Beyond ACTA: Proposed EU – Canada Trade Agreement Intellectual Property Chapter Leaks

Canada's participation in the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement negotiations has understandably generated enormous public concern as leaked documents indicate that ACTA would have a dramatic impact on Canadian copyright law.  The U.S. has proposed provisions that would mandate a DMCA-style implementation for the WIPO Internet treaties and encourage the adoption of a three-strikes and you're out system to cut off access where there are repeated allegations of infringement.

Yet it would appear that ACTA is actually only part of the story.  Canada is also currently negotiating a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with the European Union.  The negotiations have been largely off the radar screen (and similarly secretive) with the first round of talks concluding in October in Ottawa. Intellectual property figures prominently in the agreement.  In fact, the EU proposal for the IP chapter has just leaked online and the document is incredibly troubling.  When combined with ACTA, the two agreements would render Canadian copyright law virtually unrecognizable as Canada would be required to undertake a significant rewrite of its law.  The notion of a "made-in-Canada" approach – already under threat from ACTA – would be lost entirely, replaced by a made-in-Washington-and-Brussels law.

What are some of the EU's demands?

  • Copyright term extension.  The current term of copyright law in Canada is life of the author plus 50 years.  This is consistent with the term requirements under the Berne Convention.  The EU is demanding that Canada add an additional 20 years by making the term life plus 70 years.
  • WIPO ratification. The EU is demanding that Canada respect the rights and obligations under the WIPO Internet treaties.  The EU only formally ratified those treaties this week.
  • Anti-circumvention provisions. The EU is demanding that Canada implement anti-circumvention provisions that include a ban on the distribution of circumvention devices.  There is no such requirement in the WIPO Internet treaties.
  • ISP Liability provisions.  The EU is demanding statutory provisions on ISP liability where they act as mere conduits, cache content, or host content.  ISPs would qualify for a statutory safe harbour in appropriate circumstances.  There is no three-strikes and you're out language (which presumably originates with the U.S.).
  • Enforcement provisions.  The EU is demanding that Canada establish a host of new enforcement provisions including measures to preserve evidence, ordering alleged infringers to disclose information on a wide range of issue, mandate disclosure of banking information in commercial infringement cases, allow for injunctive relief, and destruction of goods.  There is also a full section on new border measures requirements.
  • Resale rights.  The EU is demanding that Canada implement a new resale right that would provide artists with a royalty based on any resales of their works (subsequent to the first sale).
  • Making available or distribution rights.  The EU is demanding that Canada implement a distribution or making available right to copyright owners.

These are just the copyright provisions.  There are sections dealing with patents, trademarks, designs, and (coming soon) geographical indications. These include:

  • requiring Canada to comply with the Trademark Law Treaty (Canada is not a contracting party)
  • requiring Canada to accede to the Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs
  • creating new legal protections for registered industrial designs including extending the term of protection from the current 10 years to up to 25 years
  • requiring Canada to comply with the Patent Law Treaty (Canada has signed but not implemented)
  • requiring Canada to establish enhanced protection for data submitted for pharmaceutical patents

While the leaked document may only represent the European position, there is little doubt there will be enormous pressure on Canadian negotiators to cave on the IP provision in return for "gains" in other areas.  The net result is that when combined with the ACTA requirements, Canadian copyright law reform may cease to become Canadian. Instead, the rules will be dictated by secretive agreements as the U.S. and Europe tag team to pressure Canada into dramatic changes far beyond those even proposed in Bills C-60 or C-61.


  1. This development is simply stunning and audacious. Simply appauling how much of an effort there is to circumvent the will of the Canadian people in favour of foreign interests.

  2. Why the HELL should I have to pay an artist a second time if I ever sell a work I bought from him? That would sort of suggest that I never really bought it, wouldn’t it.

    Between that, and lending rights for books which is now common practise, and exhibition rights, which is equally ridiculous, now they also want to extend the term of copyright too!!??!?

    GRRRRRR, these are all nothing but taxes paid on knowledge and culture to unaccountable multinational A$$H0L3S. In this information age, with the cost of production going down so much, you would think that we’d be changing our laws to reduce the margins on IP not raise them.

    Get your pitch forks fellas. We’re gonna have to take some drastic actions here.

  3. Will the UK return the supposed favour by unlocking access to Canadian cultural materials it holds, which are clamped down by its ridiculous copyright provisions for another three decades?

