Text: Small Text  Normal Text  Large Text  Larger Text

Blog Archive

PrevPrevJune 2011NextNext
SMTWTFS
   1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930
ACTA Posts

EU Assures that CETA Does Not Contain ACTA Copyright Rules

Monday October 21, 2013
While the Canadian government provided few details on the copyright rules in the Canada - EU Trade Agreement (largely emphasizing that CETA is consistent with recent copyright reforms), the European Commission posted an updated fact sheet on the issue. The European document focuses on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, providing assurances that CETA does not contain ACTA provisions with respect to Internet providers or criminal copyright provisions. The document, which appears to be a re-release of a year-old document, states:


Tags:
, ,
Share: Slashdot, Digg, Del.icio.us, Newsfeeder, Reddit, StumbleUpon, TwitterTagsShare
View
 

Anti-Counterfeiting ACTA Bill Referred to Industry Committee

Thursday June 13, 2013
Bill C-56, the anti-counterfeiting bill that opens the door the Canadian implementation of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, has been referred to the Industry Committee for review. The government imposed time allocation on the bill to move it to committee. The debate on the bill yesterday suggested that all parties support the premise of the legislation, but the opposition wants further study and potential amendments. Perhaps most troubling was the intervention of the Liberal party, who are seeking to extend the bill to seizures of in-transit shipments. In Europe, in-transit shipment seizure provisions have led to seizures of generic pharmaceuticals, creating a major access-to-medicines concern.
Tags:
, ,
Share: Slashdot, Digg, Del.icio.us, Newsfeeder, Reddit, StumbleUpon, TwitterTagsShare
 

Canadian ACTA Compliance Bill Inches Forward

Friday May 31, 2013
Earlier this year, Industry Minister Christian Paradis introduced a bill aimed at ensuring that Canada complies with the discredited Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. The bill raises a host of concerns including granting border guards increased powers without court oversight or review. The bill had not been heard from since its introduction, but yesterday Paradis moved that the bill be read a second time and referred to committee for further study.

There was insufficient time to complete the necessary debate, so it will come back to the House for further discussion and then proceed to committee. While it is unclear whether there is enough time to pass the bill before the summer - if the government studies it properly there is realistically no chance of doing so - the bill's re-emergence is warning sign that ACTA is still very much on the government's radar screen. Indeed, the fact that Paradis chose to move forward with this bill while his privacy legislation has sat dormant since September 2011 speaks volumes about the current legislative priorities.
Tags:
, , ,
Share: Slashdot, Digg, Del.icio.us, Newsfeeder, Reddit, StumbleUpon, TwitterTagsShare
 

What's Really Behind Canada's Anti-Counterfeiting Bill?

Wednesday March 13, 2013
With only limited fanfare, earlier this month Industry Minister Christian Paradis introduced Bill C-56, the Combating Counterfeit Products Act. Since no one supports counterfeit products - there are legitimate concerns associated with health and safety - measures designed to address the issue would presumably enjoy public and all-party support. Yet within days of its introduction, the bill was the target of attacks from both opposition parties and the public.

The NDP raised the issue during Question Period in the House of Commons, accusing the government of trying to implement the widely discredited Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) "through the backdoor." The public also picked up on the issue, noting that the bill appears to be less about protecting Canadians and more about caving to U.S. pressure (the U.S. called on Canada to implement ACTA on the same day the bill was tabled).

My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes the concerns associated with the bill fall into two main categories: substance and ACTA implementation. The substantive concerns start with the decision to grant customs officials broad new powers without court oversight. Under the bill, customs officials are required to assess whether goods entering or exiting the country infringe any copyright or trademark rights.


Tags:
, , , ,
Share: Slashdot, Digg, Del.icio.us, Newsfeeder, Reddit, StumbleUpon, TwitterTagsShare
View
 

What's Really Behind Canada's Anti-Counterfeiting Bill

Wednesday March 13, 2013
Appeared in the Toronto Star on March 9, 2013 as What's Really Behind Ottawa's Anti-Counterfeiting Bill?

With only limited fanfare, earlier this month Industry Minister Christian Paradis introduced Bill C-56, the Combating Counterfeit Products Act. Since no one supports counterfeit products - there are legitimate concerns associated with health and safety - measures designed to address the issue would presumably enjoy public and all-party support. Yet within days of its introduction, the bill was the target of attacks from both opposition parties and the public.

The NDP raised the issue during Question Period in the House of Commons, accusing the government of trying to implement the widely discredited Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) "through the backdoor." The public also picked up on the issue, noting that the bill appears to be less about protecting Canadians and more about caving to U.S. pressure (the U.S. called on Canada to implement ACTA on the same day the bill was tabled).

