Canada, blacklisted again -

Canada, blacklisted again

Once again, the U.S. listed us as one of the world’s worst abusers of intellectual property rights


Lone Primate/Flickr

You can set your watch to it.

The inclusion of Canada on the U.S. Trade Representative’s annual “301 Priority Watchlist,” ostensibly a blacklist of the world’s 10 worst abusers of intellectual property, has become as predictable as tax day. Each year for the past four years, we’ve been told that we are a nation of pirates and thieves, keeping company with epic bootlegger nations like Russia and China. And each year, no proof is given to back up the smear. The USTR provides no hard facts or data illustrating the extent of piracy and counterfeiting in Canada. Instead, the report simply reminds us that we haven’t adopted the right kind of intellectual property laws. And what kind is the right kind? The American kind, naturally.

So what are the consequences of being on the Priority Watchlist? Officially, none. The list results in no sanctions or penalties from our NAFTA partner. It is meant to shame us, along with any other country that has resisted pressure from American lobby groups to use our laws to protect their outdated business models. The list is explicit in this, stating baldly that Canada’s inclusion is “subject to review if Canada enacts long awaited copyright legislation.”

That legislation is coming this summer. Bill C-11 will make it illegal for Canadians to install a program that, say, lets you transfer a Kindle book to a Kobo eReader. It will also open the door to lawsuits against Canadians who do so anyhow, like the tens of thousands of lawsuits against individual music downloaders that have failed to curb piracy in the U.S.

It seems that America’s shame list has worked.  We’ve caved in, prioritizing the pressure from a foreign nation’s industry against the rights of our own citizens to do what they want with their own property.

Personally, I’ll be ashamed when we’re off the 301 Watchlist.

Jesse Brown is the host of’s Search Engine podcast. He is on Twitter @jessebrown

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Canada, blacklisted again

  1. Of course we caved, we always cave.

    Currying favour is what we do.

  2. Sorry Jesse, but as long as our outdated copyright legislation provides haven for sites like Isohunt, Canada will continue to be the black sheep among our international trading partners.

    • I like Isohunt. Besides, it has nothing to do with piracy (which is in fact file sharing, the term piracy having been introduced by the media cartel to stigmatize that particular activity) and everything to do with who’s controlling the narrative.

      • Not to mention that Isohunt is Canadian, and Russia and China ARE international trade partners of ours.

    • IsoHunt is currently being sued for copyright infringement under our current laws. I’m not sure what you think the problem is.

  3. As a military vet a.k.a government employee we will never stop following what the U.S.A says with people like Harper in charge, you actually have to have a backbone and his dog has more than he does buried in the backyard

  4. What, Jesse, we wanted a majority government after all. This bill has been killed repeatedly in a minority government, but obviously Canadians didn’t like that and want their freedoms restricted. Hence the mandate we’ve given to the CPC.

    In fact, to aid them in this, once bill C-11 passes, I’ll probably spend a couple days trolling through the blogging tory’s sites, and sending what information I can find off to the various media sites as pretty much anybody who uses a computer will be an infringer and as such perfect for Canada to demonstrate it’s new tough on the public laws.

  5. Oh lovely, let’s create another “War on X”. You know, because they work so well right?

    (eye roll)

  6. I’m a member of a number of publishing sites. Overwhelmingly they eschew Digital Right Management (DRM). You know why? Because it ticks people off not being able to move the products they buy amongst the different platforms they own while not being an effective way of stopping hackers from sharing your work.

    Creating laws to try and bolster DRM is at best beating honest consumers over the head and making their lives more difficult while doing nothing to impact the black market, which is of course incorrectly named given they don’t make any money.

    The new reality is that while you can chase after sites and shut them down, you cannot stop this form of IP theft through the means being attempted.

  7. Hahaha… this is rich from a country that literally stole 5 cutting edge fighter jets from Canada. Lets call this the Avro Arrow list of intellectual property rights???

  8. Rip up that NAFTA agreement already pleeeez. You know that one, that Muldoooney and the Con’s screwed us with a long time ago ?
    openmedia dot ca, netneutrality dot ca, …
    Harper, LoL, is such a puppet for the USA it’s disgusting.

  9. WOW! Why is any country wasting time on these laws. I think our tax money would be better spent on our childrens education, health care, oh, and then there is the real violent criminals. Am I the only one that thinks my hard earned taxed dollars should be used to protect society as a whole instead of the few elite that should be spending their millions on how to protect their profits.

    • it’s all about the corporations in the US that lobby – money, money, money, makes the world go round. education? aaaa, who cares?

  10. “Personally, I’ll be ashamed when we’re off the 301 Watchlist.”

    Could not agree more!

  11. Does the industry expect me to purchase a copy of something for my computer, and another of the same thing for my tablet, never mind another for my ipod?? What’s wrong with transferring between whatever devices I have? At least I purchased it! Let the blacklisting continue!