The Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, which brings together the leaders of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, concluded this afternoon with a series of new agreements and strategies. Given the U.S. involvement, it should come as no surprise to find that an Intellectual Property Action Strategy forms a core part of the summit's final documentation. The document, which focuses on counterfeiting and piracy, includes three broad action items:
- "Detect and Deter Trade in Pirated and Counterfeit Goods," including developing best practices for enforcement, creating an enforcement network, increase collaboration on IP enforcement, and increased attention on border enforcement. Note that "digital piracy" is specifically identified as an issue for future work.
- "Public Awareness and Outreach," which includes greater co-operation between government and industry with increased information sharing. Lobby groups such as the Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network will conduct joint seminars with its US and Mexican counterparts on best practices and enforcement. The strategy also envisions policy roundtables and public awareness campaigns. The three countries will combine on a new website that will post articles about IP enforcement around the world, while industry has promised to develop a code of ethics for online transactions as well as a database on the benefits of IP and the dangers of counterfeiting and piracy.
- "Measuring Piracy and Counterfeiting," which includes developing baseline data on these issues, highlighting the effects of IP in each country's economy, and facilitating the collection of counterfeiting and piracy data.
All of these measures were entirely predictable, given that they are precisely what the North American Competitiveness Council recommended earlier this year. With that in mind, it bears noting what else the NACC recommended for completion by 2008, since it telegraphs what is on the horizon. The likely 2008 reforms include:
- the creation of a global IP database
- the creation of a full-time anti-counterfeiting and piracy police force
- law enforcement action against IP criminal activity
- the development of a protected titles list to deter DVD piracy
- DVD piracy education programs
- the establishment of "fake-free zones" around theatres and malls
- licensing the importation of industrial-capacity DVD burners
As I have written before, IP consistently ranks as a top U.S. trade priority and the SPP quite obviously represents a core part of the U.S. strategy to export tougher IP enforcement to its closest neighbours.