The European Commission is Urging Canada to Adopt Stricter Piracy Rules

By Bill Toulas / January 2, 2020

As it seems, the U.S. Trade Office is not the only entity who likes to publish reports about piracy, evaluating what countries around the globe do to fight the phenomenon and where they could do better. The European Commission has recently published its own report on the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in third countries (outside the EU). The summary of the report’s findings includes weak IP enforcement, high levels of counterfeiting, major online and satellite copyright piracy, lack of associated custom controls, and generally ineffective patent protection systems.

While the report puts China in “priority 1”, meaning that it’s the most problematic country right now, Canada is not left uncriticized. In fact, the report states that the IPR (intellectual property rights) strategy of Canada is lacking a concrete context, while the current way of handling copyright infringement notices is characterized as inadequate. The decision to leave ISPs (internet service providers) out of the take-down play has also received negative criticism from the report. The EU stakeholders are seeing Canada as a host to pirate platforms and websites, protecting the anonymity of the owners and operators of these portals, and not moving forward with decisive domain blocking.

EU hopes to use the CETA (EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Partnership Agreement) as a force lever to convince the government and legislators to take action against piracy. We have seen powerful Canadian broadcasters lobbying to change the field last year, with Bell and Rogers Media leading the effort. However, the country’s lawmakers weren’t exactly enthusiastic about the adoption of strict regulations that would render piracy a criminal offense. They simply feel that this is way out of proportion, so piracy is still treated leniently there.

Other countries that list high in the report are India, Indonesia, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Malaysia, Ecuador, Brazil, and Argentina. In regards to entities that have signed free trade agreements with the EU, besides Canada, Mexico, South Korea, and Vietnam were also reviewed. Mexico was judged for an inability to enforce IPR-related laws and for having an overly complex judicial system. South Korea is criticized for its merciful punishments and low-level sanctions when it comes to IPR offenses. As for Vietnam, the country is still plagued by widespread online piracy and bad faith in trademark applications.

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