    Will the EU agree not just to copyright minimums, but also to copyright maximums?

  4. Seriously? Are you f- kidding me?!?

    No wonder the government went with the public copyright consultation angle – it was just a decoy & too good to be true.

  5. This has gone beyond ridiculous to the point of stupidity. Any rational person sees this for what it is , just more BS from the entertainment industries by there bought and paid for members in the EU parliament. This is being pushed on citizens of Canada who i would like to believe given a voice in this would tell them to take a long walk of a short pier
    My answer to this not NO but F— NO

  6. In an AT&T style counter-offer, how about we agree to the anti-counterfeiting laws, but we also outlaw DRM.

  7. Damm
    Ah geez, this is not good. Makes people wnnder how long this merry go round is going to keep on turning until they finally get the idea that the populace do not want these laws. I can only hope we can keep on checking them long enough to hold off these anti progessive, pro profit laws.

  8. This is a terrible shame – utterly demoralizing.

    If Canada holds up as seemingly the only developed country to maintain a non hyper-expansive approach to Intellectual Property I sure will be proud to live here.

  9. Society role models
    Another sterling example of transparency in elected government. Not just the Canadian government, all of them.
    Is it any surprise that most of the younger generation has zero respect for the outdated distribution industries that are the driving force behind all these required changes? And this generation is fast losing respect for elected officials and government employees that cater to these industries.

    “What does daddy do for a living? He negotiates secret agreements so kids like you and all your friends can be thrown into jail. Why? Because that’s what he is paid to do.”

    At what point is the money just not worth it? I strongly suggest that anyone with children or family under the age of 25, any government or corporate negotiator, any employee, any executive, take a good hard look at what they are asking for. Picture every one of those family members in jail – because that is what you are doing, getting ready to send them all to jail. Ask yourself why you are doing it, and what you could be doing differently. There *are* alternatives, perhaps less lucrative than yesterday, but they don’t involve sending your kids and their friends to jail. Wake up. Look around. Choose to be a role model your kids would be proud of, not one they fear.

    Society has changed, and continues to change, driven by the technology. This writing has been on the wall for the last 20 years. Napster was the first obvious example, and should have been a stark wakeup call. If half as much money was spent on true market analysis to determine *why* all this P2P sharing continues to happen, instead of government lobbying and court ordered site shutdowns, you would know how to adapt business models to modern society. Either the industry hasn’t bothered to figure out why their customer base has opted for a “different distribution channel”, or they have come to the wrong conclusions. Here’s a big hint for you, the overriding driver isn’t the “free” factor, it’s convenience and immediacy – at a fair price – on a global basis. Technology has enabled the convenience and immediacy, that’s the bar to measure your model against. It’s unfortunate for the entertainment industry that P2P has set a fair price at effectively “free”, but that just means the industry has to offer additional value worth paying for, perhaps more convenient or more immediate?
    The entertainment distribution industry lost it’s edge when it refused to offer anything close to what it’s market was demanding, and now they have to play catch up. That’s what happens when you start thinking about your customers as simply “consumers”. They are now down to the level of thinking about their customers as criminals. Here’s another little hint, as soon as a business or industry ignores their customer’s needs and desires, the business or industry becomes irrelevant to those customers – they go elsewhere.

    There are dozens of different business models that would ensure the continued viability of the entertainment distribution industry. None of them will put another Lamborghini in the driveway, but the industry would still prosper. The current approach of litigation and lobbying for tougher laws just won’t work in the long run.

    Laws can be repealed, and the current environment is ripe for a single platform party to be elected simply on the premise that they will repeal those laws – in every democratic country in the world. If you don’t believe such a thing could possibly happen, I have one lesson for you – Napster. Lots of people saw that coming, the entertainment distribution industry obviously didn’t. And it doesn’t look like they have learned anything from the experience.
    Well, maybe they learned how to play wack-a-mole, but the game they should have learned has more to do with flies and honey. Or even better, grow up and pay attention to “customers”.

  10. ^ QFT! Look at the Steam business model for the video game industry. They make money by being more immediate, more convenient, and by offering additional content and a community! Why hasn’t the media industry tried this? Surely the cost of producing a music album is a fraction of the cost of a modern video game, and yet it hasn’t occurred to anyone but Apple to beat p2p at its own game?

