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."

It ultimately concludes:

our objective is to convince Canada to eliminate or reduce these shortcomings, by conducting the necessary legislative or other changes. However, optimism should be tempered since, despite pressure from the USA, high level commitments from Canada, and our commissioner's letter of April 2009, little concrete moves have been observed in recent years.  We hope that the negotiation of the bilateral CETA will provide a good opportunity to exert pressure on Canada regarding the upgrade of its IPR regime

This document, combined with the leaked draft, provides ample evidence of the intent of the EU to use CETA to pressure Canada to fundamentally reshape our copyright and IP laws.  Although the document discloses that IP was not discussed at the first round of negotiations in Ottawa last October, it is clear that it is a high priority future agenda item.  Indeed, the Wire Report reports that IP is on the agenda for this week's negotiations.  Although the Wire Report quotes a government official as saying that CETA will not override the copyright consultations, when combined with the ACTA talks that resume next week, the prospect of a made-in-Canada approach may be quickly slipping away.


  1. Scary Special Interests
    Reading this report from Michael made me ill. Then again, We have a crisis of democracy – too much of it is elite and too little of it is common – because we have a crisis of democracy.

    When regular people have anything to say about anything, they become, in the eyes of special capitalist interests, ‘trade barriers’. What kind of barrier do those who use language like that become?, especially when they have influence over policy- and law-makers? They are barriers to life in my opinion. They and their allies suck the life out of everything. They are society-destroyers, not society-builders. It isn’t enough that they feed and clothe and coddle their own children. That does not mean that they aren’t anti-social. That doesn’t mean that their ways aren’t bad for society. Our poisoned earth is proof enough of that.

    If all those trade barriers would just disappear and become invisible and silent, sort of, then all that would be left is society? So much for the all-important ‘consumer’.

    We are just spenders, not people. Of course, There is the small matter of spenders also being workers, but pay that no mind. The fact that capitalists, including those in the antsy financial services sector, wouldn’t exist if workers everywhere didn’t build their homes, their office towers, staff their cafeterias, hospitals, maintain their roads, deliver their mail etc., doesn’t count evidently. Those who play the biggest role, by virtue of their sheer numbers and the many indispensable tasks they perform, in making life possible for everyone, including a minority that drags them down, are regarded by that minority as being in the way. How rational is that?!

  2. Captain Hook says:

    Who are the real pirates!
    Sure extend copyright another 20 years without a dime of compensation to the Canadian public, Put DRM on our media playing devices so that we no longer even control our own belonging. Give copyright holders resale rights to go with their moral rights, so that even when I buy something out right from them they still own it. And finally add ISP liability so that copyright holders can shut down lines of communication simply by threatening a third party with legal liability.

    We know who the real pirates are, and it’s not who you keep being told it is!

  3. I have only one thing to say
    I’m so ashamed to be European.

  4. no worries
    Thats ok right? We know our politicians always stand up for us when facing international pressure right?

  5. When did Enlightened Despotism become ordinary Despotism?
    Am I the only one who feels the last vestiges of the meritocracy being stripped away in favour of a corrupt and gluttonous elite. I don’t think it was the common people who became ignorant and lazy. It was the elite. Now they only think they are better than the masses.

  6. Time to spread the love
    If any of these “suggestions” become law I will personally buy a 100 pack of dvds and burn 100 copies of whatever movie is the best selling dvd that week and distribute them in public areas across my city. These “suggestions” will change nothing just give headaches to the average Canadian. I’ve seen more than a few movies this year at the theatre/cinema but I will become the mythical pirate you pretend to be fighting if any of this garbage becomes law.

  7. Great More Pressure..
    I hope CETA fails because of this.. The MPAARIAA must have infiltrated deep into the EU.. We may gain better trade policies with CETA but have our rights regarding IPmediaetc stripped in the process.. Thumbs Down!..

  8. Junji Hiroma says:

    These corps are the ones that want to TAKE away gun rights away.
    These are the SAME ppl that want to take gun rights away.Eventually they’ll want to get you to register your Router through a government database.They are all getting us ready for the new global world order.

  9. They can’t stop us from doing whatever we want anyway, just like we can’t stop them from doing whatever they want, either. Politics = a big steaming pile of BS.

  10. pat donovan says:

    the next phase will be a the release of 6 versions.. the same tatic they take with UFO reports in britain.

    abandoning democracey does seem to be in vogue, around here doesn’t it?

    other freedoms to follow.

  11. Captain Hook says:

    They can stop a lot.
    @maebnoom, you are right that you, as an end user, they cannot easily directly control. There are many people it does affect though. The ones copyright was originally designed for will be affected.

    – Other creators, schools, tv networks and cable companies, will all find that they have to pay more for IP licensing as works stop entering the public domain for an additional 20 years.
    – Technology companies will not be able to offer some business solutions because the will not be able to break the third party locks that will be necessary to do so. This in particular will affect open source software.

    As well,

    – It will put prices up on media which is locked behind DRM. Much the same way as DVD prices are kept high through artificial market segmentation.
    – It will lock people into particular technology vendors depending on which DRM the media uses

    These last two may not affect you so much if you get most of your content from P2P networks, but it will put the prices up on media equipment which will still affect you.

  12. Don’t they released that they’re shooting themselves in the foot…like what Captain Hook says, in the end we’re all going to pay dearly for these copyright fuckheads. I don’t know Crade about our politicians making a case over this since there’s going to be a minor cabinet shuffle tomorrow. If the same people are switched or gone to another area leaving only the idiots or strangers that are intentionally switch sides with the EU and the copyright fuckheads…well, we’re paying for it in the end I’m afraid.

