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Digital Era Raises Tough Questions About Journalism’s Future

Michael Geist Law RSS Feed - Fri, 2016/02/12 - 10:00

Appeared in the Toronto Star on February 8, 2016 as Digital Era Raises Tough Questions About Journalism’s Future

The ongoing financial struggles of Canadian businesses that have traditionally delivered the news – particularly newspapers and local broadcasters – have generated considerable discussion and consternation over the past month. With significant layoffs, newspaper closures, and testimony before Canada’s broadcast regulator that the cost of delivering local news is unsustainable, there have been mounting calls for new funding programs, studies, or other measures to address the issue.

Much of the commentary emphasizes the critical link between a strong, independent media and holding governments at all levels to account for their actions. While there is little debate over the essential role of journalism, the tougher question is whether emerging digital alternatives can provide an effective substitute.

Many of the digital sources are still relatively young, but the combination of low entry barriers, the reach into new audiences, and innovative business models from new and established players suggest that it can.

The problems facing newspapers and local broadcasters is well chronicled. The aggregation of disparate information ranging from news to movie listings holds less appeal when the public has easy online access to each of the component parts. Important sources of income such as classified advertising dried up years ago in the face of free online alternatives, Internet advertising has grown dramatically and is expected to account for nearly half of all advertising revenues within a few years, and readership has gone digital, with many relying on their social networks to identify news or videos of interest.

Some have blamed the CBC, arguing that its digital platforms make it difficult for paywalled services to compete. Yet sources of digital competition extend far beyond just the CBC and stopping the public broadcaster from offering digital alternatives amounts to rendering it irrelevant in the digital age. Others have called for new government studies or funding programs, though the challenges associated with creating state-backed media have not been fully addressed.

The really difficult issue may not be how to fix a troubled sector – the experimentation ranging from innovative tablet editions to different subscription, funding, and advertising models will mean some adapt and some fail – but rather whether new government policies or regulation are needed at all.

Political news coverage is often viewed as the most critical in holding governments to account. Some have pointed to the regional decline of membership in the Parliamentary Press Gallery as evidence of the crisis, but it is more instructive to see how many new, digital-only organizations are investing in original political reportage.

The current gallery membership list includes newcomers such as Buzzfeed, the Huffington Post, the Tyee, Rabble and VICE. Moreover, there are a host of experienced freelance journalists whose work appears in many venues alongside specialty digital publications such as iPolitics, Blacklock’s Reporter, and the Wire Report.

The work of journalists at these publications – along with niche print sources and experts who blog or write independently – offers the chance to reach different audiences and to cover specialized issues in greater depth than is often found in larger newspapers that emphasize big picture concerns.

Local and regional reporting is also undergoing a significant transformation. The Tyee, Torontoist, and AllNovaScotia are just some of the dozens of local, online publications that have used low entry barriers and cheap digital distribution to stake out their place in the media landscape. These local alternatives supplement national sources such as the National Observer and theRebel.com that offer political perspectives from both ends of the spectrum.

Those lamenting the decline of local broadcast news coverage need only look at the ratings to recognize that the shrinking audiences suggest diminishing interest in news delivered in that format. Online video offers cheaper distribution models that may lack some of the production qualities of conventional television but the chance for a more diverse audience at a fraction of the cost.

The uncertainty associated with digital models, the loss of jobs, and the future of some of Canada’s best-known media organizations unsurprisingly elicits sadness, apprehension, and concern. However, the emergence of new voices and the innovative approaches at older ones point to the likelihood that journalism is neither dead nor dying.

Michael Geist holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law. He can be reached at mgeist@uottawa.ca or online at www.michaelgeist.ca.

The post Digital Era Raises Tough Questions About Journalism’s Future appeared first on Michael Geist.

The Trouble With the TPP, Day 29: Cultural Policy Innovation Uncertainty

Michael Geist Law RSS Feed - Thu, 2016/02/11 - 11:02

This week’s lengthy Trouble with the TPP post focused on the likelihood that efforts to require online video providers to pay mandatory Cancon contributions would be challenged under the TPP. While I am not a supporter of extending contributions to companies like Netflix, including such a restriction within a trade agreement is bad policy. Today’s post continues with the culture theme, by examining the risk that other new policy innovations might also be stymied by the TPP.

The Globe and Mail’s Kate Taylor recently wrote a column arguing that Canadian cultural production is in crisis and calling for reforms to address the issue. For example, Taylor cited the possibility of tax credits for advertising on websites that meet a Canadian content threshold similar to the policy for television and radio broadcasters. ACTRA has long called for a similar policy, noting the benefits of tax deductions for advertising on Canadian-owned websites that give prominence to Canadian content.

But would such a policy pass muster on the TPP?  It’s not totally clear that it would.

Article 14.4 provides for non-discriminatory treatment of digital products:

No Party shall accord less favourable treatment to digital products created, produced, published, contracted for, commissioned or first made available on commercial terms in the territory of another Party, or to digital products of which the author, performer, producer, developer or owner is a person of another Party, than it accords to other like digital products

Digital products are defined as “a computer programme, text, video, image, sound recording or other product that is digitally encoded, produced for commercial sale or distribution, and that can be transmitted electronically.” That is a fairly broad definition given that it includes any digital product that is produced for distribution that can be transmitted electronically. Digital goods and services may often seem similar with the TPP footnote acknowledging that “the definition of digital product should not be understood to reflect a Party’s view on whether trade in digital products through electronic transmission should be categorized as trade in services or trade in goods.” In fact, if classified as a service, the national treatment provision discussed in the recent post could apply.

The Article 14.4 provision excludes government subsidies or grants, but there is no reference to tax credits or deductions. The provision is also subject to the “non-conforming measures”, which brings in the Canadian cultural exception. Cultural industries has a specific definition under the TPP exception:

For the purpose of this reservation, “cultural industries” means persons engaged in any of the following activities:
(a) the publication, distribution, or sale of books, magazines, periodicals or newspapers in print or machine readable form but not including the sole activity of printing or typesetting any of the foregoing;
(b) the production, distribution, sale or exhibition of film or video recordings;
(c) the production, distribution, sale or exhibition of audio or video music recordings;
(d) the publication, distribution or sale of music in print or machine readable form; or
(e) radiocommunications in which the transmissions are intended for direct reception by the general public, and all radio, television and cable broadcasting undertakings and all satellite programming and broadcast network services.

