tpp why so secret? by Public Citizen (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/daKbUD

tpp why so secret? by Public Citizen (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/daKbUD

TPP

Glenn Gould, CBC, Toronto by Chris Beckett (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/LoHFA1

Global Music Lobby Groups Hit Ottawa in Blitz Over Copyright Term Extension

Global groups such as the International Confederation of Music Publishers and the U.S. National Music Publishers Association came to Ottawa this week to lobby the government to extend the term of copyright beyond the Berne Convention standard of life of the author plus an additional 50 years. The lobbying effort kicked off with a Hill Times piece, followed by an evening wine and dine event with politicians, a panel from the supposedly progressive Pearson Centre for Progressive Policy, and then yet more lobbying with Canadian music lobby groups. The lobbying campaign comes on the heels of the controversial 2015 copyright extension of sound recordings, which some groups used to sow confusion about the term of protection for sound recordings (from 50 to 70 years) with the term of protection for the composition or written work (frequently longer at life plus 50 years).

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November 8, 2017 2 comments News
DSC_7422 by Leadnow (CC BY-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/NsCasz

The TPP is Back: My Submission on the Canadian Government’s TPP11 Consultation

The Trans Pacific Partnership, once left for dead after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement, is back with negotiations on a TPP11 (the original agreement featured 12 countries) set to resume next week. With reports indicating that dozens of provisions may be suspended, the Canadian government just concluded a public consultation on the issue.  My full submission is posted below.  It expresses concern with the lack of TPP transparency and provides comments on five substantive areas: dispute settlement, copyright, patents, e-commerce/digital trade, and culture.

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November 2, 2017 1 comment News
Shipments from Amazon by Public.Resource.Org (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/7tayh5

The Government’s Role in E-commerce: My Appearance Before the Standing Committee on International Trade

On the same day that I wrote about the overwhelming volume of hearings, notices, and consultations on digital policy, I also appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade to discuss the role of government policy in fostering the growth of e-commerce. The panel included eBay Canada’s Andrea Stairs (who argued for an increase in the de minimis threshold for consumer imports) and Peter Simons, the CEO of the Simons department store chain (who argued for no de minimis and the application of sales taxes on all purchases regardless of the size or location of the seller). My opening remarks centered on five areas for government action on e-commerce: access to affordable broadband, fostering consumer trust, intermediary liability, intellectual property, and e-commerce in trade agreements.

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October 27, 2017 1 comment Committees, News
22 NAFTA Style by Steven Taylor (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/CSNKez

My NAFTA Consultation Comments: Promoting Canadian Interests in the IP and E-commerce Chapters

The Canadian government’s deadline for written submissions to the consultation on the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement closes today (though the government just announced that it will continue to accept comments on its form after the deadline). My submission to the consultation is posted below. I focus on two chapters: intellectual property and the new e-commerce chapter.

The submission begins with three broad comments and recommendations including the need for trade transparency, recognizing the importance of IP and e-commerce (and therefore not easily giving on those issues for gains elsewhere), and the desirability of an explicit commitment to balance as an objective in the IP chapter.

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July 18, 2017 2 comments News
TPP Vancouver Rally by Leadnow Canada (CC BY-NC 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/GooPJ6

The International Trade Committee’s TPP Report: Clarifying the Liberal, Conservative, and NDP Policies on Asia-Pacific Trade

The Standing Committee on International Trade released its long awaited report on the Trans Pacific Partnership yesterday, the result of months of hearings and public consultation. The TPP committee review represented the Liberal government’s most tangible mechanism to consult with the public on an agreement it did not negotiate and that suffered from a lack of transparency throughout the negotiation process. Along the way, Donald Trump was elected president of the United States and moved quickly to withdraw from the TPP.  The resulting report is therefore anti-climatic, since the agreement is effectively dead.

Nevertheless, the 113 page report provides a record of the many witnesses that appeared before the committee and places all three political parties on the record. Much of the report identifies the controversial issues – intellectual property, dispute settlement, trade in services among them – and recounts the differing views. The report leaves little doubt about the public divide on the TPP, noting support from some (though not all) business groups and opposition from many public interest groups. For example, the report notes that the intellectual property chapter was among the issues most raised before the committee, particularly the patent provisions and copyright term extension. It highlights not only comments before the committee (including my own), but also briefs submitted to the committee, including one from the Girl Guides of Canada, who expressed concerns with copyright term extension.

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April 11, 2017 1 comment News