Archive for December, 2013

The Trans Pacific Partnership and the Fight Over a Cultural Exception

This week’s leak of country-by-country positions on a Trans Pacific Partnership included a notable reference to the inclusion of a cultural exception. Canada stands with a slight majority in seeking a cultural exception that would presumably exclude the cultural industries (broadcast, audio-visual, music, books, etc.) from the ambit of key TPP provisions such as foreign investment restrictions or other legislated forms of cultural protections.  Other supporters of a cultural exception include Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Brunei, Malaysia, and Vietnam. Opponents include the U.S., Peru, Mexico, Singapore, and Japan.

The emergence of the cultural exception issue is interesting because U.S. lobby groups were specifically concerned with the prospect that Canada would pursue an exception if admitted into the TPP negotiations.  For example, the IIPA (which represents the major music, movie, and software lobby groups) stated the following in January 2012 with respect to the possible admission of Canada into the TPP:

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December 10, 2013 2 comments News

The TPP and Privacy: What Are the Implications of the E-commerce Chapter?

While much of the attention on the Trans Pacific Partnership has focused on the intellectual property chapter, the e-commerce chapter raises potentially significant privacy implications. The details of the e-commerce chapter remain unknown – the chapter has not been leaked as the latest Singapore meeting wrapped up without a deal – but the leaked country-by-country position paper suggests that the participants are fairly close to consensus on at least two privacy related provisions.

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December 10, 2013 Comments are Disabled News

The U.S. Stands Alone: How the U.S. Is Increasingly Isolated on Intellectual Property Policy

Each April, the U.S. Trade Representative releases the Special 301 report which represents its take on the countries with inadequate intellectual property laws.  Inclusion on the report is often framed as an embarrassment as the U.S. seeks to paint those countries as out-of-step with international norms (Canadian officials have rightly dismissed the report as a lobbying document without substantive merit).  The latest leaks of country positions on the Trans Pacific Partnership highlight that the opposite is true. It is increasingly the U.S. that is out-of-step with international norms as it seeks to export laws that are widely rejected by most other countries. From its demands for the criminalization of copyright (even in cases of inadvertent infringement) to the prospect of termination of Internet access over allegations of violations, the U.S. approach finds little support among most of its allies. While Canada opposes the U.S. on virtually all remaining IP issues in the TPP, the U.S. is often isolated on each issue, sometimes entirely alone or occasionally supported by one or two other countries.

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December 9, 2013 46 comments News

Canada Opposed To U.S. Positions On Dozens of Trans Pacific Partnership Issues

Today’s leak of country-by-country positions  on the Trans Pacific Partnership reveals the strong isolation of the U.S. on many intellectual property issues and the wide ranging Canadian opposition to many U.S. proposals. With International Trade Minister Ed Fast heading to Singapore for a ministerial round of negotiations, Canada is apparently far apart from the U.S. on many key issues.  The areas of disagreement run throughout the IP chapter and include positions on copyright term, digital locks, criminalization of copyright, parallel imports, patents, trademark scope, pharmaceutical protection, and geographical indications. Moreover, there is a notable disagreement on a cultural exception, which Canada wants but the U.S. does not.

A look at the areas of disagreement from the Huffington Post leak:

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December 8, 2013 2 comments News

Senate Heading Toward Investigation Into Bell’s Privacy Practices

Conservative Senator Leo Housakos this week raised the possibility of a hearing into Bell’s privacy practices in light of recent disclosures involving collection and use of data for targeted advertising purposes. Housakos gave notice of a motion for a hearing by the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications involving […]

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December 6, 2013 4 comments News