  11. Well, maybe we’ll at least get the right to sell seal skins again.

  12. Its a Trap!
    Insane and Disgusting. Why would anyone in the right mind agree to such ridiculous laws?

    Copyright maximalists have already bought their share of European politicians and now these tools are trying to do the same in Canada. Once again. Canada is a sovereign nation, Canada makes its own laws. If you dont like it: GTFO. Nothing I purchase is from Europe anyway and I could care less what hole they dig themselves. Dont expect Canadians to fall into the same trap.

  13. @W McLean saiz:

    Will the UK return the supposed favour by unlocking access to Canadian cultural materials it holds, which are clamped down by its ridiculous copyright provisions for another three decades?


    Can you elaborate on this statement? I am immensity curious.

  14. Sheesh, are they seriously going to get to the point where it would be preferable to ban music, movies and games entirely?

  15. Rent seeking behaviour
    I found an interesting blog entry by Mark Shuttleworth regarding “Rent Seeking” as it applies to library Public Lending Rights. (Something we should have fought against a long time ago) I think it is just as applicable to exhibition rights, resale royalties, and of course, copyright term extensions.

    This sort of theft of, and taxation on, our public culture is something we need to fight forcefully.

    My Captcha: Fretful for
    (indeed I am)

  16. Maynard G. Krebs says:

    Resale rights???
    So the next time I sell some CD’s or books I no longer want at a garage sale I’m going to have to remit money to the Estate of Edith Piaf or to JK Rowling?

    I’m sure that’ll go over well when works of art, like Picasso’s, sell at auction too.

  17. What do you guys figure it is going to take for us to end up with non fanatical copyright legislation? Is it even possible at this point?

  18. @Maynard,

    Actually if you read the document, it states ” The right referred to in paragraph 1 shall apply to all acts of resale involving as sellers, buyers or intermediaries art market professionals, such as salesrooms, art galleries and, in general, any dealers in works of art.”

    So no you wouldn’t have to remit anything for a garage sale, unless you sell it to a wandering art dealer. None the less, it is one more nail in the coffin of concept of any kind of private ownership. With lending rights, exhibition rights, distribution rights, software EULA, DRM, and now resale rights, it is really getting to point that it is not possible to actually own anything anymore.

  19. Seriously Twisted says:

    Bad Napkin
    “ordering alleged infringers to disclose information on a wide range of issue”

    What are they planning a ‘git for the p2pers? Are they going to hold people indefinitely until the milk every conceivable bit of intel from them? Is torture on the table??? WTF??

    Dangerous, very dangerous indeed!

  20. Wrongful DismissalHans Gruber says:

    Blah Blah Blah
    It is the kids of today that will develop the technology of tomorrow that will circumvent the laws their parents negotiate in secrecy. Anyone else notice that the Pirate Bay is still up and running just fine? Nice try old dudes, failed again in your attempt to stop the future! Kids today don’t care, all they hear is blah blah blah from these negotiations. Good luck throwing the entire next generation in jail for breaking the laws that one day they will be re-writing. Now where did I put my pot, oh yeah, in California where it will soon be legal…..

  21. Really...I'll raise you a revolt says:

    You have got to be fracking kidding me
    Here’s a thought, if you are planning on keeping all of your elected positions, you just may want to oppose this one as well as acta. Clearly you fools aren’t planning on getting reelected, or thought this through at all. I have to wonder how long until the next demonstration on the hill, count me in. This is what’s going to happen, you the people who we put into political power, you who are meant to represent us, the people, have one of two choices; either represent us and our needs, and make decisions and laws accordingly, or continue on your course and expect to be removed from your position in the near future. It’s that simple, smarten the hell up, or we will correct the matter.

  22. Hmmm…
    I guess this is payback after the Seal ban fiasco…guess the EU are still holding a grudge against us by implementing this in exchange for not giving in to the EU Seal Ban. Make some sense, I guess?…

  23. Response to Oldguy:

    “because that is what you are doing, getting ready to send them all to jail”

    Don’t let it bring you down too much. As both Gandhi and Mandela constantly reminded their fellows, prison isn’t so bad when the entire community is in there!

  24. Can you elaborate on this statement? I am immensity curious.

    = = =

    In the UK, as in Canada, copyright in unpublished literary works — papers, bascially — used to be perpetual. In the 1990s, both countries abolished the perpetuity, but with a “transitional” period. In Canada, a small part of the transition has, as of 2004, already run its course.

