Exporting the US “Fair Use” Doctrine to South Africa: The Battle Lines are Drawn

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An interesting battle between pro and anti-copyright industries in the US is being played out in submissions to the US Trade Representative’s Office (USTR) regarding whether South Africa should be stripped of its GSP (Generalized System of Preferences) status. According to USTR, “The GSP program provides for the duty-free importation of designated articles when imported from designated beneficiary developing countries.” GSP status can be challenged by US industries on various grounds. For example, the current GSP review is looking at a number of countries beside South Africa, including Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan for alleging denying worker rights, Ecuador for not acting in good faith in implementing arbitral awards and South Africa (and Indonesia) for allegedly failing to provide adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights. It is the South African case that is of interest here. Continue reading “Exporting the US “Fair Use” Doctrine to South Africa: The Battle Lines are Drawn”

EU “Third Country” IP Report Targets China (Again), adds Saudi Arabia to Priority List, and drops USA

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The European Commission recently issued its biannual report on the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in “third countries”. (I was a bit confused about this terminology, wondering which nations constitute “second countries” but apparently it is standard EU parlance used to describe any country not part of the EU, the assumption being that at least two countries form the EU so any country not within the Union must be a “third country”. Britain now qualifies as a third country so I wonder if it will figure in the EU’s next report.) The report has been issued since 2006 although two years ago the EU added a new “Watch List” report covering notorious online and offline markets for pirated and counterfeit goods, similar to the Notorious Markets Report issued periodically by the US Trade Representative’s Office (USTR). That EU report can be found here. Continue reading “EU “Third Country” IP Report Targets China (Again), adds Saudi Arabia to Priority List, and drops USA”

The Super Bowl, the CRTC and Promoting Canadian Content (They’re All Connected)

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Last week, as most North American readers will know, the Super Bowl was played in Miami with the Kansas City Chiefs beating the San Francisco 49’ers in a tight, hard fought game to win the National Football League (NFL) championship. Great, but what, (you may ask,) does this have to do with copyright, content, and culture? Well, quite a bit if you are the Canadian broadcaster (Bell Media) that holds the Canadian broadcast rights to the game. For the past couple of years I have written blogs (here and here) on how the rather arcane simultaneous substitution (simsub) rules that govern Canadian broadcasting affect the Super Bowl broadcast in Canada, and what impact those rules have on Canadian broadcasting and, from a broader perspective, the funding that goes into the production of Canadian content. In understanding the issue, non-Canadian readers need to know that US networks are widely available to audiences in Canada, either over-the-air in border areas or more commonly carried by cable, fibre and satellite systems under a compulsory retransmission licence issued by the Canadian broadcast regulator, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). Continue reading “The Super Bowl, the CRTC and Promoting Canadian Content (They’re All Connected)”

Copyright Term Extension in Canada and the Interesting Case of Broadview Press: Is it “Playing the Victim” or Just “Playing the Game”?

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Last week I examined some of the tendentious arguments put forward to oppose bringing Canada’s term of copyright protection into alignment with that of most developed countries. Canada made a commitment in the new NAFTA that it will extend the term of protection by twenty years for most works covered by copyright, although exactly how and when that will occur is still not clear. I quoted a CBC broadcast/podcast (“The Cost of Living”) that professed to examine in a balanced way the pros and cons of extending Canada’s copyright term, yet decided to focus primarily on the supposed costs. It quoted Howard Knopf, a well-known copyright critic who has done some unsubstantiated back-of-the-envelope estimates of the costs to Canada, estimates that are—to say the least—fanciful and ungrounded in any semblance of analysis. Continue reading “Copyright Term Extension in Canada and the Interesting Case of Broadview Press: Is it “Playing the Victim” or Just “Playing the Game”?”