Thursday, February 15, 2007

Are Canadians Copyright Pirates?

Apparently, the International Intellectual Property Alliance wants the U.S. government to add Canada to a list of intellectual property villains.

"The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) submitted its recommendations to U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab today in the annual 'Special 301' review of copyright piracy and market access problems around the world. IIPA’s submission discusses copyright protection, enforcement, and market access problems in 60 countries/territories, of which it recommends that 45 be placed on an appropriate USTR list".

The industry lobby group proposes that Canada be placed on a Priority Watch list because we are supposedly a hotbed of copyright bandits.

The University of Ottawa's Michael Geist provides some much-needed context:

"While the IIPA recommendations have predictably led to negative, overblown press coverage in Canada, a little context is needed. The reality is that the majority of the world's biggest economies face similar criticism (...) "

"(T)here are dozens more countries on the list (...) each invariably criticized for not adopting the DMCA, not extending the term of copyright, not throwing enough people in jail, or creating too many exceptions to support education and other societal goals. In fact, the majority of the world's population finds itself on the list, with 23 of the world's 30 most populous countries targeted for criticism (...)"

"The U.S. approach is quite clearly one of 'do what I say, not what I do' (fair use is good for the U.S., but no one else), advising country after country that it does not meet international TPM standards (perhaps it is the U.S. that is not meeting emerging international standards), and criticizing national attempts to improve education or culture through exceptions or funding programs. Moreover, it is very clear that the U.S. lobby groups are never satisfied as even those countries that have ratified the WIPO treaties or entered into detailed free trade agreements with the U.S. that include IP provisions still find themselves criticized for not doing enough".
Matthew Ingram also chimes in. He is the technology writer for The Globe and Mail:

"So what Canada is accused of doing, essentially, is not passing specific laws that the U.S. motion picture industry wants it to, to make any form of copying illegal and easier to prosecute. They’d probably like it if we didn’t have friends over to watch our DVDs too, but luckily that is still legal".

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:57 pm


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