I sometimes find peoples ideas about trademark law to be silly. The original point of trademark law was a form of consumer protection so that there would be less confusion in the marketplace, and that a mark used in trade could inform consumers about the origins and history of the producer.
I see no way there could be confusion in the "marketplace" between The Green Shift political campaign from the Liberal party of Canada, and the Green Shift company in Toronto, and yet according to a Globe and Mail article the owner of the company is threatening to sue.
I have had a Google Alerts for Dan McTeague for a few months, since I heard he was promoting a form of policy counterfeiting by confusing counterfeiting, commercial copyright piracy, non-commercial illegal sharing, patent, trademark, and other quite different areas of law. Most of the alerts talk about gas prices, and how he believes they should be lower.
This got me to thinking about the parallels between energy policy and copyright policy, and how Mr. McTeague, MP for Pickering-Scarborough East and the Liberal Consumer Affairs Critic, seems to not yet have an adequate understanding of these issues.
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An article by Monika Ermert for Intellectual Property Watch discusses the misleadingly labelled Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.
ACTA’s declared goal, according to a note released after the meeting by the negotiators, is “to provide a high-level international framework that strengthens the global enforcement of intellectual property rights.”
Why then have Anti-Counterfeiting in the title, given counterfeiting is not strictly an "Intellectual Property" issue, and the use of this language seems to be to bring up support for the treaty that would not otherwise exist based on the actual non-counterfeiting related topics being discussed.
I have been wondering where Bob Rae, recently elected MP for Toronto Center, would come down on copyright, mis-labeled anti-counterfeiting, and new economy issues. Thanks to Michael Geist I have been pointed to an article by Bob Rae.
An article by Kathleen Lau for ComputerWorld Canada (29 May 2008) documents that launching of the Canadian Intellectual Property Council (CIPC). The CIPC is made up of 14 Canadian businesses from a variety of industries including Microsoft Canada, Cisco Systems Canada, eBay Canada, and Pfizer Canada. This council was created in part to oppose the Business Coalition for Balanced Copyright (BCBC) which includes organizations like Google, YaHoo Canada, the Retail Council of Canada, the Canadian Association of Internet Providers (as well as a number of phone, cable, and broadcast undertaking companies and associations). The BCBC released their position paper in February and called for a balanced approach to copyright. The CIPC, in contrast, is calling for changes to the law to privilege a very specific subset of businesses using a subset of business models.
Read full article on IT World Canada's BLOG »
Michael Geist's blog today points to a study by Taylor Wessing which compares various national IP laws around the world. No doubt, Canada's laws are judged by the report to be very strong which supports Geist's conclusion that "claims that Canada's international reputation has been harmed by our intellectual property laws are the stuff of fiction."
This is a great study to demonstrate that our laws are strong enough. What is missing, and what I'd love to see next, is a study that compares the fairness various laws.
Pickering - Scarborough East MP Dan Mcteague will be participating in a panel (Free Webcast) with some people who are suggested to be "like minded" people. I am posting this so that voters will take a look at that panel, take a look at other things said by this Liberal MP, and decide whether this person represents the views of Canadians going forward.
- Honourable Dan McTeague, MP, Vice-Chair. Standing Committee on Industry Science & Technology
- Deane Cameron, President, EMI Music
- Leslie Ann Coles, Award Winning Film Producer & Actress
- Giuseppina D'Agostino, Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University.
- Graham Henderson, President, Canadian Recording Industry Association
- Jason J. Kee, Director Policy & Legal Affairs, Entertainment Software Association of Canada (ESAC)
- Duncan McKie, President & CEO, Canadian Independent Record Production Association
- Wendy Noss, Acting Executive Director , Canadian Motion Picture Association
While I have listened to enough University property law lectures to have a good sense about what "property" is and how that relates to intangible exclusive rights like copyright and patents, most people have not. Mike Masnick discusses the term "Intellectual Property" in a Techdirt article that is one of a series of articles.
Cory's article in The Guardian shows why the phrase "intellectual property" causes all sorts of problems.
Fundamentally, the stuff we call "intellectual property" is just knowledge - ideas, words, tunes, blueprints, identifiers, secrets, databases. This stuff is similar to property in some ways: it can be valuable, and sometimes you need to invest a lot of money and labour into its development to realise that value.
But it is also dissimilar from property in equally important ways.