The concerns associated with the bill fall into two main categories: substance and ACTA implementation. The substantive concerns start with the decision to grant customs officials broad new powers without court oversight. Under the bill, customs officials are required to assess whether goods entering or exiting the country infringe any copyright or trademark rights.

While officials are not intellectual property experts, the assessment includes consideration of whether any of the Copyright Act's exceptions may be applied. These determinations are complex - courts often struggle with the issue - yet the bill envisions granting these powers to customs officials with no review by a judge and no limits on the types of goods involved. Should a customs official determine that there is infringement and that no exception applies, the goods may be seized and prevented from entering the country.

In addition to the seizure provisions, the bill involves expansive information disclosures, with detailed information sharing on shipments as well as the ability for rights holders able to seek assistance from Vic Toews, the Minister of Public Safety (who will be delegated some responsibilities under the Copyright Act) to detain imports and exports. Moreover, penalties associated with copyright and trademark are on the rise, with tougher criminal provisions added to the law.

While most would agree that officials should have sufficient tools to protect public health and safety, the bill does not confine the broad new powers to those special cases. For example, the government could have limited seizures without court oversight to instances where officials reasonably believe there is a public safety risk, but the bill treats everything from counterfeit pharmaceuticals to a suspect painting in the same manner.

The substance of the bill is cause for concern, yet what has many up in arms is that the bill signals Canada intention to implement ACTA. Public protests against ACTA were staged throughout Europe last year, leading to a European Parliament rejection of the treaty. Similar opposition has arisen in ACTA participating countries such as Switzerland (which has not signed the treaty), Australia (where a Parliamentary Committee recommended against ratification), and Mexico (where a Senate motion rejected it).

ACTA is badly damaged and will seemingly never achieve the goals of its supporters to emerge as a new global standard for intellectual property enforcement.  But for the U.S., which spent years pressuring ACTA participants to strike a deal, it still hopes to revive the agreement by at least garnering the necessary six ratifications for it to take effect.

With Europe and Switzerland both out of the agreement, there are only nine countries left. The U.S. apparently sees Canada as an easy target for support, leading to mounting pressure to implement the bill. That leaves Canadians with Bill C-56, which may be characterized as a counterfeiting bill, but whose primary objective appears to be to satisfy U.S. pressure to implement an agreement that the majority of our major trading partners have either never signed or flatly rejected.

Michael Geist holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law. He can reached at mgeist@uottawa.ca or online at www.michaelgeist.ca.


Tags:
, , , ,
Share: Slashdot, Digg, Del.icio.us, Newsfeeder, Reddit, StumbleUpon, TwitterTagsShare
 

NDP Calls It: Bill C-56 is "ACTA Through the Backdoor"

Wednesday March 06, 2013

The government is characterizing its Bill C-56 as an anti-counterfeiting bill, yet this week NDP MP Charmaine Borg framed it more accurately as "ACTA through the backdoor." During Question Period on Monday, Borg asked Industry Minister Christian Paradis directly if the bill paves the way for ratification of the discredited treaty:

Mr. Speaker, last July the European Parliament rejected the anti-counterfeiting trade agreement over serious concerns about the regressive changes it would impose on intellectual property in the digital age. Yet on Friday, the Conservatives introduced a bill in the House that would pave the way for the ACTA without question. Canadians have concerns about goods being seized or destroyed without any oversight by the courts. Will the minister now be clear with Canadians? Are the Conservatives planning to ratify ACTA, yes or no?

Paradis refused to respond to the ACTA ratification question:


Tags:
, , ,
Share: Slashdot, Digg, Del.icio.us, Newsfeeder, Reddit, StumbleUpon, TwitterTagsShare
View
 

U.S. Seeks to Revive ACTA Without European Support

Monday March 04, 2013

The Canadian introduction of Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement compliance legislation on Friday appears to have come in direct response to a new U.S.-led effort to revive the discredited treaty. When the European Parliament overwhelmingly voted to reject ACTA last July, many declared it dead. But is not dead yet: it is badly damaged and will seemingly never achieve the goals of its supporters as a model for other countries to adopt and to emerge as a new global standard for IP enforcement. But for the U.S., which spent years pressuring ACTA participants to strike a deal, the strategy now appears to revive the agreement by at least garnering the necessary six ratifications for it to take effect.

The current ACTA signatories are Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, and the U.S. The European Union and Switzerland are out. Japan formally acceded in October 2012, which means the U.S. must find four more countries out of the remaining seven for ACTA to take effect.  Canada is a clear target, as evidenced by the USTR 2013 Trade Policy Agenda released on Friday.
It states:

The United States continues to encourage Canada to provide for deterrent level sentences to be imposed for IPR violations, as well as meet its Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement (ACTA) obligations by providing its customs officials with ex officio authority to stop the transit of counterfeit and pirated products through its territory.

