Canada vs. New Zealand at the ACTA Talks

Yesterday's ACTA leak that provides full detail on each country's negotiation position attracted immediate media attention, with the New Zealand press picking up on the story (and that country's tough position), while the Australian press lamented their country's relative silence at the negotiation table.  And what of Canada?  The Canadian positions on the Internet chapter culled from the EU leaked document are:

  • expresses concern with the disparity between the section title and the scope of content of the section
  • seeks clarification of the scope of "related rights" in provision dealing with a general enforcement obligation. Argues that it should be consistent with the Criminal and Civil Enforcement chapters
  • concerns with a footnote on third party liability that seeks to define its scope.  Canada notes that the footnote effectively changes the meaning of the main text.
  • seeks more information on the scope of "modification" to the content in a provision on online service providers
  • notes that the relationship between third party liability and ISP limitation on liability is unclear
  • seeks clarification of the relationship of anti-circumvention exceptions to access control measures

That's it.  Compare the Canadian focus on clarifications of legal language and hints at opposition with the far-tougher, more explicit New Zealand positions:

  • on the preamble: "the words 'in order to facilitate the continued development of an industry engaging in providing information services online' provide an interpretative gloss on Article 2.17.3 which appears to go beyond the general aim of ACTA to provide a framework for the enforcement of intellectual property rights
  • on safe harbours: "we understand [Paragraph (a)(iii) covers information location tools such as search engines.  It is not clear how the provision or use of information location tools breaches copyright, or why third party liability should arise for the provision of such tools.  We would welcome further explanation on the need to provide such a safe harbour."
  • on establishing a policy that could lead to three strikes: "New Zealand does not support the inclusion of this condition.  New Zealand can, however, support the inclusion of a provision aimed at preventing a party to ACTA conditioning safe harbours on an online service provider "monitoring its services or affirmatively seeking facts indicating that infringing activity is occurring."
  • on anti-circumvention rules: "The paragraphs refer to 'adequate legal protection' as well as remedies, which is inconsistent [with] the objective of ACTA to establish standards for the enforcement of intellectual property rights and the ACTA discussion paper. In particular, we note that the discussion paper only refers to parties providing 'remedies against circumvention of technological protection measures used by copyright owners and the trafficking of circumvention devices."  New Zealand does not support protection being mandated against circumvention of TPMs where the underlyig work is not protected by copyright.  In particular, we do not support protection against circumvention of access control TPMs because access control is not an exclusive right given to copyright owners."
  • on rights management information: New Zealand does not support the protection of RMIs extending to information that identifies a performance, the performer of the performance, the owner of any right in the performance, or the producer of a phonogram."

Why is the Canadian delegation content to say virtually nothing and leave it to New Zealand to take the strongest position on these ACTA issues?  Why does Canada not join with New Zealand to present a stronger front against the extension of ACTA far beyond copyright enforcement?


  1. Considering we have a party right now that is in power and who’s ideology is that of free market and free enterprise, I’m very suprized that we are actually even engaged in ACTA treaty talks around internet provisions.

    Any attempt at punishing consumers for internet copyright will be felt by the markets. Denying them access to the internet or account suspension is denying consumers access to the marketplace. This could have far reaching economic costs. Almost every business is connected and does business online. Job Seekers could also feel a massive hit from this.

    Why isn’t our leading party putting forth Canadian values in this treaty? How much are the lobby groups paying Van Loan and clan to keep silent? Do we, the Canadian people still own parliament? Where’s the political opposition to this? Are they getting a cut out of the deal too? What is the liberal stance on ACTA?

  2. ..rant continued
    Another question is why aren’t we in committee hearings on ACTA? This treaty could have far reaching negative impacts (due to lobby influence) on our economy at home. The Afghan detainee issue is important, but considering ACTA would effect almost every Canadian and Canadian Businesses shouldn’t we be looking into the scope of the powers of the International Trade Ministry and the effects this could have on Canadian law without public oversight and debate?

  3. Jason, surely you must know that “free market and free enterprise” in practice means “deference to business interests and lobbyists”. And the pro-IP lobby oozes of business interest, making right-wing politicians tend to think they’re the ones they need to listen to. When dealing with right-wingers on this issue, the best approach is to remind then that the business sectors that want balanced copyright are worth more than the ones pushing for maximalism.

  4. Jason, this government doesn’t “do” committee hearings unless they can control the agenda, execution and outcome. Certainly, Michael wouldn’t even be permitted in the same building as such a hearing.

    I expect the Conservatives are keeping mum because they’re quite content to follow the US lead on most anything.

  5. “free enterprise”
    How much more free can you get than the ability to write your own laws? 🙂

    Seriously though, it seems pretty obvious the government isn’t interested in anything but remaining in power at any cost. Any ideological claims they once made will be secondary at best.

  6. I’m in no way defending free enterprise. That’s the ideology of the leading and governing party of Canada not mine, which is sad considering the fact that even Greenspan came out stating this ideology was severely flawed after the markets crashed. It lead to the global economic downturn, and we have in power now people who still believe in this ideology. My grandkids in 40 years will be cleaning up the mess this government will be leaving us in, not to mention that Gen X will be paying for the mistakes and care of the boomer generation. To me, I think our politicians should start to listen to Gen X around the issues that matter to us Eg, copyright and ACTA, because if they don’t we will be in charge of their care soon with a country that is massively in debt. There’s not going to be a lot of money out there for too much of anything when Gen X starts taking power, if we keep going like this.

