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EU Demands Canada Gut Its Copyright and Patent Laws 324

Posted by samzenpus
from the try-again dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Late last year, a draft of the European Union proposal for the intellectual property chapter of Canada, EU Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement, leaked online. The leak revealed that the EU was seeking some significant changes to Canadian IP laws. Negotiations have continued and Michael Geist has now obtained an updated copy of the draft chapter, complete with proposals from both the EU and Canada. He says the breadth of the demands is stunning — the EU is demanding nothing less than a complete overhaul of Canadian IP laws including copyright, trademark, databases, patent, geographic indications, and even plant variety rights."
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EU Demands Canada Gut Its Copyright and Patent Laws

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  • Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @01:35AM (#31666830) Journal

    Global harmonization through treaties is creating a race to the bottom as far as the citizen's general welfare is concerned.

    I can't imagine why Canada is still negotiating such a treaty when it seems to be so insanely one-sided.

  • by tsotha (720379) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @01:37AM (#31666846)
    How do you say "fuck off" in Canadian?
  • What the hell? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Goldberg's Pants (139800) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @01:38AM (#31666852) Journal

    Seriously, as a Canadian this disgusts me. The EU, the US... What the hell gives these assholes the right to demand ANYTHING?

    Makes me absolutely sick to read this. There is nothing wrong with Canada's laws. And that is exactly why they want it changed, so there IS something wrong with it to throw the balance off hugely in favour of coporations.


  • Re:WTH (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ibsteve2u (1184603) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @01:44AM (#31666906)
    Don't ever give in. As a U.S. citizen, I am fully aware of an approaching need for someplace to run - not from socialism, but from corporate fascism.
  • by maxwell demon (590494) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @01:45AM (#31666914) Journal

    Well, it's a treaty. All the Canadians have to do is to not sign it.

  • by zlel (736107) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @01:52AM (#31666956) Homepage
    Is copyright ancillary to the author, or the author ancillary to the copyright? If human lifespan in becoming longer, shouldn't copyright extensions past an author's life be shortened instead of lengthened? Or does it still hold that the good die young?
  • Re:Feh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blind monkey 3 (773904) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @01:52AM (#31666960)
    There's a difference with this and seal hunts, corporations make money if seal hunts remain, corporations make money if copyright and patent laws are changed. The corporations will be on the other side for this.
    I suspect your government knows who to listen to, just as ours do.
  • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by future assassin (639396) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @01:55AM (#31666978) Homepage
    Because our gov. cares more about the well being of corporations then its citizens. Nothing new here but I think in the next 15 years will be a huge turning point around the world towards corporations controlling more and more of our lives. I'm ready for showdown, my parents did it in the early 80's in Poland and I'm ready to take their attitude towards corporate governments.
  • Re:What the hell? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fatwilbur (1098563) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @01:56AM (#31666984)
    Unfortunately, they can do (try) this because they are our customers. Canada's place in the economic world revolves around one thing - we have lots of natural resources that we can sell to other countries. We make so much money selling our stuff (oil, trees, etc.) that we try to place nice so you'll keep making us rich. You should know this as an Albertan ;-) It's pretty much the reason we follow step what the US is doing. Eurpoe doesn't have nearly as much leverage as the US, but Canada is looking to diversify trading partners...
  • Re:What the hell? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted AT slashdot DOT org> on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @02:00AM (#31667004)

    Germany here.
    Despite the fact that we didn’t ever elect them, they are called “our” government.
    Actually, they are more like your enemies.
    So if you ever need to throw over the EU pseudo-government, you got allies here.
    Just beware, that the reason this is like it is in the first place, is that most people here are cattle too, and we’re not the ones herding them.

  • Re:What the hell? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @02:06AM (#31667036)

    Come on! They have every right to demand it. It's just that you have every right to say "no." and laugh at them.

  • Let me guess... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by calmofthestorm (1344385) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @02:21AM (#31667092) doesn't involve granting more protections to the consumer or public interest.

  • Re:51 st state? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by maxwell demon (590494) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @02:38AM (#31667158) Journal


  • Re:Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DigiShaman (671371) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @02:39AM (#31667172) Homepage

    Because our gov. cares more about the well being of corporations then its citizens

    No, they (politicians) care about themselves first and foremost. Corporation provide kick-backs and bribes, individual citizens don't so much. In the end however, they don't give a rats ass about either. They end up getting fucked over anyways in the form of nullifying laws and regulations.

  • Policy laundering (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Geof (153857) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @03:16AM (#31667332) Homepage

    Well, it's a treaty. All the Canadians have to do is to not sign it.