Canada has no ACTA "obligations" - how could it given that the treaty is not in force and Canada has not ratified it - but the U.S. pressure paid quick dividends with the introduction of Bill C-56, which is clearly designed to put Canada into a position to ratify the agreement.


Tags:
, , ,
Share: Slashdot, Digg, Del.icio.us, Newsfeeder, Reddit, StumbleUpon, TwitterTagsShare
 

Here Comes ACTA: Canadian Government Introduces Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement Compliance Bill

Friday March 01, 2013

The Canadian government today introduced a bill aimed at ensuring the Canada complies with the widely discredited Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. Despite the European Union's total rejection of ACTA along with assurances that ACTA provisions would not resurface in the Canada - EU Trade Agreement, the new bill is designed to ensure that Canada is positioned to ratify ACTA by addressing border measures provisions. The core elements of the bill include the increased criminalization of copyright and trademark law as well as the introduction of new powers for Canadian border guards to detain shipments and work actively with rights holders to seize and destroy goods without court oversight or involvement.

While the bill could have been worse - it includes an exception for individual travelers (so no iPod searching border guards), it does not include patents, and excludes in-transit shipments - the bill disturbingly suggests that Canada is gearing up to ratify ACTA since this bill addresses many of the remaining non-ACTA compliant aspects of Canadian law.  Moreover, it becomes the latest example of caving to U.S. pressure on intellectual property, as the U.S. has pushed for these reforms for years, as evidenced by a 2007 Wikileaks cable in which the RCMP's National Coordinator for Intellectual Property Crime leaked information on a bill to empower Canadian border guards (the ACTA negotiations were formally announced several months earlier). [Update: On the same day the Canadian government introduced Bill C-56, the U.S. Government issued its Trade Policy Agenda and Annual Report, which calls on Canada to "meet its Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement (ACTA) obligations by providing its customs officials with ex officio authority to stop the transit of counterfeit and pirated products through its territory"]

A full examination of Bill C-56 is forthcoming, but its introduction raises four immediate issues: that Canada is moving toward ACTA ratification, that it is pursuing policy based on debunked data on counterfeiting, that the bill could have serious harmful effects with border guards forced to serve as copyright experts without court oversight, and the increased criminalization of copyright and trademark law.

 


Tags:
, , , ,
Share: Slashdot, Digg, Del.icio.us, Newsfeeder, Reddit, StumbleUpon, TwitterTagsShare
View
 

European Commission Drops ACTA Appeal

Thursday December 20, 2012
The European Commission has dropped its appeal of ACTA at the European Court of Justice. Earlier this year, the EC promised to take ACTA to the ECJ to review its compatibility with fundamental rights. With ACTA now politically dead in Europe, the EC has dropped the action.
Tags:
, , ,
Share: Slashdot, Digg, Del.icio.us, Newsfeeder, Reddit, StumbleUpon, TwitterTagsShare
 

How Canadians Reclaimed the Public Interest on Digital Policy

Tuesday November 06, 2012
The fall of 2007 was a particularly bleak period for Canadians concerned with digital policies. The government had just issued a policy direction to the CRTC to adopt a hands-off regulatory approach even as consumer prices for Internet and wireless services were increasing. Meanwhile, the Department of Public Safety held a semi-secret consultation on Internet surveillance where mandatory disclosure of subscriber information was assumed.

Moreover, the CRTC had largely rejected mounting concerns with the way Internet providers managed their networks (often called network neutrality), there were doubts about new wireless competitors entering the marketplace, Industry Canada had seemingly no interest in developing anti-spam laws or updating privacy legislation, the government agreed to participate in negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, and a copyright bill with virtually no user-oriented provision was being prepared for introduction.

My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that fast forward five years later and the CRTC has now positioned itself as a staunch defender of the public interest with consumer concerns at the centre of its policy making process, a lawful access bill was introduced in the spring but is viewed as politically dead, the CRTC has crafted and enforced new net neutrality rules, anti-spam legislation has been enacted, there are several new wireless providers and the removal of most foreign investment restrictions, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is discredited after being rejected by the European Parliament, and copyright reform is set to take effect this week with a host of user safeguards and rights.


Tags:
, , , ,
Share: Slashdot, Digg, Del.icio.us, Newsfeeder, Reddit, StumbleUpon, TwitterTagsShare
View
 
<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next > End >>

Results 1 - 10 of 431