Latest Wikileaks Release Shows How US Completely Drove Canadian Copyright Reform Efforts

from the surprise,-surprise dept

With Wikileaks State Department cables showing how much the US influenced copyright policy in Sweden and in Spain, it shouldn’t really be much of a surprise that the US unduly influenced copyright policy elsewhere as well. The latest Wikileaks report confirms what pretty much everyone knew already: copyright reform in Canada was driven mainly by US interests. Michael Geist points out some of the highlights, including the US Government demanding anti-circumvention provisions (things that the creators of those provisions in the US have even admitted were a failure). Yet, the US demands this, while maintaining that it would prefer there be few, if any, exceptions on circumvention:

If there are any exceptions to TPM or rights management information (RMI) liability, the exceptions should be clearly enumerated and narrow in scope

Separately, the US demanded third party liability on ISPs to pressure them into acting as Hollywood’s private copyright police force:

A system of protections and obligations for ISPs that shelters them from certain liability, reduces and prevents copyright infringement on the Internet and provides incentives for ISPs to work cooperatively with copyright owners.

In response, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harpher seemed happy to promise such things, which explains why the Canadian government kept pushing so hard for anti-circumvention “digital lock” rules, despite widespread opposition to that key part of the proposed Canadian copyright reform. And yet, the US keeps complaining that Canada isn’t ratcheting up its copyright laws fast enough, not recognizing the widespread public opposition that such laws are facing.

Embassy Ottawa remains frustrated by the Government of Canada,s continuing failure to introduce – let alone pass – major copyright reform legislation that would, inter alia, implement and ratify the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Internet treaties. Several recent factors compound this frustration, including the fact that:

— the Prime Minister told the President last August that Canada would pass copyright legislation;

— the November Speech from the Throne laying out the government,s Parliamentary agenda stated that it would “improve the protection of cultural and intellectual property rights in Canada, including copyright reform;” and

— senior GOC officials, especially Industry Minister Prentice, repeatedly assured the Ambassador and senior Mission Canada officers that the copyright bill would be introduced “soon.” Specifically, assurances were given that the legislation had been finalized and would be introduced prior to the Christmas recess, and then again immediately upon Parliament’s return in January. Neither of which occurred.

Note that there is no discussion as to why Canada hasn’t moved forward. No discussion of the rather effective opposition to overly draconian copyright laws. Just demands that Canada “do something,” and plans for the US to keep applying more and more diplomatic pressure.

Even more telling, the US ambassadors only seem to speak with either the government or copyright holder organizations in all of this. In one cable, it discusses concerns from the recording industry and the movie studios that Canada’s proposed legal changes don’t go far enough. Nowhere do they seem to speak to actual consumers or to anyone who represents consumers. Because, you see, it’s not about them. In fact, it appears that the “Canadian” Recording Industry Association has a very cozy relationship with the US government, with the two meeting to get feedback on proposals and strategize about policy issues. Again, no mention of any similar consultation with the people actually impacted by such changes in the law: everyone else. In fact, it seems like the only time the public is mentioned at all, it’s to note how pesky it is that they don’t seem to like these changes, and to explain why Canada has slow rolled the changes (because politicians were afraid negative publicity would hurt their re-election campaigns).

In one of the earlier documents linked above, the State Department (based on feedback from industry) criticize the idea of “notice and notice” rather than “notice and takedown” with a snarky complaint about how it’s “if I told you once, I’ve…. told you once.” Apparently, the officials don’t recognize how notice and takedown invariably leads to false takedown and stifling of free speech (something we thought US diplomats were supposed to be protecting).

Once again, none of this is even remotely surprising. The US government, at the urging of the US entertainment industry, has been pushing its own brand of overly aggressive, speech stifling, copyright laws around the globe. It’s just too bad that Canadian politicians apparently don’t have the guts to stand up to bullying US diplomats.

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Comments on “Latest Wikileaks Release Shows How US Completely Drove Canadian Copyright Reform Efforts”

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Frost (profile) says:

Financial realities

The US may be on a fast ride to dictatorship and a destroyed economy (probably intentionally destroyed to facilitate the fast ride to dictatorship, but that’s another discussion) but that doesn’t change the fact that it has a considerable amount of economic clout. For politicians in even wealthy nations it probably seems like the lesser evil to push draconian and evil copyright laws rather than to wind up on the financial watch lists and/or black lists of the US governmen. That is sort of the same bully mentality that the copyright corporations employ against private citizens where they use the justice system as their blunt instrument of choice to club users into submission, as just the fact of having to go to court is financially ruinous to quite a few people. Similar mechanics come into play when the US threatens blacklisting of entire nations, so it’s not just that the politicians get browbeaten and harangued – there are real financial consequences threatened to be levied against entire nations with the obvious negative consequences of that.

