Industry Minister Jim Prentice continues to duck questions, but Bruce Lehman, the architect of the DMCA, was apparently happy to come on CBC's Search Engine program to discuss the law. His verdict? "I don't think it [DMCA] has achieved the objectives we necessarily intended."
Post Tagged with: "lehman"
Bill C-59, the anti-camcording bill, blazed through the House of Commons yesterday. The bill was debated and given all three readings (hearings were deemed unnecessary) in only 80 minutes, less time than it takes to actually watch most movies. The bill is now at the Senate awaiting approval. Justice Minister […]
My weekly Law Bytes column (Toronto Star version, homepage version, Ottawa Citizen version) discusses this week's release of the USTR's Special 301 Report. This year, it is a virtual certainty that Canada will receive special attention, with the U.S. claiming that the country has neglected to address critical issues and suggesting that it is rapidly emerging as a piracy haven. I focus on three issues likely to generate criticism in the Special 301 report – the fact that Canada has not ratified the World Intellectual Property Organization's Internet treaties, extended the term of copyright by an additional 20 years, or introduced anti-camcording legislation designed to stem movie piracy.
Notwithstanding the pressure on Canada to act on these issues, even one-time U.S. supporters are beginning to admit that these policies are open to doubt. Last month, Bruce Lehman, who served as the Assistant Secretary of Commerce in the Clinton Administration where he was the chief architect of the WIPO Internet treaties, acknowledged that "our Clinton administration policies didn't work out very well." Meanwhile, Marybeth Peters, the U.S. Registrar of Copyrights has noted that the U.S. extension of copyright was a "big mistake," and the President of the U.S. National Theater Owners Association has advised his members that notwithstanding the introduction of anti-camcording laws, unauthorized camcording in the U.S. is on the rise.
Not only are the policies suspect, but the USTR report should be seen for what it is – a biased analysis of Canadian law supported by a well-orchestrated lobby effort. Since the mid-1990s, the USTR has placed intellectual property protection at the very top of its priority list. As a result, dozens of countries have entered into trade agreements with the U.S. in which they undertake to implement U.S. style intellectual property protections.
Canada has not faced similar trade pressures – the North American Free Trade Agreement pre-dates the shift in USTR priorities – yet it has not been spared intense U.S. lobbying.
Appeared in the Toronto Star on April 23, 2007 as We Mustn't Cave In To Copyright Bullying Appeared in the Ottawa Citizen on April 24, 2007 as U.S. Copyright Report Card More Rhetoric Than Reality This week the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), the U.S. government department […]
The Hill Times this week features my special opinion piece on copyright issues (Hill Times version (sub req), homepage version). The column calls attention to Bruce Lehman's recent acknowledgement that "our Clinton administration policies didn't work out very well." Lehman followed the criticism of U.S. policy by issuing a challenge to Canada, urging policy makers and political leaders to think outside the box on future reform. Lehman argued that Canada was well-positioned to experiment with new approaches consistent with international copyright law and I add that there are some obvious differences between Canada and the U.S. including our trade differences (copyright exporter vs. importer) and the success of the Canadian music market (faster digital download sales growth, more online music sellers on a per capita basis).
Given the Canadian marketplace realities and the Lehman recommendation to chart our own course on copyright, how might Industry Minister Maxime Bernier and Canadian Heritage Minister Bev Oda respond? I point to three possibilities.