Having debated how best to reflect in Canada’s Special 301 ranking “both the forward steps taken in 2012, and the serious challenges that the new law [The Copyright Modernization Act Bill C-11] either did not resolve or even worsened,” the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) has decided to recommend to the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) that Canada be moved to the Watch LIst for 2013. Special 301 is an annual review of intellectual property protection and market access practices in foreign countries mandated by the USTR.
Characterizing Bill C-11 as a significant achievement reflecting Canada’s intent to “change the country’s reputation as a haven for technologically sophisticated international piracy operations,” the IIPA nonetheless says that much more remains to be done “if this intent is to be achieved in practice, and if Canada is to make its market more hospitable to legitimate online offerings of copyright material.”
The report continues: “To some extent, this turns on how the new copyright law is implemented and enforced, and how and when Canada finally accedes to the WIPO treaties. But there is other important unfinished business, notably the need to transform the copyright enforcement environment through better legal tools (including at the border), revamped law enforcement priorities, greater resources for investigations and prosecutions, and imposition of deterrent sentences on violators.
“The new Act also falls well short of providing adequate legal incentives for the inter-industry cooperation that will be needed to reduce the exceptionally high levels at which Canadians patronize illicit online sources for creative works. Beyond these long-standing concerns that have not been addressed, the Copyright Modernization Act also added new ones, in the form of a host of potentially new or expanded exceptions to copyright protection. The collective impact of these new provisions on Canada’s compliance with its international obligations, and on copyright industries, particularly in the book publishing sector, must be closely monitored.”
National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) President/CEO David Israelite referred to the “Special 301 Report” in his monthly President’s Corner column on the association’s website. “It’s essential that creative works are protected, valued and appropriately accessible to international markets and that’s why I applaud the IIPA release of the annual ‘Special 301 Report’ detailing countries that threaten American copyright through piracy and lack of copyright enforcement. IIPA’s work is a preview of the government’s 301 Report typically released in April that serves as an annual review of intellectual property protection and enforcement.”