Michael Geist: TPP copyright laws could dismantle Canadian content

While Canada has been formally included as a negotiating party in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, more information from secretive texts and clauses is beginning to surface.

We've talked about how the TPP will restrict Internet access, criminalize and fine your actions online and collect your private data – but now it's been suggested that Canadian content rules could become overwritten to serve the corporate interests of Hollywood lobbyists.

Professor Michael Geist will be joining our ongoing Reddit discussion surrounding the TPP this afternoon until 7PM EST – we invite you to stop by and share your ideas with how to reach more Canadians with the crucial StopTheTrap.net campaign.

Article by Michael Geist

Last week, the government was formally included in the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations with the next formal round scheduled for New Zealand in early December. I've written extensively about the copyright implications of the TPP as leaked versions of the intellectual property chapter and demands from U.S. copyright lobby groups point to a significant re-write of Bill C-11. Areas targeted for reform in Canada include ISP liability, statutory damages, and extending the term of copyright.

An additional issue has begun to attract increasing attention as the same lobby groups seeking copyright reforms have also put dismantling Canadian content regulations on the table. The IIPA, the lead lobby group for the movie, music, and software industries, told the U.S. government:

IIPA strongly believes that the TPP market access chapters must be comprehensive in scope, strictly avoiding any sectoral carve outs that preclude the application of free trade disciplines. We note that several market access barriers cited by USTR in its 2012 National Trade Estimate report on Canada involve, for example, content quota requirements for television, radio, cable television, direct-to-home broadcast services, specialty television, and satellite radio services. It should be possible to address such barriers to trade in the TPP, and thus augment consumers’ access to diverse content, while promoting local cultural expressions.

Many concerned with Canadian culture have reacted with alarm as the U.S. government has focused on potential changes to television and radio content requirements, classification systems for movies, and online video. Read more »

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