The Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network is back in the news today with a refreshed version of its 2007 report that recommended new border measure powers, legal reforms, and a massive increase of public tax dollars for enforcement and education programs. Many of those same recommendations are back with claims that the government should pour millions into anti-counterfeiting activities, increase criminal penalties, expand seizure powers, and ratify the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.
On the Bill C-11 front, the CACN wants to gut many of the balancing provisions, including limiting the scope of the already overly restrictive digital lock exceptions, dropping the ISP notice-and-notice approach in favour of a graduated response that could lead to terminating Internet service for individual users, and removing the distinction between commercial and non-commercial infringement for statutory damages despite the fact that Canada is one of the few countries to have such damage provisions (which would pave the way for more Hurt Locker-style lawsuits against individuals).
Some context is required as in the years since the last report, there is mounting evidence that Canadian law has been used to effectively target counterfeiting concerns. Consider:
While everyone is opposed to counterfeiting that raises health and safety concerns, the CACN is pushing for a massive public investment into private enforcement matters at the very time when the evidence suggests Canada already has strong legal rules against counterfeiting and a clear commitment from law enforcement to take appropriate action.
This post originally appeared on www.michaelgeist.ca.
Follow Michael Geist on Twitter: www.twitter.com/mgeist