There is no reference to the Internet within the definition. It certainly seems likely that the websites of broadcasters or newspapers would be covered by this definition, but Internet-only may be a different story. In fact, the North American Industry Classification System expressly excludes Internet-only products, treating the cultural industries as those covered by the TPP exception except when the product is exclusively on the Internet. Instead, Internet-only is treated as a separate industry group within the classification system.

The potential concern is therefore the possibility that Internet-only falls outside the cultural exception and is subject to the Article 14.4 requirements on non-discrimination of digital products. I consulted with two of Canada’s leading communications professors and asked for their views. Both acknowledged that there was no clear answer. One took the view that this might exclude Internet-only services, while the other thought the provision could be stretched to include them. Given this uncertainty, the problem is that if the Canadian government were to seek to extend tax credits to certain domestic sites, there is little doubt that it would run the risk of a TPP challenge from non-Canadian websites, thereby further limiting the government’s cultural policy options.

(prior posts in the series include Day 1: US Blocks Balancing Provisions, Day 2: Locking in Digital Locks, Day 3: Copyright Term Extension, Day 4: Copyright Notice and Takedown Rules, Day 5: Rights Holders “Shall” vs. Users “May”, Day 6: Price of Entry, Day 7: Patent Term Extensions, Day 8: Locking in Biologics Protection, Day 9: Limits on Medical Devices and Pharma Data Collection, Day 10: Criminalization of Trade Secret Law, Day 11: Weak Privacy Standards, Day 12: Restrictions on Data Localization Requirements, Day 13: Ban on Data Transfer Restrictions, Day 14: No U.S. Assurances for Canada on Privacy, Day 15: Weak Anti-Spam Law Standards, Day 16: Intervening in Internet Governance, Day 17: Weak E-commerce Rules, Day 18: Failure to Protect Canadian Cultural Policy, Day 19: No Canadian Side Agreement to Advance Tech Sector, Day 20: Unenforceable Net Neutrality Rules, Day 21: U.S. Requires Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Report Card, Day 22: Expanding Border Measures Without Court Oversight, Day 23: On Signing Day, What Comes Next?, Day 24: Missing Balance on IP Border Measures, Day 25: The Treaties With the Treaty, Day 26: Why It Limits Canadian Cultural Policies, Day 27: Source Code Disclosure Confusion, Day 28: Privacy Risks from Source Code Rules)

The post The Trouble With the TPP, Day 29: Cultural Policy Innovation Uncertainty appeared first on Michael Geist.

How Does Zero-Rating Affect Mobile Data Usage?

Freedom to Tinker - Thu, 2016/02/11 - 00:08
On Monday, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) released a decision that effectively bans “zero-rated” Internet services in the country. While the notion of zero-rating might be somewhat new to many readers in the United States, the practice is common in many developing economies. Essentially, it is the practice by which a carrier creates an […]

The Trouble With the TPP, Day 28: Privacy Risks From the Source Code Rules

Michael Geist Law RSS Feed - Wed, 2016/02/10 - 13:23

Yesterday’s Trouble with the TPP post examined some of the uncertainty created by the surprising e-commerce provision that involves restrictions on source code disclosures. KEI notes that governments have not been shy about requiring source code disclosures in other contexts, such as competition worries. Yet this rule will establish new restrictions, creating concerns about the implications in areas such as privacy. For example, security and Internet experts have been sounding the alarm on the risks associated with exploited wifi routers and pointing to source code disclosures as potential solution.

Dave Farber, former Chief Technologist of the Federal Communications Commission, warns:

Today, there are hundreds of millions of Wi-Fi routers in homes and offices around the globe with severe software flaws that can be easily exploited by criminals. While we agree with the FCC that the rules governing these devices must be updated, we believe the proposed rules laid out by the agency lack critical accountability for the device manufacturers.

How to address the issue?

Experts such as Vint Cerf, one of the founders of the Internet, recommend several precautions including source code disclosure:

Any vendor of software-defined radio (SDR), wireless, or Wi-Fi radio must make public the full and maintained source code for the device driver and radio firmware in order to maintain FCC compliance. The source code should be in a buildable, change-controlled source code repository on the Internet, available for review and improvement by all.

The TPP may create a barrier for this solution. If companies are unwilling to voluntarily release the source code, TPP governments will be restricted in their ability to mandate disclosure (absent a claim that all wifi routers are now critical infrastructure, a definition that renders the term largely meaningless).  The source code provision is unprecedented in an established trade agreement, fostering new worries about how it may limit the available responses to a growing privacy and security threat.

(prior posts in the series include Day 1: US Blocks Balancing Provisions, Day 2: Locking in Digital Locks, Day 3: Copyright Term Extension, Day 4: Copyright Notice and Takedown Rules, Day 5: Rights Holders “Shall” vs. Users “May”, Day 6: Price of Entry, Day 7: Patent Term Extensions, Day 8: Locking in Biologics Protection, Day 9: Limits on Medical Devices and Pharma Data Collection, Day 10: Criminalization of Trade Secret Law, Day 11: Weak Privacy Standards, Day 12: Restrictions on Data Localization Requirements, Day 13: Ban on Data Transfer Restrictions, Day 14: No U.S. Assurances for Canada on Privacy, Day 15: Weak Anti-Spam Law Standards, Day 16: Intervening in Internet Governance, Day 17: Weak E-commerce Rules, Day 18: Failure to Protect Canadian Cultural Policy, Day 19: No Canadian Side Agreement to Advance Tech Sector, Day 20: Unenforceable Net Neutrality Rules, Day 21: U.S. Requires Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Report Card, Day 22: Expanding Border Measures Without Court Oversight, Day 23: On Signing Day, What Comes Next?, Day 24: Missing Balance on IP Border Measures, Day 25: The Treaties With the Treaty, Day 26: Why It Limits Canadian Cultural Policies, Day 27: Source Code Disclosure Confusion)

The post The Trouble With the TPP, Day 28: Privacy Risks From the Source Code Rules appeared first on Michael Geist.