This sort of thing is just another symptom of just how sick and warped our system of money and profit is. That’s the core problem we need to address – if we do that, entire issues like copyright, money, profit, even laws become non-issues in short order. Those are all symptoms of that one core problem… and that’s the problem we should be addressing.

Unfortunately people are way too indoctrinated into the current system; just mention removing money and trade, as sensible as that is, and people immediately assume it’s not doable. At least, until they engage brain and really think about it…

Dirk Poot (profile) says:

Godwin in 3,2,1...

So we have government and big corporations pushing laws that are detrimental to the citizens and beneficial only to the corporations.

Seems to be fitting this definition Rooseveld gave of fascism: The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism ? ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.

Anonymous Coward says:

Why the choice of words like “demand” and “bullying”? They do not appear in the selected quotes, and are anathema to how political discussions are conducted in matters such as these.

The reference to “WIPO” hardly comes as a surprise. Canada has been criticized for quite some time by members of WIPO for having signed that agreement, and then having failed to act to secure its ratification. This is an issue that transcends more than just the US voicing concern.

Frankly, I find the memos underwhelming and little more than selected quotations that prove nothing other than the respective governments, via diplomats, have been exchanging views in an unremarkable manner.

freak (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“The leaks say nothing, don’t pay attention to them”

Maybe you haven’t read enough of them, then.

I have a different focus, being Canadian and an election looming, so forgive the tangential example I am about to give.

It’s somewhat telling, for example, that the Harper gov’t was told by the American diplomat that organized crime, slave and drug trade from and to BC were increasing, (and not just “we think there’s more”, but detailed dossiers on the players in the region, in terms of organizations, AND leaders, AND locations of interest/activity), and after that point, the harper gov’t cut funding to BC police, (forgive the oversimplification there, but that was the end effect), failed to enact legislation that was already passed that would aid the police in that region, as well as other legislation that would prevent abuse of pre-trial custody credit. “Tough on crime”. As if.

It’s one thing to see those actions. It’s quite another to know just how detailed the info was the CPC had and that they had it before they performed any of these actions . . . and also that the diplomats kept reminding them.

Jay (profile) says:

Carrot vs stick approach.

Joe Karaganis actually explains this quite well in the new “Media Piracy book”

For 20 years, the tactic that has worked quite well is the US has been able to pressure countries for more copyright law in order to maintain the world’s dependence on US products.

The USTR listens to trade industry standards and comes out with the Special 301 report that maintains pressure on them, along with the threat of economic sanctions against any country that goes against the “US interests”.

Brazil has a free culture? It came at quite a price before. When the US threatened economic sanctions for more copyright it had the disastrous effect of making Brazil “a haven for piracy”. Brazil had been trying to build their own pharmaceutical company. The US intervened and only stopped pressure after Brazil acquiesced to their demands for more copyright as well as an American pharmaceutical company put in Brazil.

Almost every country has seen this tactic from the US in the last 20 years and it still seems to be rather effective in some regards. The best we can do is dismantle the special processes that industry are given because it seems to always bite the US in the wrong end.

Jay (profile) says:

Re: Re: Carrot vs stick approach.

Actually, no. I was reading the media piracy and it’s in chapter 2 – “Networked Governance and the USTR”. I’ll post it here for you:

Sanctions and Bilateral Agreements
The bilateral approach to building a stronger global IP regime came together in the mid-1980s.
After the 1984 revision to the US Trade Act, the Reagan administration made quick use of Section 301?s new IP provisions to launch investigations of Korea and Brazil?both countries
with histories of domestic-industry protection.
Actions against Brazil were designed to end Brazilian protection of its domestic
pharmaceutical and computer sectors. A 1985 case targeted the lack of copyright protection
in Brazil for computer software?an innovation adopted in US law only in 1980. Brazil gavein to US demands, and the case was settled without sanctions in 1988. A second action in1987 targeted Brazil?s distinction between pharmaceutical processes (which were accorded
patent protection) and final pharmaceutical products (which were not). This distinction had
been widely and, under international law prior to TRIPS, legally employed to encouragethe ?reverse engineering? of important drugs and, relatedly, the development of local
pharmaceutical industries. Because the public health benefits of the Brazilian position were clear and popular and the domestic commercial interests more entrenched than in the IT field the Brazilian government refused to amend its law. As the dispute escalated in 1988 and 1989,
the United States imposed duties on imported Brazilian goods, worth some $39 million.

