Could Placing Canada on the Priority Watch List Backfire?

Reaction to the inclusion of Canada on the Priority Watch List comes from an unlikely source – National Post political columnist Don Martin.  Martin writes about how President Obama is proving to be a dangerous man for Canada, using the Special 301 report as Exhibit One.  Martin writes:

The latest Obama administration move against Canada is to designate us among the world’s worst offenders in failing to crack down on those ripping off movie and music artists through wide-open illegal copying. That’s ridiculous. Anyone who has trolled the markets of other blacklist members such as Indonesia, Pakistan or China knows full well their very public piracy epidemic is simply not matched in Canada, the only Western country on the U.S. list.

I'll have more to say about this in a piece out next week, but I have the sense that the decision to include Canada in a group with China, Russia, etc. may ultimately backfire as it undermines whatever credibility the report might have had.  Rather than embarrassing Canadians (as CRIA's Graham Henderson suggested) it seems more likely to leave them doubting the validity of the U.S. demands.


  1. Derek Silva says:

    Wow, and right after I watched RiP
    Rather humourous and ironic that you posted this about 2 minutes after I finished watching RiP: A Remix Manifesto. I’m extremely surprised and saddened to see that the Obama administration would continue to allow the RIAA and MPAA’s ridiculous arguments for more anti-piracy and tougher copyright laws to continue.

    I’m more convinced than ever that works need to become a part of the public domain as soon as the original creator dies, if not sooner. That “Happy Birthday” was written in the 1600’s and still isn’t part of the public domain is ludicrous and practically criminal. It makes me want to film myself singing “Happy Birthday” on top of One London Place (Ontario) and upload it to every single video sharing site available.

  2. Maybe the CPCC shoud put stop payments on the cheques?
    As you have pointed out before Professor, Canada collects nine (IIRC) ways for artists.

    But we must also remember this copyright stuff is Biden’s pet peeve, not Obama’s personally.

  3. kudos here says:

    Hail to the chief (of the riaa/mpaa extrotion maffiAA’s)
    I like what Mr. Howard Knopf wrote on his website:

    Meanwhile, it doesn’t hurt to rhetorically ask again and again when the USA intends to:

    1. Comply with and stop flouting the nine year old WTO Ruling as to its violation of the Berne Convention in the “s. 110″ matter, by denying royalties to composers and authors for performances in countless small business establishments.

    2. Get counterfeit merchandise off the street corners of midtown Manhattan

    3. Generally do something about the dozen or so ways in which American copyright law is weaker and worse than Canadian law, because Canada’s is stronger and better, as I outlined at the Fordham Conference in 2008.

    It’s also useful to recall one of the last newpaper interviews given by the late, irreplacable and uniquely authoritative Sir Hugh Laddie who told The Times in a story on June 3, 2008 a few months before his death last year “Of course there is counterfeiting in China, but the same goes on in the US and Europe. Pro rata, the biggest source of pirated computer software in the world in the US.”

    Shouldn’t the US also be on their very own report? Maybe near the top position?

  4. this list got a brief mention on The National last night…
    … but only as a segue into another remotely related story. No mention whatsoever of the sheer ridiculousness of Canada’s inclusion on the list. Maybe a respected intellectual could send them a quick email or something…

    aside: having to allow scripts on more domains than and is a PITA. It’s not clear in the least which other domain is needed to get posts to work.

  5. One Generation
    I’m excited for when this generation becomes old enough to take political office.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Upset the system
    Well I think Howard Knopf, Michael Geist, Jennifer Stoddart, Charlie Angus, and the likes need to start their own political party.

    The relics in the conservatives and liberals would get an a**-whooping with a powerhouse as above. These are the same relics who said facebook is scary. Time to chuck these dinosaurs.

  7. Mr. Martin is obviously not going to the right places if he thinks piracy is not a problem in Canada. There are stores in the GTA where pirated movies and video games are sold openly.

  8. Anon Name says: SSL certificate expired!
    It is very unfortunate that the ioptout project was abandoned.

    I came back after some time and could not log in anymore; and there is no way to recover the password.

    Also, the SSL certificate expired on 2009-04-20 23:59:59 GMT.

  9. To Adam S.
    Adam S.says:

    “Mr. Martin is obviously not going to the right places if he thinks piracy is not a problem in Canada. There are stores in the GTA where pirated movies and video games are sold openly.”

    Yes, and no such phenomena occur in the U.S.? Actual statistics show that Canada has a fairly low level of piracy.

  10. credibility says:

    Hmm sounds strangely familiar to a story in the NYTimes published in 1897 titled “music pirates in canada” One would think that the people responsible for this list would have learned their propaganda doesn’t work here.

  11. info on that suit says:


  12. info on that suit says:

    Adam S
    and those places get raided and the people get JAIL TIME , there are drug dealers wandering around that are a too does that mean we need tougher drug laws , its illegal and criminals DONT care about the law.

    a kid in his living room grabbing a mp3 for himself is hardly the same league, and if you go this route YOU ARE CREATING THAT CRIMINAL CAUSE WERE NOT GOING TO STOP

  13. OBAMA lost confidence watch n see says:

    Obama = Change in his pocket YOU can count on

  14. “Mr. Martin is obviously not going to the right places if he thinks piracy is not a problem in Canada. There are stores in the GTA where pirated movies and video games are sold openly.”

    That is not a problem with the current law. Under current law that is illegal. That is a law enforcement issue, just like it is in the USA. I think Canada does an excellent good job shutting down these shops. In 2006 the RCMP shutdown the largest piracy ring in Canada. Just this last January the RCMP shutdown multiple shops in Scarborough.

    Since most American’s under their laws are criminals, how good a job are the Americans enforcing their laws?