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    CETA Reached "In Principle", Part Three: Meaningless Claims on Telecom & E-commerce

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    Friday October 18, 2013
    Without the CETA text, it is very difficult to assess many of the purported benefits of the draft agreement (additional posts on the need to release the text, the IP provisions, and the big win for pharmaceutical companies despite declining Canadian investment in research and development).  Consider the benefits for telecommunications and electronic commerce discussed in the government's summary document.  On electronic commerce, the government states:

    Businesses engaged in electronic commerce will benefit from greater certainty, confidence and
    protection.
    Twenty years ago, electronic commerce was in its infancy. Today, electronic commerce is a part of our daily lives. Canadians shop and plan holidays online, and buy and download software and entertainment content, including movies, television and music. Advertisers are making increased use of “smart advertising” on the Web to track our shopping habits and promote specific deals likely to interest us.


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    Canada - EU Trade Agreement Reached "In Principle", Part Two: The Intellectual Property Provisions

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    Friday October 18, 2013
    Intellectual property was one of the most contentious aspects of the CETA negotiations, with copyright, patents, and geographic indications all sources of concern. A summary of the impact of CETA on each is posted below (additional posts on the need to release the text and the telecom and e-commerce provisions).

    Copyright

    Early CETA drafts included extensive copyright provisions that would have rendered Canadian copyright law virtually unrecognizable from its current state.  The EU position on copyright changed after two developments in 2012. First, Canada passed long-awaited copyright reform that addressed several concerns, most notably legal protection for digital locks and ISP liability. Second, the EU abandoned many of the remaining demands after the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in July 2012 to reject Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, striking a major blow to the hopes of supporters who envisioned a landmark agreement that would set a new standard for intellectual property rights enforcement. 


    The resulting copyright provisions appear benign, as the government is claiming that CETA is consistent with current Canadian law:


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    Canada - EU Trade Agreement Reached "In Principle", Part One: Now Release the Text

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    Friday October 18, 2013
    Canada and the European Union this morning formally announced that it they have reached an agreement in principle on the Canada - EU Trade Agreement (CETA) (additional posts on the IP provisions, telecom and e-commerce provisions, and the big win for pharmaceutical companies despite declining Canadian investment in research and development). Unfortunately, there was no release of the text and one is apparently not forthcoming for some time as the government argues that there is still some drafting and legal analysis needed (and presumably translation into several languages). However, without the actual text, the public is forced to rely on summary documents that merely provide an overview of the agreement. A transparent process mandates that all Canadians have access to the full text.  While the approval process will take a couple of years, Canada and the EU should release the draft text now.
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    Canadian Government Unveils Its Celebrations-First Agenda

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    Thursday October 17, 2013
    The government's Speech from the Throne was billed in advance as a "consumers-first" agenda with Industry Minister James Moore talking up initiatives such as tackling wireless roaming fees and the unbundling of cable television packages over the weekend. Yet it turns out the consumers-first agenda is pretty thin: the roaming fee issue may be limited to domestic roaming (an issue that is invisible to many wireless customers), the unbundling will be useful for some though not all television subscribers, and promising enhanced broadband in rural communities is a far cry from committing to universal broadband access for all Canadians by 2015 (other issues such as the anti-digital economy measure of banning extra fees for paper bills is hardly worth mentioning and an airline passenger bill of rights wasn't mentioned).

    Perhaps the real intended focus is a celebration-first agenda as the speech emphasizes that "Canada's Confederation is worth celebrating." The government therefore commits to marking the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown and Quebec conferences, to celebrating the 200th birthdays of Sir George-Étienne Cartier and Sir John A. Macdonald, the centennial of the first world war, and the 75th anniversary of the second world war.


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