Sep 272017

Centre for International Governance Innovation, Link (CC-BY-NC-SA)
Authors: Bassem Awad, Ariel Katz, Michael Geist, Howard Knopf, Teresa Scassa, Ysolde Gendreau, and Konstantia Koutouki

…Given the fast-paced negotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement, and as part of efforts to support Canada’s negotiators and policy makers with clear, simple and factual analyses of Canada’s key interests within the negotiations, the International Law Research Program at the Centre for International Governance Innovation commissioned a series of essays addressing intellectual property rights. A modernized chapter for intellectual property rights could have a deep impact on the emerging knowledge economy in Canada and for the people who turn ideas into innovations. Continue reading »

Sep 252017

OTTAWA: It was being reported among various observers of NAFTA over the weekend that the talks in the IP chapter are progressing toward Copyright. The US appears poised to table the first set of its demands for that portion of the IP chapter. But it is also rumored that that the US demand may exclude the issue of copyright balance.

Civil society organizations, including internet freedom and information justice advocates from the US and Canada (Mexico was largely absent due to the earthquakes), gathered in Ottawa over the weekend to provide the public forum on NAFTA issues that the formal negotiation has yet to sponsor. The Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic teamed with American University’s Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property, OpenMedia, Public Citizen and the Electronic Frontier Foundation to discuss public interest concerns with the E-Commerce and copyright provisions of the potential agreement. Continue reading »


Canada’s NAFTA IP and E-commerce Priorities: My Appearance Before the Standing Committee on International Trade

 Posted by on September 19, 2017  Comments Off on Canada’s NAFTA IP and E-commerce Priorities: My Appearance Before the Standing Committee on International Trade
Sep 192017

[Originally posted on, Link (CC-BY)] The House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade has been conducting hearings on the NAFTA negotiations. I appeared before the committee yesterday on a panel that included the dairy industry, food and beverage sector, and my comments on IP and e-commerce. The MPs showed considerable interest in both IP and e-commerce, asking questions about notice-and-notice, fair use, copyright balance, the public domain, and the privacy implications of the e-commerce chapter.

My opening remarks are posted below. Continue reading »

Aug 182017

Image: Alex Covarrubias (CC-BY)

We, the undersigned, are Internet freedom and public interest advocates drawn from all three nations party to this agreement, who are dedicated to the rights of all peoples to access cultural and educational resources, to enjoy a free and open Internet, and to benefit from open and needs-driven innovation.

As the United States, Mexico and Canada begin talks on the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) this week, we write to share our concerns about NAFTA’s potential impact on the critical functions of the Internet and its potential to threaten access to information, the dissemination of news, cultural exchange and democratic organizing. Continue reading »


NAFTA Renegotiation to Begin on Wednesday

 Posted by on August 14, 2017  Comments Off on NAFTA Renegotiation to Begin on Wednesday
Aug 142017

Image: Alex Covarrubias (CC-BY)

The U.S, Mexico and Canada will begin renegotiating NAFTA this Wednesday at the Marriott Wardman Park hotel in Washington DC.

Inside US Trade reports that “initial talks will focus mostly on logistics and agenda-setting… Negotiators are expected to establish working groups for specific issue areas, identify their NAFTA-country counterparts and pinpoint the contentious issues that will take longer to negotiate. Negotiators will also exchange their priorities for the renegotiations, which could include agreeing on what issues will not be renegotiated. This will allow the negotiators to construct a chronology for the talks as they move forward.” Continue reading »


Sen. Wyden: “NAFTA 2.0 Must Take a Balanced Approach to Copyright”

 Posted by on July 6, 2017  Comments Off on Sen. Wyden: “NAFTA 2.0 Must Take a Balanced Approach to Copyright”
Jul 062017

Inside U.S. Trade reports on a Capitol Hill event on digital trade and the NAFTA renegotation at which Sen. Wyden made the following remark regarding copyright: “NAFTA 2.0 must take a balanced approach to copyright that ensures the free flow of ideas around the world and allows American companies to continue to compete and win across the globe. Our agreements should enshrine a copyright system that looks to the future, not one that prevents computer researchers from doing their jobs or locks in restrictive copyright rules.”