    In the UK, it hasn’t, which means that millions of pages of archival documents are not in the public domain, but also have no known, or even knowable, copyright owner. Britain being a recovering colonial power, this includes millions of pages of historical material which touch on the history of Canada and other former colonies. Many archives, citing copyright, will not even photocopy such material for you, misapplying UK law which does, in fact, allow for it. Many others force you to agree to stern and strict conditions as to what you can’t do with this precious copyrighted material, no matter how old it is.

    It’s a tax on history and cultural colonialism, but neither the British government, nor the Canadian one, seem to give a rat’s ass as long as the US Trade Department, Cliff Richard, Paul McCartney, and other old gits are happy.

    Good! We need laws like this, and we need them now.

    And, right after we pass these laws, we should pass more laws that mandate cigarette-package like warning labels. Big UGLY labels that tell the consumer everything they are not allowed to do with this media BEFORE they buy/watch/listen/read it. Stuff like: You are NOT allowed to make a backup. You are NOT allowed to transfer this content to another form of media, You are NOT allowed to share this with friends, and so on.

    Then, people will either ignore this and continue sharing or, for the ethical among us, will simply revolt and stop paying for any media that has these disgusting restrictions the warning labels describe. Thus, as I’ve written here:, we’ll end up in a place where the only people paying are only willing to pay for non-restricted media. This will force the people trying to make money off of distributing media to distribute non-restricted media. The result, no more copyright.

    This is going to happen, it’s only a matter of time, and the sooner the better.

  26. @Dave,

    Is it unethical to ignore laws that are wrong? Gee, and all these years I’ve admired people like Morgentaler, Gandi and Martin Luther King. My bad

  27. @Dave: Although I agree with the results that you speculate will arise from this sort of ongoing behavior, that is, no more copyright, I would not say that such a future is a good thing to be eagerly anticipated.

    Without copyright, there is no significant incentive for any person to create any work that has some cost to them, since there would exist no legal framework for preventing others from potentially capitalizing on the work with greater efficacy. Indeed, any publications that incur any sort of real cost would likely have to be either subsidized by the government in some way (which basically amounts to only government-approved books being predominantly published), or else backed financially by some wealthy individual (which isn’t that different from what the world was like before copyright, actually). Publication of physical media would be hardest hit, because that *always* incurs a cost to a publisher, but electronic works could be adversely affected as well, as some larger company may want to squash out a smaller competitor by taking over a significant portion of the distribution of their works without compensating them for it… a smaller company may not want to take that risk (since even electronic distribution has a cost… it’s just much smaller for most people, but the cumulative effects can still be significant).

  28. Pay, pay, pay
    I do’t know where artists are getting their sense of entitlement.

    In my opinion, and it is just that, once you sell something you have transferred ownership. Its gone. You no longer have any control or right to it. Its not yours anymore it is SOLD. Gone.

    If artists want to get paid repeatedly for their works, don’t “sell” them. Keep them. Put them on display. Do shows. The artist still owns it, they can still make money on it.

    If you want to give the art to someone else, and recieve money, Lease it. Rent it out. Negotiate some sort of contract. It would be interesting to see what kind of revenue they would see if they simply used existing types of agreements for trade. “Yes Mr Customer, I would be happy to rent you my painting under the terms of this contract”.

    Simply put I fail to understand why artists should be considered seperately from the rest of the world when it comes to the use of the English language, in this case the word “sell”.

    Further, I don’t know why “artists” get special consideration. When you buy anything it was designed by somebody. Maybe when I sell my Minivan, I should give Dodge/Chrysler a cut. After all, a team of Engineers did research and designed the thing… why do artists get “special consideration” for their creations?

    End Rant

  29. One more thing
    It seems to me that artists want none of the work but all of the benefits.

    Why go to the effort of retaining a Lawyer, dealing with customers and keeping track of your contracts to retain an income stream? Just sell the work, and profit indefinetly. Its so much easier!

    One other note… I think the same about the Music Industry. If you want to make money on your music, be smart about it!

    Release Lower Quality encoded music for “sale”. Let people copy and distribute it, go ahead, its good advertising! License the full (better than CD) quality music to distributers and venues and maintain control over that. Have the venues do performances. Go on concert.

    Smart business. Insead of fighting the way the public’s mind works, use it to make more money.

    End Rant

  30. Stuart Adams says:

    Turn the tables
    How would the EU react if Canada told them to adopt our copyright laws? I think we’d be largely ignored. That should be Canada’s response to this BS. Ignore them.

