Trans-Pacific Partnership study shows deal undermines Canada’s copyright balance, Internet users

"The TPP copyright provisions, if ratified, could potentially “lead to millions of dollars in roy­alty payments being transferred out of Canada, the increased criminaliz­ation of copyright law, and a loss of policy flexibility for future Canadian copyright reforms." — Michael Giest, Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law, University of Ottawa

Ottawa (05 August 2016) — A new study by one of Canada’s leading copyright experts finds that the Trans-Pacific Partnership’s proposed intellectual property provisions would dramatically alter the balance between the interests of copyright owners and the users of protected goods and services. 

“The TPP’s copyright protections are excessive. They exceed international standards, pay short shrift to user interests, and would require legislative changes in many countries including Canada,” says Michael Geist, Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa and author of the new study, The Trouble with the TPP’s Copyright Rules.

Canadians and users lose out with TPP's copyright provisions

Geist’s study, released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), explains how the forced extension of the copyright term on books, films, audio recordings and other goods will ensure that no new works enter the Canadian public domain for 20 years after the TPP is implemented, with the main financial beneficiaries being foreign rights holders in the entertainment, film and music industries.

In addition, by expanding the criminalization of copyright, the TPP will upset the compromises underlying Canada’s 2012 copyright legislation. The study also explains that while Canada (along with Chile) was able to resist U.S. pressure to abandon its current “notice-and-notice” system regulating alleged copyright infringement on the Internet, other countries were not so fortunate. 

Canadian copyright system more balanced

“It is very disappointing that no other TPP country (present or future) will be permitted to adopt the Canadian system, which is far more balanced than the draconian ‘notice-and-takedown’ system favoured by the U.S.,” Geist states.  “In fact, many of the made-in-Canada approaches to copyright that strike a better balance between creators and users are nowhere to be found in the TPP.”

The TPP copyright provisions, if ratified, could potentially “lead to millions of dollars in roy­alty payments being transferred out of Canada, the increased criminaliz­ation of copyright law, and a loss of policy flexibility for future Canadian copyright reforms,” he concludes.

The Trouble with the TPP’s Copyright Rules is the latest study in the CCPA’s ongoing research series on the TPP, What’s the Big Deal: Understanding the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and is available on the CCPA website at www.policyalternatives.ca. 

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is a strong supporter of CCPA and its work.

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