The Princeton Bitcoin textbook is now freely available

Freedom to Tinker - Tue, 2016/02/09 - 14:17
The first complete draft of the Princeton Bitcoin textbook is now freely available. We’re very happy with how the book turned out: it’s comprehensive, at over 300 pages, but has a conversational style that keeps it readable. If you’re looking to truly understand how Bitcoin works at a technical level and have a basic familiarity […]

The Trouble With the TPP, Day 27: Source Code Disclosure Confusion

Michael Geist Law RSS Feed - Tue, 2016/02/09 - 10:10

Another Trouble with the TPP is its foray into the software industry. One of the more surprising provisions in the TPP’s e-commerce chapter was the inclusion of a restriction on mandated source code disclosure. Article 14.17 states:

No Party shall require the transfer of, or access to, source code of software owned by a person of another Party, as a condition for the import, distribution, sale or use of such software, or of products containing such software, in its territory.

The provision is subject to some limitations. For example, it is “limited to mass-market software or products containing such software and does not include software used for critical infrastructure.” The source code disclosure rule is not found in any other current Canadian trade agreement, though leaked documents indicate that it does appear in a draft of the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA).

The provision has generated considerable uncertainty since key aspects are undefined. For instance, what is “mass market software or products containing such software”? There is no definition in the TPP nor a generally accepted definition for mass market software or products, meaning it could include software sold to businesses or software in mass market products.

The inclusion of “software used for critical infrastructure” is similarly open to interpretation, raising the possibility of conflicts between mass market software and critical infrastructure software. Indeed, Stewart Baker, the former general counsel at the NSA, has noted:

“the ban doesn’t apply to code run on critical infrastructure, which will make for endless disputes, since there’s very little mass market software that doesn’t run on computers involved in critical infrastructure.”

Baker’s concerns extend beyond the likelihood of confusion and disputes, as he also notes the long term risks of including this provision in a trade deal:

Right now, this is a measure US software companies want. That’s because we make most of the mass market software in the market. But that’s likely to change, especially given the ease of entry into smart phone app markets. We’re going to want protection against the introduction of malware into such software. The question of source code inspection is a tough one.  If other countries can inspect US source code, they’ll find it easier to spot security flaws, so the US government would like to keep other countries from doing that.  But I doubt US security agencies are comfortable letting Vietnam write apps that end up on the phones of their employees without the ability to inspect the source. In short, this is a tough policy call that is likely to look quite different in five years than it does today.

Confusion about the scope of the provision and worries about what it might mean longer term are just two of the concerns with the source code rule in the TPP. One more that brings in one of the founders of the Internet in tomorrow’s post.

(prior posts in the series include Day 1: US Blocks Balancing Provisions, Day 2: Locking in Digital Locks, Day 3: Copyright Term Extension, Day 4: Copyright Notice and Takedown Rules, Day 5: Rights Holders “Shall” vs. Users “May”, Day 6: Price of Entry, Day 7: Patent Term Extensions, Day 8: Locking in Biologics Protection, Day 9: Limits on Medical Devices and Pharma Data Collection, Day 10: Criminalization of Trade Secret Law, Day 11: Weak Privacy Standards, Day 12: Restrictions on Data Localization Requirements, Day 13: Ban on Data Transfer Restrictions, Day 14: No U.S. Assurances for Canada on Privacy, Day 15: Weak Anti-Spam Law Standards, Day 16: Intervening in Internet Governance, Day 17: Weak E-commerce Rules, Day 18: Failure to Protect Canadian Cultural Policy, Day 19: No Canadian Side Agreement to Advance Tech Sector, Day 20: Unenforceable Net Neutrality Rules, Day 21: U.S. Requires Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Report Card, Day 22: Expanding Border Measures Without Court Oversight, Day 23: On Signing Day, What Comes Next?, Day 24: Missing Balance on IP Border Measures, Day 25: The Treaties With the Treaty, Day 26: Why It Limits Canadian Cultural Policies)

The post The Trouble With the TPP, Day 27: Source Code Disclosure Confusion appeared first on Michael Geist.

The Trouble With the TPP, Day 26: Why It Limits Canadian Cultural Policies

Michael Geist Law RSS Feed - Mon, 2016/02/08 - 12:24

The intersection between the TPP and Canadian cultural policies is likely to emerge as one of the more controversial aspects of the TPP, particularly given the government’s emphasis on a stronger cultural policy in its election platform. Earlier in the Trouble with the TPP series, I wrote that the TPP fails to protect Canadian cultural policy. I pointed to U.S. lobby pressure to limit Canadian protection of cultural policies as well as provisions that restrict Canada’s ability to consider expanding Cancon contributions to entities currently exempt from payment. I have not been a supporter of mandating Cancon contributions to online video provides such as Netflix, but restricting Canada’s right to do so in a trade agreement is shortsighted, bad policy.

Peter Grant has written a careful response to my post on Barry Sookman’s blog. He argues that Canada can still “maintain or enhance our cultural policies.” He opens by stating that “I am not entirely wrong” about the TPP being a departure from Canada’s traditional approach to culture in trade agreements. However, he argues that the TPP approach is not unique since the Canada – EU Trade Agreement adopts a similar approach. Yet CETA contains numerous cultural exceptions within the chapters for Cross-Border Trade in Services, Domestic Regulation, Government Procurement, Investment, and Subsidies. In the TPP, the exception references seven provisions in the entire agreement and many of the issues addressed by CETA are not covered. Further, the TPP has exceptions to the cultural exception not found in CETA and (as Grant notes) Canada did not get an explicit exception to allow for measures to allow domestic audio-visual content to be reasonably available as did Australia.

More importantly, he raises two main points on the issue of legal restrictions on cultural policy in the TPP. First, he points to Article 14.1 in the E-commerce chapter that mandates equal treatment for digital products. He notes that there is an exception for broadcasting and claims that this should be sufficient to cover online video services. Second, he argues that the exception on Cancon payments applies “in like circumstances” and that Netflix would not be compared to other broadcasters or broadcast distributors, but rather to other online video services (he also confirms that Canada could still apply GST to Netflix under the TPP, but that was never in dispute).

With respect, I don’t think either argument fully addresses the cultural policy implications of the TPP.

