Canada has formally ratified the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty. The ratification was a key part of the copyright reform process, leading to contentious debate over the Canadian approach to providing legal protection for digital locks. The treaties will enter into force on August 13, […]
Post Tagged with: "wct"
Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore tabled the WIPO Internet Treaties (the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty) earlier this week in the House of Commons, starting the process of Canadian ratification of the treaties. The move does not come as a surprise since Bill C-11, which received royal assent just over one year ago, was designed to bring ensure Canadian law conformed to the treaty requirements.
While there were some suggestions that the next step is formal notification with WIPO in Geneva, there are actually several steps required in Canada that will likely mean the treaties won’t be in force in Canada until early 2014 (I wrote about the treaty ratification process in 2008). First, the treaties are subject to a waiting period of 21 sitting days. During that period, MPs may debate the treaties in the House, raise questions, or bring motions related to the treaty. The 21 sitting day period started on June 12th. Since the House is scheduled to break for the summer next week, the period will not be completed until the first week of October. Once this process is completed, the Minister of Foreign Affairs may then seek legal authority, through an Order in Council, for Canada to prepare instruments of ratification of the two treaties. Once the instruments of ratification are deposited with WIPO, there is a further three month delay from the date of deposit.
The Business Software Alliance is out today with their annual report on global piracy in 2008. While the methodology raises serious questions – the BSA actually only surveys about 5,000 people in 24 countries and then extrapolates the data to 110 countries – the report shows declining numbers in many countries, though there is an overall increase due to very high rates in parts of the world. It also points to the growing importance of open source software, which the report says commands 15 percent of the market.
Piracy rates in Canada have been steadily declining in recent years – down to 32% in 2008 from 36% in 2004. Canada ranks among the 25 countries with the lowest piracy rates, ahead of many European countries including France, Spain, Italy, Greece, and Portugal (notwithstanding claims of CAAST). The 32% is lower than the European Union average, lower than any country in Africa, Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East (tied with Israel), and lower than all but three Asian countries (Japan, Australia, and New Zealand). In fact, only five countries that have ratified the WIPO Internet treaties have software piracy rates lower than Canada. So much for Canada as a piracy haven and deserving of a place on the USTR Priority Watch List.
Beyond refuting many of the claims about Canadian piracy rates, the data is interesting since the BSA uses it to argue that implementing of the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) is part of a blueprint for reducing software piracy. It says it is one of five key elements: