The Revised TPP, NAFTA Renegotiations–and the Risk of Blindly Expanding Internet Safe Harbours

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The surprising and welcome news from Tokyo that Canada and the ten other members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) had agreed to conclude what is now called the “Comprehensive and Progressive TPP”, coming as it did on the opening day of the latest round of NAFTA negotiations in Montreal, was interesting in its timing. This may have been coincidental since TPP negotiators were meeting in Japan in an attempt to resolve outstanding differences in order to fast-track the conclusion of their Agreement, which is now to be officially sealed on March 8 in Chile, while resumed NAFTA negotiations were simultaneously getting underway half a world away. Coincidental or not, the conclusion of the TPP sends a signal to the US that both Canada and Mexico are committed to trade liberalisation at a time when the Trump Administration is beating the protectionist drum. The TPP is not an alternative to NAFTA, but is a move toward greater trade diversification on the part of two of the largest trading partners of the US. Continue reading “The Revised TPP, NAFTA Renegotiations–and the Risk of Blindly Expanding Internet Safe Harbours”

Why the Time Has Come to Block Offshore Pirate Websites in Canada

Source: Macdonald-Laurier Institute

The following article appeared in the January 10, 2018 edition of Inside Policy, the Journal of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute.

A lot of ink has been spilled lately over reports that Canadian content owners and broadcasters, led by Bell Media but including other content players such as Cineplex and broadcaster/ISPs (Rogers, Shaw), are finally proposing a solution to the problem of rogue offshore websites streaming pirated content to Canadian audiences. Continue reading “Why the Time Has Come to Block Offshore Pirate Websites in Canada”

Tightening up Online Advertising will starve Pirate Websites of their Means of Support

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It’s a truism that there is no such thing as a free lunch, and this old adage applies in spades to the phenomenon of pirate websites that allow users to access “free” content. The only thing free about the content is that it is “free” to the content theft websites because they have obtained it illegally through various means and then made it available to users who download or stream content they have not paid for. But these pirate sites are not charity operations. They need a revenue stream and that revenue stream, in the absence of any payment for the content they have purloined, is from advertising. Continue reading “Tightening up Online Advertising will starve Pirate Websites of their Means of Support”

“Copyright Trivia”: Some Works Get Longer Protection in Canada than in the US

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I hope this headline got your attention. It may be a bit of “copyright trivia” but it is nevertheless true! Read on.

It is axiomatic among many of my American friends in the content industry that copyright protection in the US, while not perfect, is better than the protection afforded to copyrighted works in Canada. That was certainly the thrust of much of the US comment at the time of the revision of Canada’s Copyright Act in 2011-12 and is a theme repeated regularly in inputs to the annual USTR Special 301 process by groups such as the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) and in the 301 Report itself. And they are not wrong. Canada’s copyright system is not terrible, but it could certainly be improved. Among the improvements needed are revisions to overly-wide fair dealing exceptions such as those for “education” and “user generated content” that were introduced in the revised 2012 Act. Continue reading ““Copyright Trivia”: Some Works Get Longer Protection in Canada than in the US”