The applicability of equal treatment for digital products is an important provision that will be the subject of an upcoming post that examines further restrictions on Canadian cultural policy options. However, whether online video services fall outside the equal treatment provision because “broadcasting” can be broadly defined to include it is very much in question as Grant surely knows. Companies like Netflix have long maintained that they are not broadcasters as defined by the Broadcasting Act, a point emphasized in their appearance at the TalkTV hearing in 2014.  Indeed, both Netflix and Google have taken the position that they are not covered by the Act and both refused to comply with CRTC orders. It seems very unlikely that Canada could argue that activities not defined as broadcasting in its domestic legislation should be treated as broadcasting for the purposes of the TPP.

As for the exception to the cultural policy exception, it restricts “discriminatory requirements on services suppliers or investors to make financial contributions for Canadian content development.” The key question will be whether a mandated financial contribution on online video providers is discriminatory. I stated in my initial post that:

Assuming those services argue that any mandated Cancon contribution is discriminatory if they do not also receive the benefits accorded to established broadcasters or broadcast distributors, the TPP will effectively ban applying Cancon contributions to exempt entities.

Grant’s response is that it won’t be treated as discriminatory because the relevant test involves “like circumstances” which requires comparing treatment of all online video providers, not online video providers, broadcasters and BDUs. Yet it seems to me that the two most likely outcomes of the analysis lead to the same place: a finding of discriminatory payment requirements in violation of the TPP.

The “like circumstances” requirements can be found in Article 10.3 on National Treatment:

Each Party shall accord to services and service suppliers of another Party treatment no less favourable than that it accords, in like circumstances, to its own services and service suppliers.

What does “like circumstances” mean?  There is a footnote in the TPP that tries to provide a bit more context:

For greater certainty, whether treatment is accorded in “like circumstances” under Article 10.3 (National Treatment) or Article 10.4 (Most-Favoured-Nation Treatment) depends on the totality of the circumstances, including whether the relevant treatment distinguishes between services or service suppliers on the basis of legitimate public welfare objectives.

In other words, there is a need to examine the “totality of the circumstances.” One possibility would be to compare Netflix solely to Canadian online video providers such as Shomi or CraveTV as Grant suggests. However, the rules for even those services are different. The hybrid model recently adopted by the CRTC for the Canadian services would still leave room for argument that there are benefits differences between the services and that contribution requirements on Netflix would be discriminatory.

Even without the hybrid model, the links between the providers and the vertically integrated companies opens the door to a discrimination argument. Netflix flagged this issue in its TalkTV submission to the CRTC:

Unlike vertically-integrated carrier/BDU/broadcaster/ISPs that contribute to the CMF through their BDUs and VoD operations, and whose broadcaster affiliates have access to dedicated CMF funding envelopes in partnership with independent producers, Netflix, as a foreign entity, has no such access and cannot benefit from the CMF in a similar fashion. For Netflix, a contribution to the CMF would therefore amount to subsidizing productions made primarily for Bell, Rogers, Shaw/Corus and Videotron, who would acquire exclusive online streaming rights in addition to broadcast rights.

Given the direct link between the Canadian broadcasters/BDUs and Shomi/CraveTV, those concerns remain unchanged. Therefore, even limiting the comparison to online video services could result in a finding of discrimination.

Alternatively, the totality of the circumstances may mean comparing all the players that offer similar services to the public – ie. broadcasters, BDUs and online video providers. Grant seems to want it both ways: when discussing equal treatment for digital products, he says Netflix is a broadcaster like any other. However, when it comes to national treatment, he says it isn’t a broadcaster like other broadcasters. If Netflix is a broadcaster (which I’m not convinced it is), the case for discrimination is clear.  If it isn’t, there is still a strong case that the totality of the circumstances are different for it when compared to Shomi and CraveTV.

Finally, there are provisions in the TPP that are not subject to the “like circumstances” rule that would still restrict potential Canadian cultural policies. For example, the TPP includes a prohibition on local presence requirements in Article 10.6 not subject to like circumstances but covered by the exception to the Canadian cultural exception. The effect of this provision would be that even requiring a local presence in Canada as part of an effort to address online video providers would be out of bounds under the TPP.

While there is obviously room for interpretation, it seems certain that efforts to require online video providers to pay mandatory Cancon contributions would be challenged under the TPP. In fact, the limitations on Canada’s cultural policy options do not stop there. More on the cultural limits imposed by the TPP in an upcoming post.

(prior posts in the series include Day 1: US Blocks Balancing Provisions, Day 2: Locking in Digital Locks, Day 3: Copyright Term Extension, Day 4: Copyright Notice and Takedown Rules, Day 5: Rights Holders “Shall” vs. Users “May”, Day 6: Price of Entry, Day 7: Patent Term Extensions, Day 8: Locking in Biologics Protection, Day 9: Limits on Medical Devices and Pharma Data Collection, Day 10: Criminalization of Trade Secret Law, Day 11: Weak Privacy Standards, Day 12: Restrictions on Data Localization Requirements, Day 13: Ban on Data Transfer Restrictions, Day 14: No U.S. Assurances for Canada on Privacy, Day 15: Weak Anti-Spam Law Standards, Day 16: Intervening in Internet Governance, Day 17: Weak E-commerce Rules, Day 18: Failure to Protect Canadian Cultural Policy, Day 19: No Canadian Side Agreement to Advance Tech Sector, Day 20: Unenforceable Net Neutrality Rules, Day 21: U.S. Requires Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Report Card, Day 22: Expanding Border Measures Without Court Oversight, Day 23: On Signing Day, What Comes Next?, Day 24: Missing Balance on IP Border Measures, Day 25: The Treaties With the Treaty)

The post The Trouble With the TPP, Day 26: Why It Limits Canadian Cultural Policies appeared first on Michael Geist.

looks like it is up to the Conservatives

Fair Duty by Meera Nair - Sun, 2016/02/07 - 22:58

On Friday, counterpunch published a detailed article by Murray Dobbin, concerning the TransPacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement and what appears to be a fog of ignorance in the halls of our Federal Government. Dobbin writes:

[The] consultation process has not penetrated the ideological bubble created by … trade department officials. In spite of the fact that by far the biggest concern of critics of the deal (including Joseph Stiglitz and a United Nations report) is the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) feature (the one that allows corporations to sue governments for regulating) … [Minister Freeland] seems to be either ill-informed or misled about its impact.

