Canadian Government Sought U.S. Copyright Blacklisting

Canadian Government Sought U.S. Copyright Blacklisting

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It turns out that Canada is on the U.S. "priority watch list" of countries with runaway piracy problems because the Canadian government asked to be put there.

Remember back in April 2009, when the U.S. added Canada to its Special 301 "priority watch list" of countries that fail to adequately enforce intellectual property laws? America's neighbor to the north joined nations like Russia, China, India and Thailand on the list, giving the whole thing a whiff of the ridiculous, although Entertainment Software Association CEO Michael Gallagher was happy enough to see its addition to the copyright rogue's gallery. "Canada's weak laws and enforcement practices foster game piracy in the Canadian market and pave the way for unlawful imports into the U.S.," is how he put it at the time.

Most of us in the Great White North who pay attention to this sort of thing assumed it was just a dick move on the part of the U.S. [we assume that about a lot of things, to be honest] but while it was unquestionably a dick move, it turns out that it was actually made somewhat closer to home - by none other than our very own Canadian government.

As discovered by noted copyright crusader Professor Michael Geist, U.S. Embassy cables that were released into the wild by Wikileaks revealed that the Canadian government undertook some pretty shady dealings with regard to its efforts to "update" Canada's copyright laws. In 2006, Maxime Bernier, then the Minister of Industry, suggested to the U.S. Ambassador that updates to Canadian copyright laws could be shown to U.S. government officials before being introduced in Parliament, and in 2007 Privy Council official Ailish Johnson told U.S. officials about a letter from Prime Minister Stephen Harper to the Ministers of Industry and Heritage, pushing them to introduce a copyright reform bill before the end of the year.

But the real sleaze came a couple of years later, when Zoe Addington, the director of policy for then-Industry Minister Tony Clement, told U.S. officials about plans to use a public consultation process [the results of which it later chose to ignore entirely] to "educate consumers and 'sell' the Government view." And that's not the worst of it.

"[Addington] said that if Canada is elevated to the Special 301 Priority Watch List (PWL), it would not hamper - and might even help - the GOC's ability to enact copyright legislation," according to the Wikileaked cable.

Sure enough, Canada quickly landed on the Special 301 Priority Watch List, where it remains to this day, sharing space with Algeria, Chile, Pakistan, Venezuela and other notorious copyright violation stations.

For its part, the U.S. government seems somewhat contemptuous of Conservative Party efforts to portray its copyright reforms as "made in Canada." In a separate cable sent in 2007, an Embassy official wrote, "[Heritage Minister Bev] Oda said somewhat disingenuously that the policy change had been in the works 'for months' and claimed that U.S. pressure -- in the form of studio threats to delay releases of major films in Canada, Canada's designation on the Special 301 list, repeated Embassy approaches, and the May 30 visit of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who personally raised the camcording issue with Prime Minister Harper -- had nothing to do with the Government's decision to move forward with the bill at this time."

The Government of Canada has made numerous efforts in recent years to bring about DMCA-like updates to the country's copyright laws but has thus far been unsuccessful, thanks primarily to the minority governments held by the Conservative Party of Canada since 2006. But with a majority government handed to it in 2011, copyright reforms are expected to be reintroduced soon and will likely become law.

via: Maclean's, michaelgeist.ca

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Wow. Sleaze is certainly the right word. Is anyone really surprised though? I mean, something like this had to happening.

Why is Canada acting like the 51st state here? I'm confused.

Dirty politics is apparently another feature Canada shares with 'Algeria, Chile, Pakistan, Venezuela and other notorious copyright violation stations.'

Getting your own country blacklisted to help pass legislation you support. Thats just low.

Fucking wonderful; and the worst part is that we fucking did it by giving them a majority government

I'm more than disgusted. The copyright laws we have in the US are beyond intrusive and annoying. Every one has a right to protect their property to the extent they want so by all means if you want to use DRM and all that use it. Don't make laws you can't enforce though. A law not supported by the people has no chance of success which is why there is so much pirating going on everywhere.

Underhanded actions in Canadian politics don't surprise me. Ever. Our political system is so broke it just breeds corruption.

I didn't vote for them but I new this would happen... I never liked the conservatives... and Harper's a knob.

on a separate note:

California's population - 37,253,956 (2010 census)

In 2011, Statistics Canada projects Canada's population will reach 34.5 million people

How much pull do we really have here when they talk about high percentages of anything to do with population. When comparing the percentage of anything between countries, it's important to know how many people that represents.

Our laws need updating, but we should create it ourselves, not just pirating the laws of our neighbor to the South.

God damn neo-cons.
Why is the whole country going insane?

...

Most of us in the Great White North who pay attention to this sort of thing assumed it was just a dick move on the part of the U.S. [we assume that about a lot of things, to be honest] but while it was unquestionably a dick move, it turns out that it was actually made somewhat closer to home - by none other than our very own Canadian government.