  7. The market needs laws and regulations, to keep it in check. So does society with our criminal code. The rule of law must be balanced. Society should be having a major roll in determining our digital future. It shouldn’t be discussed behind back doors. Imagine what our criminal code would look like if all of a sudden we had a ton of rich murderers lobbying our government.

    The proverb of the butterfly that flaps it’s wings, well if ACTA goes through as known this will have far reaching negative effects on the current marketplace. The digital connection to our economy is still not widely understood, and that’s evident in the language in what’s known around ACTA. We want to keep people active in the digital economy, not turn them off of it.

  8. Crimal
    Engageing in ACTA is no less then criminal activity. We are talking about a body of people conspiring to circumvent law on a global scale. The attempt to change laws in these counties failed in a legal and democratic sense now they colabrating to circomvent this process against the will of the world community and make millions of citizens criminals without due process. If that is not treason on a global scale I don’t know what is.

  9. Laurel L. Russwurm says:

    we weren’t supposed to know
    This is of course the precise reason for ACTA secrecy. Canadians aren’t supposed to know that our representatives are ignorant of the importance of this issue or worse, aware of it and doing nothing. I think it’s safe to assume that this leak wasn’t from Canadian quarters.

  10. @Jc: Huh? How are they “conspiring to circumvent law”? Ratification of ACTA by a country would require that the country adapt its laws to fall in line with the ACTA text. Thus, the ACTA text is not domestic law on its own; it defines a framework for domestic law in order to achieve compliance with the treaty.

    Let’s not get overly dramatic here. Is the US government, and the IP lobby, asking for wholesale and draconian changes to the “rights” of consumers? Yes they are. Should it be resisted? Yes, it should. But to declare them criminals? To me, that is over the top. The members of the IP lobby are taxpayers and “corporate citizens”, just like most citizens. They have the “right”, just like any other citizen, to expect the government will represent their interests internationally. The government, however, has to balance the rights of all equally; not placing one group as “first among equals”. This last is not happening here; the other citizens need to speak up to insist on their “right” to be represented.

  11. akohlsmith says:

    secret talks to alter laws should be considered treasonous
    @anon-k the mere act of engaging in secret talks that impact every citizen in your nation should be considered a form of treason. We’re not talking about state secrets, we’re talking about a number of dying industries doing everything they can to get the horse back into the barn rather than innovate and deliver true wealth-increasing technology and revenue streams.

    There is something hideously wrong about the entire idea of secret ACTA talks. I too believe it should be considered a crime. The US government and mega media corps behind the IP lobby are trying to skirt the judicial process with this attempt to ram these changes through on an international scale. That should be illegal, and yes, I do consider them criminals.

    Don’t get me started on “corporate citizens” — that too is an idea rife with issues and in serious need of modification.

  12. You don’t say!
    Since Harper and his collection of wooden puppets are nothing more than water-carriers for the US-based Corporogov Inc., here to break up the country and ship it off to them one piece at time, does this come as any surprise?

    It amazes me is that, after several years of Harper lies, tricks and deceptions, enough Canadians could still be fooled into thinking that the party that seized office and few years ago and sleazes it daily is deserving of anything beyond unemployment. And it’s not as if we didn’t have a point of reference close by as to how badly right-wing ideologues and unfettered corporatism can damage a country.

    Canadians must get wise now and throw this garbage out of office before it is too late. They are dismantling the very essence of this great country, crating it up and shipping it off as we speak.

  13. @David K
    Harper’s goal is to win a majority through voter apathy and fatigue (because he can’t win any other way. Canadians don’t like the guy), and our constitution is supposed to protect us from this. In order to throw a lot of Conservative ideology in (which a lot of it is controversial) you need a majority to do this. Why do you think Harper was so taken back by the “last prorogue”? He didn’t think people cared about politics. That’s intentional and exactly what he’s done. Look at the last voter turnout.

    If I was a conservative MP I would have serious issues with the way our democracy is currently being exploited. Winning power like that isn’t a real win, it’s a real loss for not only the reputation of the political profession but also to our Canadian Democratic values, and yes I believe it’s treason on the trust and values we bestow on our political representation in this Country. We need change, and our elected officials need to be on the public’s side for this change. I have faith change will come. I still believe in our Canadian democratic values. They will be held accountable at the ballot box at some point for this. It’s just a matter of when. Harper is a political cluts. He’s his worst enemy.

  14. Concerned Citizen says:

    How do we immediately move to force an election and get rid of the Harper government?

  15. Concerned Citizen says:

    @David K.

    I hate to have to Godwin the comments. However I do find secret international treaties, perhaps not treasonous (but I could be convinced) but certainly in line with how a fascist state behaves.

  16. cobolhacker says:

    If not crime, then what?
    Anon-K said, “Let’s not get overly dramatic here… But to declare them criminals?”

    Then what is it? It’s hard to deny that secret negotiations look pretty bad. Why so secret? Why is it that the public have to learn about it from leaks? Or is it that these chaps running the show know the public doesn’t want this, so they’re just doing it all quiet like. Criminals do that.

    Okay, so maybe not criminal but certainly not democratic. I didn’t vote for this particular government and I accept that, but the least they could do is tell me what they are up to on my behalf.

  17. Gnu/Linux says:

    “I didn’t vote for this particular government and I accept that, but the least they could do is tell me what they are up to on my behalf.”

    They are not doing anything on YOUR behalf. They acting on behalf of their real constituency, which is the corporate interests they whore themselves out to. They are too big to fail. We are too small to matter.