Dobbin raises concerns as to how meaningful the Government’s purported consultations are proving to be. Apparently, in response to queries from Canadians concerned about ISDS, Global Affairs Canada has offered assurances that there is nothing to worry about. As quoted by Dobbin:

“With respect to Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), the TPP will not impair the ability of Canada or its partners to regulate and legislate in areas such as the environment, culture, safety, health and conservation. Our experience under the NAFTA demonstrates that neither our investment protection rules nor the ISDS mechanism constrain any level of government from regulating in the public interest.”

Dobbin does not hesitate to point out the utter falseness of such a statement; not only has ISDS been used repeatedly against Canada, but particularly to inhibit measures taken by Canada to address environmental concerns. (We can only wonder if our Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, has been made aware of this.)

Environmental concerns overlap with health concerns. To add another story to Dobbin’s account: a sad day it was, when Canadians’ health placed second to American profits. Briefly, in 1997 the Canadian government of the day banned a manganese-based gasoline additive (MMT), deeming it harmful to human health. MMT’s American producers, Ethyl Corporation, took issue with this decision. It claimed expropriation, an actionable offense under the ISDS framework brought in by NAFTA. Facing a $350 million challenge, the Canadian government opted to settle. To fulfill the terms of the settlement, the ban was reversed and the country left poorer by some $19 million dollars (more than the entire budget for Environment Canada’s regulatory and compliance efforts at that time).

These details, and much more, were provided by Ken Traynor (Canadian Environmental Law Association) in 1998:

Most of the industrialized world does not use MMT as an octane-enhancer in gasoline. It is banned in many of the most smog-prone areas of the United States, including California and much of the Eastern Seaboard. Eighty-five percent of US oil refiners have confirmed that they are not currently using MMT. Alternatives exist and they are not that expensive. … And we’d get better air as a bonus.

If NAFTA did not exist, MMT would still be banned in Canada. Ethyl would have had to convince the US government to go to bat for it with the Canadian government, or sue Canada in a Canadian court. In a Canadian court, a judge can balance corporate property rights with the public interest, something glaringly absent from the deliberations of NAFTA arbitration panels.

We have two physicians in our Cabinet, the Honourable Carolyn Bennet and the Honourable Jane Philpott. Are they aware that any progressive action they may wish to take, should first be evaluated to ensure a foreign investor will not see its expected profits diminish? For that matter, what does our Minister of Justice, the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould think of the operation of ISDS? To put it plainly, if multinational corporations may operate in Canada, removed from all obligations to observe Canadian regulation or judicial oversight, do our citizens have any recourse to justice?

Canadians’ best hope for detailed discussion in Parliament may lie in the hands of our Official Opposition. Granted, they are the party that championed the TPP (and its further entrenchment of ISDS), but as Rick Mercer pointed out last week,  current Conservative Members of Parliament have comfortably reversed their stance on a number of issues already. If our Loyal Opposition will continue with their self-induced amnesia, ISDS would be a worthy issue to confront.

All levity aside, a good starting point for all recently elected members of Parliament is an article by Lisa Sachs and Lise Johnson of the Columbia Center for Sustainable Investment. Published in November, through the Globe and Mail, Sachs and Johnson encouraged the new government to pay close attention to ISDS: “[In the TPP] we see a further evisceration of the role of domestic policy, institutions and constituents, and greater liabilities for governments and domestic stakeholders.”

 


Digital Dividends of Intellectual Property

Sara Bannerman - Sat, 2016/02/06 - 16:31
The World Bank's January Digital Dividends report assesses the extent to which information and communication technologies (ICTs) have contributed, over the past decades, to global development.  Its conclusion is that "while digital technologies have been spreading, digital dividends have not" (2).    It suggests two reasons for this: first, nearly 60% of the world is still offline, and, second, rising economic, social, and political inequality, all of which can be exacerbated by networks, stand in the way of full sharing in digital dividends.

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has sometimes suggested that intellectual property is a "power tool" of economic development.  This view has long been challenged by those who note that IP comes with costs as well as benefits.  Costs can include higher prices in drugs and copyright materials, as well as reduced policy flexibility to respond to basic needs.  These costs, noted in a 2004 proposal by developing countries to WIPO, have now been acknowledged in WIPO's own formal Development Agenda.

The World Bank's report makes mention of intellectual property in several contexts.  It mentions:
  1. that innovation and growth depend on IP (p. 221, p. 302)
  2. that international IP regimes require greater harmonization (p. 62-63; p. 297)
  3. that IP needs to be balanced (p. 221) and that “countries can also allow the concept of “fair use” in intellectual property regulations” (p. 303; emphasis added).
The Bank's comments represent an view of IP that lacks nuance and balance, failing to take on board the extensive research done on the relationship between IP and development.  First, the World Bank's report, while noting the complexity of the relationship between ICTs and development, fails to take on board this same complexity when it comes to IP.  While arguing that innovation depends on IP, it fails to note the ways that IP can impede innovation (more on this below).

Second, Digital Dividends does not take adequately into account the ways that international IP regimes have failed to facilitate development and, at times, have stood in the way of development by impeding access to educational materials and pharmaceuticals.  The UK Commission on IP Rights long ago noted that "the interests of developing countries are best served by tailoring their intellectual property regimes to their particular economic and social circumstances" (156).  The Commission also argued that "there are strong arguments for greater flexibility in setting an optimum time to strengthen IP protection, taking into account the nation’s level of economic, social and technological development" (161).  International IP regimes take numerous options off the table when it comes to tailoring IP regimes; they greatly restrict states' flexibility in this regard.  The Commission called on developed countries to "discontinue the practice of using regional/bilateral agreements as a means of creating TRIPS-plus IP regimes in developing countries as a matter of course" (163).  This does not match with the World Bank's emphasis on the urgency of  further harmonization.

Third, the World Bank's report under-emphasizes the need for fair use and other limitations and exceptions to IP.  Here, Digital Dividends  utterly fails to take on board extensive research indicating the potential of such measures to contribute to development of various types, including development in the fields of education, health, innovation, technology, and clean technologies.

Jeremy de Beer and I have noted that the relationship between IP and development are a much more complex matter than the "power tool" view suggests.  Too much protection can be as bad as not having enough, contributing to gridlock (where IP is held by too many different people such that it impedes efficient market transactions) and high costs to the inputs of innovation (77).  (IP protection may also be irrelevant to encouraging innovation, if IP services are not available, as Rutenberg notes.)  Models of IP that emphasize access and openness in intellectual property can, de Beer and I argue, facilitate collaboration, universal participation, and adaptation of products to local communities (80).  Further, we note that IP can facilitate the concentration of wealth in the hands of multinationals (77).  Such inequality is exactly, as the Bank itself notes, what stands in the way of the potential of digital dividends.




