Stop ACTA 9 by Martin Krolikowski (CC BY 2.0)

Stop ACTA 9 by Martin Krolikowski (CC BY 2.0)


USTR Releases Special 301 Report

The USTR this morning released the 2007 Special 301 Report, its annual report card that features the U.S. perspective on intellectual property protection in dozens of countries around the world.  Despite some thought that the U.S. might elevate Canada from its Watch List to the Priority Watch List, no such […]

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April 30, 2007 2 comments News

Counterfeiting at the Public Safety and National Security Committee

Last month I posted a very critical entry on a Public Safety and National Security Committee hearing on counterfeiting featuring the Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network, and the CRIA.  I concluded by stating that "the MPs on the committee were there to be educated about the issue and received one perspective.  The danger lies in only receiving a single perspective and then proceeding to deliver a report effectively crafted by the anti-counterfeiting lobby.  If the committee is serious about advancing the policy – rather than the view of a select lobby – it will expand the hearings to include further perspectives that extend beyond simple soundbites that 'counterfeiting can kill.'"

To the great credit of the MPs on the committee, someone saw the posting and invited me to appear to discuss my perspective on counterfeiting.  I appeared yesterday morning and I thought that the 90 minute session (which also included Paul Hoffert and Bob Sotiriadis) resulted in an engaging discussion.  Several committee members acknowledged that I provided a different take on the issue, which enabled the debate to focus on the genuine health and safety risks as well as consideration of the effectiveness of current Canadian law.

The full transcript should be available next week but in the meantime my prepared remarks are posted below.

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April 27, 2007 6 comments Committees, News

Canadian Press on Counterfeiting

Canadian Press follows up on last week's counterfeiting hearings with a story that confirms that the committee is planning to move forward having heard just one side of the story.  Says committee chair Conservative MP Garry Breitkreuz, "I think we've heard enough. . .this is a serious problem for the […]

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April 2, 2007 Comments are Disabled Must Reads

“Counterfeiting Can Kill”

The Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security held a hearing this morning on counterfeit goods.  The panel was well stacked, featuring the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network, and the CRIA.  Given that composition, the resulting comments will come as little surprise – a Chamber of Commerce representative professed embarrassment over Canada's IP laws, the CACN representatives passed around an extension cord without sufficent grounding while asserting that "fatalities are inevitable" and that IP enforcement is a "lost cause" in Canada.  A CACN lawyer noted the great success of educating six and seven year-olds about counterfeit toys that do not contain a tag indicating that they are made of new materials.  Graham Henderson indicated that it was about "jobs, jobs, jobs" and that Kenya provides a model for addressing IP issues (though he neglected to mention that like Canada, Kenya has signed, but not ratified, the WIPO Internet treaties).

The panelists all claimed that Canada's IP enforcement system is outdated and thus requires significant new resources and legislative change.  There was also considerable emphasis on creating a Canadian IP enforcement infrastructure, with Henderson calling for the creation of an IP Crime Task Force and IP Co-ordination Councils at the federal and provincial levels.

The committee was incredibly receptive to this message.

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March 29, 2007 6 comments News

Number Crunching

Earlier this month, U.S. Ambassador David Wilkins stepped up the pressure on Canada on copyright.  The speech that launched a round of media coverage has now been posted by the U.S. Embassy.  The relevant passage is: We are asking the Government of Canada to strengthen your copyright laws. There is […]

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March 20, 2007 10 comments News