This morning Industry Minister Maxime Bernier released the government's response to the Industry Committee's manufacturing report, which included a recommendation to ratify the WIPO Internet treaties and to increase IP enforcement to combat counterfeiting and piracy. The government's response is about what you would expect:
the Government of Canada is:
- reviewing the enforcement of intellectual property rights, and options to strengthen this regime, in order to combat video piracy and the trade in counterfeit and pirated goods, and
- preparing amendments to Canada's copyright regime that would provide for the implementation of the WIPO Internet Treaties into our domestic legislation
The response continues by noting that the Public Safety and Industry committees are also examining the counterfeiting issue. I do not think there is anything particularly new here – the government has long indicated that it plans to amend the Copyright Act and this statement is obviously consistent with those plans. This response leaves the government with complete flexibility in how it chooses amend copyright law. It is noteworthy that the committee recommended "ratification" of the treaties, while the government responded by stating that it would "implement" the treaties (ratification and implementation are not the same thing from a legal perspective). Further, the inclusion of a specific reference to video piracy reinforces the view that anti-camcording legislation is coming.
The real story may not come from the response, but rather from this morning's press conference on the report. Minister Bernier was apparently asked about the IP response. I am told that he noted that the government is still consulting on copyright reform and that a bill might not even be introduced before the end of the year. Pushing the timeline into 2008 highlights the complexity of copyright reform and seemingly runs counter to early reports that a bill was imminent.