  13. Well, they want to play hardball?
    We turn off the oil tap!

  14. Not affect teh average citizen
    Bah, that’s posh. Everytime a druge price goes up, you pay for it in your taxes. Everytime you need to wait longer to get a generic version of a drug, you pay for it in taxes. Everytime schools are forced to increase their budget, you pay it in taxes. Every time governement needs a new version of windows.. taxes. These laws will affect everyone, wether directly or indirectly.

    People are painfully aware aabout how high health care and school costs are these days. Unfortunatly, most people don’t realise it’s laws like these that contribute to it.

  15. It is pretty obvious that Canadians want none of this
    The only people who want this are those paid by their boss to astroturf the consultation.

  16. We EU Citizens Disapprove of this — Does Sarkozy drive this to please his wife?
    I am an EU citizen and successful IT entrepreneur dating back to the 1990’s.

    I want Canadian citizens to know that I as an EU citizen does not approve of this EU campaign. I have heard of zero EU citizens that approve of this. I am honestly inclined to believe that Sarkozy (French president) lobbies this to please his wife (who sells last century’s technology: CD’s) as he appears weak to please her as strong men do.

    Sarkozy is by all accounts a super-ego also interested in a closer relationship with Obama. The USA – EU connection is being used as Canada would not be as embracing to these lobbying attempts if they came from the USA directly.

    It’s all a shame, it’s all lies, it’s all corruption. We see it every day by dying companies lobbying to police their market share by any means, even if it means revoking human rights. These dying companies are bound to die and these desperate measures will do nothing to stop this. But what their money has managed to do is a disgrace to our political system and leaders.

  17. moral manipulation
    I think to many here it is self evident that laws and morality are not mutually implicit. While I consider myself a moral person a moral person must abide by his own internal compass especially amidst a modern world in which our morality is manipulated on a daily basis. By utilizing phrases, words and perspective you can adjust the framework of reality as its exposed to another human being (the basis not only of communication but also hypnosis). By inducing your own viewpoint on reality you can present your own morality to someone thereby adjusting their actions and reactions.

    Some people here embrace ‘piracy’. I would suppose this is because they feel morally manipulated and are unable to formulate exactly why this is but understand that their perceptions have been manipulated and perceive an inherent inbalance in the way things are progressing and so embrace the morally objectional viewpoint of piracy as it has been presented to them. Piracy being the only possible alternative to completely abiding by the established frameworks of existing copywrite or so currently morality would have you believe.

    I think at primary issue that is really behind the great dissension with regards to copywrite is this. Should the current course be allowed to continue without concession to the changing state of reality, those that control copywrite (and this is rarely the actual creators of copywrite but those that have contractually bound them) will succeed to their ultimate dismay. They will criminalize the enjoyment of entertainment except through their acceptable and expensive avenues to their enlargement and everyone elses diminishment. An optimistic fool might presume at that point that perhaps people would begin to entertain themselves again instead of turning on the television, being cheaper and more enriching to learn to play guitar than paying $25/night to see a movie. I won’t presume on that but I am sure that everyone except those being enlarged, sense that this would inherently be an unbalanced progression into the future, where costs for the consumer increase while technology has reduced cost for producer. This is, in point of fact, exactly what has happened.

    If you can’t maintain balance on a bicycle its very difficult to achieve much use out of it with regards to transportation. I think this sense of inbalance is what has prompted a questioning of the presented morality of ‘piracy’.

  18. Nice post hermyt. And FWIW Cap’n Hook, I’m actually not pro-piracy, simply fed up with this typical crap that gets shoved down my throat by the corporations/guv’ment. Thoroughly & utterly sick of it. It doesn’t seem to matter who’s right & wrong; it’s about $$$$$$$ & who can spoon-feed the most to the ones in power.

  19. Learning to play guitar is already illegal
    Sorry hermyt but the record companies have already deemed it illegal for some one to learn to play a musical instrument. The record companies have unilaterally decided that me teaching some the chord patern G-C-D for example is a violation of their copy rights because almost every song ever written for the acoustic guitar uses those 3 chords. The fact that all western scales etc were developed by tribes in the area of modern day Greece and Italy centuries millenniums ago doesn’t seem to matter to them. The fact that every musician writing any song these days is violating some one elses copy right is also irrelevant. It only matters when people not looking to make money do it. If I teach some one a Locrian scale which will have been used as the bases for many solos I have supposedly violated copy right law. I would need to spend a fortune suing record companies in order to get that right back. Why are there no abuse of copy right provisions in Canadian law?

    It is along the same lines as the Murdoch news papers claiming copy right on any 6 words that might show up in one of their stories. So for example if some one wrote a story that used the phrase “We the people of the United” Murdoch wants you to pay him because some where he has a story that includes those words in that order. The fact that his writer borrowed the line to begin with is irrelevant.

  20. Per Seljord says:

    I am truly sorry
    Reading this interesting news on your blog made me both sad and ashamed on behalf of EU. Despite I’m only a Norwegian — we are not fully part of EU, only an easy push-over member through EEC (we don’t have a *** to say in EU internal politics, we just dance to their flute whenever there’s a new EU directive coming our way).

    I hope your Canadian politicians and negotiators are strong enough to withstand any temptation or pressure enforced by their EU counterparts on making a deal compromising your culture and rights, as it would make me really sad.

  21. Let them bully!
    Professional artists in Canada have been campaigning for an overhaul of our copyright laws for years, they’re a joke! The reason the Canadian government hasn’t done anything is big time lobbying and scare tactics used by the recording industry (amongst others) who don’t want them pulled in line with the EU because it would mean they would have to start paying artists on a regular basis. Sony Canada is being sued in the order of tens of millions of dollars because of royalty infringements because it thinks it can side step our flimsy copyright laws. You won’t find a single photographer, writer or musician who knows a thing or two about copyright in Canada that won’t be secretly whooping it up if this ever happens. Good on ’em.

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