Wednesday, February 14, 2007

IIPA and USTR and s. 301

A few quick points about the latest fulsome report from the IIPA:

  1. The IIPA is a lobby group - basically run by a Washington law firm that lobbies the USTR on these matters. It represents big content owners in the USA. It has a lot of clout in the USTR but it is definitely not the USTR.
  2. Nobody takes the s. 301 process very seriously. Canada's "long tenure" on this list is - if anything - a badge of honour that we not only spell the word "honour" differently than the IIPA would prefer - but we are a sovereign country that does not always ask how high the IIPA and USTR would like us to jump.
  3. The IIPA report is, as usual, over the top. It relies on doubtful data such as that of BSA.
  4. Another example: the Report misstates what Canada's Supreme Court said in SOCAN v CAIP. The Court said - by way of obiter dicta only - that "notice and take down" would be more "effective" in dealing with online infringement than litigation based on the doctrine of "authorization" - which is clearly true. That, however, does not warrant the IIPA saying that the Supreme Court "recommended" "notice and take down."
  5. The most flagrant adjudicated flouter of international copyright law is the USA. The WTO has long ago finally concluded that the USA fails to provide royalties for performing rights in many instances as a result of s. 110 of its Copyright Act. This is the most serious copyright dispute to date in the WTO and the USA is clearly unwilling or unable to do anything about coming into compliance. It has bought its way out of this violation with a paltry payment fixed by arbitration of about Euro 1,219,900 per year - a fraction of what the royalties ought to be.
  6. Except for certain limited recourse available to visual artists, the USA does not provide moral rights and cleverly exempted moral rights from the dispute settlement mechanism in TRIPs. The USA does not believe in moral rights, which are a touchstone of copyright for most countries that really do respect the essence of what copyright law should be about - which is protecting artists and users, and not manipulating and monopolizing markets.
  7. Countries that live in glass houses....
Michael also has a good take on this entitled "In Good Company".


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