    In many cases this is a myth, a nice fiction we can tell ourselves to make us feel better. Treaties can be convenient way for governments to institute unpopular measures. Here's how it works:

    1. The government negotiates and signs the treaty. This can be done without any democratic oversight, as in the case of ACTA, because no legislation is being passed. (In some countries treaties can act as law without implementing legislation, but I'm pretty sure this is not the case in Canada.)
    2. The government signs the treaty. Again, no legislation is passed, so the this may be done unilaterally by the government or by a few individuals within it.
    3. Legislation is drawn up to implement the treaty. At this point, any democratic opposition is met with claims this is a "done deal". We signed the treaty and are obliged to live up to our international obligations with our trade partners. Trust us, it was the best deal we could get! (See policy laundering []).
    4. Once implemented, the country is locked in: at that point we really do have obligations to other countries (conveniently, they also have obligations to us!). Treaties ratchet policy in one direction only.

    Keep in mind that the real push for this comes from multinational media corporations. Governments are not negotiating as independent actors: these corporations intervene on all sides to coordinate and even draft proposals. What we really have is a group of likeminded businesses who operate in concert using individual countries as a front. The treaty then appears to be the result of self-interested negotiations between independent actors: in fact the aim is to stage-manage it to appear that way. Given a means to diffuse opposition (e.g. policy laundering), governments - or, more specifically, the relevant politicians and bureaucrats within governments - may find that lobbyists make sure it is in their personal interest to cooperate.

    I have no personal knowledge of how this treaty is being negotiated. I am not accusing anyone of anything. I hope that the relevant individuals in government are representing the interests of Canadians. But I have no doubt this is the kind of thing the usual suspects are trying to pull. In which case the suggestion that "we can just say no" neatly conceals what's really happening.

    One final point: Canada is in no way the equal of the EU. The EU has over 500 million people to Canada's 32 million. We tend to anthropomorphize negotiations as though countries were freely contracting equal citizens. They aren't. They are unequal powers.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @04:06AM (#31667600)

    I suspect the WTO would have something to say about that.

  • by TikiTDO (759782) <> on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @05:32AM (#31667998)

    If the imports result in enough money to actually cause Canada any problems, it is highly unlikely that the EU has the capacity to fill that demand. A market like this isn't something you can expand at a day's notice.

  • by dimeglio (456244) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @06:01AM (#31668122)

    The EU can demand all they want. This country in not part of the EU and we are quite happy with the way we've updated our copyright and patent laws. If they want to economically strong arm Canada into signing, we can just say no thank-you. Its not like we buy anything from Europe anyways. Except for, I'm sorry, nothing comes to mind, that we cannot produce here. In fact, it might be a great political move for our Prime Minister who needs LOTS of political capital.

  • Judge Dredd (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @10:07AM (#31669948) Homepage Journal

    Global harmonization through treaties is creating a race to the bottom as far as the citizen's general welfare is concerned.

    When I see films, or read books, such as Judge Dredd I wonder how could this shit become reality? I ask myself whether there would be enough external sources to ensure a general liberty and rights of it citizens? Then I see shit like ACTA and this happening and I suddenly understand - scary.

  • by SilverJets (131916) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @10:30AM (#31670336) Homepage

    Ah, so you think that the EU has the right to dictate Canadian law?

  • Re:Dear World (Score:2, Insightful)

    by digitaldrunkenmonk (1778496) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @10:56AM (#31670840)
    Dear fellow US citizen, as an American citizen, Canada remains a sovereign nation, so unless you know something I don't they can, and should, tell the US and EU to fuck right off in the form of an aggressive counter offer. Canada owes us nothing, regardless of what benefits they glean from our existence. We secure the world markets for ourselves, not Canada. We trade with Canada for ourselves, not Canada. We want them to sign this treaty for us, not them, so they should tell us to go fuck ourselves. V/R, Another America
  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @12:06PM (#31672320) Journal

    You guys really should read up on international politics once in a while. Not only does the EU wield enough power to do this, they have already done this against the US with steel- the European Union is estimated at 500 million people (2010), that is a really big export market, taxes need not rise 4000% to get the message across.

    Canada primarily deals with U.S. [], any EU economic ties are relatively marginal compared to that. It's not really a big stick. Oh, sure, it would hurt, but nowhere near enough, especially since, once it's applied, it would become a matter of principle to not give in.

    Also, such measures hurt the one applying them as well. Which is why they can only be used with noticeable effect in a situation where the other side is at a significant disadvantage (e.g. they primarily export to you, but you import from nay other places). Which is not the case here.

    Then, of course, the laws being demanded would also have an economic effect, and one could easily argue that it would be negative overall.

  • by ultranova (717540) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @01:51PM (#31674280)

    Ah, so you think that the EU has the right to dictate Canadian law?

    Well, Canada is a subject state to British crown, and Britain is a member of the EU...

    More seriously, no, of course EU doesn't have the right to dictate to non-members. On the other hand, EU certainly does have the right to tax or outright ban imports from outside the union. Should Eu try to influence Canadian law by threatening to tax Canadian imports; now that is the question.

An optimist believes we live in the best world possible; a pessimist fears this is true.