In a demonstration of true bipartisanship, the Obama Administration today elevated Canada to the “Priority Watch List” on the U.S. Trade Representative’s “Special 301 Report”.
A country is placed on the Priority Watch List if the country’s intellectual policy practices “…have the most onerous or egregious acts, policies, or practices and whose acts, policies, or practices have the greatest adverse impact (actual or potential) on the relevant U.S. products….Countries placed on the Priority Watch List are the focus of increased bilateral attention concerning the problem areas.”
The Obama Administration found that “Internet piracy is a significant concern in a number of trading partners, including Canada, China, Greece, Hungary, Korea, Poland, Romania, Russia, Spain, Taiwan, Ukraine, and Vietnam…. The United States continues to have serious concerns with Canada’s failure to accede to and implement the WIPO Internet Treaties, which Canada signed in 1997.”
One can’t help but notice that the report follows hard on the heels of the field hearing of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives and the bashing of Howard Berman by the Canadian blogger we call The Wedge.
Representatives from both sides of the aisle at the hearing, including Chairman Howard Berman and Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, addressed the failure of Canadian governments for the last 13 years to come into line with international standards.
I was struck by a speech at Canadian Music Week this year by Serge Sasseville of Canadian communications giant Quebecor that public companies do not answer only to CEOs, shareholders and creditors, but as “a good corporate citizen, [we] cannot remain insensitive to the piracy problems affecting the survival of content producers and rights holders.”
Would that the Canadian government had the same view of intellectual property.