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: