Appeared in the Toronto Star on February 5, 2012 as Canada’s overhaul of copyright law could take on a SOPA flavour The battle over the Stop Online Piracy Act in the United States may have concluded with millions of Internet users successfully protesting against the bill, but many Canadians are […]
Archive for February 7th, 2012
While China-based piracy is unquestionable a concern, Canada has too often used the issue to curry favour with the U.S. at the expense of developing the China relationship. In recent years, our support for the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (which deliberately excluded China) and now the Trans Pacific Partnership (which also excludes China) does little to help relations. China could be a strategic ally on global IP issues as both countries face significant external pressure for reform. While compliance with international rules should be the starting point for any dialogue, focusing on the flexibility that exists at international law to address domestic concerns is in both our interests.
The biggest Canadian blunder was the decision to join a U.S. complaint against China at the World Trade Organization in 2007 alleging that China’s domestic laws, border measures, and criminal penalties for intellectual property violations did not comply with its international treaty obligations. The case was a big loss. China was required to amend parts of its copyright law but on the big issues – border measures and IP enforcement – almost all of the contested laws were upheld as valid.
More interesting are the background documents that demonstrate that the Canadian government was unable to muster credible evidence of harm among Canadian companies.
Alexander Furnas explains in the Atlantic why the broader implications of ACTA may make it as bad as SOPA. Furnas notes “while many of the alarmists specific claims are inaccurate, ACTA exposes the systemic danger in how international intellectual property regulation has evolved over the last 20 years.”
The Czech Republic and Slovakia have joined Poland in suspending ratification of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement in response to mounting protests over the agreement.