According to the US, Canada is as bad as Russia and China when it come to respecting copyright. Really?

Every year, the US government–specifically The Office of the United States Trade Representative–publishes a list of countries it says isn’t playing fair when it comes to copyright law.

Actually, there are two lists: “Priority Watch” and “Watch.” The latter features countries like Costa Rica, Egypt, Greece, Lebanon, Mexico, Pakistan, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, UAE, Uzbekistan, Vietnam.

The Priority Watch list features the worst of the worst. This year’s bad actors are Chile, Colombia, China, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Russia, Ukraine, Venezuela, Algeria, Argentina, and Canada.

Wait. Us? We’re as bad as Russia and China and worse than Thailand and Vietnam when it comes to breaking/flouting copyright laws? What are we doing wrong?

Let me quote from the report:

Poor border and law enforcement with respect to counterfeit or pirated goods, weak patent and pricing environment for innovative pharmaceuticals, deficient copyright protection, and inadequate transparency and due process regarding ‘geographical indications.’


The United States also remains deeply troubled by the ambiguous education-related exception to copyright that has significantly damaged the market for educational publishers and authors. While Canadian courts have worked to clarify this exception, confusion remains.


“Additionally, Canada does not provide full and fair national treatment with respect to copyright and related rights, and has specifically denied US creators and performers remuneration to a greater extent than other countries. The United States urges Canada to reform these aspects of its copyright regime to compensate creators for their works fully and fairly.

I wouldn’t worry too much about this, though. The Canadian government doesn’t recognize the validity of this list, saying that the methodology stinks and that it’s heavily biased. Again, I quote from a memo that was leaked last year.

Canada does not recognize the validity of and considers the process and the report to be flawed. The report fails to employ a clear methodology and the findings tend to rely on industry allegations rather than empirical evidence and objective analysis.

So there.


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