Archive for June 26th, 2012

Australian Parliamentary Committee Warns Against ACTA Ratification (For Now)

Australia should be added to the growing list of countries that are either rejecting the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement or expressing serious doubts about it. The Australian Joint Standing Committee on Treaties, which conducted an extensive review of ACTA, has just released its report and it is cautioning against ratification for now, noting that “there appears a very real possibility that ACTA will not be ratified by sufficient countries in order to come into existence.” The committee found many shortcomings with the treaty.  For example, on secrecy and the lack of transparency:

The most troubling aspect throughout the development of ACTA has been the opaque nature of the process. Whilst DFAT has stated that a certain level of confidentiality is required for trade negotiations, and while there is ground to enable a certain degree of secrecy where complex issues warrant negotiations in confidence, there is no valid rationale for the level of secrecy that DFAT has maintained for what is essentially a copyright treaty.

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June 26, 2012 3 comments News

Brian Brett Speaks Out: An Open Letter on Access Copyright and the Canadian Copyright Emergency

Brian Brett, the former Chair of the Writers’ Union of Canada and an award winning author, has issued an explosive public letter that “breaks the ‘cone of silence’ that has obscured for too long some of the ugly practices of Access Copyright.” Brett is concerned with copyright reform, but even more troubled by Access Copyright’s activities:

1. After its expenses (which are high – spending approximately $10 million to collect $23.5 million in distributable income), there is $23.5 million in money for copyright distribution. Over $6 million dollars go to foreign copyright organizations. Very little, if anything, is paid back for usage of Canadian copyright material by these organizations.

2. Access Copyright only acquires this $23.5 million by claiming to represent creators and publishers, and that paying them means supporting creators. Access Copyright then pays more than $13 million to publishers. It only pays $4.2 million to actual creators. Their remaining income, is supposed to be distributed by the publishers to their authors, according to how the publishers read their contracts. There is no evidence of this payment occurring since Access Copyright refuses to allow an independent auditing of this income. Effectively, this money has been ‘disappeared.’

3. Access Copyright refuses to distribute, through its “Payback” program, to creators, income from works older than twenty years, yet it continues to collect that income in their name.

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June 26, 2012 8 comments News

The Missing Copyright Docs, Pt 2: Competition Bureau Warned About Digital Lock Competition Concerns

Yesterday I posted on the government’s internal analysis on the constitutional risks associated with digital lock rules found in Bill C-11 including the constitutional warnings issued by the Department of Justice. The same document obtained under the Access to Information Act also notes that the Competition Bureau raised concerns about […]

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June 26, 2012 1 comment News

Transparency: WIPO vs. TPP & ACTA

The World Intellectual Property Organization has just concluded the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances. KEI notes that WIPO is now providing webcasts and video on demand of its sessions and diplomatic conferences. Contrast that with the TPP and ACTA, where discussions are shrouded in secrecy. In fact, four U.S. senators […]

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June 26, 2012 Comments are Disabled Must Reads