  31. The poor aging population
    Speak to anyone under the age of 20. They don’t even acknowledge the existence of copyright laws. I feel bad for those of you so antiquated to the old world that you cannot adapt to this changing future. I’m sorry, but no matter what you do now, you will die soon and we will have the power. Any framework you establish we will undermine. Any laws you pass we will seek to repeal. We will do everything to destroy the current establishment. Why? It does not work for those of us born in the information age.

    We are the future, you are the past. Just do us all a favor and fade in to irrelevancy before you actually anger us.

  32. VancouverDave says:

    How’s this for a proposal?
    Let’s have copyright last 17 years, just like a patent, since there is no arguable reason for copyright to last any longer than the protection on any other type of invention.

  33. I want NAMES. Internet Justice is in order for those who seek to negotiate away Canadas ability to craft its own laws democratically.

  34. Sorry Europe
    We’re not that socialist.

  35. Lest we forget?
    I guess WW I and II didn’t count for anything. OK, can we take back our involvement then? Sorry I guess I just Godwin’d this topic.

  36. No that’s OK Steven. We’re still good. WWI and WWII are fine. For Godwin to apply you have to either mention Hitler or Nazi’s.

    Oh damn….

  37. Re: Lest we forget?
    Good point. They required our help to defend their freedom, and are now trying to dictate the terms of ours.

    Europe: You guys can’t even control your own economy. How did that recession feel? Don’t presume to lecture or make demands of Canadians.

  38. Flip the equation
    Why aren’t the laws working for the consumer. If I buy a book at Amazon I can read it and sell it even on the Amazon site. If I buy an ebook for Kendal not only can’t I resell it, they can take it back or change the language at their leisure and I am stuck with it for life. Seems we all would be allot better off just to provide a legal mechanism to allow consumers to operate within the existing laws.
    Anyone want to but the First Season Wire DVD.

  39. James K. Phillips says:

    Anti_circumvention provisions

    I think article 11 of the 1996 WIPO Copyright treaty does requires anti-circumvention provisions. What, exactly, is meant by “effective technological measures” is not actually defined however.

    My submission for the copyright consultation:
    “Define “Effective technological measures” so narrowly that even well-funded researchers won’t trigger the circumvention provision. This can be done by interpreting “effective” to mean “irreversible data destruction.””

  40. Resale on “artworks”. What about everything else
    Can we get the same re-sale rights on lumber, steel, coal, energy, engineering expertise, and manufactured goods?

    Why should artists get monopoly rights on re-sale when they add no value to the product after the initial sale? Philosophically, what’s the difference between giving artists re-sale rights, and giving rights to people of every industry?

  41. Response to oldguy – December 17
    This has gotten a bit long but I am tired of hearing how disgruntled “this generation” is because I do not see this generation doing much.
    I did not get past your first paragraph. “this generation is fast losing respect for elected officials and government employees that cater to these industries.”
    Interesting statement!!
    I do not know how old you are but when was the last time “you” and “your friends”, “this generation” voted? When was the last time “this generation” went to bat for a politician whom they thought would do a good job?
    Both provincially and federally our politicians have been elected by LESS than 50% of the population and that 50% of the population is not “this generation”. And this percentage has been the same for the past several elections both provincially and federally.
    My question to you is: When is “this generation” going to stop complaining about the “other generation” and do something? I am in full agreement but it needs everyone in this country to make positive change.
    But the first step to rectifying the problems with our governments is to find others better qualified to do the job. Pointing fingers does not solve anything and I for one do not know of a “this generation” person who votes, takes an interest in politics or even knows what is happening. My last pol. sci. course was scary the number of “this generation” students that did not have a clue about Canadian politics, never mind copyright laws.
    I am with you on these people but I vote and I make sure I vote but believe me the individuals in right now did not get my vote. The reason they get in is that they have a very large community of backers, members of the party. They are the majority voters in an election. Pretty sad would you not say?
    So until this country and the “this generation” do something as a group nothing is going to change. The few “non-party” voters are not enough to make a difference.

  42. Christian Gross says:

    I can’t wait until you under the age of 20 has to earn a living!!!
    >Speak to anyone under the age of 20. They don’t even acknowledge the existence of copyright laws. I feel bad for those of you so antiquated to the old world that you cannot adapt to this changing future. I’m sorry, but no matter what you do now, you will die soon and we will have the power. Any framework you establish we will undermine. Any laws you pass we will seek to repeal. We will do everything to destroy the current establishment. Why? It does not work for those of us born in the information age.

