Canada Also Getting Pushed By EU On Ridiculous Copyright Policies

from the make-it-stop dept

If you thought secrecy over ACTA was bad enough, apparently Canada and the EU are involved in equally secret negotiations on a separate treaty that has additional copyright implications that are just as bad, if not worse than what ACTA would require. As with ACTA, the details have just leaked, and they’re pretty ridiculous. From Michael Geist’s link above:

  • Copyright term extension.  The current term of copyright law in Canada is life of the author plus 50 years.  This is consistent with the term requirements under the Berne Convention.  The EU is demanding that Canada add an additional 20 years by making the term life plus 70 years.
  • WIPO ratification. The EU is demanding that Canada respect the rights and obligations under the WIPO Internet treaties.  The EU only formally ratified those treaties this week.
  • Anti-circumvention provisions. The EU is demanding that Canada implement anti-circumvention provisions that include a ban on the distribution of circumvention devices.  There is no such requirement in the WIPO Internet treaties.
  • ISP Liability provisions.  The EU is demanding statutory provisions on ISP liability where they act as mere conduits, cache content, or host content.  ISPs would qualify for a statutory safe harbour in appropriate circumstances.  There is no three-strikes and you’re out language (which presumably originates with the U.S.).
  • Enforcement provisions.  The EU is demanding that Canada establish a host of new enforcement provisions including measures to preserve evidence, ordering alleged infringers to disclose information on a wide range of issue, mandate disclosure of banking information in commercial infringement cases, allow for injunctive relief, and destruction of goods.  There is also a full section on new border measures requirements.
  • Resale rights.  The EU is demanding that Canada implement a new resale right that would provide artists with a royalty based on any resales of their works (subsequent to the first sale).
  • Making available or distribution rights.  The EU is demanding that Canada implement a distribution or making available right to copyright owners.

Some of these are repeats from ACTA, but the others are pretty bad as well. Copyright term extension is just pointless, and it’s amazing that anyone still thinks it makes sense. The purpose of copyright is to create incentives to create. You can’t retroactively do that. It’s a farce. Copyright term extension is effectively a welfare program for content creators. If that’s what people want, then fine, but it should be discussed in those terms. It has nothing to do with copyright.

Resale rights are another huge problem. We were just discussing how Australia just added these. They’re officially to “help” up-and-coming artists, but they do the opposite. They basically give fewer reasons for buyers to purchase art from up-and-coming artists (knowing that selling them for profit will be that much more difficult) and really only help the well-established artists who can easily make more money by creating new art and selling it at much higher prices. It, again, is a welfare system designed mainly to give more money to successful artists at the expense of up-and-coming artists.

But the bigger issue here, as pointed out by Geist, is that between both of these treaty negotiations, you’re left wondering how come no one will let Canada create their own copyright laws? These treaties aren’t about “harmonization” (the buzz word you hear), but about having global copyright law in a position where a single change in one country forces pretty much every other country to ratchet the levels up (and, yes, they do always go up).

Allowing countries to set their own copyright laws and policies is important. Because we’ve never had an evidence based copyright, and because there’s growing evidence that draconian copyright laws can harm creative output, it would seem like a better solution would be to let different countries experiment with different copyright laws (or none at all…) to see what happens and what works best. Forcing all countries to align under identical copyright laws, entirely at the behest of a single industry, with provisions to regularly ratchet things up with no real review of the evidence seems immensely problematic.

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Comments on “Canada Also Getting Pushed By EU On Ridiculous Copyright Policies”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Mike, copyright extention shouldn’t matter much. Just go out and create NEW stuff, and stop worrying about what was done in the past. You concentrate on copyright extention like you are waiting to release a Frank Sinatra’s Greatest Hits CD or something.

The term of copyright isn’t a negative for new creativity, unless you creativity is just redoing the past.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Rarely an issue. Almost all cases I have seen of derivative works involves reuse of characters in a story, etc. Rarely does it happen in music (and when it does, it is a very public case). Tens of thousands of new songs are released every year without issue, which indicates that copyright isn’t exactly blocking creative people from being creative, perhaps just blocking uncreative people from making money off of someone else’s work.

Monarch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Shakespeare’s work was ALL derivative! In fact it most of it was actually downright ripped off from other authors! Technically all Vampire movies are derivative of Bram Stoker’s Dracula because he was the one that created the modern incarnation of what people think a vampire is. What if Bram Stoker’s family would have had the rights to all vampire movies until 1962, or if it were +70 1982, demanding massive royalties. I could almost guarantee we wouldn’t have had as many vampire movies, TV Shows, and books made throughout most of the 20th century.

You see, Copyright is a welfare monopoly! To me, Copyright should NOT be transferable, and SHOULD NOT be longer than the life of the author! Period! End of Story!

640k (user link) says:

Re: response: term lengths do matter

Rufus Pollock (pdf) calculates based on estimates of the value of copyright an optimal copyright term length of 15 years, after which more years of protection is bad for culture.

