Post Tagged with: "special 301"

Human Rights Groups Challenge USTR Special 301

A group of public interest organizations in the U.S. have filed a complaint alleging that the Obama administration’s trade policy reduces access to medicines in low and middle income nations, and therefore violates international human rights obligations.

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July 20, 2010 Comments are Disabled News

Piracy Haven Label Case of Rhetoric Over Reality

In the wake of recent reports exposing the activities of former MP Rahim Jaffer, lobbying has been the talk of Ottawa for the past month.  The incident has had an immediate impact on lobbying regulations, with the Conservatives and Liberals jostling over who can introduce tougher disclosure measures. The changes may plug a few loopholes, yet the reality is that lobbying efforts are not always the subject of secretive meetings with high-level officials.

My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) considers the intensive lobbying effort on promised intellectual property reform.  In recent weeks, those efforts have escalated dramatically, with most activities taking place in plain view. Scarcely a week goes by without a major event occurring – last week it was a reception sponsored by the Canadian Private Copying Collective, the week before an event hosted by the Entertainment Software Association of Canada, and the week before that the Juno Awards attended by several cabinet ministers and MPs.

Even more open is the public campaign designed to persuade Canadians that their country is a piracy haven.  Late last month, the IFPI, which represents the global recording industry, released its annual Recording Industry in Numbers report that tracks global record sales.  The report targeted two countries – Canada and Spain – for declining sales and linked those declines to copyright law.  Not coincidentally, both countries are currently working on legal reforms.

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May 10, 2010 7 comments Columns

Piracy Haven Label Case of Rhetoric Over Reality

Appeared in the Toronto Star on May 10, 2010 as Software Piracy Charges Against Canada Are Unfair In the wake of the Toronto Star reports exposing the activities of former MP Rahim Jaffer, lobbying has been the talk of Ottawa for the past month.  The incident has had an immediate […]

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May 10, 2010 1 comment Columns Archive

USTR’s Bully Report Unfairly Blames Canada Again

The U.S. government has released its annual Special 301 report in which it purports to identify those countries with inadequate intellectual property laws.  Given the recent history and the way in which the list is developed, it will come as no surprise that the U.S. is again implausibly claiming that Canada is among the worst of the worst.  As a starting point, it should be noted that the Canadian government does not take this exercise particularly seriously.  As an official with the Department of Foreign Affairs once told a House of Commons committee:

In regard to the watch list, Canada does not recognize the 301 watch list process. It basically lacks reliable and objective analysis. It's driven entirely by U.S. industry. We have repeatedly raised this issue of the lack of objective analysis in the 301 watch list process with our U.S. counterparts.

This year's report is particularly embarrassing for the U.S. since it not only lacks in credible data, but ignores the submission from CCIA (which represents some of the world's largest technology and Internet companies including Microsoft, Google, T-Mobile, Fujitsu, AMD, eBay, Intuit, Oracle, and Yahoo) that argued that it is completely inappropriate to place Canada on the list.  The technology giants reminded the USTR that "Canada’s current copyright law and practice clearly satisfy the statutory 'adequate and effective' standard. Indeed, in a number respects, Canada's laws are more protective of creators than those of the United States."

With respect to the actual data, the USTR report is largely rhetoric rather than reality.  The reality is:

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April 30, 2010 15 comments News

Technology Giants Defend Canadian Copyright Law

Each April, the United States issues the Special 301 Report, which examines the intellectual property laws of its main trading partners.  For the past 15 years, Canada has been included on the watch list of countries the U.S. believes need reform. As the U.S. prepares its 2010 edition, for the first time it invited the public to provide their comments on the process and the link between intellectual property and trade policy.  My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that among the hundreds of submissions, one from the Computer and Communications Industry Association stands out as critically important to Canada.

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February 23, 2010 7 comments Columns