The US Trade Representative is once again trying to pressure Canada into adopting a version of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (a 1998 US law that's enabled rightsholders to sue tens of thousands of music fans as well as technology companies, without having any effect on downloading). The strategy is the same as last time, putting Canada on the "Priority Watch List" of countries that are soft on pirates.
Now, you may say that the US has no business telling Canada what sort of copyright laws it should have, and you'd be right.
But as Michael Geist points out, the idea that Canada is a pirate nation is just wrong -- even using the US copyright lobby's own numbers, Canada is a model citizen.
The Absurdity of the USTR's Blame Canada Approach
Not only is Canada not even remotely close to any other country on the list, it has the lowest software piracy rate of any of the 46 countries in the entire Special 301 Report. Moreover, it is compliant with its international IP obligations, participates in ACTA, has prosecuted illegal camcording, has the RCMP prioritizing IP matters, has statutory damages provisions, features far more copyright collectives than the U.S., and has a more restrictive fair dealing/fair use provision.
An official New Zealand government bulletin on yesterday’s conclusion of the still-secret Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations accidentally confirmed something we all believed was in there all along: an extension of copyright terms to match the USA’s bizarre, evidence-free, century-plus terms.
Tim Harford, the Financial Times’s Undercover Economist, writes about the Happy Birthday to You court case, which finally settled the question of whether the familiar birthday song was still in copyright (it isn’t) and uses that as a springboard to ask the question: how long should copyright last?
For most of a decade, government negotiators from around the Pacific Rim have met in utmost secrecy to negotiate a “trade deal” that was kept secret from legislatures, though executives from the world’s biggest corporations were allowed in the room and even got to draft parts of the treaty.
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