Late last year, a draft of the European Union proposal for the intellectual property chapter of the Canada – EU Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement leaked online. The leak revealed that the EU was seeking some significant changes to Canadian IP laws. Negotiations have continued and I have now received an updated copy of the draft chapter, complete with proposals from both the EU and Canada. The breadth of the demands are stunning – the EU is demanding nothing less than a complete overhaul of Canadian IP laws including copyright, trademark, databases, patent, geographic indications, and even plant variety rights.
While there are some Canadian requests – for example, Canada plays Hollywood North by asking the EU to introduce an anti-camcording provision – virtually all the changes would require Canadian reforms. In fact, while the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement garners the bulk of the attention, CETA would actually involve far more domestic change. In some sections, the EU simply takes its own directives and incorporates them into the treaty. For example, provisions on the liability of ISPs is taken directly from EU law, including the use of terms such as "information society service" – something that is defined under EU law but is meaningless in Canada.
Notably, the draft includes many new rights for broadcasters. These rights form part of a proposed Broadcast Treaty at WIPO that has failed to achieve consensus. The EU is seeking to build support for the treaty by requiring Canada to implement many new provisions that would give broadcasters a host of new rights and force public places to pay additional fees for carry broadcasts.
Given the magnitude of the proposed changes, the price of a trade agreement is clear. The EU is effectively demanding that Canada surrender its sovereignty over intellectual property law and policy. Some of the proposed changes in the Intellectual Property chapter (Chapter 20) of CETA include: