Saturday, February 14, 2009

Copyright and Canada's Trade Deficit - Cui Bono?

Speaking of international trade, Canada has now posted its first trade deficit in 32 years. The amount was $458 million. It's interesting to note that on the cultural services front, including copyright royalties, Canada has perennially run a deficit which at recent report was over half a Billion dollars a year according to Statistics Canada.

It's also interesting that Canada has 36 copyright collectives - more than probably any other country - which take in almost half a Billion dollars a year, much if not most of which leaves Canada directly or indirectly. While Canada is quite properly respectful of both adequate and effective copyright protection and the principle of national treatment, it would seem somewhat foolhardy to take deliberate steps to exacerbate the deficit in cultural services.

Perhaps it is time to take a harder look at implementing laws and setting tariffs that continue to needlessly increase this outflow of payments, which in many instances derive from rights and tariffs that either don't exist in the USA or effectively operate at far lower rates.

Perhaps it is time for policy makers to note that the most strident whining for excessive copyright protection in Canada invariably comes from certain trade associations whose major membership consists of US based entertainment companies, which would tend to have little interest in Canada creators and rather more interest in their members' stock prices and profits.

Always remember: Cui bono?


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