Similarly, Alcalá and González-Maestre (pdf) show that extending copyright term length is beneficial for a tiny super-star class of artist, but actually shrinks the market of typical artists. So longer terms make it harder for artists to get by, unless they happen to win the lottery super-star lottery.

thinkliberty says:

IP is the only product the US has to export

The US has no labor market, the only thing it has of value is IP to export, if it can sale it’s flawed business model to the world through copyright, trademarks and patents then it has nothing to offer the world. It’s currency will tank.

They have put all their eggs in the IP market.

jaybarti says:

Re: Canada's Media Tarrif.


The sad part about those tariffs is if you add up what they collect and divide the amount by the number of artists it is suppose to go to, shows that it is effectively a joke.

The money distributed is so small as to not matter, except to the body/agency that is collecting the money. It is a scheme that effectively backfired on the CRIA here in Canada. Which shows that taxing the product this way isn’t effective and just creates yet another pool of money that effectively has little to no benefits to the actual artists it is suppose to support. Where does that money really end up I wonder.

SkullCowboy (profile) says:

“Hi, I’d like to buy that painting, the one with the cat chasing the yarn.”
“Great, just fill out these forms, please.”
“Forms? What are these for?”
“These register you as the current owner. They will be filed with the Artist Reimbursement Office and their audit division, the tax office, and your local police precinct. Should you ever sell the painting you will need to file a transfer of ownership package, with it’s applicable fees, to each of these entities. Should the painting ever be lost, destroyed or stolen you will need to file the claim form package id-10-t and allow for possible inspection and verification of said claim.
Will that be cash or charge?”

Marcel de Jong (profile) says:

Is fighting these exhorbitant copyrights even useful anymore?

It feels as if the fight against these regulations and such don’t help, as these regulations will be put into place anyway, despite the many complaints and the fight against them.

Why even bother, I’m almost inclined to say. If they want to fuck our cultural heritage, and then throw it away, let them. It’s not as if they are going to listen to reason anyway, they only listen to mister Moneybags, and he is firmly in the RIAA/MPAA/IFPI camp, and not on the side of the artists nor on the side of the public. There is not a shred of common sense in our current political structure to be found, just a bunch of greedy old farts that don’t understand the technology, nor understand the underlying meaning of copyright, nor willing to look at the long term effect these laws will have.

Benjie says:

Not really

“the term of copyright isn’t a negative for new creativity, unless you creativity is just redoing the past.”

Most new things are variations of old things. At some point an idea can evolve into something completely new, but usually takes time. It’s a slight issue now about making changes to pre-existing ideas, but it’s a slippery slope and money is pushing for complete lock down of ideas even similar to the original copyright.

Laurel L. Russwurm (profile) says:

a couple of things

First, I am wondering if the EU is doing all of the things they are demanding of Canada.

The resale rights idea seems particularly insane for the EU. Not just in a horrendous bureaucratic nightmare sense, but in an environmental sense. This will make re-selling impractical and lead to unprecedented volumes of garbage as media people no longer want is thrown out. In north America we still have lots of wide open spaces we can sully with landfills (lots of valleys between the Rockies we can fill in with old CDs and videotapes…) but where is the EU going to put theirs? Last I heard EU lack of space forced them to recycle cemetery plots.

“Copyright term extension is effectively a welfare program for content creators” … uh, no…. after you’re dead fifty years there’s no way to improve your welfare.

I know it is a semantic bone to pick but an important one. I suspect you were talking about “content owners” aka “The Copyright Lobby”, consisting of corporations who finance and/or distribute movies and music.

As a creator, I know that the industries fighting to force these ridiculous copyright laws on the world are the same industries who have abused their power over the actual creators for decades. Having traditionally wrested copyright from artists they want to extend copyright forever, twenty years at a time.

Their objectives are clearly not to encourage creative output but to control it. If you control enough of it for a long enough time new creation is a positive dis-incentive.

Corporations should not be allowed to hold copyright. Copyright should be the exclusive right of the creators.

One of the Canadian Copyright Consultation questions asked what it would take to make Canada a leader in copyright reform.

Saying no to these external pressures and making our own laws would do it.

MBraedley (profile) says:

Resale Rights

If I’ve been reading the various articles on this correctly, I think I can say I understand the reasoning behind implementing resale rights. I can’t say I agree with them, however.

As far as I can tell, the primary reason behind implementing resale rights is that physical art typically appreciates in value. Therefore, the artist should receive a cut of that appreciation. However, as Ars Technica points out, the housing market (in general) appreciates, yet construction workers don’t expect a cut of that appreciation when a house is sold.

Hephaestus (profile) says:


I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”

In the future doing what I just did to MLK’s speech will more than likely get the copyright police after me …. This is a good thing …

When unjust systems are put in place by governments, people always find a way around them. When costs are to high, people either dont buy, or find alternatives. These are things we have seen through out recorded history. We are already beginning to see people routing around big media, piracy (which i dont condone), Amie Street, Australias bar, club and restaraunt owners using music from independant artists as opposed to paying the collection societies. CETA will actually increase this as will ACTA. People will begin seeing the big media companies as the enemy. Most of us see them that way now, the public at large doesnt.