Brazil responded with a suit under the GATT, challenging the legality of the retaliation. The United States, in turn, blocked the formation of a dispute settlement panel, making adjudication of the complaint impossible. Sanctions were eventually lifted in 1990 when the new Brazilian president, anticipating fuller patent protection requirements in TRIPS, agreed to adopt
pharmaceutical end-product patents.

Link Page 86.

However, India does have this problem with imports with medicines that I was aware of. Link

So as you can see, the major problem is more regulatory capture in industries for American interests rather than actually outcompeting people in another country.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Why would they talk to consumers?

Monopolists love monopolies. Why wouldn’t they? Something for nothing. If you need to talk to a monopolist to see if he likes free monopolies that he isn’t entitled to, you’re missing the point.

You breath air. You’re getting something for nothing. There is nothing inherently wrong with getting something for nothing. But a govt imposed monopoly is something that no one has a right to.

If the consumers/people want IP abolished, then the government should abolish these laws. These laws shouldn’t exist for the purpose of preventing people from getting something for nothing. That’s not why they were put in place. As the founding fathers note, everyone has a right to copy whatever they please as they please. These laws were designed to promote the progress. They’re not doing that. I want them gone.

Eric Lortie (user link) says:

Re: Why would they talk to consumers?

Yours is among the most foolish of opinions regarding consumer level piracy, although it is eminently prevalent in issues like this. And that’s a big damn shame.

I gladly subscribe to things like and Netflix in order to get quality, copyrighted material at a reasonable price. 20$ for a cd, in the face of modern technology, can no longer be considered a reasonable price. The same goes for movies.

Businesses are based around always making “more” money. But any objective look at technological trends clearly indicates that, with regards to entertainment, it’s impossible to continue charging high prices, or raising prices higher, with regards to these products.

Everyone likes something free, obviously. Most people would be happy to find a personal economic balance that gives them quality products at a reasonable price.

In not speaking with consumers about this, the industry and governments only help to further propagate the us v them mindset that so completely pervades discussion on matters such as this.

It’s easy to villainize “them” when you don’t speak to them and make no effort to understand them.

freak (profile) says:

Re: Re:

If he gets elected, it’ll be as a minority gov’t.

That’s increasingly unlikely; throughout a lot of Canada, there is an anti-conservative movement. The NDP currently commands 30% of the polls, compared to 34-36% for the CPC . . . but while the CPC has 7% of the second choice, the NDP have 25% of the second choice.

If people follow the news and polls and realize that the NDP are ahead of the liberals/green/BQ in their district, because of the afore mentioned ABC movement, it will become a race between the orange and blue, which means considering the second-choice vote. At that point, the polls suggest a 42% conservative, 55% NDP split. (I’m not considering how many of the NDP voter’s second-choice is conservative, or how many of the conservative voter’s second-choice is NDP)

But let’s assume he gets a minority gov’t.
While Iggy has said there won’t be a lib-dem coalition, IMO he was counting on a con-minority with liberal opposition, instead of a con-minority with NDP opposition. And there is a great difference between making concessions with the NDP to gain power, than having the NDP make concessions with you to gain power.

BTW . . . latest polls suggest the NDP are more popular than the BQ in Quebec, (40% to 20%). That’s hella popular.

jenningsthecat (profile) says:

Re: Re: Minority government

I hope we have a minority government, not because I have a particular liking for them but because it looks as though Harper is going to be PM again, and a minority would be the only thing keeping his Fascist tendencies in check.

Do you really think the NDP will be the Official Opposition? I’d love to see that, as it would give the Liberals the smack upside the head that they so desperately need. But my fear is that electors will suffer buyer’s remorse when it comes time to mark their ballots, and will either vote Liberal and maintain the status quo, or vote Conservative and give Harper his majority. I don’t think that the huge NDP gains shown in the opinion polls will necessarily translate into votes on election day, but I’d sure like to be wrong…

Cowardly Anon says:

Re: Re:

Yes, Harper will probably still win, but he won’t get the coveted majority he’s been pining for since he took over as the had of the Cons.

I will be an interesting government if the Cons get the minority and is propped up by the NDP. It will keep Harper as honest as he’s capable of being.

I’ve always thought the NDP could use a few more seats in Parliament.

MrLemurBoy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Ugh, I’m with you on that.

Admittedly, I’ve attended some Q&A sessions and have been keeping up with the results of, and I’ve heard some excellent talking points that sound very promising regarding copyright and stuff, but it’s really hard to believe that they’re more than just talking points. Maybe I’m jaded, but it often feels like a minority government is the only way to keep the worst of the laws from getting pushed through with no oversight. It’d be really nice to take the politicians at their word, but I just can’t.

