Canada Signs ACTA: What Comes Next

Canada became an initial signatory to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement over the weekend in Japan. Other countries to sign the agreement include Australia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Singapore and the United States.  That leaves out the majority of countries that were part of the negotiations as all the European Union countries, Switzerland, and Mexico attended the ceremony but did not sign. Canada’s decision to sign is not surprising given its participation throughout the negotiation process and the flexibility that was built into the agreement. While there are many concerns with ACTA (both procedural and substantive), it is not the agreement the U.S. envisioned when it started the process several years ago.

The signing of the agreement does not mean the agreement is enforceable yet. ACTA stipulates that it takes effect when six countries have deposited instruments of ratification, acceptance, or approval. In other words, most countries must still ratify the agreement (much like the WIPO Internet treaties, signing indicates general approval of an agreement but being bound by the terms requires ratification). 

In Canada’s case, this will require at least two bills. The first is Bill C-11, the re-introduced copyright bill that will address some of the digital copyright requirements. Note that ACTA’s digital lock provisions are sufficiently flexible to allow changes to C-11. A second bill is also on the way. As I’ve posted before (here, here) Canada has an intellectual property enforcement bill drafted and ready to go. That bill will create new border measure powers and establish additional enforcement tools.  Look for Budget 2012 to include funding to support the intellectual property enforcement initiative that will pave the way for the IP enforcement bill and subsequent ratification of ACTA (as well as agreement on the Canada – EU Trade Agreement).

As for other countries, there is still considerable controversy with many hurdles in Europe, a Senate resolution opposing ACTA in Mexico, and doubts in the U.S. that ACTA can be implemented without implementing legislation. These issues will continue to play out even as countries that are major sources of counterfeiting activity rightly criticize ACTA as an effort to sideline the international community and craft rules behind closed doors that do not reflect a global consensus or a binding agreement on anyone excluded from the process.


  1. And just when things could not seem to be getting worse. Oh well, I for one welcome our corporate overlords since it’s obvious that Canada has stopped actually serving their citizens.

  2. pat donovan says:

    11=3 to get ready. (digital age)

    anything new on scraping orphans off the web?

    institutional uses of?

    Or has the biggest land-grab in history
    (consumer property rights, privacy, freedom of info)

    moved into censorship-land ala region 1 blockades?


  3. Good job. This will prevent the Japanese from counterfeiting Canadian lumber.

    As a rainy Monday morning exercise, can you list the traits that make a product worth counterfeiting?


  4. I hope whatever deal harper is getting for all this bending over at the expense of Canadians will pay off for more that just his posse. I suspect it goes something like this, “You want us to buy Alberta crude? Then you best be buying our crude (movies that is)”.

  5. I’d love a page where Harper’s FULL and UNBIASED political career is listed, his stances, and how often they’ve flipped around. Anyone know of a web site that has this? Really, really should be one.

  6. In 1997, Harper delivered a controversial speech on Canadian identity to the Council for National Policy, a conservative American think tank. He made comments such as “Canada is a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it”, “if you’re like all Americans, you know almost nothing except for your own country. Which makes you probably knowledgeable about one more country than most Canadians”, and “the NDP [New Democratic Party] is kind of proof that the Devil lives and interferes in the affairs of men.”[37] These statements were made public and criticized during the 2006 election. Harper argued that the speech was intended as humour, and not as serious analysis.

    Which explains his notable lack of a career as a comedian…

  7. Anyone find it insane how easily any law or treaty can be passed a long as its for the better of copyright? There are massive economic problems with the world but all these new laws and treaties are about copyright WTF?

    Now normally I could care less about downloading movies or music from the internet as I prefer to buy my movies and cd’s at pawn shops for dirt cheap but in the last few days I enjoyed all these movies that I downloaded. If I’m gonna be labeled a criminal sooner or later I might as well start now.

