Archive for January 27th, 2009

Budget 2009 – Money for Broadband, Part Two

In the dying days of the fall election campaign, the Conservatives promised to spend $100 million per year for five years on broadband deployment in rural areas starting in 2010.  While the budget moves that spending up a year, it commits less money – $75 million per year for three […]

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January 27, 2009 3 comments News

Budget 2009 – Money for Broadband

The Department of Finance website is pitifully slow, but it appears that the government is committing $225 million over the next three years for broadband to unserved communities.  By comparison, the Australian government has committed AU$4.7 billion to a similar initiative. 

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January 27, 2009 4 comments News

Why the U.S. Lost Its WTO IP Complaint Against China. Badly.

The World Trade Organization yesterday released its much-anticipated decision involving a U.S. complaint against China over its protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights.  The U.S. quickly proclaimed victory, with newspaper headlines trumpeting the WTO panel's requirement that China reform elements of its intellectual property laws.  For its part, China was conciliatory and offered to work with the international community to resolve the concerns raised by the decision.  Reuters notes that the Chinese reaction is far less combative than it has been other issues.

Why the muted response?  I suspect that it is because anyone who bothers to work through the 147 page decision will find that the headlines get it wrong.  The U.S. did not win this case, but rather lost badly. China is required to amend elements of its copyright law, but on the big issues of this case – border measures and IP enforcement – almost all of the contested laws were upheld as valid.  Further, the ramifications of this case extend well beyond China's laws into other areas such as ACTA, since it points to the considerable flexiblity that countries have in meeting their international obligations on these issues.

The case centred on three key issues:

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January 27, 2009 15 comments News

Canadian Chamber of Commerce Leads the Way on IP Lobbying

Howard Knopf points to a Hill Times article that quotes Geoff Norquay as stating that the copyright lobby will be out in full force with the resumption of Parliament and that he expects a new bill within months.  Norquay is registered to lobby on copyright on behalf of both Microsoft and the Canadian Association of Broadcasters.  While those groups will undoubtedly be active, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce has emerged as one of the most active lobbyist on intellectual property.  Despite some dissension within the Chambers themselves, the national body formed a lobby specific group and it has been very active.  Another counterfeiting event is planned for next week where the "best practices" and special presentations come from the United States. 

More interestingly, the Chamber continues to lobby government directly.  According to the latest lobbying reports, Chamber President Perrin Beatty was active late last year, meeting with Assistant Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham to discuss copyright and digital rights management, as well as with senior Industry Canada officials to discuss copyright and the report on intellectual property by McGill professor Robert Gold that concluded that IP laws may be stifling innovation and that increased patent protection may hamper future innovation (the Gold report has also been the subject of an industry-led access to information request).

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January 27, 2009 5 comments News