BigKeithO (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I with you as well, I don’t trust any of the current parties with a majority. The NDP sounds nice with all of their social policies but how are we going to pay for them?

The Conservatives would sell us out to the US and corporations in a heart beat if they could and I can’t stand the Liberals. I’m in Alberta however, it’ll be a few more years yet before we stop electing anything other than blue. I swear the people hear just vote Conservative without a second thought.

Conservatives internet and copyright policies scare me.

Anonymous Coward says:

“According to a recent study more than half of all people living in urban areas regularly pirate movies, something the MPAA believes has to be stopped.”

In other words, despite the evidence showing that people don’t want these laws, the industries will should prevail over the will of the people.

No one is entitled to a govt imposed monopoly. If the people don’t want these laws then our laws should reflect that and these laws should be abolished.

I, for one, do not want these laws.

But, alas, the govt grants IP monopolies for the same reason that it grants all the other monopolies that it grants. To oppress the public and exploit the poor. It has absolutely nothing to do with the public interest or with what the people want (ie: almost nobody wants 95+ year copy protection lengths except for the big corporations that benefit from the resulting lack of competition).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:


An economic system in which the means of production and distribution are privately or corporately owned and development is proportionate to the accumulation and reinvestment of profits gained in a free market.

Read more:

Just remember the system your living under…

CommonSense (profile) says:

When you say...

“the US keeps complaining that Canada isn’t ratcheting up its copyright laws fast enough”

It makes me embarrassed and ashamed to be a U.S. citizen. Would you please consider carefully separating the U.S. Government from the U.S. people in your posts? As it is the Corporatist regime (not Republican or Democrat) in power here that wants this truly anti-American movement to take place, and not any of the real U.S. citizens who actually understand what a crime it would be.


Re: When you say...

No I wouldn’t simply because the naytion deserves its government. If the nation really does not approve corporate fascism there would be none of it.
The awful truth is that the majority of Americans approve it probably thinking that the crap will happen to anyone (blacks, immigrants, arabs) but not them. It is pretty stupid even to think this way since the crap will happen to the Americans.

crade (profile) says:

“It’s just too bad that Canadian politicians apparently don’t have the guts to stand up to bullying US diplomats.”

And then they blattently lie to us and tell us that they are listening to Canadians regarding copyright legistlation.. The have such a low opinion of us that they think they can sell us on this tripe actually being asked for by Canadians.

And there isn’t a thing we can do about it. It’s election on Monday, and not only will no one currently running stand up for us, I actually don’t think there has been anyone who has ever run in my lifetime that would.

BigKeithO (profile) says:

Re: How does Notice and Notice work?

It gives the party that posted the material a chance to respond to the take down request before it is taken down.

In the US system once the notice is sent the service provider has to “take down” the item at the heart of the complaint right away to keep their safe harbors, in the proposed Canadian system the “accused” has a chance to prove they had the rights to use the works before they are removed.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: How does Notice and Notice work?

Thanks. A couple of follow-up questions:

If they (the site owners) don’t respond within a certain timeframe (a couple weeks?), then does the ISP have to perform the take down? Or does it require a judge issuing a court order?

In Canada, who do the accused make their case to? Do they submit their response to the ISP, the copyright owner, or a judge?


crade (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: How does Notice and Notice work?

The notices are basically just letters telling you you are infringing and asking you to take your content down.
They don’t really have any legal weight (but still appear to be very effective in getting content taken down). If they are ignored, then the copyright holders can follow the regular process and bring a copyright infringment suit against them.

The “accused” can respond to the ISP, the copyright holder, or can just wait and see if an actual lawsuit is brought against them if they think they are in the right.

jenningsthecat (profile) says:

After the upcoming election...

…Prime Minister Harper may just have his coveted majority. If he does win a majority, then the US will simply have its way with Canada, courtesy of Harper’s hatred for his own country, and that will be the end of the fight. It’s very rare for subsequent governments to scrap existing legislation, so once we have this crap in Canada we’ll probably be stuck with it for a very long time. Here’s hoping that Canadians wake up in time to avoid turning Canada into America’s Mini-Me.

Retaliate says:

OH C’MON… The US is trying to dictate copyright policy GLOBALLY via their Special 301 Watchlist (which is directly linked to the Section 301 USTR Laws – resulting in sanctions against nations that do not comply)

Basically, if your nation doesn’t lock up it’s citizens (on behalf of the RIAA and it’s investors) for the crime of duplicating media (without paying official duplication services – major record labels) they face threat of sanctions and retaliation.

