ESA Part of Group Seeking to Blacklist Canada

As reported by the Globe and Mail, a coalition of American movie, music and software publishers are pressuring the Bush administration to add Canada to a blacklist of countries which don’t adequately enforce intellectual property laws.

Russia and China are already among those on the trade blacklist.The International Intellectual Property Alliance, of which the ESA is a member, alleges in a 2007 report:

Almost alone among developed economies… Canada has taken no steps toward modernizing its copyright law to meet the new global minimum standards… Its enforcement record also falls far short… Pirates have taken advantage of the gaps in Canadian law to make it a leading exporter, both of camcorded masters that feed audio-visual piracy worldwide, and of devices – illegal in most global markets besides Canada – that are intended to circumvent technological protection measures used by the publishers of entertainment software…

Said IIPA legal counsel Steve Metalitz:

The industry groups feel very strongly that we need to ratchet this up. The disturbing thing is that the Canadian government doesn’t seem to take this very seriously.

Being placed on the blacklist could lead to sanctions against Canada as well as trade challenges before the World Trade Organization. Industry Canada spokesman David Dummer told the Globe and Mail:

The government of Canada is working actively on the copyright file and will take the time necessary to ensure that revisions to this important framework legislation have been fully thought through.

Regarding video games, the IIPA complains that mod chips (examples pictured at left), used to play pirated software on consoles, are not illegal in Canada. Making and distributing the chips has become a staple of Canadian organized crime gangs such as the Hell’s Angel and Big Circle Boys.

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