Ministers Respond to Industry Committee Counterfeiting Report

Four government ministers – Day (Public Safety), Prentice (Industry), Emerson (International Trade), and Nicholson (Justice) – have issued their response to last spring's Industry Committee counterfeiting report that included 19 recommendations for reform including stronger penalties, WIPO ratification, and increased border enforcement.  The letter, which interestingly does include Canadian Heritage Minister Josee Verner, avoids addressing each specific recommendation as the Committee requested, choosing instead to offer some general words of support for anti-counterfeiting measures.

The letter rightly focuses first on concerns associated with health and safety.  The letter continues by noting that the Government's first step in its IPR strategy has already been taken with the passage of last spring's anti-camcording legislation.  Moreover, it adds that there is ongoing inter-departmental work on strengthening IP enforcement.

Looking ahead, the letter again confirms that the DMCA is headed to Canada, stating that:

the Government, led by the Minister of Industry and the Minister of Canadian Heritage, is working towards bringing Canada's copyright regime into conformity with the WIPO Internet Treaties.  We call on all parties to support the Government's efforts in this regard so as to ensure the protection of the rights of creators and the ability of all Canadians to use and enjoy copyrighted material in a fair, clear and predictable environment.

It is noteworthy that the letter speaks of "conformity" with WIPO, not ratification and that it includes some of the balanced language around both protection and use.  Of course, all party support for such legislation will depend upon whether the government does more than just provide lip service to the concerns of users.

The letter concludes with some strong statements about the need for collaboration and continued vigilance.  While the response is sufficiently vague as to provide the government with some flexibility, it is clear that the drumbeat for action on this file is growing louder.


  1. This is of concern. Canada could use an online movement to oppose more restrictive copyright – to do a kind of Sam Bulte repeat en masse.

  2. Someone in Ottawa says:

    I don\’t think I\’d argue against such a movement, although I think it\’s already in the works in various quarters.

  3. concerned
    Its depressing the amount of Government policy is directly opposite of public opinion.
    The public that voted the government in in the first place.

  4. Depressed
    Yes, It is very depressing.
    It appears we have a government which is more concerned with the demands of Hollywood, the major american music labels and grandstanding American legislators like Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), than with the legitimate concerns and desires of Canadians.
    I guess I\’m too old to understand, I had always thought that the role of government was to protect and look after the interests of its citizens.
    We definitely need some direct and public means of expessing our opposition to the self-serving agenda of the government.
    We need our right protected, not restricted and controlled.

  5. “Canada could use an online movement”
    So how do we change things with an online movement?
    How do we get the support when there are more of us off-line than on-line?
    My co-workers and others tell me they simply do not read news other than mainstream, and I truly believe they really would rather bask in the bliss of ignorance.
    Do we need a new party? An Online party? Who would head it?

    It seems that the online movement is pretty good for holding the electeds accountable, but once we vote out one bad apple, another one takes her/his spot.

  6. Chris Charabaruk says:

    I have to agree that a movement might not do all that much, especially when the government would rather pander to the richest Canadians and to foreign interests rather than the needs and wants of the average citizen. Given that my MP (none other than Dan McTeague, actually) hasn\’t even bothered to get his staff to reply to my messages goes to show that even the Liberals don\’t give a damn any more.

  7. What you can do
    First – sign the petitions at [ link ] and mail them off. I believe that these have already had the effect of making politicians aware that this isn’t an issue where they can just hand new rights/powers over to their buddies and the citizens won’t even notice.

    Second – arrange to meet with your MP. Emails are better than nothing, letters are great, but the only way to avoid being ignored is to meet face-to-face. If you want some coaching beforehand, head over to the Digital Copyright Canada mailing list.

    The fact is that an online movement is a great way of organising and sharing ideas, but it’s very easy to ignore. We need to be in our MP’s offices and have petitions tabled in the House. That’s the world they live in.

  8. I just shot off an email to my MP along with hard copies – one hand delivered to the MP’s local office and one mailed for free to their spa, er, I mean office, in Ottawa. I intoned that slapping together legislation based solely on the claptrap generated by the copyright lobby is bad for Canadians and could prove to be very bad for my MP’s minority government.

  9. Russell McOrmond says:

    Digital Copyright Canada
    Someone already mentioned our petition (We have 2), but we also have mailing lists and an active BLOG.

    [ link ]

    This forum exists to allow individual Canadians to get involved. There are other more formal groups people can join, but this is a great starting point that is aimed at all Canadians.