiming that Canada sits alongside countries like Russia and China with its intellectual property laws. 

The move is not unexpected, given recent comments from Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Congressional panels as well as the demands from U.S. lobby groups.  Those same groups will now dust off their press releases that lament the "embarrassment" of being included on the list (never mind that countries that represent more than 70 percent of the world's population are on the list) and the failure to introduce U.S.-style reforms (never mind that Canada enacted anti-camcording laws in 2007, introduced C-61 last year, is an original negotiating partner in the ACTA negotiations, joined the U.S. as a third party in the WTO copyright complaint against China, etc.).

Hopefully, the Canadian officials will similarly dust off their advice to the Minister, which for the past few years has stated (as obtained under Access to Information):

The Government is disappointed with the United States' decision to include Canada in its [year here] Special 301 "Watch List."  Canada does not recognize the Special 301 process due to its lacking of reliable and objective analysis, and we have raised this issue regularly with the U.S. in our bilateral discussions."

Those same sentiments were expressed by an official at the Department of Foreign Affairs to a House of Commons committee in 2007:

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April 30, 2009 Comments are Disabled Stop CDMCA