A powerful copyright lobby group wants Canada kept in a United States watch list of nations with intellectual property laws that are deemed of concern to the U.S. and is also recommending sweeping changes to Bill C-11, otherwise known as Canada’s Copyright Modernization Act.
The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), an umbrella organization of entertainment software lobby groups, wants the Office of the United States Trade Representative to move Canada from the agency’s Priority Watch List in its Special 301 Report to its Watch List. The 301 Report is an annual account that list countries judged to have inadequate intellectual property (IP) laws and may thus be subjected to sanctions.
The IIPA also said Bill C-11, which was enacted in June last year has “changed the country’s reputation as a haven for technologically sophisticated international piracy operators” but said it needed some tweaking to provided better legal tools for enforcement agencies. Bill C-11 was tabled by the Conservative government back in September 2011 and was put in force November 2012.
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“The new act falls well short of providing adequate legal incentives to the inter-industry cooperation that would be needed to reduce the exceptionally high levels at which Canadians patronize illicit online sources for creative works,” the IIPA statement said. “Beyond these long standing concerns that have not been addressed, the Copyright Modernization Act also added new one in the form of a host of potentially problematic new or expanded expansion to copyright protection.”
The group's action was called "shameful" by Micahel Geist, University of Ottawa, Internet law professor and online privacy proponent.
"I think the IIPA is seeking to undo what Parliament itself passed after extensive consultation and an effort to strike a balance," he said. "It is shameful to see these groups seeking to rollback those changes with the ink barely dry on the legislation."
Geist, however said he was not surprised by the recommendation. "Th eU.S. lobby groups, particularly the music, movie and entertainment software associations, are committed to pressuring most countries around the world to reform their copyright laws," he said. "In many instances, they recommend to go beyond what is even found in the U.S."
Among the issues targeted by the IIPA’s recommendation is Bill C-11’s statutory exception to copyright infringement of “fair dealing.” Fair dealing covers copying of works for research, private study, education, parody, satire, criticism, review and news reporting as well as the creation of non-commercial user-generated content.