Campaigns saying “File Copying is theft”, and “File Copying Equals Jail Time” will start happening and people will start going to jail for Felony Copyright Infringement. The backlash will be slogans like “Dont Risk it Buy Indie”, “Ma Ma Mia its Dire RIAA”, will start showing up on Tee Shirts (Mike’s favorite saleable item), and coffee mugs … Okay maybe not, coffee is bad enough without “its Dire RIAA” printed on the mug … The public at large will begin being afraid to use the DVR as the rules wont be clear. CETA and ACTA will only make the rules on copyright harder to understand and be more confusing.

A combination of fear and monetary constraints will kick in at around this point. People wont be able to fill their iPod-mp3 player without going broke, 30,000 songs on an iPod at $1.29 each … Enter stage left … The independant artists trying new business models with free music and a RtB. The creative commons and sites like,,, and many others. Google “creative commons music“. As more people seek to save money, they will be exposed to artists that are unaffiliated with the labels.

Word of mouth will spread these new artists around, Twitter, MySpace, faceBook, Digg, etc. As with the news, the music will begin to find us faster than it already does.

…. and the Labels thought they had it bad before.

Laurel L. Russwurm (profile) says:


I agree that the writing is on the wall. Progress will inevitably win out as it always does. If the Canadian government should cave to the pressure I would not be the least bit surprised to see the Pirate Party of Canada walking into a majority government. (Canadians are slow to rile, but when we do… )


In the meantime the world goes to hell. I don’t want to see our best and brightest young people go to jail because greedy corporations can’t get enough.

I don’t want to see file sharing become illegal (likely the next salvo) because “There are other uses for BitTorrent that are not only legal, but even perfectly acceptable in polite society.” It’s so important and the damage to the open source movement would be incredible.

For too long the culture of the entire world has been under the control of a few corporate executives who don’t have a clue. They have guessed wrong far more than they’ve guessed right and the whole world has suffered for it. Actual creators have been forced to hand over copyright and confined in a “company store” economicly. The new way that is open to Independent artists to release their own work has them running scared.

The thing is, the artists who get out there and establish a following will WANT to contract with a distributor. Every moment spent running a distribution network is time spent not making their art. So there will a place for the corporations. Just not the omnipotent one they are used to. It will mean that artists with a following will demand equitable contracts.

The movers and shakers behind ACTA and this EU nightmare are not exhibiting an ability to adapt, instead they’re trying to legislate anti-progress. Eventually they will not be able to attract artists of any ability because all the good ones will be making deals with the emerging distribution industry that will work with them rather than control them.


In the meantime too many bad things will come of this now. It would be better to stopped it before it is a done deal.

Blog about it, tweet it, dent it, jabber or gwibber it… spread the word outside the technical community.

And most especially tell your elected representatives.

The Anti-Mike says:

You know what's funny?

When you read down to the end of Geist’s article, you find this:

While the leaked document may only represent the European position, there is little doubt there will be enormous pressure on Canadian negotiators to cave on the IP provision in return for “gains” in other areas.

In other words, the document isn’t a final anything, it is a list of ideas, and the entire “demand” think is something Geist made up, as he as “little doubt” that there would be enormous pressure.

In other words, he pretty much made it all up, and now Mike is posting it effectively as fact.

This is one of Mike’s truly bad habits. Taking someone else’s opinions and restating them as near fact on this site. A few weeks from now, another part of this will come up, and Mike will like to the story that “shows the EU is forcing Canada to abuse your rights” or something similar.

Geist’s story is an opinion. Mike’s story should be an opinion about the opinion, but it is stated as near to a fact as possible. Those near facts will get turned into facts next time, even if things haven’t changed.

Mike, you are a classic. Don’t stop! The Onion needs competition!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: You know what's funny?

Man, you’re a classic Anti-Mike. You’re so caught up in trying to discredit everything Mike says, I can’t even tell what you’re denying here.

Fact: This list exists.
Fact: This list was proposed during negotiations between Canada and the EU.
Fact: Proposals during negotiations involve things that someone wants to see come out of the negotiations.

So what the hell are you arguing about? The fact that the proposal is not a binding contract? Everyone here knows that. The fact that the discussions are still ongoing? Everyone here knows that as well.

So really, what are you trying to prove here?

CN says:

Want proof of harm?

Want proof that all this crap can harm the content creators?
The painting I bought last month will be the last one I ever buy, regardless of how all this turns out.

I’m sick and tired of all this crap, and I will not support it.

Hey, maybe I resell an artwork for $500, but the original artist thinks I should have gotten at least $1000, so I should pay based on that price. Can that be far down the road?

This collections agency will most likely be like the others, not benefiting those that they supposedly support, soaking up money for nothing.

CN says:

Want proof of harm?

Want proof that all this crap can harm the content creators?
The painting I bought last month will be the last one I ever buy, regardless of how all this turns out.

I’m sick and tired of all this crap, and I will not support it.

Hey, maybe I resell an artwork for $500, but the original artist thinks I should have gotten at least $1000, so I should pay based on that price. Can that be far down the road?

This collections agency will most likely be like the others, not benefiting those that they supposedly support, soaking up money for nothing.

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