Sunday December 08, 2013
Today's leak of country-by-country positions on the Trans Pacific Partnership reveals the strong isolation of the
U.S. on many intellectual property issues and the wide ranging Canadian
opposition to many U.S. proposals. With International Trade Minister Ed
Fast heading to Singapore for a ministerial round of negotiations,
Canada is apparently far apart from the U.S. on many key issues. The
areas of disagreement run throughout the IP chapter and include
positions on copyright term, digital locks, criminalization of
copyright, parallel imports, patents, trademark scope, pharmaceutical
protection, and geographical indications. Moreover, there is a notable
disagreement on a cultural exception, which Canada wants but the U.S.
A look at the areas of disagreement from the Huffington Post leak:TagsShareSunday December 08, 2013
Thursday October 24, 2013
in the Toronto Star on October 19, 2013 as Canada Nearing 'Tipping
Point' Where 50 Per Cent of Research is Freely Available
The power of the Internet to shake up well-established industries has
become a common theme in recent years as many businesses struggle to
compete with new entrants and technologies. While it has captured
limited attention outside of educational circles, the Internet has
facilitated the emergence of open access publishing of research,
transforming the multi-billion dollar academic publishing industry and
making millions of articles freely accessible to a global audience.
"Open Access Week", which is used by supporters to raise awareness of
the benefits of open publishing, is being marked at university campuses
around the world this week just as a Canadian study confirmed a global
open access tipping point and Canada’s major research funding agencies
prepare to mandate open access publishing for grant recipients across
According to a European Commission-funded report by Montreal-based
Science-Metrix, more than half of all research publications in some
countries and fields of study are now freely available online. The
company found that countries such as the United States, Switzerland,
Israel, and the Netherlands have all passed the 50 per cent mark for
open access publication. Canada is on the verge of joining those
countries, falling just shy at 49 per cent.
The shift toward open access becoming the default form of disseminating
research in many fields is a remarkable change given that conventional
publishing in expensive subscription-based journals was the standard in
many areas as recently as ten years ago. The move toward open access
means that global research is far more accessible to everyone -
scientists, researchers, and the general public.
Canadian open access may also soon hit its tipping point if the three
federal research granting institutions - the Canadian Institutes of
Health Research, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of
Canada, and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of
Canada - follow through with a proposed open access mandate.
The three institutions, which collectively dole out hundreds of millions
of dollars in research support annually, launched a consultation last
week on a standardized open access policy. The policy would require
grant recipients to ensure that their peer-reviewed publications are
freely available online within 12 months of initial publication.
The policy sends a strong message to all researchers that the public
should not be asked to pay for access to the research that it funds.
Rather, researchers seeking taxpayer support can reasonably be required
to make their research openly available to the public.
In fact, the adoption of a standardized open access policy may open the
door to several other initiatives. In addition to the changes for
research publications, the agencies may also pursue new open data
requirements that would mandate the availability of the raw information
generated by research activities. Moreover, while the current policy is
limited to research articles, books and other larger publications that
benefit from taxpayer support may also face pressure to adopt more open
models of access.
The implications of open access policies extend far beyond shaking up
the academic journal market. Openly available articles are already being
incorporated into teaching materials, thereby replacing conventional
textbooks and removing the need for copyright permissions and fees.
Open access may also help foster greater collaboration between
researchers and the business community with improved access leading to
commercialization opportunities that might otherwise be missed.
As the Canadian academic community celebrates open access week, it
appears that the long-awaited tipping point may be about to head north.
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 email@example.com or online at www.michaelgeist.ca.
TagsShareThursday October 24, 2013
Wednesday September 11, 2013
The NY Times reports that Canada played a notable role in assisting the NSA to weaken encryption standards. The Times reports:
internal memos leaked by a former N.S.A. contractor, Edward Snowden,
suggest that the N.S.A. generated one of the random number generators
used in a 2006 N.I.S.T. standard - called the Dual EC DRBG standard -
which contains a back door for the N.S.A. In publishing the standard,
N.I.S.T. acknowledged “contributions” from N.S.A., but not primary
Internal N.S.A. memos describe how the agency subsequently worked
behind the scenes to push the same standard on the International
Organization for Standardization. “The road to developing this standard
was smooth once the journey began,” one memo noted. “However, beginning
the journey was a challenge in finesse.”
At the time, Canada’s Communications Security Establishment ran
the standards process for the international organization, but classified
documents describe how ultimately the N.S.A. seized control. “After
some behind-the-scenes finessing with the head of the Canadian national
delegation and with C.S.E., the stage was set for N.S.A. to submit a
rewrite of the draft,” the memo notes. “Eventually, N.S.A. became the
sole editor.”TagsShareWednesday September 11, 2013
Monday July 15, 2013
The OECD last week released the 2013 Communications Outlook,
a major international report issued once every two years with detailed
comparative data on telecommunications throughout the developed economy
world. Telus jumped on the report by posting its own release
claiming that it "once again confirms that Canadian wireless pricing is
extremely competitive internationally." Notwithstanding those sunny
comments, those that take the time to read the report (which must be
purchased or accessed via an institutional subscription) will find that
the reality is that the OECD reports that Canada is one of the most
expensive countries for wireless services in the world. In fact, the
OECD finds that not only do Canadian wireless services rank poorly when
compared to the rest of the OECD, but so too do broadband Internet
services (I'll focus on broadband in a later post).
These wireless price rankings run from cheapest (1st) to most expensive
(34th). Canada ranks among the most ten most expensive countries within
the OECD in virtually every category and among the three most expensive
countries for several standard data only plans.TagsShareMonday July 15, 2013