World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

WIPO may be in transition from its past promotion of a miximalist agenda for Patents, Copyright and Trademarks (PCT) to balancing these laws with an agenda that promotes creativity, innovation, and UN values such as international development (More via: EFF, CPTech, IPJustice). There is a growing international recognition that too much PCT can harm creativity and innovation, just as too little PCT can.

Canada has ratified WCT and WPPT

While we knew this was coming, Canada has officially ratified the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty.

This doesn't mean Canadian law can't be fixed when it comes to "technological measures" given these treaties don't require access controls or protection of circumventions of measures not related to copyright infringement. This means nearly all of the direct or indirect infringements of IT property rights, and all the anti-competitive behaviour (tied selling, copyright holders manipulating hardware/software markets, hardware/software companies manipulating content industries, etc), can be clarified as not legalized or legally protected under copyright" law.

WIPO's World Intellectual Property day ideal for discussing WIPO failures

Each year WIPO declares April 26'th as their "World Intellectual Property Day", and I consider this to be an ideal time to hilight the harm that WIPO's narrow-minded policies cause to creativity and other human rights documented within the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Not so special 301 report

The yearly joke from the USTR of their so-called "Special 301 report" came out yesterday. Not surprisingly, they kept Canada on their Priority Watch List in order to keep up their special interest lobbying efforts.

Does this mean Canada is a "piracy haven"? Not in the slightest.

It only means that the USTR continues to echo the unfounded lobbying rhetoric from the IIPA which isn't as interested in promoting the rights and interests of creators and innovators as they are protecting their members from legitimate competition.

Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights : Twenty-First Session

The Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) is not the Canadian parliamentary committee that will be studying Bill C-32. It would be great if Canada did have a SCCR, as this would allow parliamentarians to properly study issues, as well as create and pass more sensible bills than we have seen thus far. It might also mean that there would be a group of 12 parliamentarians that would be watching what is happening at WIPO, helping to direct our negotiators there. We currently have an unworkable split between the standing committees of Heritage (CHPC), Industry (INDU), and International Trade (CIIT).

Among other things, this group of 12 parliamentarians would be tasked with knowing what has previously happened at WIPO and WTO/TRIPS, and wouldn't be so easily manipulated by special interest lawyers trying to pull the wool over their eyes.

SCCR is a standing committee of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and it twenty-first meeting has been in Geneva, Switzerland from November 8, 2010 to November 12, 2010.

Progress or distraction on limitations and exceptions at WIPO?

According to a WIPO press release:

An unprecedented initiative to facilitate access to published works by the visually impaired and the print disabled was announced on October 23, 2010 in New Delhi, India at the 5th meeting of WIPO’s Stakeholders’ Platform, which was set up in January 2009 to explore the specific needs, and concerns, of both copyright owners and reading impaired persons and brings together representatives of the visually impaired persons (VIP) community as well as publishers.

Charlie Angus tables petitions concerned about digital locks

From the Hansard for October 18, 2010

Mr. Charlie Angus (Timmins—James Bay, NDP):

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to bring forward a petition from people who are concerned about the misuse of digital rights management to digital locks on copyrighted material. Of specific concern is the move by the government to support the sacrosanct protection for digital locks that will override existing copyright rights that exist for Canadian citizens, educators, consumers, people who buy products and for people who use copyrighted works. They are not able to access them because the digital locks placed on top of them interfere with legal rights.

We know that many of the WIPO compliant countries have dealt with the issue of digital locks by ensuring that those that remain on products are not counterfeited or broken. However, in other WIPO compliant countries they have a balance so that citizens are still able to use and be educated with materials that they have a legal right to.

The Conservative government, of course, has it all wrong in terms of digital rights management.

The petitioners are calling upon Parliament to restore some sense of balance between the rights of creators and ensuring protection for copyrighted works, but also ensuring that we have a vibrant domain where people can actually access works within a digital realm.

Moore has his facts wrong on Copyright

Author, broadcaster, editor, journalist, musician, negotiator, singer, and MP Charlie Angus has released a letter to Heritage Minister James Moore discussing how the Minister has his facts wrong on Copyright.

It is great that we have an actual creator in parliament, able to speak on behalf of fellow creators, rather than too many parliamentarians that get confused by intermediaries falsely claiming to represent creators!

If lawyers are confusing copyright with other laws, what about the rest of us?

A tweet from lawyer Barry Sookman (who has also blocked me, BTW), referenced an article with Further Copyright talk. At the end the author, Todd, said:

So is circumventing a TPM (even for legal purposes) like going into a theatre without paying or taking a book from a bookstore without paying? Or is it like being able to photocopy the relevant sections of a book in a library? To me it seems more like the former than the later.

WIPO supporters must oppose ACTA / move ACTA to WIPO?

Yesterday I authored, printed, signed and sent through snail-mail a letter to Peter Van Loan, Minister of International Trade. It was in reply to a reply letter he had written me earlier on ACTA, the Orwellian double-speak named Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. In it I asked him to protect the global intellectual property system from this attack on existing institutions.

This morning I read that the European parliament passed a resolution calling on Canada to support moving ACTA to WIPO.

While a bit out-of-date a day later, I included my letter in an article on IT World Canada's blog.

Copyright Consultation: WIPO treaties.

There are now only 5 days left to make your voice heard on this critically important issue. In recent years two different governments tabled copyright bills: the Liberal Bill C-60 on June 20, 2005 and the Conservative Bill C-61 on June 12, 2008. (Note: Similar numbers only coincidence). When looking at these bills, both of which died on the order paper, you will notice that the majority of the bills dealt with ratifying two treaties Canada signed in 1996. We must look at these treaties to understanding what will likely form the bulk of the next copyright bill.

>>> Read full article on IT World Canada's blog.

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