Blame Canada!

Earlier this month I suspected that the US copyright lobby might soon mount a new attack on Canada’s copyright law. It turns out that the attack had begun that very same day. Here’s the written testimony of the IIPA from Sept. 4, 2012, which, as Michael Geist reports, will be heard orally today.

American readers might be particularly interested in footnote #1, which apparently refers to Canada’s new fair dealing provision, which explicitly mentions education, parody, and satire, as allowable fair dealing purposes. The IIPA takes issue with this amendment:

In particular, we note that the new Canadian copyright reform legislation has significantly expanded the exceptions to copyright protection in current law, and added many new ones. The compatibility of several of these new or expanded exceptions with the well-established “3-step test” for acceptable limitations on exclusive rights (see TRIPS Art. 13; WCT Art. 10; WPPT Art. 16) is subject to serious question. The U.S. government should be vigilant against any effort by Canada or any other TPP partner to weaken or relax the 3-step test, whether or not advocated with reference to any of Canada’s newly recognized or broadened exceptions.

The 3-step-test has become the red herring du jour, but if Canada’s fair dealing provision is inconsistent with those international treaties (which it is not), then the US broader provision must be noncompliant too (and it is not). Therefore, to paraphrase IIPA, the U.S. government should be vigilant against any efforts by the IIPA to undermine the fair use doctrine, which, if successful, would undermine the constitutional foundation of American copyright law. The Government of Canada, on the other hand, should be vigilant against any efforts by copyright lobby to promote the notion that Canada is “not even a real country anyway”, see below.

So now let’s all join singing Blame Canada! because “we must blame them and cause a fuss before somebody thinks of blaming us!”




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