Help Preserve the Canadian Public Domain: Speak Out on the Trans Pacific Partnership Negotiations
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Friday January 06, 2012
In an interesting coincidence, the Canadian government filed notice of a public consultation on December 31, 2011 on the possible Canadian entry into the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations, trade talks that could result in an extension in the term of copyright that would mean nothing new would enter the Canadian public domain until 2032 or beyond. The TPP covers a wide range of issues, but its intellectual property rules as contemplated by leaked U.S. drafts would extend the term of copyright, require even stricter digital lock rules, restrict trade in parallel imports, and increase various infringement penalties. As I noted last month, if Canada were to ratify the TPP, it would require another copyright bill to undo much of what the government is about to enact with Bill C-11.
A recent study on the implications of the copyright provisions point to many concerns including:
Canada has not participated in the negotiations, but is now considering doing so. The government consultation on the possible participation states:
The Government is embarking on a public consultation process to allow all interested stakeholders an early opportunity to provide comments, input and advice on possible free trade negotiations with TPP countries (current nine members and other interested countries: Japan and Mexico). It is essential that the Government of Canada be fully aware of the interests and potential sensitivities of Canadians with respect to this initiative. We welcome advice and views on any priorities, objectives and concerns relating to possible free trade negotiations with TPP countries.
Among the specific issues it mentions are the intellectual property provisions.
Now is the opportunity to help preserve the public domain in Canada by speaking out against TPP copyright provisions that would extend the term of copyright or impose even stricter digital lock rules. The consultation is open until February 14, 2012. All it takes a single email with your name, address, and comments on the issue. The email can be sent to consultations@ international.gc.ca. Alternatively, submissions can be sent by fax (613-944-3489) or mail (Trade Negotiations Consultations (TPP), Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, Trade Policy and Negotiations Division II (TPW), Lester B. Pearson Building, 125 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0G2).
The TPP would require a massive overhaul of Canadian intellectual property law, far beyond that envisioned by either Bill C-11 or even the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. The impact on the public domain would be incredibly damaging, effectively blocking the entry of new works for the next two decades. Canadians should speak out now to ensure that the government does not cave on copyright term extension. li
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Friday January 06, 2012