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Canada and South Korea appear to have veered away from typical trade agreements by not using the accord as a means to increase intellectual property protection.

This aspect of the agreement is important to Canadian technology companies since it reaffirms the country’s exiting IP regime as it pertains to technological protection measures, rights management information, measures against copyright infringers on the Internet and reflects Canada’s compliance with Internet treaties with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), according to University of Ottawa e-commerce law professor Michael Geist.

He noted that the approach differs from other trade deals such as those involving the United States, Europe and Australia in that it leaves domestic intellectual property rules largely untouched.

“The approach is to reaffirm the importance of intellectual property and ensure that both countries meet the international obligations, but not to use the trade agreements as a backdoor mechanism to increase IP protections,” Geist wrote in his blog today. “…The U.S. and E.U. approach has been to export their rules to other countries, but Canada and South Korea have demonstrated that respect for domestic choices and compliance with international obligations is a better alternative.”

The summary of the agreement notes that there will be no changes to Canada’s notice regime which defines the responsibility of Internet service providers concerning copyrighted material on their networks.

Geist said this “confirms no takedown requirements no three strikes rules” and indicates “there is no copyright term extension or other substantive changes.”

In contrast, he said, the U.S. agreement actually contains extensive “additional side letters on Internet provider liability, enforcement and online piracy.”

The Canada-South Korea agreement could serve as a model for countries that wish to include IP provisions in their deal but are content require each party to meet international standards rather than domestic rules of one of the parties, said Geist.

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