Liberals Demand More Draconian IP Provisions: Propose Adding New Statutory Damages to Bill C-8

Liberal MP Judy Sgro continued her efforts yesterday to add lobbyist-inspired provisions to Bill C-8, the anti-counterfeiting legislation. Having already proposed removing the personal exception for travelers (leading to increased border searches) and a “simplified procedure” for the seizure of goodsthat would remove court oversight in the destruction of goods in a greater number of cases, Sgro proposed an amendment to add statutory damages with a mandatory minimum of $1,000 and a maximum of $100,000 in liability. The provision would limit the discretion of judges to order damages based on the evidence.

The statutory damages provision was another ask for intellectual property lobby groups. As I noted in my appearance before the committee:

With respect to trademarks, statutory damages are unnecessary.  Rights holders frequently cite the specific value of their goods and the harm associated with counterfeiting. If these claims are accurate, demonstrating that value for the purposes of damage awards should not be difficult. Moreover, other countries have experienced problems with statutory damages for trademarks.  For example, Taiwan reformed its trademark statutory damages provisions when courts began awarding disproportionate awards.  In the U.S., statutory damages for trademark has led to trademark trolls engaging in litigation designed primarily to obtain costly settlements against small businesses that can ill-afford to fight in court.

The Liberal amendment was defeated and the bill has been voted out of committee with only minor changes. However, it is shocking to see the Liberals proposing draconian intellectual property reforms that went beyond what even the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) envisioned.


  1. Political parties are just intra-mural teams
    Politicians jump from party to party as it suits their careers; the label they wear on any given day has nothing to do with their principles or priorities.

    Judy Sgro has shown where her priority lies, and that is with the lobbyist who offers the highest bid.

    As to principles, I’ve yet to see a politician who had any.

    Clearly, something is broken in our ‘democracy’ when our political leaders, ostensibly representing the “will of the people”, advance the interests of corporations and lobbyist groups. I’ve never been much of a fan of the “Harper Kool-Aid”, but was cautiously optimistic about young Mr. Trudeau’s re-invigoration of the Liberal party. Perhaps that optimism was misplaced, and I should just continue painting the big political parties with the same brush… …so who CAN I vote for?

  3. @Adrian “Perhaps that optimism was misplaced, and I should just continue painting the big political parties with the same brush… …so who CAN I vote for?”

    That was my first thought as well. There will always be a few bad apples in any barrel. It would be nice if the Liberals came forward with official party policy on these issues. With the Cons painting themselves as ‘consumer first’ advocates they need to name their stand.

  4. uncle wiggily says:

    Sam Bulte lost her seat safe Liberal seat over coziness with the entertainment industry.

  5. janfromthebruce says:

    There is more than the red door or blue door but the orange door. Both the other two old line parties are corporate lackeys. The NDP, starting under the Greatest Canadian, Tommy Douglas, Father of Medicare, is one that does support ordinary people and not corporations. It is the Official Opposition and government in waiting.

  6. ….
    Yawn….. just another day in politics screw them all,I vote for the pirate party!

  7. This just in: Liberal MPs just as clueless as other MPs
    Good grief! Can we trust any elected officials to represent the people that elected them.

  8. Given that corporations can’t donate to federal politicians, I’m having a hard time figuring out what would motivate a MP to take a decidedly pro-industry, anti-consumer stance.

  9. Jim;

    Maybe Ms. Sgro has a charity that helps keep mayors at risk off the street by coaching football. They could always donate to that without a conflict of interest can’t they?

  10. Devil's Advocate says:

    @Jim R:
    “Given that corporations can’t donate to federal politicians…”

    Like all sorts of other laws/rules, there’s obviously a way around this one. The handouts have been getting to them, both directly and indirectly, for years, and in only a few cases was there any effort to hide what was happening.

  11. A bunch of us are gathering on Reddit to become more informed about this bill. We’ve started a letter writing campaign to our MPs and the Media to try and get answers as to why some of the provisions Dr. Geist has mentioned are in there at all.

    If you’d like to join us, there are two threads running right now –

    One for letter writing to your MP

    One for letter writing to the Media

    Please come join us!

  12. drive by commentor... says:

    Whats old is new again…
    I have been getting fund raising emails from the Liberals this week. Each one has been replied to with a request to explain the Liberal position on C-8 and C-13.

    Since we just got the answer hear I replied to the last one informing them that I will be donating $100 today. But the $100 goes the the NDP.


  13. Statutory damages ? For what?

    I’ll agree on damages if the person is creating physical copies with intent to sell. Your average internet pirate doesn’t do this. You’d be hard pressed to say that the average pirate uploaded one copy unless they actually take credit for the rip. Physical counterfeits, please, the average border agent can not tell a counterfeit LV bag from a real one, and all the Asian kids know this. A counterfeit purse is not funding terrorism, so it’s not something CBSA should be actively looking for, please keep focusing on contaminated foods, controlled substances and weapons which do will do harm if let into the country.

    Just take a look at the problem, you can’t fine people who are overseas and not subject to our laws.

    This is the problem with a lot of laws, everywhere. They create laws to punish the victim and not the source of the criminal activity. The source of the activity originating outside of the country. So instead the government enacts laws to punish the victims here instead of educating them on the dangers.