Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Copyright and Throne Speech

Here's the speech.

Copyright revision was mentioned briefly.

That's good news.

Even if a bill is not passed before the next election, it would be good to see it.

If it gets as far as committee, it is essential that it be dealt with wisely, effectively and properly through a joint committee with the appointment of two or three expert counsel who can work together to provide balanced advice. I have suggested all of this before.

Mercifully, the Speech omitted any specific reference to "counterfeiting" as such. Hopefully, this will mean that the efforts of various IP lobbyists that can have the effect of erroneously confusing and conflating counterfeiting (which I abhor) with legitimate parallel imports (which I support and have successfully defended in the Supreme Court of Canada) will be put off to another day.

We already have very strong measures, including criminal offenses, on the books against both commercial "counterfeiting" (which term is generally used in the trade-marks context) and "piracy" (which generally applies in the copyright context). Some activity involves both. It's far from clear that we need to gratuitously guild the lily. Hopefully, the Government agrees and will take care not to enact excessively strong or unnecessary remedies that would catch dolphins in a drift net or impede legitimate (i.e. parallel import) trade.

Of course, the absence of a reference in the speech to counterfeiting doesn't mean that we won't see legislation at some point. Anti-piracy measures (hopefully not excessive) will probably be in the copyright bill.


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