The Trouble With the TPP, Day 25: The Treaties Within the Treaty

Michael Geist Law RSS Feed - Fri, 2016/02/05 - 11:52

This week’s signing of the TPP in New Zealand provides a useful reminder that a potential ratification means committing to far more than just one (very large) trade agreement. One of the Troubles with the TPP is that the intellectual property chapter requires all countries to ratify or accede to as many as nine international IP treaties. In other words, the treaties within the treaty are a core part of the obligations that come with TPP.

Article 18.7 specifies that all countries have already ratified or acceded to three IP treaties: the Patent Cooperation Treaty, Paris Convention, and Berne Convention. More notably, there are as many as six additional treaties that must be ratified or acceded in order to ratify the TPP:

  • Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks
  • Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure (1977), as amended in 1980
  • International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants [MX propose: (1961) as revised in 1972, 1978 or] (1991) (UPOV Convention)
  • Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks (2006)
  • WIPO Copyright Treaty
  • WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty

Earlier in the negotiations, the U.S. was hoping to include several more treaties including the Convention Relating to the Distribution of Programme-Carrying Signals Transmitted by Satellite (1974).

Supporters of the TPP will argue that the impact on Canada is limited since we have either already acceded to these treaties or are in the process of doing so. However, the Canadian decision to significantly alter its IP laws in compliance with these treaties reflects the broader pressures that have come from the TPP.  Absent those pressures, it is far from certain that Canada would have agreed to be bound by all of these treaties.

In fact, according to earlier leaked drafts, Canada opposed including the IP treaty obligations for much of the negotiations. In the 2013 leaked text, only the U.S. and Australia supported the treaty provision with almost the other TPP countries (Canada, Chile, New Zealand, Malaysia, Peru, Brunei, Vietnam, Japan, and Mexico) opposed. Singapore indicated that it was willing to follow the consensus.  A year later, not much had changed. The May 2014 leaked version shows that the satellite signals convention was shifted out of the mandatory list, but everything else – including the Canadian opposition – remained roughly the same. By the end of the negotiations, Canada caved on the issue and started the process of complying with multiple IP treaties, confirming yet again that the TPP has already had an impact on Canadian law well before any decision on ratification has been made.

(prior posts in the series include Day 1: US Blocks Balancing Provisions, Day 2: Locking in Digital Locks, Day 3: Copyright Term Extension, Day 4: Copyright Notice and Takedown Rules, Day 5: Rights Holders “Shall” vs. Users “May”, Day 6: Price of Entry, Day 7: Patent Term Extensions, Day 8: Locking in Biologics Protection, Day 9: Limits on Medical Devices and Pharma Data Collection, Day 10: Criminalization of Trade Secret Law, Day 11: Weak Privacy Standards, Day 12: Restrictions on Data Localization Requirements, Day 13: Ban on Data Transfer Restrictions, Day 14: No U.S. Assurances for Canada on Privacy, Day 15: Weak Anti-Spam Law Standards, Day 16: Intervening in Internet Governance, Day 17: Weak E-commerce Rules, Day 18: Failure to Protect Canadian Cultural Policy, Day 19: No Canadian Side Agreement to Advance Tech Sector, Day 20: Unenforceable Net Neutrality Rules, Day 21: U.S. Requires Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Report Card, Day 22: Expanding Border Measures Without Court Oversight, Day 23: On Signing Day, What Comes Next?, Day 24: Missing Balance on IP Border Measures)

The post The Trouble With the TPP, Day 25: The Treaties Within the Treaty appeared first on Michael Geist.

Toronto City Council Sides With CRTC in Rejecting Mayor Tory’s Support of Bell Appeal

Michael Geist Law RSS Feed - Fri, 2016/02/05 - 10:19

Last month, I wrote about the battle over the future of broadband in Canada with Toronto Mayor John Tory and Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson writing to the federal cabinet to support a Bell appeal to overturn a CRTC decision designed to foster increased competition for fast fibre Internet services. On the CRTC ruling, I noted that:

The upshot of the ruling was that companies such as Bell would be required to share their infrastructure with other carriers on a wholesale basis. The companies would enjoy a profit on those wholesale connections, but the increased competition would facilitate better services, pricing, and consumer choice. Indeed, the policy approach is similar to the one used for slower DSL broadband connections that has been instrumental in creating a small but active independent ISP community that serves hundreds of thousands of Canadians.

Bell marshalled opposition to the CRTC decision, including letters from Tory and Watson. By contrast, the City of Calgary and its mayor, Naheed Nenshi, filed a lengthy submission supporting the CRTC approach.

It turns out that the Toronto and Ottawa filings were not submitted on behalf of the cities, but rather reflect personal letters from the mayors of those cities. In Toronto, the letter raised the ire of city council, which yesterday debated a motion introduced by Councillor Mike Layton to express support for a more competitive approach and the CRTC decision. The motion stated:

1.  City Council support competitive and affordable internet prices for its residents and support the CRTC decision of July, 2015 for large telecom companies to make their fibre-optic networks available to small competitors at wholesale prices.
 
2.  City Council forward a copy of this decision to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, the Minister of Finance, and the Minister of Canadian Heritage.
 
3.  City Council request, similar to the City of Calgary, an opportunity to consult with the Minister relating to the Minister’s recommendation to the Governor-in-Council on Bell’s Petition against the CRTC decision.

The motion was passed 28-5, representing a significant rebuke to Mayor Tory, and making Toronto the second major Canadian city to have its council consider the issue and express support for the CRTC decision.

The post Toronto City Council Sides With CRTC in Rejecting Mayor Tory’s Support of Bell Appeal appeared first on Michael Geist.

The TPP, IP and Canada: My Bloomberg TV Interview

Michael Geist Law RSS Feed - Fri, 2016/02/05 - 10:12

I appeared yesterday on Bloomberg Television to discuss the impact of the TPP on Canadian intellectual property law. The discussion focused on the need for consultation and to take a closer look at the provisions in the agreement.

