Foreign Affairs Launches IP Public Consultation

The Department of Foreign Affairs has launched a public consultation on intellectual property, but you need to move quickly to participate.  For the next 17 days, DFAIT is accepting responses to a series of questions that focus almost exclusively on Canadians' experience with intellectual property enforcement in other countries.  The department wants to know how frequently Canadians' have faced infringement elsewhere, whether they have pursued enforcement actions, and the cost of the infringement.  While certain groups to may make significant loss claims, it is certainly open to individual creators to speak up as well to provide their experience to date (even if their experience is one without real concerns).

What DFAIT does not ask – though there is space for additional views and comments – is for Canadians' views on attempts to assert foreign IP laws within Canada against Canadians.  The Research in Motion case provided a high profile patent example, while the hundreds (or perhaps thousands) of DMCA notice and takedown notices that hit Canadian ISPs each week demonstrate how this occurs in the copyright realm.  Throw in the ultra-aggressive U.S. Trade Representative, which consistently seeks to influence Canadian domestic copyright policy by pushing for DMCA-style laws, and Canadians should be telling foreign affairs that it needs to defend Canadian interests by emphasizing the flexibility in international copyright rules, not by rushing headlong toward WIPO ratification and a maximalist IP agenda.

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