Leak Of Complete CETA Text Shows Canada Fought Off EU Demands For More Extreme Copyright Rules
from the bad-news-for-TTIP dept
As we wrote back in July, it seems that the trade agreement between Canada and the EU, generally known as CETA, is finally nearing completion, after premature claims to that effect. One reason why we might believe so is that thanks to some public-spirited whistleblower(s), we now have both CETA's main text (pdf) and the annexes (zip). This has permitted Michael Geist to perform an analysis of how the copyright provisions in CETA have evolved since the first leak of the chapter covering intellectual monopolies, posted by Wikileaks back in 2009. At that time, the European Union was pushing for some serious beefing-up of Canadian law in this area:
the starting point for copyright in CETA as reflected in 2009 leaked document was typical of European demands in its trade agreements. It wanted Canada to extend the term of copyright to life of the author plus 70 years (Canada is currently at the international standard of life plus 50 years), adopt tough new rules for Internet provider liability, create criminal sanctions for some copyright infringement, implement new rights for broadcasters and visual artists, introduce strict digital lock rules with minimal exceptions, and beef up enforcement powers. In other words, it was looking for Canada to mirror its approach on copyright.
Geist's post explores how that gradually changed, as reflected in subsequent leaks, culminating in the latest one, of the full text. Rather remarkably, he finds:
The major European copyright demands were ultimately dropped and remaining issues were crafted in a manner consistent with Canadian law.
He sees four main reasons for this:
First, the domestic policy situation in both Canada and the EU surely had a significant impact as ACTA protests in Europe and consumer interest in copyright in Canada led to the elimination of the criminal provisions and the adoption of better-balanced, consumer-oriented rules.
While it's great that the copyright provisions of CETA are not nearly as bad as we had feared, there's a worrying implication here for TTIP/TAFTA. The EU's maximalist approach to copyright was only dropped in CETA because Canada fought back. In TTIP, there is zero chance the US will do that -- on the contrary, it may well want the EU to become even more extreme. That means we can probably expect some really awful copyright measures in TTIP, confirming earlier fears about what backroom discussions may be preparing for us.
Second, while there is much bluster about "strong" European rules or "weak" Canadian laws, the reality is that both are compliant with international standards that offer considerable flexibility in implementation.
Third, the "made-in-Canada" approach is gradually garnering increased attention around the world as a creative, viable alternative.
Four, when the European Union was pressed to prioritize its top intellectual property issues during the negotiations, copyright ultimately took a back seat to pharmaceutical patents and protection for geographical indications.