The post The TPP, IP and Canada: My Bloomberg TV Interview appeared first on Michael Geist.

The Trouble With the TPP, Day 24: Missing Balance on IP Border Measures

Michael Geist Law RSS Feed - Thu, 2016/02/04 - 11:07

The day after Canada signed the TPP (and a Leger poll found huge opposition to the agreement’s IP and ISDS provisions), the shift toward consultation and study can continue in earnest. Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s Minister of International Trade, used the signing to emphasize once again that signing is not the same as ratifying and that the government is committed to a robust Parliamentary and public review of the agreement.

The Trouble with the TPP series continues today with another example of the lack of balance in the text. An earlier post noted how in the TPP  rights holders’ provision are often mandatory, while those for users are treated as optional. The lopsided approach is also evident in the border measures rules. This week I discussed the expansion of border measures provisions without court oversight, which could lead to customs officials being asked to make difficult legal assessments on whether to detain goods entering the country.

Canadian law currently includes several safeguards to mitigate the risk of detention for importers and other businesses. Given the possibility that detention can be used by competitors to delay entry of legitimate goods into the country, limitations are an important part of any legislative package. For example, Canadian law limits detention periods in the Copyright Act:

Subject to subsection (3), the customs officer shall not detain, for the purpose of enforcing section 44.01, the copies for more than 10 working days –  or, if the copies are perishable, for more than five days -  after the day on which the customs officer first sends or makes available a sample or information to the copyright owner under subsection (1). At the request of the copyright owner made while the copies are detained for the purpose of enforcing section 44.01, the customs officer may, having regard to the circumstances, detain non-perishable copies for one additional period of not more than 10 working days.

Similarly, Canadian law allows for damages against the copyright owner who commenced proceedings if they are dismissed or discontinued, recognizing the potential harm to a legitimate business:

The court may award damages against the owner of copyright who commenced proceedings referred to in subsection 44.04(3) to the owner, importer, exporter or consignee of the copies who is a party to the proceedings for losses, costs or prejudice suffered as a result of the detention of the copies if the proceedings are dismissed or discontinued.

These safeguards are consistent with provisions found in the TRIPS Agreement, but are not included in the TPP. In fact, Kim Weatherall identifies seven TRIPS border measures balancing provisions that are not found in the TPP.

Proponents of the TPP will argue that there is nothing to stop TPP countries from adding these safeguards to their national laws (as Canada has done in some instances). Yet the benefits of the treaty are supposed to provide Canadian businesses with consistent rules and protections when they sell into other TPP markets. Without mandated safeguards, Canadian exporters face the prospect of unbalanced border measures when they sell IP-related products into the rest of the TPP.  As with copyright and patents, the TPP rules move in one direction: more restrictions and few enforceable safeguards or limitations to ensure a balanced legal framework.

(prior posts in the series include Day 1: US Blocks Balancing Provisions, Day 2: Locking in Digital Locks, Day 3: Copyright Term Extension, Day 4: Copyright Notice and Takedown Rules, Day 5: Rights Holders “Shall” vs. Users “May”, Day 6: Price of Entry, Day 7: Patent Term Extensions, Day 8: Locking in Biologics Protection, Day 9: Limits on Medical Devices and Pharma Data Collection, Day 10: Criminalization of Trade Secret Law, Day 11: Weak Privacy Standards, Day 12: Restrictions on Data Localization Requirements, Day 13: Ban on Data Transfer Restrictions, Day 14: No U.S. Assurances for Canada on Privacy, Day 15: Weak Anti-Spam Law Standards, Day 16: Intervening in Internet Governance, Day 17: Weak E-commerce Rules, Day 18: Failure to Protect Canadian Cultural Policy, Day 19: No Canadian Side Agreement to Advance Tech Sector, Day 20: Unenforceable Net Neutrality Rules, Day 21: U.S. Requires Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Report Card, Day 22: Expanding Border Measures Without Court Oversight, Day 23: On Signing Day, What Comes Next?)

The post The Trouble With the TPP, Day 24: Missing Balance on IP Border Measures appeared first on Michael Geist.

The Trouble With the TPP, Day 23: On Signing Day, What Comes Next?

Michael Geist Law RSS Feed - Wed, 2016/02/03 - 10:15

Later today, the 12 countries that make up the Trans Pacific Partnership, a massive global trade deal that includes Canada, the United States, and Japan, will gather in New Zealand to formally sign the agreement (the official signing day is February 4th, but with time zone differences, the signing ceremony starts at 5:30 pm ET on the 3rd). Signing the TPP is a major step forward for the controversial treaty, but questions still abound over whether it will be ratified and take effect. The Trouble with the TPP series, which I initially planned to wrap up today having examined issues ranging from copyright term extension to the weak cultural exception, takes a one-day break from substantive concerns to focus on the future. However, given that there are still some important issues to be considered, the series will continue well into this month.

While the Liberal government has been cautious about expressing its support – International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland has been consistent in calling for consultation not conclusions – the decision to sign the TPP was never much in doubt. The agreement contains incentives to be an “original signatory”, since only those countries qualify for the rules related to entry into force of the agreement. To stay on the sidelines at this early stage might have kept Canada out of the TPP for good.

Moreover, as Freeland emphasized in a public letter released last week, signing a treaty does not create binding legal obligations. Indeed, Canada has a fair number of international treaties that it has signed but not ratified, including a 1988 Convention on International Bills of Exchange and International Promissory notes. The same is true for the United States, which has signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, but has not ratified it.

The big question was never whether Canada would sign, but rather what comes next. The TPP will not take effect for at least two years, giving the government ample time to engage in the consultation and study that was largely absent during a negotiation process that was notable primarily for its secrecy. Proponents of the TPP will urge the government to implement quickly, yet there is no advantage to do so and considerable risk that Canada would bear the costs of the agreement without ever realizing the benefits.

Freeland and her Parliamentary Secretary David Lametti have already engaged in more public consultations on the TPP in two months than the Conservative government did during years of negotiations.

My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that there is far more work to be done.

First, Canadians must understand the costs and benefits of the TPP in order to provide useful feedback. The government summaries released last fall frequently present a misleading picture of the agreement. For example, the documents claim that Canada secured a broad exception for the cultural industries. However, on closer inspection it turns out that Canada did not get a full cultural exception as the TPP mandates unprecedented restrictions on policies to support the creation of Canadian content.

