The Trouble with the TPP series continues with one of the most high profile copyright concerns associated with the TPP: mandatory copyright term extension (prior posts include Day 1: US Blocks Balancing Provisions, Day 2: Locking in Digital Locks). The term of copyright in Canada is presently life of the author plus an additional 50 years, a term consistent with the international standard set by the Berne Convention. This is also the standard in half of the TPP countries with Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Brunei, and Vietnam also providing protection for life plus 50 years.
From a Canadian perspective, the issue of extending the term of copyright was raised on several prior occasions and consistently rejected by governments and trade negotiators. For example, term extension was discussed during the 2009 national copyright consultation, but the Canadian government wisely decided against it. Further, the European Union initially demanded that Canada extend the term of copyright in the Canada-EU Trade Agreement, but that too was effectively rebuffed with the issue of term removed from the final text.
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The Trouble with the TPP series (Day 1: US Blocks Balancing Provisions) spends the next few days examining the TPP’s copyright provisions. One of the most controversial aspects of the 2012 Canadian copyright reform process involved the anti-circumvention provisions, often referred to as the digital lock rules. The U.S. pressured Canada to include anti-circumvention rules, which were required for ratification of the WIPO Internet Treaties, within the copyright reform package. They feature legal protections for technological protection measures (TPMs, a broader umbrella that captures digital rights management or DRM) and rights management information (RMI).
There was an enormous amount of scholarly analysis on these issues throughout the reform process. For example, I wrote about the flexibility in implementing the WIPO Internet Treaties, Carys Craig wrote about the negative implications for fair dealing, Ian Kerr wrote about the broader implications of digital locks, Jeremy deBeer focused on the constitutional concerns, and Mark Perry wrote about rights management information. Moreover, David Lametti, now a Liberal MP and the Parliamentary Secretary for International Trade, wrote about the incoherence of the digital lock rules. The academic analysis was decidedly negative about the legal reforms as was the broader public, which made the issue a top priority as part of the 2009 copyright consultation.
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Technology law and policy continues to command the attention of the public and policy makers. My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that as Canada enters a new year with a new government, 2016 will be all about making tough choices on a wide range of technology law policies, including the following eight issues that are sure to generate headlines.
1. How will Bill C-51 be revamped?
Bill C-51, the Conservative government’s anti-terrorism bill, emerged as a major political issue last year as many expressed concern over the lack of oversight and the implications for privacy and civil liberties. The Liberal government has committed to reforms, but has been generally coy about what those changes will be. New accountability mechanisms will undoubtedly feature prominently in any reform package, but the substantive amendments to the bill remain a mystery.
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Appeared in the Toronto Star on January 4, 2016 as How 2016 Will Shape Canada’s Tech Policy Technology law and policy continues to command the attention of the public and policy makers. As Canada enters a new year with a new government, 2016 will be all about making tough choices […]
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The debate over the merits of the Trans Pacific Partnership is likely to play out in Canada and other TPP countries throughout 2016. While it seems likely that the treaty will be signed in early February (February 4th is the earliest possible date for the U.S. to sign), decisions on whether to ratify the agreement will extend into 2017 and beyond. I’ve already posted some thoughts on the TPP’s digital policy implications (and spoken about the issue in this speech and on this panel) but wanted to expand on the trouble with the TPP in more detail. With that goal in mind, I plan to post each weekday until February 4th on problems associated with the TPP. The series will include posts on copyright, privacy, Internet governance, and many other issues.
The Trouble with the TPP series starts with the slimmed down objectives of the intellectual property chapter. Leaked versions of earlier drafts shows that most TPP countries (including Canada) were supportive of expanded objectives that emphasized balance, the public domain, and timely access to affordable medicines. The full objectives provision, supported in full or in principle by New Zealand, Chile, Peru, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, Canada, and Mexico stated:
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