Archive for March, 2014

Canada – South Korea Trade Agreement Demonstrates Deals Possible Without Increasing IP Protections

Canada and South Korea announced agreement on a comprehensive trade agreement earlier today. The focus is understandably on tariff issues, but the agreement also contains a full chapter on intellectual property (note that the governments have only released summaries of the agreement, not the full text, which is still being drafted). The IP chapter is significant for what it does not include. Unlike many other trade deals – particularly those involving the U.S., European Union, and Australia – the Canada-South Korea deal is content to leave domestic intellectual property rules largely untouched. The approach is to reaffirm the importance of intellectual property and ensure that both countries meet their international obligations, but not to use trade agreements as a backdoor mechanism to increase IP protections.

Yesterday I noted that Canada might be asked to increase the term of copyright protection given that South Korea had agreed to longer copyright terms in its recent agreements with the European Union, Australia, and the U.S. In fact, the U.S. agreement contains extensive additional side letters on Internet provider liability, enforcement, and online piracy.  The Canada – South Korea deal rejects that approach with copyright, trademark, patent, and enforcement rules that are all consistent with current Canadian law (plus the coming border measures provisions in Bill C-8). 

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March 11, 2014 4 comments News

Will the Canada – South Korea Trade Agreement Include Copyright Term Extension?

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is currently in South Korea reportedly to finalize agreement on the Canada – South Korea trade agreement. The proposed deal has been the subject of a decade of negotiation with opposition from the auto industry resulting in significant delays. While the focal point of the agreement […]

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March 10, 2014 1 comment News

Industry Canada Says “Modernizing Privacy Regime” Planned for 2014-15

Industry Canada’s Report on Plans and Priorities for 2014-15 includes a notable paragraph on priorities for the digital economy.  The report states: In 2014–15, Industry Canada will deliver the telecommunications consumer commitments included in the 2013 Speech from the Throne. These include taking legislative action to amend the Telecommunications Act […]

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March 7, 2014 1 comment News

Podcast on the Voltage Decision

I talked to Carleton University’s Capital News about the Voltage decision. Listen to the Podcast here.

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March 7, 2014 Comments are Disabled Podcasts

Moving Targets: CRTC Sets Universal Broadband Access Target By Year End But Govt Plan Is For 2019

The federal government released its Report on Plans and Priorities for 2014-15 today with departments and agencies identifying spending estimates and work priorities. The CRTC’s report offers some interesting insights into its main activities and targets, particularly with respect to broadband access.

The latest CRTC broadband target is for 100% of Canadian households to have access to broadband speeds of 5 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload by December 31, 2014. That target is a year ahead of schedule as last year’s report set the 100% target for the end of 2015. The new target is also difficult to reconcile with the government’s announcement that it plans to spend $305 million over the next five years to extend broadband to rural and remote areas. In fact, last week reports suggested that Industry Minister James Moore and the government had established a target of 2019 for universal access to broadband. If the CRTC target is achieved, the government’s broadband plans and targets would appear already outdated. Interestingly, Industry Canada’s report includes a target of 77% of the population with broadband subscriptions (not access) by March 2015, but broadband is defined is only 1.5 Mbps or higher.

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March 6, 2014 5 comments News