Click here for the full story on


Canada Blinks in Face of US/Pharma Pressure

 Posted by on July 3, 2017  Comments Off on Canada Blinks in Face of US/Pharma Pressure
Jul 032017

Supreme Court Adopts Wink-Wink Patent Utility Rule

In a stunning reversal of policy, on June 30, 2017, the Supreme Court of Canada overturned decades of precedent making it easier for the biopharmaceutical industry to gain patents on medicines without any real proof of a claim that a putative invention has any meaningful utility.  This reversal in AstraZeneca Canada Inc. v. Apotex, Inc. is particularly disconcerting because Canada had just won an investor-state arbitration award in the long awaited Eli Lilly v. Canada case upholding its more stringent promise/utility doctrine that had been used successfully to overturn two dozen secondary patents, particularly those claiming new uses of known medicines, where patent claimants failed to present evidence in support of the prediction of therapeutic benefit promised in their patent applications. Continue reading »

Jun 302017

Today, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative announced a request for public input for a performance review of all the United States’ existing international trade and investment agreements.

In an April 29, 2017 executive order, President Trump directed USTR and the Department of Commerce to submit within 180 days a report that reviews trade agreement performance, identifies trade abuses, and pursues trade remedies. Continue reading »

Jun 282017

NAFTA Modernization Hearing, International Trade Commission
USTR-2017-0006 | June 27, 2017
See also: Written Comment on NAFTA Modernization, submitted jointly with Sean Flynn

My name is Michael  Palmedo, and I work for the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property (PIJIP) at the American University Washington College of Law.  We have an interdisciplinary project that studies the economic effects of legal provisions in copyright laws, specifically copyright limitations that are relied upon by various firms in the information and research sectors.  I manage the economic side of this research, which is partially funded by Google. In this testimony, I will share information from our research indicating that the promotion of balanced copyright systems promotes U.S. trade interests, and should therefore be included in the NAFTA renegotiation objectives. Continue reading »

Jun 262017

This week the U.S. government’s Trade Policy Staff Committee, an inter-agency group headed by the U.S. Trade Representative, will be holding a three-day open hearing on NAFTA.  The purpose of the hearing, as stated in the Federal Register Notice, is to “assist USTR as it develops its negotiating objectives and positions for the agreement.”  The hearing runs from Tuesday, June 27 through Thursday, June 29. It will held at the International Trade Commission building, and will be webcast on  (Tuesday will definitely be webcast, and USTR is ‘awaiting livestream confirmation’ at the time I am writing this.)

143 people will testify. The panels with witnesses that seem the most dedicated to intellectual property run from 4:45 to 8:00 on Tuesday evening. The full schedule is here. 


U.S. Lobby Groups Take Aim At Canadian Copyright Law in NAFTA Comments: No Balance, No Fair Use, & No Cultural Exception

 Posted by on June 22, 2017  Comments Off on U.S. Lobby Groups Take Aim At Canadian Copyright Law in NAFTA Comments: No Balance, No Fair Use, & No Cultural Exception
Jun 222017

[Reposted from, Link (CC-BY)] The U.S. just completed its consultation on negotiating objectives in the upcoming NAFTA re-negotiations (the Canadian consultation is open until July 18, 2017). There are well over a thousand comments, but a review of the lobby groups who pay attention to copyright reveals that they hope to use the talks to make significant changes to Canadian copyright law. This was expected – I touched on the trade dimension of domestic reforms in my recent Policy Options piece on the 2017 copyright review – but the extent to which many groups want to toss aside foundational elements of Canadian copyright law may still surprise. Continue reading »


MPAA & RIAA Demand Tough Copyright Standards in NAFTA Negotiations

 Posted by on June 21, 2017  Comments Off on MPAA & RIAA Demand Tough Copyright Standards in NAFTA Negotiations
Jun 212017

[Andy, TorrentFreak, Link (CC-BY-NC)] The MPAA and RIAA have made their positions clear in submissions to the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations. Both want allies Canada and Mexico to commit to tightened copyright law, including restrictions on safe harbor provisions that go beyond current US practice.

Continue reading »