The Suspension of IP Provisions in the TPP Negotiations and NAFTA: What’s the Connection?

Photo credit: author

The image above poses the classic riddle; is the glass half full (i.e. positive and moving toward fulfilment) or the opposite, half empty. It depends on how you interpret recent developments affecting the possible outcome of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations that occurred in Danang, Vietnam, where the TPP leaders met. At Canada’s instigation, a planned statement on an “agreement in principle” was modified to an “agreement on core elements” with more work to be done on a number of issues, with some others set aside for now. The “new TPP” is composed of 11 countries (Canada, Australia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Chile, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam), down from the original 12 since the US pulled out, and is now apparently to be known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership, the CPTPP. (Probably both supporters and skeptics can agree that this new moniker is a mouthful.) Continue reading “The Suspension of IP Provisions in the TPP Negotiations and NAFTA: What’s the Connection?”

Site Blocking in Japan—A Call for Action

Source: shutterstock.com

In my last blog I discussed the growing problem of online piracy in Japan, and the importance of site blocking as a potential remedy. Site blocking has proven to be a particularly effective remedy against rogue pirate sites that set up in jurisdictions beyond the reach of domestic law, as I have outlined in previous blogs on the subject (here and here), and has been adopted by more than 40 countries world-wide. Continue reading “Site Blocking in Japan—A Call for Action”

Online Piracy in Japan: How Big is the Problem—and what’s an Effective Solution?

Source: shutterstock.com

Japanese people are rightly noted for their honesty. We have all heard the stories of wallets left on park benches being returned or just left for the owner to find. This theory was tested last year with the results shown on Youtube. Out of 15 “inadvertent” wallet drops in Tokyo, all 15 were picked up and returned to the owner. That’s quite a record. This code of behaviour largely extended to DVD and CD piracy a few years ago when these formats were popular vehicles for piracy in many parts of the world. While it was possible to find pirated videos in Japanese cities, piracy rates in Japan were consistently low—by some estimates as low as 5%–whereas in many countries (China being an example) the piracy rates were north of 90%. I have heard Japan’s fabled honesty attributed to everything from the Samurai code to the shame based (loss of face) ethics of a Confucian society—although the latter certainly has not had any impact on piracy rates in China, where Confucian tenets are still supposed to influence behaviour. Whatever the cultural reason, the odds of getting your wallet back in Japan are much better than in just about any other country in the world. Continue reading “Online Piracy in Japan: How Big is the Problem—and what’s an Effective Solution?”

Canadian Literature in Canadian Schools and the Duration of Copyright Protection (Don’t Mix Apples and Oranges)

Photo credit: author

If you are fundamentally opposed to any consideration of extending the term of copyright protection to benefit authors and creators, and if you are sufficiently creative in twisting logic, then you can find justification for your position just about anywhere. This is exactly what Michael Geist has done in taking a study released by the Ontario Book Publishers Organization (OBPO) on the lack of Canadian literature in Ontario classrooms and using it to try and argue that it proves his case for opposing any extension to the term of copyright protection. He is trying to put a round peg in a square hole. Continue reading “Canadian Literature in Canadian Schools and the Duration of Copyright Protection (Don’t Mix Apples and Oranges)”