New TPP leak on Canada
New TPP leak shows Canada would be required to massively overhaul copyright, damaging free expression and censoring Internet
Trans-Pacific Partnership text reveals that U.S. pressure could result in new rules for Canadians that allow for website blocking, and new criminal penalties for copyright infringement
August 5, 2015 – Recently leaked documents from the Intellectual Property chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) reveal that the secretive trade agreement would require Canada to make drastic changes to its copyright law, causing significant damage to free expression and restricting access to knowledge. The TPP is already shaping up as a major issue in the recently launched federal election.
Under the TPP, Canada’s copyright system, which underwent a review as recently as 2012, would be amended with no public consultation. Today’s leaks reveal how the TPP would lengthen copyright terms, propose new criminal penalties for circumventing ‘digital locks’, and introduce site-blocking rules at the behest of U.S. media giants.
“These changes will impact everyone who uses the Internet, and the government must not give way and lock them in with zero public consultation,” said Meghan Sali, Campaigns Coordinator at OpenMedia. “Particularly as these secretive negotiations are continuing during our federal election, Canadians deserve a clear commitment that this caretaker government will not agree to these kind of radical policy changes that could tie the hands of an incoming government.”
Specific changes to Canadian law as suggested by the recent leak include:
• Lengthening the terms for copyright from the global standard of ‘life of the creator plus 50 years’ to ‘life of the creator plus 70 years’–the U.S. standard.
• New criminal penalties for the circumvention of digital locks.
• Introduction of site-blocking legislation for the purposes of combating alleged copyright infringement.
On Monday, the Canadian Privy Council office released new rules that allow the caretaker government to continue negotiating the TPP, but forbid it from ratifying the deal before the election.
As copyright expert Professor Michael Geist said, “committing to significant policy changes would go well beyond the description of a caretaker government that should be largely limited to “routine” activities.”
The most recent round of TPP negotiations concluded last week in Hawaii without a deal being reached, but many believe a deal must be completed by the end of August if it has any chance of being signed this year.
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