    Let’s look at the reality shall we. More likely than not you are going to earn your living with IP. And I am going to be truly interested to see how you react at age 40 to the under 20 somethings ripping off your IP. Not saying that the current IP laws are great. Just saying Open Source, lives and breaths by the blade of IP…

  43. A Yank says “Canadians, fight back!”
    Don’t be spineless, like we were, and put up with this. Protecting authors for life + 50 years, as the Berne Convention, is more than long enough. If nothing ever enters the public domain, creativity is stifled in the name of intellectual monopoly.

  44. James K. Phillips says:

    re: Christian Gross
    What is this “IP”? Internet Protocol? Open source software can be delivered by physical media or even other protocols like IPX/SPX.

    The person you were responding to was talking about copyright.

    “Intellectual property is divided into two categories: Industrial property, which includes inventions (patents), trademarks, industrial designs, and geographic indications of source; and Copyright, which includes literary and artistic works such as novels, poems and plays, films, musical works, artistic works such as drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures, and architectural designs. Rights related to copyright include those of performing artists in their performances, producers of phonograms in their recordings, and those of broadcasters in their radio and television programs.”

    Hint: I think the word “property” does a poor job describing the subject.

  45. VancouverDave said:
    ” How’s this for a proposal?
    Let’s have copyright last 17 years, just like a patent, since there is no arguable reason for copyright to last any longer than the protection on any other type of invention. ”

    Bingo! Why the hell should copyright outlast a patent? Or the lifetime of the creator, for that matter?

    *facepalm* this copyright=forever BS has gotta stop, as well as the middle man raping most of the profit from it. That’s where the majority of this is coming from – the middle men.

  46. I can agree with the premise that copyright durations should be shortened, but I find it infinitely more appalling how the premise of fair dealing/fair use is being raped to death by the proposed changes to copyright law. In particular, under absolutely no circumstances should any copy of a copyrighted work that is made for the private use of the person making the copy *EVER* be considered illegal, as long as the work from which the copy was made was itself legally acquired… since if it really is for the private use of the copier, nobody else would, in general, even have any real way of knowing that it happened in the first place, so any laws that make any prohibitions against copying which do not specifically exempt at _LEAST_ private copying are inherently unenforceable, and passing unenforceable laws only makes a government look foolish (or more foolish, as the case may be).

    The concern raised by proponents of such restrictions which is that people may utilize such an exemption as means for making copies in the first place, and instead make copies for non-personal use, is in reality nothing more than a slippery slope fallacy, and actually not founded on any real analysis of what people do and why they do it.

    In truth, the people who would be most affected by laws that prohibit even personal use copies are simply people who actually would have wanted to make personal use copies, an otherwise completely harmless and innocuous activity, because nobody else would have necessarily even known it had happened… whereas people intent on breaking the law will do so regardless of what the law says, and unfortunately will be just as liable to continue get away with it. People who realy want to make personal use copies will do so also… but unfortunately they would also have to do so with the full knowledge that they are breaking the law… which isn’t particularly fair, considering that they are not the demographic that is typically raised as real problem for stronger copyright law proponents.

  47. What’s really pathetic about this is that the EU turning around and trying to impose on a ‘smaller’ country what the US is trying to impose on it. Classic victim strategy.

  48. Mark said: “Without copyright, there is no significant incentive for any person to create any work that has some cost to them, since there would exist no legal framework for preventing others from potentially capitalizing on the work with greater efficacy.”

    So… why do you think we need a ‘legal’ framework? We don’t. What we need is a business model that pays the creators of content BEFORE the content is published, before it can be copied. As you stated, this was how it worked before the Industrial Age, when we started selling mass-produced copies of content. We’re in the Information Age now, selling copies of content is a ridiculous thing to attempt. I mean, it’s just plain dumb if you stop to think about it. However, as this IS the Information Age, we don’t need to go back to pre-industrial methods for funding the production of content. We don’t need to rely on the state or wealthy patrons. Instead we need to try out new business models, like Keliso, and find something that works today, that works with the file-sharing community. The file-sharing community is not going away; antagonising millions and millions of people with a stupid law is not the way forward in any business.

