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CETA Negotiations Continue Under Cloud of ACTA Concerns

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Wednesday October 17, 2012
The Canada - EU Trade Agreement negotiations continue this week in Brussels with both parties hoping to wrap up many outstanding issues. According to information provided by Canadian officials at a briefing earlier this month, the plan is to narrow the areas of disagreement to no more than ten issues, with ministers meeting in Europe in November to try to forge an agreement on the contentious areas. While patent issues will clearly be part of the November discussion, Canadian officials advised that the copyright chapter was largely concluded. In fact, when I asked directly whether the text would require changes to current Canadian copyright law, the response was that it would not. 

Notwithstanding those reassurances, Canadian officials acknowledged the border measures issues were still unresolved. Moreover, days later a European briefing offered a somewhat different take on the copyright provisions. La Quadrature du Net, a leading European NGO, reports that the European Commission confirmed that the controversial criminal ACTA provisions were still included in the CETA draft.

The reports have sparked a wave of new concern (see here, here, here, here, and here) with suggestions that ACTA is "back from the dead in Europe."

The public backlash mirrors similar concerns this summer when reports first emerged that CETA contained many ACTA-like provisions. The European Commission denied the reports, maintaining that the text had changed as a result of the European Parliament's defeat of ACTA in July 2012, yet it now seems probable that ACTA provisions are part of CETA.

Reconciling the conflicting reports is possible, given that Canadian officials stated that no Copyright Act provisions would require change as a result of CETA. The inclusion of border measures and criminal provisions could require other legislative changes, resulting in a deceptive (albeit accurate) response. Indeed, Canadian officials said in August that the criminal ACTA provisions were still alive. The uncertainty and public concern raises the prospect of CETA facing serious opposition within Europe due to the copyright provisions. For example, the Dutch government has said it will not sign CETA if it includes ACTA provisions. While the patent issues are a major Canadian issue, copyright could emerge as a big problem for the agreement in Europe should ACTA provisions resurface within CETA.
Comments (14)add comment

pat donovan said:

illegal, immoral, afttening
the process of letting other governments do what they want in Canada... as long as they buy here...
is a LOT more convoluted than realized.

would you like a list of secret treaties giving foreign governments more power in canada than candians have?

"from the green party..."

Canada-China Investment Treaty.
Although Stephen Harper prefers to keep Canadians in the dark about
this Agreement’s grave implications for our sovereignty, security, and
democracy, I am hopeful that we can force the issue into daylight.

I have other examples.. the NAFTA, etc.

pat donovan
October 17, 2012

Crockett said:

...
I suspect the thought on the 'hills' is that people will eventually fatigue of fighting these issues and they will be passed in some subtext somewhere.

So thanks & keep up the good work of keeping us all aware.
October 17, 2012

Irv said:

This is why politicians have to be removed.
I suggest one a week, until the remainder understand the danger of betraying their trust.
October 17, 2012

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No news here, really
Until people learn to use Full Circle or Tor or whatever comes by to truly secure their privacy, then the opportunity will exist to control what people see and to make them pay for it, and then you can expect that some will always want whatever needs to be done to stop piracy, which means to make true privacy impossible, which changes everything.
October 17, 2012

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kentsmith said:

Good
In fact, when I asked directly whether the text would require changes to current Canadian copyright law, the response was that it would not.
wisefixer
March 18, 2013

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