A counterfeit is an imitation that is made usually with the intent to deceptively represent its content or origins. It is best understood as an offence against the recipient of the misrepresentation, and is a very different concept than Copyright or Patent law (and should never be lumped with those laws).

Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network in the Globe and Mail

Brodie Fenlon has an article in the Globe and Mail discussing the activities of the "Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network", and the fact that they are deliberately coflating non-controvercial issues like enforcement of counterfeiting that leads to safety problems, and highly controvercial things such as Digital Rights Management and policies that would seek to protect the old economy from legitimate competition from the new economy.

Toronto Star: Dangerous fake goods crossing border (Only listen to Britney Spears on "Authorized" hardware!)

A Toronto Star article by Iain Marlow talks about the "Counterfeiting" problem in Canada, including the following:

A parliamentary committee reported on June 20 to the House of Commons on how Canada could improve its dismal performance at the border. Among the committee's recommendations: government should make the importation and distribution of counterfeits a criminal offence; parliament should provide the CBSA with a clear mandate to target counterfeits; and that Health Canada needs more resources to investigate unsafe food and drug imports.

James Rajotte, the Conservative MP who chaired the committee, said it's not just about intellectual property rights, but about health and safety. "CBSA is doing the best job that they can, but they need to have the mandate to target counterfeits," Rajotte told the Star.

If this wasn't about intellectual property rights, then why was WIPO treaty ratification (Entirely about protecting the outdated business models of the content industry) includes as a recommendation in their report? I think someone is trying to use the "sharing music kills babies" style of political rhetoric to scare politicians into passing laws that will circumvent the property and other rights of Canadians.

Counterfeiting and Piracy are theft (NOT!)

As parliament was being recessed for the summer, James Rajotte stood up as the Chair of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology to table their latest report very embarrassingly titled Counterfeiting and Piracy are theft. See Michael Geist's article Industry Committee Demands a Canadian DMCA.

While I am obviously going to send a copy of my article Jefferson Debate: A Godwin's law for copyright discussions to each member, we clearly have a lot of work ahead of us to educate members of parliament on the basics of these issues. If you are in (or live near) the riding of any of these MPs, please make sure you set up a meeting in their constituency office this summer!

Can't Blame Canada For Counterfeiting

Michael Geist's weekly Law Bytes column (Toronto Star version, Homepage version) focuses on recent claims regarding counterfeiting in Canada. The column notes that based on recent media coverage, people unfamiliar with Canada could be forgiven for assuming that all Canadians sport pirate eye-patches while searching for counterfeit treasure. In response, it points to a law enforcement study obtained under the Access to Information Act to argue that the reality is that counterfeiting, though a concern, may not be as significant a problem as lobby groups suggest.

Canadians Three Times More Likely Than Americans To Buy Counterfeit Goods?

A press release by The Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network (CACN) reports about a POLLARA survey. While the press release could just as easily have alleged that Canadians are three times more likely than Americans to be honest on surveys, there is still something interesting to discuss.

ZDNET: BSA 'piracy' report dismissed as scaremongering

This ZDNet UK article by Ingrid Marson includes:

"What companies object to isn't counterfeiting but grey marketing," said Anderson. "Counterfeiting is a complete distraction — it's not what this is about. [[The directive] is an assault on free trade."

In each country the regional BSA lobbyist uses bogus statistics to lobby for changes in domestic law. In Canada the issue is claimed to be 1996 WIPO treaty ratification, yet another corrupt change in the law that would favor these incumbents against their major competitors.

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