Farcical wishlist from Canada's copyright/pharma lobby: warrantless search, Canadian SOPA, jail time for downloaders, public subsidy of copyright enforcement

Michael Geist sez,

The Canadian intellectual property's lead lobby group, the Canadian IP Council (which represent the music, movie, software and pharma industries) released a new policy document yesterday that identifies its legislative priorities for the coming years. Anyone hoping that the SOPA protests, the European backlash against ACTA, and the imminent passage of Canadian copyright reform might moderate the lobby group demands will be sorely disappointed. The report is the most extremist IP policy document ever released in Canada, calling for the implementation of ACTA, SOPA-style rules including website blocking and stopping search queries from resolving, liability for advertisers and payment companies, massive surveillance at the border and through delivery channels including searching through individual packages without court oversight, and spending hundreds of millions of tax dollars on private enforcement.

I have a long post on the report, focusing on the case it makes for addressing counterfeiting concerns in Canada and on the resulting recommendations. The recommendations are divided into five main groups:

1. Introduce a Canadian SOPA

2. ACTA Implementation

3. New Search Powers Without Court Oversight

4. The Criminalization of Intellectual Property

5. Massive Increase in Public Spending Creating an IP Enforcement Subsidy

The IP Lobby's Post-Bill C-11 Playbook: ACTA, SOPA, Warrantless Search and the Criminalization of IP


  1. Is this the phase where they know they have a huge battle to fight so they go in with the most ridiculous but still believable wishlist they can come up with, knowing it’ll fail, but which allows them to fall back to negotiating – to everyone’s relief and acceptance – the outcome they wanted in the first place? I’m betting on number 4.

    1. Ask for more than what you want, so any compromise is within tolerable limits. I would like to find or start an organization to enshrine everything listed here so they can’t take another bite at ANY of these apples again.

  2. To play a little devil’s advocate I’d support some more draconian enforcement in exchange for greatly reduced time limits on IP. Make the limit 15 or even 10 years and then lets talk.

    Using government dollars to enforce content created 40 or even 20 years ago is a waste. If you can’t create anything else in 15 years then the government has no incentive to continue spending money on your IP as you are not progressing the arts.

    If you want 70+ years of protection that it should be on the IP owners to enforce it, not ISPs, not the government. No one except the IP owner has a vested interest in 40 year old IP, it helps no one else.

    1. Except the IP owners refuse time and time again to spend any of their own money to fight these things that they claim are stealing billions of dollars from them.
      They know they lost the battle, they declared war on consumers and consumers said whatever.   They use the idea of helping terrorists, drug dealers, child labor to scare people into being good little consumers.
      They have now reached the point of wanting special rights to invade peoples lives on the off chance you might share a hot new artist you just heard.  The future sales might go up, but they are more focused on the dollar they “lost” by you sharing, and you need to pay up hundreds of thousands of dollars for doing it.
      They keep spending money trying to buy laws, rather than finding out how to adapt to the current world marketplace.
      Copyright was to benefit them and the public, it seems the public is long overdue to get anything from this arrangement.

      1. Copyright has become an expensive proposition, particularly for a government running low on funds.  There should be a fee for owning a copyright, one that balances the incentive of protecting the work with the cost to society in protecting that work and loss of cultural property.

        Start the fee at 1.00, or even 0.01,  and every year you pay for the next years protection.  Each year the fee is doubled, forming an exponential fee schedule.  Failure to pay drops the work into the public domain, and if you care to get it back, just bring the fee up to date. 

        This would let anyone keep their works under perpetual protection, assuming they can afford it, provides revenue to a cash-strapped government, and provides initial protection at a very reasonable price.

        The exponential curve reflect the value and cost of protecting an increasingly popular work, while also providing a disincentive to keeping unpopular works locked up.

        The low starting fee helps the creator until they can start profiting from the effort, while serving as a reminder of the cost of the protection. 

        1. The “fee” for owning a copyright is having to actually protect your copyright and not shift costs onto everyone else.  A prime example is Google’s ContentID, totally paid for by Google because it was cheaper than the hundreds of lawsuits that had no real merit.

          Maybe if we closed all the loopholes we give them, and shut down the accounting practices we might get them to pay the same tax rate as regular folks.  Think how that might benefit society.
          After all one of the first Star Wars movies still has yet to break even while it is one of the top earners of all time….  if we did our taxes that way the IRS would be throwing us all in jail.

      1. how can you read it any different? exposes the lobbies behind these propositions for exactly what they are: idiots.

  3. 1. How about no?

    2. How about no?

    3. How about no?

    4. How about no?

    5. How about fuck no?

  4. Its going to be a hard fight against this. The Conservative majority is enabling them to push very hard for all this fascist IP policy. Their Entertainment industry masters are not going to give up. If they can get us to submit to this harsh legal regime, then they can use us as an argument in the US to impose the same harsh rules.
    I sincerely hope we can drag this obscene push for power out long enough to allow Canadians to elect a government that actually wants to represent them, not merely the corporations that feed their campaigns. I doubt that will happen sadly. This will eventually pass in some form or another, and the result will be horrid.

    1. We need to get the Governor-General to kick the bastards out. Harper is acting against the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

      1. If the GG didn’t boot them out for suspending parliament at will, what makes you think the GG would for anything. I think it is just showed how toothless and symbolic the position is, and it should be eliminated as it serves no purpose whatsoever.

        1. Did Canadians make their concerns known to the GG, or did they just whine and grumble about it over coffee? The trick with participatory democracy is that it requires participation.

  5. Suppose we give them everything they want. What will they ask for next? Because you just know that the corporations aren’t going to say “OK, we’re cool now”, and the lobbyists they pay aren’t going to tell them “Great working with you guys. I guess you won’t be needing us any more.”

  6. They should maybe call it the “Let’s Make The World Shit” proposal. I propose that they are stopped from making these stupid proposals, I dunno, by fitting them with reverse beartraps that are triggered by a “bullshit-ometer”.

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