Big Media lobbyists and unelected bureaucrats are holding closed-door meetings in Malaysia this week, as they continue secret talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) -- a highly secretive and extreme trade deal that includes extreme new copyright rules that could end the open Internet as we know it.
Here at OpenMedia.ca, we've already been hearing from Canadians outraged that our own Members of Parliament are still being denied access to the TPP text -- access that has now been granted to their counterparts in Washington D.C. We know that Canadians will not accept their Members of Parliament being kept in the dark
The litany of complaints about the Copyright Board of Canada has mounted in recent years: The public rarely participates in its activities due to high costs, it moves painfully slowly, and its rules encourage copyright collectives and users to establish extreme positions that make market-driven settlements more difficult.
If someone wants to post a quote from anything written by the National Post, they are now presented with pop-up box seeking a licence that starts at $150 for the Internet posting of 100 words with an extra fee of 50 cents for each additional word (the price is cut in half for non-profits). None of this requires a licence or payment. If there was a fair dealing analysis, there is no doubt that copying a hundred words out of an article would easily meet the fair dealing standard. In fact, the Supreme Court of Canada has indicated that copying full articles in some circumstances may be permitted.
As the 15th round of Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations draw to a close, the Internet freedom community is taking stock of what was said, and perhaps more significantly, what wasn't. Developments over the last few weeks suggest that the controversial treaty may be losing steam as public opposition gains momentum. The public outcry is starting to show the cracks in the push to criminalize our Internet use.
As International Trade Minister Ed Fast returns from negotiations in Europe that failed to secure a deal on the Canada-EU Trade Agreement, newly leaked documents to the CAQ and posted by LaPresse provide a detailed look at the remaining outstanding issues with details on the Canadian and European positions.
The Canada - EU Trade Agreement negotiations continue this week in Brussels with both parties hoping to wrap up many outstanding issues. According to information provided by Canadian officials at a briefing earlier next month, the plan is to narrow the areas of disagreement to no more than ten issues, with ministers meeting in Europe in November to try to forge an agreement on the contentious areas.
On Wednesday, a U.S. court ruled resoundingly for the universities, concluding that the practices fall squarely within U.S. fair use (good analysis from Grimmelman, Madison, Smith and Krews). The case is an important win for fair use and it points to a potential model for Canadian universities that have lagged behind in ensuring digital access to materials.
More than ten years of contentious debate over Canadian copyright law appeared to come to a conclusion in late June when Bill C-11 passed its final legislative hurdle and received royal assent. Yet despite characterizing the bill as a "vital building block," the copyright lobby that pressured the government to impose restrictive rules on digital locks and tougher penalties for copyright infringement is already demanding further reforms that include rolling back many key aspects of the original bill.
The House of Commons may have passed Bill C-11, but the constitutional concerns with the copyright bill and its digital lock rules will likely linger for years. Many experts believe that the government's decision to adopt one of the most restrictive digital lock approaches in the world. And guess what? It's vulnerable to constitutional challenge.
Not only is the Canadian digital market far larger than virtually every European market, it continues to grow faster than the U.S. digital music market as well. In fact, the Canadian digital music market has grown faster than the U.S. market for the past six consecutive years. Yet, Canadian artist revenue from Canadian sales is lower than most other countries.
Last week's House of Commons copyright debate on Bill C-11 included a curious comment from Industry Minister Christian Paradis, who, in trying to demonstrate the amount of debate that went into the bill, said that more than 10,000 consultations had been held across Canada. This claim is not accurate in the slightest.
Technology law and policy is notoriously unpredictable but 2012 promises to be a busy year. My weekly technology law column offers some guesses for the coming months. January: The Supreme Court of Canada holds a hearing on whether Internet service providers can be treated as broadcasters under the Broadcasting Act.
Harper's bill C-11 is far more restrictive than it needs to be, more than the controversial copyright laws being fought in the U.S. courts, and more than international treaties regarding intellectual property require. Honest, hard-working educators, archivists, documentary filmmakers and consumers will be criminalized.
While everyone is opposed to counterfeiting, 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.
Earlier this year, the four primary members of the Canadian Recording Industry Association (now Music Canada) settled the largest copyright class action lawsuit in Canadian history by agreeing to pay over $50 million to compensate for infringing uses of sound recordings. The Canadian case has now settled, but Universal Music has filed its own lawsuit, this time against its insurer.
The pipeline decision is one of several U.S. decisions that have gone against Canadian interests in recent months. Whether it is the decision to apply new border fees for Canadian travellers or the imposition of Buy American rules (which the current U.S. Ambassador implausibly claimed was good for Canada), Canada has sustained successive losses on the economic policy front with the U.S.