Canada signs ACTA

Earlier today, Ed Fast, the Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. The press release announcing the signing stated the following:

“Counterfeit and pirated goods are an increasingly global problem that requires a globally coordinated solution,” said Minister Fast. “We all have an interest in combatting counterfeiting and piracy because these activities cost billions of dollars each year in revenue and trade losses, which translates into higher prices, lost income and lost jobs for people employed in a range of industries—from film and pharmaceuticals to electronics. Counterfeit goods also pose a real threat to the health and safety of people because the producers of goods such as drugs and auto parts evade the rigorous rules, standards and guidelines that are in place to protect consumers.”

ACTA will establish new international standards for enforcing intellectual property rights. It will cover three areas: improving international cooperation, establishing best practices for enforcement and providing a more effective legal framework to address the problem of counterfeiting and piracy. It will also give innovators, artists and entrepreneurs enhanced measures to ensure their creations and associated rights are protected. Alongside Canada, Australia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Singapore and the United States also signed the agreement, which was negotiated by 38 parties in total.

Following the signature of ACTA, the Government of Canada will develop and introduce the necessary legislation to implement the agreement. The government has already taken steps to enforce and defend intellectual property rights and help balance the needs of creators and users by reintroducing its Copyright Modernization Act (Bill C-11) in Parliament on September 29. The bill informed and guided Canada’s approach to the ACTA negotiations.

“The signing of this historic international agreement and our government’s reintroduction of copyright legislation demonstrates Canada’s commitment to combatting counterfeit and pirated goods, and protecting innovation- and knowledge-based prosperity, which are key to Canada’s future economic success,” said Minister Fast.

A backgrounder on ACTA can be found here. A summary of the agreement which I prepared when the text of ACTA was agreed to can be found here.

Signing ACTA is a step towards meeting the significant counterfeiting problems identified by the RCMP in A National Intellectual Property Crime Threat Assessment, 2005 to 2008. The porous nature of our borders and the need to upgrade our border controls to world standards to reduce counterfeiting and piracy in Canada has been noted by two parliamentary committees, three Canadian trade associations, and our major trading partners. Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Safety and National SecurityParliamentary Standing Committee on Industry, Science and TechnologyOntario Chamber of commerceCanadian Chamber of CommerceU.S. Trade Representative,  U.S. Congressional Anti-Piracy CaucusEuropean Union, and Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network (CACN).

For more information about the Copyright Modernization Act or Bill C-11 or copyright reform, see Change and the Copyright Modernization Act.


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