Canada Says It Won't Attend Special 301 Hearing Because USTR Prefers Industry Allegations To Facts And Data

from the lobbyists-all-the-way-down dept

The US Trade Representative’s annual Special 301 Report repeatedly points out how other countries are “failing” US IP industries by not doing enough to prevent piracy. The “name and shame” approach hasn’t done much to curb piracy, although it has generated a few pressure points to leverage during trade negotiations.

Countries appear to be tiring of the annual shaming. Michael Geist reports the Canadian government has issued a rebuttal ahead of this year’s Special 301 hearing.

I recently obtained documents under the Access to Information Act that confirm the Canadian government’s rejection of the Special 301 process. Canada will not bother appearing today largely because it rejects the entire process.

The two-page memorandum goes directly to the heart of the issue: despite Canada now having some of the world’s toughest anti-piracy laws, the USTR continues to make the annual claim that the country could be doing so much more. The memo [PDF] puts it bluntly: the USTR represents no one but industry leaders.

Canada is on the “Watch List” of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) annual Special 301 Report, issued on April 21, This report discusses the adequacy and effectiveness of United States (US) trading partners’ protection and enforcement of intellectual property

The Government of Canada does not recognize the validity of the process as the findings tend to rely predominantly on allegations from US. industry stakeholders rather than on objective analysis.

The particular point of complaint is Canada’s continued inclusion in the report, despite its many anti-piracy efforts. The press release accompanying it goes even further in expressing its displeasure with the USTR’s industry-favoring Special Report.

Canada considers the Special 301 process and the Report to be invalid and analytically flawed because the process relies primarily on US. industry allegations rather than empirical evidence and objective analysis. Canada has a strong regime for the protection and enforcement of lP rights that is fully consistent with its international obligations, including under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the World Trade Organization’s Trade-Related Aspects of intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement.

Canada remains on the Watch List in 2016 despite recent significant achievements domestically in relation to reform namely, the passage and coming into force of the Copyright Modernization Act and the Combating Counterfeit Products Act. in previous years, the absence of such reforms was a central concern of the US. in relation to Canada’s regime.

The Canadian Government also passed amendments to the Trademarks Act, the Patent Act and the industrial Design Act to make Canada’s intellectual property regime consistent with key treaties (the Madrid Protocol, the Singapore Agreement, the Nice Agreement, the Patent Law Treaty and the Hague Agreement). in 2015, Canada also completed its ratification of the 1991 Act of the international Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants Convention (UPOV 91).

It appears the Canadian government believes the 2017 Special 301 Report (due at the end of April) will continue to ignore Canada’s IP protection capitulations advancements. And if the USTR is going to continue to name and shame without evidence or consultation of all affected stakeholders, there’s really no reason for any foreign country to appear in its annual puppet show, much less continue to try to placate an entity that’s never going to be satisfied.

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Comments on “Canada Says It Won't Attend Special 301 Hearing Because USTR Prefers Industry Allegations To Facts And Data”

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27 Comments
That One Guy (profile) says:

About time

Nice for the Canadian government to show a little spine and stand up to the USTR and the joke that is the 301 Report, and in particular bluntly pointing out that it’s not based upon anything more complex than some people whining to the USTR about how mean other countries are to them in not giving them everything they do or could ask for.

Now if only every other government on the planet could issue similar ‘Nah, you enjoy that party on your own, we’re good’ statements perhaps the joke of a ‘report’ could finally be killed for good.

Ninja (profile) says:

Bravo! Hopefully other countries join the party and put this joke to rest. Someone once wisely said that if you want to hold something under your grip don’t press to hard or it will leak through your fingers. That’s what Hollywood is getting from multiple fronts.

Unfortunately I can’t find some famous quote because looking for some has yielded articles about sausage stuffing so I’ll take credit as the first one saying. For future reference please use the following example:

“Beware of exerting too much control over something. If you tighten your grip too much the contents will leak. Because sausages.” – Techdirt’s Ninja

TAC not signed in says:

It is interesting that the cartels might finally have gone to far. It is a pity that it’s not the crushing demands on consumers but making a country who imposes the ridiculous those demands on its citizens feel bad about itself.

Because we said so has been accepted for far to long from industries that say their record profit setting content, made no money. Per has it is time to ignore them until they come back to reality, that they lie & lie and even when they get everything they demand it is never enough and they have to have more because they focus on imaginary dollars much like their alleged losses.

Maybe they are all high on their own supply and have forgotten that even when the report says it didn’t recoup it made 40x’s what it cost and the rest is accounting tricks not money actually lost.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Negotiate in secret, shun in public

One problem is that the USTR only listens to corporations and whomever is in office above them. The people (remember government by the people, for the people?) are not even considered stakeholders. We are not authorized to know what is being negotiated, if I remember correctly, because we are not smart enough to understand that the graft occurring is supposed to be for our benefit (wink, nod, wink wink, nod nod) with the ‘our’ referring to the corporations and those cushy jobs the ‘representatives’ will get after insuring the lining of corporate pockets.

Some argue that negotiations are more difficult if the populace knows what is going on. Too bad, they are working in our name and nothing should be withheld. It is not like they are discussing anything that should actually be classified, that is, actually should be classified.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: It's more difficult to throw someone under the bus if they know you're trying to do so

Some argue that negotiations are more difficult if the populace knows what is going on.

The ones making that argument are correct, but for all the wrong reasons. It is harder to screw over the public in favor of private corporations if the public is able to learn about it as it happens, rather than only finding out too late to do anything about it.

XcOM987 (profile) says:

About time

It’s about time someone finally stood up to MPAA and RIAA goons.

For too long have they attacked anything they don’t understand, prime example will be Jack Valenti claiming that the VCR was as bad as the Boston Strangler, RIAA claiming MP3 players will kill music.

Why in this day and age, do I have to pay a tax for every blank media I may buy that is a copyright tax because it might be used for copyrighted media?

Hopefully other countries will follow suit soon.

Sources:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/joshbarro/2012/01/18/thirty-years-before-sopa-mpaa-feared-the-vcr/#1d7a73c25c8d

http://www.mtv.com/news/1433638/riaa-files-suits-to-halt-sale-of-portable-mp3-player/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_copying_levy

Anonymous Coward says:

Give up and reverse

The USTR’s continuous shaming shows that no amount of capitulation is ever enough, so perhaps Canada should take the hint and roll back all the IP restrictions that they enacted solely in an attempt to appease the USTR. Those restrictions never satisfied the USTR, but they did frustrate constituents, so removing them should benefit constituents. The USTR will be unhappy, but that is a perpetual state, so Canada should ignore it.

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