Last week the U.S. and South Korea agreed on a major free trade agreement. The deal hasn't attracted much attention (though Canadian coverage has commented that a Canada – South Korea deal may now be on the way), but the extensive intellectual property provisions are worth noting, since they illustrate […]
Post Tagged with: "USTR"
The International Intellectual Property Alliance – a group that brings together several U.S. lobby groups including the MPAA, RIAA, BSA, the ESA, and publisher groups, has just released its Section 301 recommendations, a submission to the U.S. Trade Representative that frequently serves as a blueprint for U.S. commentary on intellectual property protection around the world. The list covers 60 countries, including most of the world's leading economies. The USTR report, which will be released in April, will likely mirror the IIPA recommendations.
Canada figures prominently on this list and indeed this year it is expected that the U.S. will escalate the pressure by placing us on the Priority Watch List. The Globe and Mail gives the lobby groups' recommendations front page coverage with dire warnings for Canada (the coverage is matched in other countries – see Taiwan and Thailand as examples). The IIPA submission on Canada includes a litany of complaints, including the failure to implement the WIPO Internet Treaties, the need for ISPs to play a greater role in dealing with copyright infringement, the need for a camcorder law, and the need for greater enforcement activity. The IIPA report is particularly critical of Bill C-60, arguing that Canada should "jettison" the approach in favour of something, well, like the U.S. has implemented. In fact, it incorrectly argues that full compliance with the WIPO Internet treaties requires legislation that matches the DMCA (full TPM protection, ban on devices that can be used to circumvent, limited exceptions). It also wants the scope of the private copying limited and clear liability for P2P services established. In fact, it even attacks Bill C-60's tepid distance learning and library loan provisions, arguing that they "would have had a significant detrimental impact on publishers of scientific, technical, and medical materials."
While the IIPA recommendations have predictably led to negative, overblown press coverage in Canada, a little context is needed. The reality is that the majority of the world's biggest economies face similar criticism, including:
Jamie Love has an interesting posting on USTR head Bob Portman violating U.S. law by pressuring African countries to increase protections for AIDS medicines that exceed WTO minimums. Expect those pressures to shift north once a Canadian copyright reform bill makes an appearance.