    The Information Age creates new ways to do business and this will fund the creation of content. Laws built to preserve the old ways are, ultimately, pointless. Civil laws around IP work well enough when there are easily-identifiable targets with assets to go after. The Information Age changed this, now there are millions and millions of individuals, mostly with questionable assets. These laws are pointless when the people breaking them are just in a reverse-lottery with 1,000,000:1 odds on getting burned, when the people going after infractions spend 100x what they could ever hope to get back by winning the case. Ask a lawyer to sue a file-sharer on commission and see how far you get. Just a bunch of stupid laws that are useless to enforce, and the point is?

    Looking at it another way… what would happen if the people posting here got their way, that the current Canadian way of doing IP became the world standard? Well, it’s not like the way we’re doing it is making the artists or business community happy; they want the laws changed for a reason. All that would result is the slow death of the current system. Instead of the consumers getting fed up and demanding change, the producers of content would give up and stop producing content. I say, better to stir the pot, to make it positively revolting for the average consumer, so the IP revolution comes quicker. Let’s just get it over with.

    Still, I wouldn’t want to be the politician that put my name to a law banning file-sharing. Someday, those laws will result in gut-busting laughter like the anti-car laws of the past. Laws like you have to disassemble your car and hide it in the bushes so a horse and rider can pass. I mean, what kind of idiots would pass laws making it illegal to copy something that’s already been published?

  49. One more point:

    Yes, the Industrial Age practice of using sales from mass-produced copies to fund the creation of content was a GREAT idea. Canning content in sale-able packages of media was brilliant. It worked extremely well and fuelled the creation of huge industries that funded a lot of really great content. Yes, there were problems with some companies poaching other company’s or individual’s content, but copyright laws went a long way to address this. These laws worked well enough.

    But, the Information Age changed all this. It wiped out the Industrial Age basis for mass-producing copies of content. We don’t need to have content packaged in media any more. That’s the WHOLE POINT of the Information Age. Basically, you can’t keep selling content like it was pots and pans because you can’t tie it to media. The content has been freed. The laws preventing one company from poaching off another don’t work against individuals and they can’t be modified in a way that will. Copyright will NOT save the industries that built up around canning and selling content. It can’t.

    So, we’re in the middle of a revolution. Understandably, the creators of content are concerned that their entire system of income is faltering. But, not to worry. If consumers want professional artists to continue producing content, they will find an acceptable way to keep paying them. People will invent new business models that accomplish this.

  50. @Dave
    Well said! Within the economic and academic perspective we attribute this to “Creative Destruction”. This is a completely normal kind of cycle of innovation and technological advances forcing industry and economics to a new era. It happened in the industrial revolution as well. The problem is that industry still exists, but the money is made somewhat differently now and making some jobs in the old era obsolete. It’s not the money that’s the problem, there’s lots of it just in different area’s of each effected industry.

    There is clear evidence of the music industry actually making money overall, but the role of the label has changed. They have to start making money in the industry where the money is located, and service their artistic talent digitally now, which most big labels either don’t know how to do, or are choosing not to, thus effecting their income. One of the musicians that replied a few months back on Geists blog (who is with AFM) has no clear promotional social profile, and his label had a 1970’s black and white photo on there with no digital link to any online stores. There’s no digital imaging by labels of their artists, nor proper marketing. Often times artists have to get this done by themselves, and pay huge $$$ to get e-commerce consultants in to do the labels work. It’s a crap shoot.

  51. I know the day is coming when copyright law with be a thing of the past simply owing to its increasingly self-evident unenforceability, but it is not something I look forward to because I cannot see a lot of incentive for content makers to publish anything that incurs any real cost to them. People will create solely for their passion to create, which itself is not a bad thing, but works of any significant quality will be substantially harder for the average person to find. Movies will be replaced by something much like today’s Youtube, and books replaced by personal blogs. Even though there would be no lack of people that would be willing to pay to go to movies, or pay for real books, the lack of any copyright enforcement on them would be a disincentive for people to take the financial risk of making them in the first place. Everything would therefore have to be subsidized through taxation by the government or else financed privately by a wealthy individual. The level of censorship and government control over the general population’s freedom of individual thought that would exist in this sort of environment is the thing that I truly fear about such a future.

  52. Think outside the box
    Mark said: “Everything would therefore have to be subsidized through taxation by the government or else financed privately by a wealthy individual.” and “Even though there would be no lack of people that would be willing to pay to go to movies…”

    You gotta’ start thinking out of the box… what about iTunes, what about…, well, my idea? We’ve got the Internet now. It creates way more opportunities than it destroys. The Internet connects hundreds of millions of people all over the world; all we need is a business model that convinces enough of them to contribute to their favourite artists. iTunes offers a value-added service, hassle-free downloads, and throws money to the content creators. People pay for that, even though they could get the same content via P2P sites. There are ways to make money that don’t involve selling copies — okay, maybe iTunes is a bad example 😉 (well, they’re not really selling copies, their selling a download service that happens to provide copies.)

