Price of Entry, one of the early Trouble with the TPP series posts, discussed some of the conditions of entry for Canada into the TPP negotiations. These included the absence of “veto authority”, which meant that Canada could not hold up any chapter if it was the only country opposing a provision. This ultimately had a significant impact on the intellectual property chapter, where Canada had little choice but to cave on several issues.
Conditions of entry were not the only disadvantage faced by the Canadian negotiators. According to an internal email I recently obtained under the Access to Information Act, Canadian officials were aware that they were at a disadvantage relative to the U.S. in the late stages of the negotiations. The email dated July 9, 2015, was sent to Kirsten Hillman, Canada’s lead TPP negotiator, and Christine Hogan, the International Trade Deputy Minister. It notes that the U.S. had cleared access to the full negotiating text for a wide range of advisors, including business groups and public advocates, but infers that Canada had not done the same. It continues:
I hope the political side lets you do something similar or at least hold technical briefings, or the US will effectively drive the narrative and put you at a disadvantage.
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Months of public debate over the future of Canadian copyright law were quietly decided earlier this week, when sources say the Prime Minister's Office reached a verdict over the direction of the next copyright bill. The PMO was forced to make the call after Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore and […]
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Yesterday's inauguration of President Barack Obama also brought with it a complete overhaul of the whitehouse.gov site. While there has been some media coverage of the change (including the appointment of a Director of New Media for the White House), it is worth looking at the fine print by contrasting the copyright notices found on the White House site and the Prime Minister of Canada's site. The Whitehouse.gov site adopts the following:
Pursuant to federal law, government-produced materials appearing on this site are not copyright protected. The United States Government may receive and hold copyrights transferred to it by assignment, bequest, or otherwise.
Except where otherwise noted, third-party content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Visitors to this website agree to grant a non-exclusive, irrevocable, royalty-free license to the rest of the world for their submissions to Whitehouse.gov under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
In other words, no copyright in the government-produced materials and a Creative Commons license that permits both commercial and non-commercial usage (with attribution) for third-party materials. That is as permissive as it gets – no real restrictions or requirements to obtain permission, which means that the public has both access and the right to use the materials on the Whitehouse.gov site as they see fit.
Now consider the Prime Minister of Canada's copyright notice:
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