Widespread, global protests killed ACTA, the secretive, over-reaching "Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement," which imposed brutal copyright rules on its signatories. But now, the Canadian Conservatives have introduced Bill C-8, which turns ACTA's provisions into Canadian law, and they're fast-tracking it through with little debate or public input.
If passed, C-8 will further criminalize infringement (that is, put Canadians in jail for watching TV or listening to the radio the wrong way), turn the police into private copyright enforcers for the American entertainment industry, and interfere with the trade in legal generic drugs and other products.
What this exercise it will do – and has done – is to allow lobbyists with a maximalist agenda to use this fake problem of fakes to create the potential for interference with legitimate trade in parallel imports, vastly increased criminalization of everyday “infringement”, shifting of enforcement costs from the private sector to the taxpayer, and the interference with the transshipment of generic drugs and other legitimate products. The new law will allow incredible opportunity for abusive or even simply incompetent enforcement. This can be very costly to large and SME business, not to mention consumers. This is perhaps the most sweeping legislation in Canadian IP law in 70 years, and it is being done without adequate hearings, study or the demonstration of any need. Anyone looking for counterfeit products can find them on the street in mid-town and downtown Manhattan. One doesn’t find this kind of flagrant counterfeiting in Canada. The “evidence” of a major problem with counterfeit good that can’t already be dealt with via existing laws almost entirely anecdotal or absent. Piling on of responsibility to border officials is an unnecessary and costly mistake. The DNA and fingerprints of the movie and record industries are all over this bill.