    Anyway… all I’m saying is we need to experiment with different ways of doing business until we find a way. Like you say, people do want the content and they are willing to pay for it, if the cost is reasonable. While paying for a copy of something you can get for free is just not reasonable any more, it doesn’t follow that there is NO way to do it. All it takes is a little imagination. If I can come up with Keliso, surely others must be able to find ways of doing it as well. It’s not that hard.

  53. Since downloading something is, by definition, making a local copy of something when the original is not local, yes… itunes *IS* selling copies. But hey, if you can find a way to make a service like that commercially viable even without any copyright enforcement whatsoever, you’re liable to be a very rich man when

    The hypothetical future that I described without copyright, is, I am quite certain, an inevitable outcome from its abandonment. With no financial incentive to publish new works because any such effort involves costs that cannot be recovered through the sales of the material, all current publication models will disappear, and the primary means by which most people will be exposed to new works depends solely on what the government wants them to be exposed to. Forgive me if I sound a bit Orwellian, but I really don’t see it as being that unlikely an outcome. And while there will always be those individuals who won’t mindlessly accept whatever the government wants us to have, I fear it is unlikely that they will be able to make themselves well heard, as the general public adapts all too easily to accepting whatever they experience through government filters.

  54. Regarding the artist resale royalty,
    It will be presented as though there is only one model for its actual legal implementation, this is not true. The actual EU directive is very Un-specific about many very important aspects of how the actual scheme can be enacted .

    The model widely lobbied for is the one that suits the interests of the management of collection agencies:
    Thus it is Compulsory over right holders (something that real copyright is never).
    And also involves retospective application to the resale of artworks bought decades before the royalty came into law & thus is not an freely entered into contract between buyer and seller. These measures DO mean a protected job for life for the management industry lobbying for this ‘right’. They are not needed to meet the EU directive.
    The aim is aim to make the fees paid by artists to management costs a ‘duty’, a tax in support of management.
    As for the art buyers who purchased art decades ago in complete innocence of the future, its retrospective application to them is morally wrong, theft .
    The current push to spread this system world wide is driven by the hidden threat in the UKs reluctant adoption of the scheme, It was stated at the time of adoption, that if the scheme could not achieve universal application its future in the UK was far from certain.

  55. kiramatalishah says:

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  56. re: b armstrong
    B Armstrong:
    “I don’t know where artists are getting their sense of entitlement.”

    It’s not artists who are pushing for this, it’s the big media companies. These rules are actually very harmful to many contemporary artists.

    ~an artist

  57. Dev
    You know, it’s becoming harder to dismiss all these cooky conspiracy theories regarding the NWO and the like. But when I see draconian stuff like this pushed down the pipes; mainly by international governing bodies (ie. the very NWO type stuff many claim does not exist) it becomes impossible to deny. We currently have WIPO, WHO, IMF, WTO, etc. These governing bodies will eventually supersede all sovereign nations governments. Keep in mind these governing bodies have chairs who are not elected. Ie. totally and completely undemocratic.

    I wonder if the public stops paying attention, will we, in 2 or 3 generations be completely lost? We must all collectively fight these measures and hold any government representatives who vote for it (siding with these fascists) to account. These buggers have infiltrated the government, big business, the legal system, etc. We must be extremely diligent in these times or we will pay the ultimate price of our freedom. Remember folks, freedom is not free. YOU and I must work and fight to preserve it.

  58. kiramatalishah says:

    There’s a movement to radically change California government, by getting rid of career politicians and chopping their salaries in half. A group known as Citizens for California Reform wants to make the California legislature a part time time job, just like it was until 1966.

    •The above thought is smart and doesn’t require any further addition. It’s perfect thought from my side.

    Resale Rights

  60. The whole copyright laws should be rewritten as they’re based on almost ancient history.

    private label rights

  61. The whole copyright laws should be rewritten as they’re based on almost ancient history.

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  64. Rebentisch says:

    Harmonisation and Community Trademark is missing
    The European Union should offer Canada access to the Alicante system of community trademark protection and encourage harmonisation of Canadian laws with EU directives.