Archive for October, 2017

IMG_20170926_090441.jpg by Council of Canadians (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/XQuufC

Life After NAFTA: Why No Deal May Free Canada on Intellectual Property Policy

The Senate Open Caucus held a two-hour panel on NAFTA modernization last week with the intention of exploring the benefits and costs of re-working Canada’s most significant trade agreement. In light of signals that the United States be laying the groundwork to cancel the existing deal, however, the discussion quickly turned to the challenges and opportunities of life after NAFTA.

My role on the panel was to focus on NAFTA’s intellectual property and e-commerce implications. My Globe and Mail op-ed notes that to my surprise, the shift in focus to a post-NAFTA world was liberating, opening the door to considering Canadian policies that have previously been viewed as unattainable given intense U.S. pressure on intellectual property policy that favours “Americanization” of global rules. A world without NAFTA would unquestionably be a shock to the economic system, but it would also free the government to establish made-in-Canada IP policies that better reflect domestic values and pursue trade agreements that use international standards as the baseline rather than U.S. demands.

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October 23, 2017 2 comments Columns
By Office of the President of the United States (@realDonaldTrump on Twitter) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ADonald_Trump_Justin_Trudeau_2017-02-13_03.jpg

NAFTA Modernization and IP/E-commerce: My Appearance at the Senate Open Caucus

I appeared earlier this week before the Senate Open Caucus to discuss the IP and e-commerce implications of the NAFTA renegotiation. The panel, which included Jerry Dias, Al Mussel, and Brenda Swick, featured an engaging discussion with senators from across the political spectrum. My opening remarks emphasized three points from a Canadian perspective: meeting international standards, doing no harm, and seeking a level playing field. The comments are posted below.

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October 20, 2017 3 comments News
Here is the Internet by Wolfgang Stief (CC0 1.0)  https://flic.kr/p/7k6W5j

Government Rejects Call for an Internet Tax: “Conflicts With Principle of Affordable Access”

The federal government yesterday released its response to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage report on local media released last June. The most controversial recommendation in that report – one swiftly rejected by Prime Minister Trudeau – was a call for a new Internet tax to help fund Canadian media and the creation of Cancon. As I wrote at the time, the proposal is a terrible idea that runs counter to important policy objectives of fostering affordable network access for all Canadians.

The government response, signed by Ministers Joly, Bains, and Morneau, rightly notes that “access to affordable broadband Internet, particularly in rural and remote regions, is essential to the participation of the Canadians in the digital economy.”  In light of this policy priority, the government firmly rejects the Internet tax proposal, grounding its decision in the principle of affordable access:

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October 19, 2017 0 comments News
Phishing warning by Christiaan Colen (CC BY-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/x9zYUh

The Case for CASL: My Appearance Before the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology

The Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology is conducting a review of CASL, Canada’s anti-spam law. While the usual critics are out in full force, I had the opportunity to appear before the committee yesterday to explain why there is real harm, why CASL has helped solve the problem, and why claims that the law is overbroad are overstated. Of particular note was the discussion involving the significant decline in the number of major spamming organizations operating in Canada since the law took effect. Three years ago, Spamhaus’ Register of Known Spamming Organizations listed Canada as home to 7 of the top 100 spamming organizations worldwide (who are responsible for 80% of global spam). Canada’s presence on the ROKSO list has been dramatically reduced with only two Canadian-based organizations remaining on the list, suggesting that spam originating in Canada has experienced a significant decline. My full opening remarks are posted below.

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October 18, 2017 4 comments News
Canada Copyright Board: Challenges & Opportunities #copycon2015 panel by Giulia Forsythe (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/z73WDe

Prioritizing the Public Interest: My Submission on Copyright Board of Canada Reform

The government’s consultation on reform to the Copyright Board of Canada recently closed with a plan for reform expected to be unveiled in the coming months. My submission to the consultation is posted below. It focuses on two areas. First, it emphasizes the overriding goal of any public institution or administrative tribunal: serving the public interest. In doing so, it points to three issues: public participation, the independence of members of the Copyright Board, and regulation and transparency of copyright collectives.

On this last issue, I note the close linkage between the parties that appear or are affected by board decisions and reform of the board itself. While the consultation document maintains that governance of collecting societies is beyond the scope of the consultation, I argue that solely addressing administrative powers wielded by the board without also assessing the rules pertaining to participation before the board will not adequately address concerns regarding the function of the board itself. In other words, the who and the how are inextricably linked and must be addressed concurrently.

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October 16, 2017 5 comments News