    Bb Ross – Joy of Painting season 2,4,5
    Dark Skies series
    The Italian Job (original)
    My Science Project
    Harold Lloyd collection
    M (1931)
    Monster Squad
    Manhattan Project
    X Men First Class

    Yah I enjoyed them all… thanks…

  8. @Watching: “He made comments such as “Canada is a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it”,”

    Isn’t it interesting that exactly Canada and these Northern European “welfare” states such as Norway and Sweden didn’t need no bailouts during the last round of financial turmoil? And they’re making no headlines these days either?

  9. @enduser:

    Nice list of entertainment titles. May I propose you something even more entertaining (hey, it features Matt Damon, did I get your attention?):

    Now the funny thing is that I couldn’t find it anywhere as rental or on-demand or pay-per-view. You have to buy it at full price, and a steep one that is. Conspiracy?

    Otherwise I could lend you my copy. Wonder if it’s still legal though.

  10. Re: Napalm
    Maybe you could record it with a video camera playing on your TV. Hmmm… is that breaking digital locks under this new bill? 😉

  11. @Eric:

    Lol. It’s actually a good movie, I don’t regret buying it.

    Alternatively, if the Ford brothers didn’t close yet your local library, I believe it’s one of the titles they should have.

  12. @Eric L. Maybe you could record it with a video camera playing on your TV. Hmmm… is that breaking digital locks under this new bill? 😉

    LOL I was just thinking that the other day. If all tv’s get hdmi or some encrypted method of sending a signal, with the quality of today video DSLR cameras and lenses one could get quite the picture quality out of a recorded movie.

    Well your honour I record our family get togethers for memory sakes and once in a while me and the family re watch them. So what if there is a full sized movie playing while we were recording our family get together. This is a family video.

  13. Mark Washeim says:

    The European Context and National Constitutions
    It appears as if ACTA has become something of a straw man in the European context. The agreement not only contradicts exsiting EU law protecting the privacy of individuals, the regulation of monopolies and the very nature of contracts, it does so in the context of many European constitutions. For instance the German and the British. It now looks highly improbable that the EU parliament, and even if, a German parliament would agree to ACTA’s current form. …in German …

  14. IF ACTA had DRM chip brain implants and UK style microphone wireless surveillance cameras provisions
    If ACTA had a DRM-human brain chip implant and UK-style wireless surveillance cameras with hidden microphones provisions in it, I go hide in the woods or in a cave.

  15. Bedtime for Democracy
    . . .actually, it was beaten into a coma decades ago.

  16. January 24, 2012
    Soo… any updates on the ACTA process? I’ve been searching for Canadian Online petitions for it, but they seem to be sparse. It appears the internet is aware of ACTA, but a lot less apparent protest then last week’s SOPA and PIPA. What is going on?

  17. Total domination
    …great!… Another way for the goverment to control the people! We are going to become like China. No privacy, no right to expression or speech. They say we shouldn’t be worried since there is nothing for us to hide. Really? Well, I would like to have private conversation on the Internet without having someone snoop around my personal things!

  18. This can’t be done
    Seriously, wtf is he thinking? And i think the worse thing here is that nobody talk about it, he made and still makes a great job keeping us blind. I just can’t believe this is really happening, sad times. I am mad.

  19. love it
    Where is the Canadian people protest ? I like this country, you can do what you want, nobody tell you a word…

  20. The End.

  21. Anonymous ;) says:

    Secret is a secret…
    The Canadian government doesn’t want to share information about ACTA and the problem is that we will lose our rights… Canada was long time ago a good country but now ????

  22. Money Money !! says:

    The opposite … ?
    Nothing to worry about because we should have nothing to hide ? Well then, why shouldn’t the Canadian government share information about ACTA? Clearly they have something to hide. Harper should be FIRED, FIRED I tell you. Clearly he likes the taste of “you know what”.

  23. kenster
    I can not find any petitions to sign against this sneaky move….sure would like to see some out there.

  24. kentster
    I am speaking not about ACTA ….but this CETA garbage