The shocking cultural restrictions are the tip of the TPP iceberg. The summaries on copyright and patent reform fail to mention significant legislative changes that would could raise education and health care costs. There is no reference to the privacy implications of the deal and no acknowledgement that other countries obtained protections not granted to Canada. The government should go back to the drawing board to present a more balanced, accurate picture of the agreement and its implications for Canada.

Second, the Liberal government should conduct the economic and legal studies that were seemingly missing from the negotiations. Unlike countries such as New Zealand that have estimated the costs of some TPP reforms, Canadians have been left to guess at the real price of the agreement. In fact, several recent reports have projected very modest benefits for Canada that rank among the lowest in the TPP.

Third, the government’s emphasis on transparency must extend to the TPP consultations. That requires more than just listing consultation events or inviting the public to email their views. There should be public events streamed online and outcomes from other meetings should be posted online. Moreover, Canadians should have access to consultation submissions (with individual privacy protected as desired) to allow them to better gauge the public response.

Fourth, the TPP consultation should go beyond whether to support or reject the deal. Walking away remains a possibility, but if the agreement moves toward ratification, the government should explore flexibilities within the treaty or negotiate side letters to limit the negative consequences. Moreover, a late push to revisit issues such as dispute resolution (as is happening with the Canada – European Union agreement) should remain on the table. Even as Canada signs the TPP, implementation remains far from a done deal.

(prior posts in the series include Day 1: US Blocks Balancing Provisions, Day 2: Locking in Digital Locks, Day 3: Copyright Term Extension, Day 4: Copyright Notice and Takedown Rules, Day 5: Rights Holders “Shall” vs. Users “May”, Day 6: Price of Entry, Day 7: Patent Term Extensions, Day 8: Locking in Biologics Protection, Day 9: Limits on Medical Devices and Pharma Data Collection, Day 10: Criminalization of Trade Secret Law, Day 11: Weak Privacy Standards, Day 12: Restrictions on Data Localization Requirements, Day 13: Ban on Data Transfer Restrictions, Day 14: No U.S. Assurances for Canada on Privacy, Day 15: Weak Anti-Spam Law Standards, Day 16: Intervening in Internet Governance, Day 17: Weak E-commerce Rules, Day 18: Failure to Protect Canadian Cultural Policy, Day 19: No Canadian Side Agreement to Advance Tech Sector, Day 20: Unenforceable Net Neutrality Rules, Day 21: U.S. Requires Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Report Card, Day 22: Expanding Border Measures Without Court Oversight)

The post The Trouble With the TPP, Day 23: On Signing Day, What Comes Next? appeared first on Michael Geist.

Canada is About to Sign the Pacific Trade Deal. What Next?

Michael Geist Law RSS Feed - Wed, 2016/02/03 - 10:05

Appeared in the Toronto Star on February 1, 2016 as Canada is About to Sign the Pacific Trade Deal. What Next?

Later this week, the 12 countries that make up the Trans Pacific Partnership, a massive global trade deal that includes Canada, the United States, and Japan, will gather in New Zealand to formally sign the agreement. Signing the TPP is a major step forward for the controversial treaty, but questions still abound over whether it will be ratified and take effect.

While the Liberal government has been cautious about expressing its support – International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland has been consistent in calling for consultation not conclusions – the decision to sign the TPP was never much in doubt. The agreement contains incentives to be an “original signatory”, since only those countries qualify for the rules related to entry into force of the agreement. To stay on the sidelines at this early stage might have kept Canada out of the TPP for good.

Moreover, as Freeland emphasized in a public letter released this week, signing a treaty does not create binding legal obligations. Indeed, Canada has a fair number of international treaties that it has signed but not ratified, including a 1988 Convention on International Bills of Exchange and International Promissory notes. The same is true for the United States, which has signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, but has not ratified it.

The big question was never whether Canada would sign, but rather what comes next. The TPP will not take effect for at least two years, giving the government ample time to engage in the consultation and study that was largely absent during a negotiation process that was notable primarily for its secrecy. Proponents of the TPP will urge the government to implement quickly, yet there is no advantage to do so and considerable risk that Canada would bear the costs of the agreement without ever realizing the benefits.

Freeland and her Parliamentary Secretary David Lametti have already engaged in more public consultations on the TPP in two months than the Conservative government did during years of negotiations.

But there is far more work to be done.

First, Canadians must understand the costs and benefits of the TPP in order to provide useful feedback. The government summaries released last fall frequently present a misleading picture of the agreement. For example, the documents claim that Canada secured a broad exception for the cultural industries. However, on closer inspection it turns out that Canada did not get a full cultural exception as the TPP mandates unprecedented restrictions on policies to support the creation of Canadian content.

The shocking cultural restrictions are the tip of the TPP iceberg. The summaries on copyright and patent reform fail to mention significant legislative changes that would could raise education and health care costs. There is no reference to the privacy implications of the deal and no acknowledgement that other countries obtained protections not granted to Canada. The government should go back to the drawing board to present a more balanced, accurate picture of the agreement and its implications for Canada.

Second, the Liberal government should conduct the economic and legal studies that were seemingly missing from the negotiations. Unlike countries such as New Zealand that have estimated the costs of some TPP reforms, Canadians have been left to guess at the real price of the agreement. In fact, several recent reports have projected very modest benefits for Canada that rank among the lowest in the TPP.

Third, the government’s emphasis on transparency must extend to the TPP consultations. That requires more than just listing consultation events or inviting the public to email their views. There should be public events streamed online and outcomes from other meetings should be posted online. Moreover, Canadians should have access to consultation submissions (with individual privacy protected as desired) to allow them to better gauge the public response.

Fourth, the TPP consultation should go beyond whether to support or reject the deal. Walking away remains a possibility, but if the agreement moves toward ratification, the government should explore flexibilities within the treaty or negotiate side letters to limit the negative consequences. Moreover, a late push to revisit issues such as dispute resolution (as is happening with the Canada – European Union agreement) should remain on the table. Even as Canada signs the TPP, implementation remains far from a done deal.

Michael Geist holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law. He can be reached at mgeist@uottawa.ca or online at www.michaelgeist.ca.

The post Canada is About to Sign the Pacific Trade Deal. What Next? appeared first on Michael Geist.

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