Trans Pacific Partnership

Still Waiting…

I had hoped for details on any change to the intellectual property provisions of NAFTA by the first of August but it appears too early, even for speculation.

A new council had been created earlier this month and there are concerns about privacy. But nothing yet as too what else the United Stated will want changed.

Unfortunately, our government has extended our copyright term from 50 to 70 years due to the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement so now we’ve got to wait twenty more years for copyrighted works to enter the public domain, regardless of the fact that the United States has withdrawn from the agreement.

I certainly hope they will not go after our ability to make private copies of recordings for personal use or attempt to resurrect proposals to tax hard drives and flash media. But I am hoping they will negotiate higher exemptions for personal importations by mail.

As it stands most imported parcels valued under $20 are exempt from duties and taxes, as stipulated on the Canadian Border Services Agency web site. And I think this amount is way too low.

eBay had proposed a higher de minimis threshold for Canadians since July 2016 and had created an official Parlimentary petition that year and a petition for its users earlier this year.

They published a study (PDF) by the C.D Howe Institute and I’m guessing from eBay’s response to the renewed NAFTA negotiations that they will petition the government again on this issue.

According to a 2016 Nanos Research poll, 76% of Canadian respondents want a $200 exemption and over 15,000 Canadians had signed the official Parlimentary petition that year, so i’m guessing eBay will bring attention to this issue again durring the negotiations.

I will, of course, keep an eye out for new information and will update this site a.s.a.p.

Rolling Up The Sleeves

So, the election results are in and now it’s time to start asking questions.

What parts of Bill C-51 will remain unaltered and what changes are to be expected under the new government ? Will Canadians be burdened with extra costs to implement these surveillance programs ? What measures will be taken to keep the data secure ?

Does the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement include further intrusions into our copyright ? Will the public be consulted in regards to the key provisions of this agreement prior to signing ? Will our recent reforms be bypassed and superseded by foreign entities and lobbyists ?

We will of course all need to wait until the next budget to know what investments the new government is planning for our digital strategy. But we should know who will be assigned to the key cabinet positions shortly.

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

The Copyright Modernization Act passed through the legislative process and obtained royal assent in June of this year. And though I am critical of the technological protection measure provisions, the bill is still a step forward. But it appears that the lobbyists in the United States are attempting to reverse many of the provisions in this legislation through the Trans Pacific Partnership trade negotiations.

The International Intellectual Property Alliance want to circumvent our democratic processes in order to force our government to enact RIAA style prosecutions in Canada.

They are demanding new penalties for intellectual property violations, new processes in which internet providers are forced to police the internet on their behalf and the removal of the $5000 liability cap on non-commercial infringement.

But their demands don’t end there.

They want an extension of the copyright term up to the American standard and want our customs officers to search people for copyright violations upon entry, without a search warrant.

At the moment copyright is limited to life plus 50 years, meaning an author will own his works up to his death and his estate would retain copyright on these works for 50 years after the author’s death.

The Americans extended their copyright term to life plus 70 years and added additional provisions to their Copyright Act extending copyright on published works to 95 years from publication, which could be renewed resulting in a term of 120 years in some instances.

So, not only do they want to practically eliminate our public domain
but they also want us to be burdened with longer lines at our airports and border crossings so searches can be performed on laptop hard drives and media players.

These amendments were ineffective in the United States, having failed to prevent 96.68 million BitTorrent downloads in the first half of 2012 according to the Musicmetric Digital Music Index, so why would they work in Canada ?