Cooperation in the Pacific Rim by Jakob Polacsek, World Economic Forum (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Cooperation in the Pacific Rim by Jakob Polacsek, World Economic Forum (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Digital Trade

Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement Moves Forward

The DFAIT consultation on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement has still not concluded (you have until April 30th to file a submission), yet reports now indicate that the negotiations are moving forward at a rapid clip.  The European Council of Ministers have reportedly given their approval to the treaty which will […]

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April 17, 2008 1 comment News

DFAIT Launches Consultation on Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

Months after Australia consulted their citizens about even participating in the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement and weeks after the U.S. consulted their citizens on the same treaty, the Canadian government has finally decided to ask Canadians what they think.  Better late than never – the ACTA is publicly pitched as formalization of international standards on counterfeiting, yet privately viewed as a behind closed doors attempt to ratchet up copyright laws.  Indeed, according to a document I recently obtained under the Access to Information Act, Canadian Heritage officials referred to it as a Trade Agreement on Copyright Infringement.

It is difficult to provide meaningful feedback on a treaty that no one has publicly seen, but with some lobby groups hoping to use the treaty to increase ISP liability, force cross-border disclosure of ISP subscriber information, and further advance the cause of anti-circumvention legislation, there is reason for concern.  For that reason, it is essential that Canadians take a few minutes to respond to the consultation, even if only to express concern about the lack of transparency and to urge the Canadian government to open the process to civil society groups and the broader public.  The government recently committed to greater openness with international treaty ratification and consistent with that approach, Canadians should be permitted greater access to the negotiation process.

On a substantive level, Canadians might ask for some evidence that we need another treaty on this issue. We already have agreements through WIPO, WTO, Berne, etc. – what added value will come from this treaty that is not already addressed through the current treaty framework?  Indeed, given that Canada is still grappling with the WIPO Internet treaties it seems premature to negotiate yet another treaty cover much of the same subject matter.

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April 6, 2008 12 comments News

USTR Invites Submissions on ACTA

The U.S. Trade Representative has issued a public consultation on the negotiation of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.  The consultation, which runs until March 21, 2008, notes that comments should focus on international cooperation, enforcement practices, or the development of new legal framworks.  Australia has similarly consulted on its potential involvement […]

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February 19, 2008 2 comments News

Canadian Copyright Bill “Weeks Away”

Dierdre McMurdy of the Ottawa Citizen confirms widespread speculation that a copyright bill is only a few weeks away.  The article notes the strong link between the bill and U.S. pressure with reports of meetings between U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Wilkins and both Industry Minister Jim Prentice and Canadian […]

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November 16, 2007 10 comments News

Ask First, ACTA Later

Kim Weatherall notes that the Australian government has launched a public consultation on its possible involvement in the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement negotiations.  Unlike the Canadian government, which jumped at the chance to join the U.S. in the negotiations with no advance warning and no public discussion, the Australians are taking […]

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November 15, 2007 Comments are Disabled News