The Canadian Coalition for Electronic Rights has updated its online letter writing wizard in light of recent developments in the Canadian copyright reform front. This update is intended to address the Government’s seeming willingness to ignore the voices of thousands of Canadians and proceed with the introduction of anti-consumer copyright reform legislation in as little as 6 weeks. Legislation that goes in a polar opposite direction of what Canadians demanded during the consultation process.
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It appears that the American arm of the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) is keenly interested in ‘circumventing’ Canada’s domestic copyright regime, reformed or otherwise, by employing the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). On September 23, 2009 a meeting of the U.S./EU IPR Enforcement Working Group took place in Washington DC, attended by the old guard: private sector industry reps and lobby groups. The listed objectives were as follows:
- To promote enforcement
- To fight piracy and counterfeits
- To promote public & private partnerships on piracy and counterfeits
Both the U.S. and EU governments and industry representatives shared concerns on IPR enforcement in Canada. ESA representatives went on to suggest that ACTA be used as a means of “raising the bar” in Canada to force Canadian government to respect TPMs and uphold its IPR commitments. U.S. representatives responded by stating that they expect all parties involved in ACTA to uphold the provisions put forth in the agreement, and will not accommodate the “lowest common denominator.”
It now appears that even if Canada modernizes its copyright regime to meet its international obligations, ACTA could be used to ‘circumvent’ domestic copyright laws and tip the balance between consumer and creator rights in favour of distributors, lobby groups and litigious-happy lawyers. While the Canadian government has been open with their public consultations on copyright reform, Canadians are left wondering how and why ACTA, an agreement which threatens to supersede the domestic Copyright Act, is so secretive and non-transparent.