For those who follow the whole copyright war that is going on – and trust me it is a war – much of the attention is being centered around the backroom dealings on a global level by those looking to get ACTA accepted as the new law of the land.
At the same time that Canada is being targeted by this group it is also finding itself under attack by the European Union.
You see the EU wants Canada to totally change all its laws when it comes to copyright and intellectual property. Laws that have stood this country in good stead for more than a few decades and have been lauded as some of the fairest in the world. Of course it isn’t the entertainment industry that praises them but rather the actual artists, writers and actors who do the real creating.
So how bad of an effect would this have on our country?
Well lucky for us – or at least the people who give a damn – Professor Michael Geist has been keeping an eye on this building confrontation and in a post today outlines just how much of a radical change this assault by the EU would have on our country. As Prof. Geist puts it
Given the magnitude of the proposed changes, the price of a trade agreement is clear. The EU is effectively demanding that Canada surrender its sovereignty over intellectual property law and policy.
According to what Prof. Geist has documented the concessions being demanded by the European Union run the full gamut from copyright to patents. In regards to copyright the EU is demanding
- compliance with WIPO Internet treaties
- extension of the term of copyright to life of the author plus 70 years (Canadian law currently at life plus 50 years)
- additional copyright term extensions for audiovisual works, anonymous works, and unpublished works
- term of copyright for broadcasts for at least 50 years (Canada wants to limit to wireless broadcasts, while EU wants it to cover everything)
- greater transparency for copyright collectives
- new resale right for works of art
- new exclusive right of fixation for broadcasts (Canada wants to limit to wireless broadcasts, while EU wants it to cover everything)
- new exclusive right for broadcasters for retransmission in public places (ie. new fees for bars and other public places)
- new distribution right
- extension of the reproduction right to performers and broadcasters
- extension of the communications right for performers, phonogram producers, film producers, and broadcasters.
- anti-circumvention rules including provisions against devices that can be used to circumvent digital locks
- protection for rights management information
When it comes to the enforcement of intellectual property right the EU basically says that Canada doesn’t have a clue and must adopt the EU standards
The enforcement IP rights section contains literally pages of European law that the EU wants incorporated into Canada. It addresses everything from ISP liability to injunctions to border measures to damages provisions. The EU even wants new criminal sanctions added, but has yet to specify what those should be. There are no Canadian requests here. Rather, the EU wants Canada to discard its approach to the enforcement of intellectual property almost completely and simply adopt the EU model.
And then there is their demands when it comes to Canadian Patent Laws
- Canada to comply with Articles 1 – 16 of the Patent Law Treaty (Canada wants to “endeavour to accede” to the treaty)
- further protection for medicinal or plant protection
- additional protection blocking disclosure of pharmaceutical data that is submitted to regulatory authorities to third parties
- new data protection for plant protection
Now as much as I would like to believe that Canada will stand up to the EU on this and tell them to pound salt the chances of this happening are next to nil. After all this is a government that has been supported by the US entertainment industry and has been a willing participant in the whole ACTA mess.
In light of this and added to the fact that the Harper government has no backbone or desire to stand up for the citizens of Canada I totally expect them to concede to the pressure being applied by the EU and in the process fundamentally change our society.
Hey, like this post? Why not share it with a buddy?Tweet