U.S. Government Objects to Canadian Copyright Reform Plan

The U.S. Trade Representative has issued its annual report on global intellectual property protection, known as the Special 301 Report. Once again, Canada finds itself in good company on the list (a more interesting list would consist of countries who meet the U.S. standard for IP protection).
This year’s report is most notable for its comment on Canada’s copyright reform plan, announced just last month. The USTR has the following to say about Canada:
“Canada is being maintained on the Special 301 Watch List in 2005, and the United States will conduct an out-of-cycle review to monitor Canada�s progress on IPR issues during the upcoming year. We urge Canada to ratify and implement the WIPO Internet Treaties as soon as possible, and to reform its copyright law so that it provides adequate and effective protection of copyrighted works in the digital environment. The Canadian court decision finding that making files available for copying on a peer-to-peer file sharing service cannot give rise to liability for infringement under existing Canadian copyright law underscores the need for Canada to join nearly all other developed countries in implementing the WIPO Internet Treaties. The U.S. copyright industry is concerned about proposed copyright legislation regarding technological protection measures and internet service provider (ISP) liability, which if passed, would appear to be a departure from the requirements of the WIPO Internet Treaties as well as the international standards adopted by most OECD countries in the world. The United States urges Canada to adopt legislation that is consistent with the WIPO Internet Treaties and is in line with the international standards of most developed countries. Specifically, we encourage Canada to join the strong international consensus by adopting copyright legislation that provides comprehensive protection to copyrighted works in the digital environment, by outlawing trafficking in devices to circumvent technological protection measures, and by establishing a �notice-and-takedown� system to encourage cooperation by ISPs in combating online infringements. It also is imperative that Canada improve its enforcement system so that it can stop the extensive trade in counterfeit and pirated products, as well as curb the amount of transshipped and transiting goods in Canada. The United States also urges Canada to enact legislation that would provide a stronger border enforcement system by giving its customs officers greater authority to seize products suspected of being pirated or counterfeit. We also encourage greater cooperation between Customs and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in enforcement matters, and encourage Canada to provide additional resources and training to its customs officers and domestic law enforcement personnel. Canada’s border measures continue to be a serious concern for IP owners. With respect to data protection, we recognize that Canada has taken positive steps to improve its data protection regime. The U.S. pharmaceutical industry is concerned about certain aspects of the proposed regulations. The United States will use the out-of-cycle review to monitor Canada�s progress in providing an adequate and effective IPR protection regime that is consistent with its international obligations and advanced level of economic development, including improved border enforcement and full implementation of data protection.”

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