Archive for April, 2010

USTR’s Bully Report Unfairly Blames Canada Again

The U.S. government has released its annual Special 301 report in which it purports to identify those countries with inadequate intellectual property laws.  Given the recent history and the way in which the list is developed, it will come as no surprise that the U.S. is again implausibly claiming that Canada is among the worst of the worst.  As a starting point, it should be noted that the Canadian government does not take this exercise particularly seriously.  As an official with the Department of Foreign Affairs once told a House of Commons committee:

In regard to the watch list, Canada does not recognize the 301 watch list process. It basically lacks reliable and objective analysis. It's driven entirely by U.S. industry. We have repeatedly raised this issue of the lack of objective analysis in the 301 watch list process with our U.S. counterparts.

This year's report is particularly embarrassing for the U.S. since it not only lacks in credible data, but ignores the submission from CCIA (which represents some of the world's largest technology and Internet companies including Microsoft, Google, T-Mobile, Fujitsu, AMD, eBay, Intuit, Oracle, and Yahoo) that argued that it is completely inappropriate to place Canada on the list.  The technology giants reminded the USTR that "Canada’s current copyright law and practice clearly satisfy the statutory 'adequate and effective' standard. Indeed, in a number respects, Canada's laws are more protective of creators than those of the United States."

With respect to the actual data, the USTR report is largely rhetoric rather than reality.  The reality is:

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April 30, 2010 15 comments News

IFPI Calls Out The Wrong Country

The IFPI, the global RIAA, this week released its annual Recording Industry in Numbers report that tracks global record sales.  In its release, it chose to target two countries – Canada and Spain – for declining sales and linked those declines to copyright law.  As it no doubt intended, the […]

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April 30, 2010 29 comments News

ALDE Hearing on ACTA in Brussels

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to participate in a hearing on ACTA in Brussels sponsored by Members of the European Parliament Alexander Alvaro and Marietje Schaake.  Other participants included Luc Devigne, the head of the European ACTA delegation, and representatives from eBay and EuroISPA.  The full video of the hearing is posted below.  My presentation begins just after the 5:00 minute mark.

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April 29, 2010 4 comments Committees, News, Video

Privacy Takes Step Towards Global Enforcement

My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that last week the talk of the privacy world was news that 10 privacy and data protection commissioners – led by Canadian Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart – had released a public letter to Google CEO Eric Schmidt, expressing concern that the Internet giant was forgetting its privacy responsibilities.  

The letter, also signed by the heads of privacy agencies from France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain and the United Kingdom, focused on the recent introduction of Google Buzz, a service that offered new social media capabilities.  It attracted the wrath of users and privacy advocates after Google automatically assigned users a network of "followers" from among people with whom they corresponded most often on Gmail.  Google quickly altered the offending features, but the damage was clearly done, as privacy commissioners from around the world used the incident as the basis for a shot across the company’s bow.

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April 29, 2010 2 comments Columns

Privacy Takes Big Step Toward Global Enforcement

Appeared in the Toronto Star on April 26, 2010 as Privacy Takes Big Step Towards Global Enforcement Last week the talk of the privacy world was news that 10 privacy and data protection commissioners – led by Canadian Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart – had released a public letter to Google […]

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April 29, 2010 Comments are Disabled Columns Archive