Copyright and Intellectual Property protection

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excerpted from Embassy October 6, 2011 United States, European Union fingered in new copyright push By Sneh Duggal

Whenever the Harper government has sought to change the rules surrounding copyright in Canada, it has been accused of bending to the will of foreign governments. And as it seeks to change them again, some are pointing fingers at the United States and the European Union as the source of pressure.

The Conservatives reintroduced its Copyright Modernization Act, now Bill C-11, on Sept. 29. This is the third time the Conservatives have brought such a bill to Parliament in the past few years—but this time, the party has the numbers to pass the bill, and says it hopes to wrap up the whole affair by Christmas.

Those who have followed this copyright saga for years, such as University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist, are convinced that “relentless US pressure” is to blame. But while he and others argue that parts of the bill may have resulted from foreign pressure, others have applauded the legislation, saying that it serves to bolster Canadian interests abroad.

Pushing Canada on intellectual property has long been a prominent foreign policy principle of the United States, said former Canadian diplomat Colin Robertson, now vice-president of the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute. “The Americans have expected this for two-and-a-half years. The western world is moving to give greater protection to those who create,” Mr. Robertson said. There is a lot of Canadian talent that want the same protection the Americans and Europeans get, he argued… He also said the bill would likely pave the way for the introduction of other intellectual property legislation, especially relating to pharmaceuticals. “To bring a drug to market costs a billion dollars these days, sometimes more, [other countries] want to ensure that they have got adequate protection to ensure that the creator of the drug will make their money back,” he said….