Government addresses counterfeiting and piracy


The Canadian government has made its position towards counterfeiting and piracy known by joining preliminary discussions towards an International Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and addressing counterfeiting and piracy during the Speech from the Throne.

Canada will join nine other countries (eg, the European Union, the United States, Japan, Korea, Mexico and New Zealand) in preliminary discussions towards the implementation of the ACTA. The objective of the ACTA is to:

  • bring together governments which are committed to the protection of IP rights; and

  • establish standards to enforce these rights.

The ACTA will be in the form of a leadership agreement; additional countries will join over time. The agreement will remain free-standing to maximize flexibility.

The ACTA aims to:

  • strengthen international cooperation, including the sharing of information and cooperation between law enforcement authorities;

  • improve enforcement practices, including the establishment of best practices to support IP protection; and

  • provide a strong legal framework for IP rights enforcement, including progressive approaches towards border measures and internet distribution.

The development of the ACTA coincides with the release of Phase 1 of a new Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) project on counterfeiting and piracy. The OECD project, expanding on a 1998 study that looked at the economic impact of counterfeiting, estimated the annual value of international physical trade in counterfeit consumer goods at US$200 billion, which is 2% of world trade and higher than the gross domestic product of 150 countries. This figure is likely to be higher in reality, as the estimate did not consider domestic production, consumption, business-to-business transactions and internet-based counterfeiting.

The government also addressed the issue of counterfeiting and piracy in a recent Speech from the Throne, which officially opened the new session of Parliament. Moreover, it has moved to criminalize the unauthorized recording of films in film theatres with the 'Anti-camcording' legislation.

Philippa Del Mar, Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP, Ottawa

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