...

well what would have been more insulting? The us putting you on the list, or the us chuckling and patting canada's head saying canada doesnt know what it wants or how to make decisions?

I'm just hoping they try to screw with healthcare before the next election, and thereby get Canadians to smarten up and vote them out of office for the next few decades.

I voted NDP last election, was quite sad to see Harper get his majourity. We'll be paying for that for years to come, well beyond when he finally gets removed. The $200 billion in free money he just gave the banks will be something we'll be paying for with reduced services for many years.

What is objectionable before the elevation to 301 to encourage new law portion?

-Dragmire-:
I didn't vote for them but I new this would happen... I never liked the conservatives... and Harper's a knob.

I'm right-leaning but I'd never vote for Harper, and I didn't in this past election. Reminds me too much of a kid I went to school with who pushed me into traffic.

-Dragmire-:
Our laws need updating, but we should create it ourselves, not just pirating the laws of our neighbor to the South.

Oh, we didn't pirate it, the RIAA was more than willing to give it to us!

Formica Archonis:

-Dragmire-:
I didn't vote for them but I new this would happen... I never liked the conservatives... and Harper's a knob.

I'm right-leaning but I'd never vote for Harper, and I didn't in this past election. Reminds me too much of a kid I went to school with who pushed me into traffic.

The best way I've heard Harper described was a man who stands well on international issues but doesn't know what to do at home.

I thought that description's very apt and even handed.

Formica Archonis:

-Dragmire-:
Our laws need updating, but we should create it ourselves, not just pirating the laws of our neighbor to the South.

Oh, we didn't pirate it, the RIAA was more than willing to give it to us!

I think it's pirating even if it's free when we don't give the creator credit for the creation.

Andy Chalk:

For its part, the U.S. government seems somewhat contemptuous of Conservative Party efforts to portray its copyright reforms as "made in Canada." In a separate cable sent in 2007, an Embassy official wrote, "[Heritage Minister Bev] Oda said somewhat disingenuously that the policy change had been in the works 'for months' and claimed that U.S. pressure -- in the form of studio threats to delay releases of major films in Canada, Canada's designation on the Special 301 list, repeated Embassy approaches, and the May 30 visit of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who personally raised the camcording issue with Prime Minister Harper -- had nothing to do with the Government's decision to move forward with the bill at this time."

At least that's the feeling I get when reading this.

Jumwa:
I'm just hoping they try to screw with healthcare before the next election, and thereby get Canadians to smarten up and vote them out of office for the next few decades.

I voted NDP last election, was quite sad to see Harper get his majourity. We'll be paying for that for years to come, well beyond when he finally gets removed. The $200 billion in free money he just gave the banks will be something we'll be paying for with reduced services for many years.

I was really hoping the NDP's momentum would make Layton our next PM but that's not going to happen now.

Now I just hope that the Conservative government keeps its ambition to be re-elected ahead of its ambition to transform Canada into the US's power plant.

I really thought there'd be more outrage over this.

It's hard to accept "made in Canada" copyright reform when it's so obviously just pandering to pressure from the US. I'm all for copyright reform - it's no secret that I'm not a fan of copyright infringement - but not in any form that strips all power from the hands of consumers and hands it directly to big corporations, which is exactly what all previous Conservative efforts to introduce reform have tried to do. There are plenty of freedoms spelled out in all those bills, all of which were trumped by a provision stating that any bypass of "digital locks" is against the law. In other words, all any content producer has to do is include some form of DRM with its product - doesn't matter what, doesn't matter how effective - and it's automatically illegal for anyone to make copies for backups, for listening in the car, for putting on the PC, or anything else. You hear plenty of talk from plenty of agencies about how consumers are protected by these bills, but none of them want to mention the digital lock provision because it renders all other provisions meaningless. It's a mess.

And then to find out it's all basically kowtowing to US interests? Canadians should be absolutely losing their shit over this. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that they're not; I mean, how can something like this compare to Ice-T unboxing Gears 3, am I right?

US laws are nothing but an exact duplication of the international agreement through the Berne Convention and the WIPO Copyright Treaty. The United States is just strict on enforcement because Intellectual Property is the largest export of the US and huge part of the economy.

And with all this the larger section of Intellectual Property is not in the hands of large corporations. Without these laws, you think large corporation are dicks about enforcement, the corporations could go around and steal whatever they want.

Wow this is just sickening and to make it worse I'm having trouble finding any reference to this from any of Canada's news outlets. I'm thinking that if more people knew then they certainly would be losing it over this, I know I am. But then again this shit has been going on for a while, it seems the Canadian government can't do anything unless they get approval from Big Brother down south.

I agree that our copyright laws could use an update but they should be OUR laws not "brought in line with the U.S"

Ha!

