Archive for April, 2009

U.S. Targets Canada Over Copyright in Special 301 Report

The U.S. Trade Representative released its Special 301 report today, in which it casts judgement on the intellectual property laws of dozens of countries around the world. To the surprise of no one, Canada finds itself playing the role of Bill Murray in Groundhog Day as it once again is target.  In fact, this year the U.S. aims to increase the pressure by elevating Canada to the Priority Watch List (a more sinister designation than the previous Watch List), implausibly claiming that Canada sits alongside countries like Russia and China with its intellectual property laws. 

The move is not unexpected, given recent comments from Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Congressional panels as well as the demands from U.S. lobby groups.  Those same groups will now dust off their press releases that lament the "embarrassment" of being included on the list (never mind that countries that represent more than 70 percent of the world's population are on the list) and the failure to introduce U.S.-style reforms (never mind that Canada enacted anti-camcording laws in 2007, introduced C-61 last year, is an original negotiating partner in the ACTA negotiations, joined the U.S. as a third party in the WTO copyright complaint against China, etc.).

Hopefully, the Canadian officials will similarly dust off their advice to the Minister, which for the past few years has stated (as obtained under Access to Information):

The Government is disappointed with the United States' decision to include Canada in its [year here] Special 301 "Watch List."  Canada does not recognize the Special 301 process due to its lacking of reliable and objective analysis, and we have raised this issue regularly with the U.S. in our bilateral discussions."

Those same sentiments were expressed by an official at the Department of Foreign Affairs to a House of Commons committee in 2007:

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April 30, 2009 31 comments News

Swedish Poll Show Pirate Party With Five Percent National Support

A new Swedish political poll shows the Pirate Party with 5.1 percent support, enough to garner seats in the June European elections.  The party won 0.6 percent support in the 2006 elections. The party ranks second nationally among those aged 18 – 29 and fourth in the 30 – 44 […]

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April 30, 2009 Comments are Disabled Must Reads

The Electronic Commerce Protection Act – The Competition Act Provisions

Having reviewed the Electronic Commerce Protection Act provisions on anti-spam, enforcement, and do-not-call, the other major section in the bill are the provisions involving reforms to the Competition Act.  The ECPA makes several important amendments to the statute to better ensure that false or misleading representations in electronic messages are captured by the law.  This will mean that the Competition Bureau will have the power to investigate and take action against the use of false headers, false locator information, or the presence of false or misleading content in electronic messages.

The changes focus on parallel reforms to the false or misleading representation provisions and the deceptive marketing provisions.  The Competition Act will now include a lengthy new provision on false or misleading representations in an electronic message.  The three main offences, contained with Offences Related to Competition, are:

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April 30, 2009 Comments are Disabled News

Consumers International Releases IP Watch List

With the U.S. Special 301 Report set for release today, Consumers International has released its own IP Watchlist.  This list of 16 countries found that consumers benefit most from the laws in India and South Korea, while the UK is the most restrictive.  It also noted that the U.S. applies […]

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April 30, 2009 3 comments Must Reads

BBC Film Critic on Movie Piracy

Techdirt points to a recent video from a BBC film critic who argues that movie piracy is an industry problem (screener leaks) rather than a consumer issue.

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April 30, 2009 Comments are Disabled Must Reads