Archive for January 18th, 2010

EU’s IP Negotiating Strategy With Canada Leaks: Calls 2009 Copyright Consult a “Tactic to Confuse”

Canada and the European Union resume negotiations on a Canada-EU Trade Agreement (CETA) this week.  The second round of talks comes as the EU's proposed chapter for the intellectual property provisions leaked last month, revealing demands for dramatic changes to Canadian intellectual property law.  This would include copyright term extension (to life of the author plus 70 years), anti-circumvention rules, resale rights, and ISP liability provisions.

Now a second document has leaked, though it is not currently available online.  The Wire Report reports that an EU document dated November 16, 2009, features candid comments about Canada and the EU strategy.  The document, called a "Barrier Hymn Sheet" leaves little doubt about the EU's objective:

Put pressure on Canada so that they take IPR issues seriously and remedy the many shortcomings of their IPR protection and enforcement regime.

Having viewed the document, I can report that it goes downhill from there, promoting the key message that Canadian laws are inadequate, while liberally quoting a report from the Canadian IP Council and discredited counterfeiting data. 

The document states that the trade negotiations are a "unique opportunity [for Canada] to upgrade its IPR regime despite local anti-IPR lobbying."  It includes an assessment of recent copyright reform efforts, noting that two bills have died due to "political instability." The document adds that the copyright reform process was revived in 2009 with the national copyright consultation, but notes dismissively it may have been a "tactic to confuse."

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January 18, 2010 22 comments News

Critics Misjudged Power of Digital Advocacy

With the Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament Facebook group now over 200,000 members, my weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) looks at how its success provides the clearest indicator yet of how poorly the Canadian political community understands social media and digital advocacy.

When the Prime Minister announced he was proroguing parliament in the midst of the holiday season, political commentators applauded the tactic, confident that few Canadians would notice or care.  In less than three weeks, Christopher White, a university student from Alberta, proved the experts wrong, building the largest Facebook group in the country, one that's the focal point for national discussion and voter discontent.  

As the group began to take flight, it was surprising to see political leaders and analysts blithely dismiss the relevance of Facebook advocacy. Editorials pointed to other large groups to demonstrate the group's irrelevance, noting that joining a Facebook group was too easy – just click to join – to mean much of anything.

This represents a shocking underestimation of the power of digital advocacy, which today is an integral part of virtually every political or business advocacy campaign.

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January 18, 2010 23 comments Columns

Lawyers Weekly on Baker Copyright Class Action

The Lawyers Weekly has coverage of the Chet Baker copyright class action against the recording industry that could involve as much as $6 billion in liability.

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January 18, 2010 3 comments News

Critics Misjudged Power of Digital Advocacy

Appeared in the Toronto Star on January 18, 2009 as Critics Misjudged the Power of Digital Advocacy The new year is less than three weeks old, but the Canadian Internet story of 2010 may have already taken place. Ridiculed by political parties and analysts, the growth of the Canadians Against […]

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January 18, 2010 Comments are Disabled Columns Archive