Canada's IPR policy document is cause for concern

The Canadian intellectual property's lead lobby group, the Canadian IP Council (itself a group within the Canadian Chamber of Commerce) released a new policy document yesterday that identifies its legislative priorities for the coming years. Anyone hoping that the SOPA protests, the European backlash against ACTA, and the imminent passage of Bill C-11 might moderate the lobby group demands will be sorely disappointed.

They STILL don't get it

Counterfeiting in the Canadian Market: How Do We Stop It? is the most extremist IP policy document ever released in Canada, calling for the implementation of ACTA, SOPA-style rules including website blocking and stopping search results from resolving, liability for advertisers and payment companies, massive surveillance at the border and through delivery channels including searching through individual packages without court oversight, and spending hundreds of millions of tax dollars on private enforcement.

But that's not the problem

The problem is that their state-sponsored monopoly doesn't encourage them to seek new business models; instead, they're pushing for internet lockdown to protect the one they've got.

Discussions have been held

Chances are, you'll be directed here: http://copyright.econsultation.ca/topics-sujets/show-montrer/6 if you try to engage with the head of the Canadian IP Council. Notice that the overwhelmingly negative responses to the call for IPR (intellectual property rights) expansion has led to the cessation of the consultations, which ended in September 2009.

The premise is wrong

A brief search of non-partisan sources will reveal that increased and expanded IPR is bad for us all because it forces us to pay repeatedly for everything via license fees.

This doesn't even benefit the IPR holders because, if they want to innovate, they are obliged to pay for licenses from those who hold the rights to those areas in which they want to innovate.

IPR trolling via speculative invoicing and malicious lawsuits are costing our industries millions of dollars every year. Far from encouraging innovation, it shuts it down because nobody is obliged to grant licenses to people who want to innovate on things like mobile phones when it makes more sense economically to shut rivals down. Innovation, therefore, is restricted to the patent holders.

Google V Oracle is a classic example. Oracle claimed damages from Google for the alleged infringement of its IPR in Android mobile phones. If Google had applied for a license, it would have been obliged to pay prohibitive fees if the license had been granted at all.

IPR expansion is bad for us all

Having a state-sponsored monopoly, which is what IPR effectively is, doesn't guarantee that any innovation can take place at all. Since the rights holders can prevent other people from innovating, they're not obliged to compete. The result is stagnation and vendor lock-in as they think more about making money than making products. Research and development cost a lot of money, after all.

IPR benefits are limited

The only jobs guaranteed by IPR expansion and enforcement are in the registration, enforcement, and surveillance industries. This is harmful to our economies because criminalization of IPR infringement obliges law enforcement agencies to divert their energies from fighting crime to fighting the people for ordinary internet use. Ultimately, all taxpayers are liable for this and it's not fair.

This is the man to talk to

Chris Gray, Director
The Canadian Intellectual Property Council
Tel: 613.238.4000 ext. 251
Fax: 613.238.7643
cgray@chamber.ca

Read + Share + Contact Mr. Gray to explain the facts of internet life and that expanding IPR is detrimental to Canadian business interests = Encourage him to rethink his attitude to IPR
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