America, threatening the world on behalf of CEOs who do their banking off-shore avoiding paying taxes to the system that protects them above all else… oh, the irony. 🙂

BlackBadger says:

CP Restrictions and the Broken model of GREED

Screw you greedy US corps, with your lobbiest in your gov, pushing for restrictions to prevent ART and entertainment from being a part of our lives. I will continue to torrent if this is your attitude. There is nothing you, in the US, can do about me here in canada, cuz YOU keep insisting that I am in another country with your localization on the web. you can keep your failing system as the future will hold artists of a free nature publishing their own content on the net and making profits without your greedy corporate structure.

THE RIAA is an example of the WORST UNION. EVER! they rip the profits from their members and claim to fighting for their rights that are under attack. They are kin to the AVP anti-malware programs that blast false results to scare users into buying their crap. DO AWAY WITH THE RIAA and the BROKEN industry model that follows behind it like a scared puppy. The internet is not to be fear but embraced and until they figure that out they will never benefit from it.
A clear example of this broken model is PC gaming and DDC’s (digital distribution clients) like Steam making more money than the retail model, or the Recording industry in a whole, Trent Reznor and his projects now being distributed by himself on the net cutting out the corpy middle man.

Jaymax says:

Equally unsurprising...

They’ve been at it in New Zealand also.

Both major parties here have been harping on about how our new legislation was a ‘compromise’ – trying to give the impression that it was a compromise between Labour and National.

In reality, of course, it turns out to be a compromise between (1) heavy outside pressure to bypass democracy and rationality, and (2) a desire to appease that outside influence plus a desire to still be electable.

The eejit (profile) says:

Re: Equally unsurprising...

Compromise? Are you on crack? There is no compromise. Agreements like ACTA are made solely so that pressure can be applied to governments can fe forced to pay in order to police something that Big Content should be doing. In any other case, it would be illegal to do this, but because it’s “negotiated in good faith,” it’sd binding on all parties.

Donna says:

P.M. Harper

There is no doubt that, Harper is giving Canada away. If you Google: Harper delivers his plan of, Global Governance for Canada. Everyone present, were totally shocked. Harper said, Global Governance has been worked on, since 1945.

There was also chatter about the N.A.U. This would be, Canada, the U.S.A. and Mexico, as one huge state. The currency would be, the Amero dollar. They now have the Euro, as a common currency, in European country’s.

We know Harper has an evil agenda. Whether it is the N.A.U. or, the one Global Government, for the entire planet, who knows.

We know Harper, gives the wealthiest giant corporations, billions of our tax dollars. That motion, i saw passed on the House of Commons TV channel. Why would Harper thieve from the Canadian citizens, to give to greedy, huge outfits?

meandyouandthey says:

Draconian laws

New Draconian Copyright laws.
Current Events and News, posted: 12-Jan-2009 13:08

Anyone who has been on the internet in New Zealand in the past few weeks will have found it hard not to find mention of the New copyright laws coming into act next month.

I won’t be the first to state that these laws are ridiculous,

the fact is they will be used in much the same way the RIAA fired off lawsuits, and do you know how many successful suits the RIAA had? 0 that’s right none at all,

the few that they did have got overturned on appeal. thats why the groups such as NZFACT have lobbied for a manner in which they can arbitrarily get people cut off the internet in an attempt to scare people away from any filesharing legitimate or not in a manner that has no ramifications for the accuser.

this to me is a total perversion of justice. Its like arresting someone for stealing clothes, because they aren’t naked.

without taking into account how or where they got the clothes, you just assume they stole them because they have them.

Really there is a few things that need to happen, if they want to have the guilty assumption then it should be a case where the accuser has to be sure.

Minimum penalties for incorrect accusations by the accuser and reparation for the accused if the claim is not proven.
eg, $10,000 per incorrect accusation, with $5,000 going towards the accused and $5,000 going towards a fund for NZ based internet projects.
full disclosure – who is doing this policing, how are they doing the policing, and who is keeping and eye on them.
looking at my traffic without a warrant, is, the same as listening in on my phone calls without a warrant, and its an invasion of privacy.
We all know that these very dubiously legit organisations will no doubt be using all manner of questionable techniques to investigate and identify possible infringers.

Lets face it. how on earth do they expect to correctly identify all but the most blatant infringers and differentiate them from people file sharing in an above the board and legitimate fashion, who prefer to hide their traffic? they wont.

this new law is a blatant invasion and rape of the NZ Internet and those that are on it. I think we need to mobilize.

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