Take that America haters!

So, it's kind of a false flag thing about piracy "The big bad US says our software laws sucks so we need to change them or else..."

Yeah, this is pretty much bullsh*t, our government needs external "threats" to enforce american laws, no thanks...

Well as I Canadian, I will just continue to live as I do in my small town and disregard law as I see fit. Seatbelts are a CHOICE, A choice I say. Good luck fining me for $ 250 000 dollars, who has that much just laying around. I will just live with a friend and work for straight cash and not pay taxes... Do you want that Government! Thou shalt not stopith me from downloading whatever I see fit... (I do pay for my video games and most movies... sometimes)

Andy Chalk:
Snip.

Part of the apathy about the issue is probably due to how nobody was taking copyright reform seriously in the first place.

You see it all the time here in stories about DRM. "Why bother? Pirates gonna pirate, and they'll get away with it too!" is the most-posted comment I see these days in DRM stories. When you know that pirates will pirate, that the state only seems to be playing lip service to intellectual property rights, and that whatever laws they pass that annoy you/attempt to suppress your rights you'll be able to bypass eventually using cracks the pirates made in the first place, why should anybody care?

It's like the world's become a bunch of collective electronic stoners, giggling their butts off every time anti-e-weed legislation is passed. The only time anyone notices something is wrong is when the FBI busts down their door for possession. Then, suddenly, they act like victims of the system.

As to the US government influencing your copyright legislation, Canada probably got something in return for that along the line. I hope it was something good, because legitimate copyright reform might have been a lot better in the long run.

To be clear here, American government still sucks, but Canadian government is colluding to suck with it, so that just means no more backhanded jokes from anybody ever again.

People everywhere are stupid, it's just the ones with power that have more to mess up than those who don't, and that's not an inherent trait of any kind of citizen. Deal with it.

Andy Chalk:
I really thought there'd be more outrage over this.

It's hard to accept "made in Canada" copyright reform when it's so obviously just pandering to pressure from the US. I'm all for copyright reform - it's no secret that I'm not a fan of copyright infringement - but not in any form that strips all power from the hands of consumers and hands it directly to big corporations, which is exactly what all previous Conservative efforts to introduce reform have tried to do. There are plenty of freedoms spelled out in all those bills, all of which were trumped by a provision stating that any bypass of "digital locks" is against the law. In other words, all any content producer has to do is include some form of DRM with its product - doesn't matter what, doesn't matter how effective - and it's automatically illegal for anyone to make copies for backups, for listening in the car, for putting on the PC, or anything else. You hear plenty of talk from plenty of agencies about how consumers are protected by these bills, but none of them want to mention the digital lock provision because it renders all other provisions meaningless. It's a mess.

And then to find out it's all basically kowtowing to US interests? Canadians should be absolutely losing their shit over this. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that they're not; I mean, how can something like this compare to Ice-T unboxing Gears 3, am I right?

I'm surprised by your surprise, to be honest; what did you think the result of the constant droning deathnote that you and others who support more draconian copyright laws have been sounding for so long would be? Did you honestly think that, given an opportunity, the vastly self-interested and corrupt media conglomerates would think it over, and decide not to give the consumer the shaft?

The average person in any developed nation is bombarded with doomsday scenarios about the complete collapse of the entertainment industry because of those evil satan-lovin' pirates every time they pop in a DVD, every time they visit a cinema, and when they come online there are plenty of people like yourself willing to reinforce that apocalyptic vision. Well, good job, enough people believe the nonsense now; while just about every young person qualifies as a pirate of some form, enough middle-aged, middle-class people have drunk the kool-aid that the door has been opened for corporate interests to take a big steaming dump on the consumer, and they will say thank you sir may I have another.

What's that Canada? You do not want to play by Uncle Sam's rules? Bend over, here it comes again!

image

For Christ's sake Steven "Kiss-ass" Harper! Grow a spine or get out of my country!

Maxime Bernier really? damn he just droped a bit... i like him seriously

Johnson McGee:
I was really hoping the NDP's momentum would make Layton our next PM but that's not going to happen now.

Now I just hope that the Conservative government keeps its ambition to be re-elected ahead of its ambition to transform Canada into the US's power plant.

I had pegged the same hopes on Layton. He was simply the only party leader I felt I'd trust as prime minister at all, was terribly sad to see him go. I think the outpouring of grief over his loss was a sign of how much hope he represented.

Also yes, my hope is that they don't destroy our country too much in the next four years, but do enough to remind Canadians that they are not a party that in any way represents the values or desires of its citizens. Harper dislikes Canada (calling us, derogatorily, a European style welfare state) and cow-tows to the US in everything. He seems to go begging to them to boot us around in fact.

