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.

Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: 301 report, canada, copyright, special 301, special 301 report, ustr

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. icon
    Kaden (profile), 10 Mar 2017 @ 11:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: About time

    No, that's 'compromise'.

    Negotiation involves threats.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.