This newest scandal--if you can call it that, CBC doesn't even seem to have a news piece up about it--makes me long for the days of minority government when parliament was held at least somewhat accountable for these sorts of things.

sosolidshoe:
I'm surprised by your surprise, to be honest; what did you think the result of the constant droning deathnote that you and others who support more draconian copyright laws have been sounding for so long would be? Did you honestly think that, given an opportunity, the vastly self-interested and corrupt media conglomerates would think it over, and decide not to give the consumer the shaft?

Oh, please. There's a big difference between stating that copyright infringement hurts content creators and calling for "more draconian" copyright laws.

The conservative government has in the most part been US lovers, so this doesn't surprise me one bit. With that said now there is a very likely chance that this will get very bad and ugly, with the death of Jack Layton(R.I.P you smiling Fighter of the people) there really is nothing that will stop this short of a more pressing matter that will put focus of the government on something else.

Jumwa:

Also yes, my hope is that they don't destroy our country too much in the next four years, but do enough to remind Canadians that they are not a party that in any way represents the values or desires of its citizens. Harper dislikes Canada (calling us, derogatorily, a European style welfare state) and cow-tows to the US in everything. He seems to go begging to them to boot us around in fact.

This newest scandal--if you can call it that, CBC doesn't even seem to have a news piece up about it--makes me long for the days of minority government when parliament was held at least somewhat accountable for these sorts of things.

I agree with you completely. The Conservative Party isn't bad but Harper is a hardcore Reform partier. Ever since the two parties amalgamated it seems that the hardline people in the party have been polarizing or replacing the previously moderates.

Johnson McGee:

I agree with you completely. The Conservative Party isn't bad but Harper is a hardcore Reform partier. Ever since the two parties amalgamated it seems that the hardline people in the party have been polarizing or replacing the previously moderates.

I definitely miss the days of the Progressive Conservative Party in this country, for sure. Fiscal Conservatism I don't have a problem with, and I voted Progressive Conservative in our last Provincial election. But neo-Conservativism is something else altogether, and Harper's is a rather repugnant brand imported straight from the US.

cjbos81:
Ha!

Take that America haters!

Wait... what? This doesn't prove anything about America, it just shows the faults of the Canadian government.

Andy Chalk:
I really thought there'd be more outrage over this.

It's hard to accept "made in Canada" copyright reform when it's so obviously just pandering to pressure from the US. I'm all for copyright reform - it's no secret that I'm not a fan of copyright infringement - but not in any form that strips all power from the hands of consumers and hands it directly to big corporations, which is exactly what all previous Conservative efforts to introduce reform have tried to do. There are plenty of freedoms spelled out in all those bills, all of which were trumped by a provision stating that any bypass of "digital locks" is against the law. In other words, all any content producer has to do is include some form of DRM with its product - doesn't matter what, doesn't matter how effective - and it's automatically illegal for anyone to make copies for backups, for listening in the car, for putting on the PC, or anything else. You hear plenty of talk from plenty of agencies about how consumers are protected by these bills, but none of them want to mention the digital lock provision because it renders all other provisions meaningless. It's a mess.

And then to find out it's all basically kowtowing to US interests? Canadians should be absolutely losing their shit over this. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that they're not; I mean, how can something like this compare to Ice-T unboxing Gears 3, am I right?

I am outraged, but I don't know what to do. I cast my vote at the elections, but these Western Conservative A-holes still got in. This is apparently what Canadians wanted. I've lost faith in my fellow citizens (especially Ontarians), now I guess I'll just ride the storm, as the fabric of what I believed Canada was is worn away, and hope for something better in the next election.

McShizzle:
I am outraged, but I don't know what to do. I cast my vote at the elections, but these Western Conservative A-holes still got in. This is apparently what Canadians wanted. I've lost faith in my fellow citizens (especially Ontarians), now I guess I'll just ride the storm, as the fabric of what I believed Canada was is worn away, and hope for something better in the next election.

You have to try to see these things long-term. The Conservative government sure isn't one I would've elected either but they're not going to set us on the path to fascism; they're taking the country a little more to the right, putting Western conservative values a little more front-and-center, but in ten years or 20 years we'll be back to a Liberal government, or some form of center-left Liberalesque government, and the people in Alberta will be losing their shit over how Canada isn't the great country it once was.

As for what you can do, it depends on how much you want do to. At a bare minimum, vote; if you want to make your voice heard a little further, get a lawn sign. You can volunteer for your local candidate of choice, or if straight-up politics aren't your bag, get behind some sort of advocacy group. Check out Michael Geist's blog for ideas about how you can get involved, and then get involved. Sad truth? It probably won't matter anyway. But it'll help get the word out a bit more, it might get people thinking and when enough people finally start thinking that the Conservatives' copyright updates are bullshit, it might make it a little easier to make rational, balanced changes next time around.

 

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