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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  1. 0
    Xveers ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I just find this laughable… the US industries slag the WTO whenever it rules against them but love them when it has a teeny prayer to impose its will on someone else… bloody hypocrites

  2. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    The ESA is already the new RIAA they see no use for moding or backing up hat you buy,and they certainly see no need for you to return a poorly made game.

    Region coding,hacked in a day multi million dollar copy protection,degrading personal use/user rights and ownership into a vague rental plan no wonder they are not called the media mafia,sadly videos games have become a part of Hollywood,I will do as I have always done check out a game first if I like it I will by it but at the rate games devolving theres less a need to buy games…

    perhaps instead of forcing the government to let corporations abuse its citsens they should put more effort into the product they sale and cut back on propaganda and copy protection in order adjust the REAL loss of money and put that money into develop better games and media…

  3. 0
    Kadamon says:

    *snorts* BS.

    As Jabr said, Mod-Chips in themselves are not illegal, fact is, if I had the money, I’d do it to my PS2 at least. Why? The games I own would load up faster and the visuals would be sharper. And that means a plus when dealing with some of the older games or massive RPG’s on one disc.

    You see it on every movie that has that FBI warning, take away the copy part and you basically have the Canadian edition. Back-ups aren’t illegal if you own the original. Distributing past that part without permission on the other-hand is.

    Then again, I also believe Region Encoding is bullshit as well.

    In the end though, even if they did make it illegal, they’re going to catch not even 1% of the people that do pirate.

    I’ll admit, I download music and anime and such. But where else am I going to find it outside of paying between 10-50 bucks for a CD/DVD and upwards to 300 for a full season of something? It’s the same thing as console gaming. If you can’t find it anywhere, what else are you gonna do?

  4. 0
    Vincent says:

    I forgot to add this, but I’d like to share a story that I think is an argument that can be used in terms of whats good about video games and how families can use video games to bring them together instead of alienating their children and making them out to be violent murderers.

    I was flying Battlefield 2 one day and I was running to get to a plan (Kubra Dam US side in case you’re wondering) and there were two guys there with a similar name with the same clan tag. The only difference in their names was Sr and Jr..but because the names were weird to begin with I didn’t figure out what it meant. But to make things easier lets call them JohnnyJR and JohnnySR

    Anyways I go to grab the plan [I’m in the same squad as them so we have voice contact], but the JohnnySR gets in and I stop to allow JohnnyJR to get in because they are clan mates and whatnot.

    He tells me on voice chat its ok I can get and asks do I want to pilot or co-pilot and I say how come hes called me to get in the plan and he says “My son is afk, hes eating dinner.”

    I finally figure out what the JR and SR meant and I’m just flabbergasted….and I astonishingly ask “You play games with your son” and he answers “Yea my daughter plays with us too shes just not on” …I’m still in shock of course because since I discovered gaming as a kid I wanted nothing more then my dad to play with me.

    Of course he developed a disdain or even hate for all things gaming and computer because he saw me spending so much time on it instead of “socializing” or playing some sport and him playing games would be impossible.

    Then of course I tell the guy in the plane that I’m really jeleous and that his kids are very lucky. He tells me that he’s divorced and games allow him to bond with his children. So even though he’s not the primary caregiver the bonds with his children and him are stronger then them with their mother. They even started a family clan.

    I ask how old he is because I’m thinking hes like a young father, 25 and he says 40.

    The point of the story is that games can do a lot more good then you’d expect, and if some parents were wiling to put their own prejudices aside and taking interest in what their kids are interested in, and take interest in their kids lives they could be a lot closer to their children then you could ever expect. Kids/Teens would communicate with their parents easily and would confide in them if they shared and experienced some common interests on a regular basis.

    But in todays world parents often look for the easy answer, a scapegoat, something convenient to explain why their children are so distant from them and why they can’t relate with their children and politicians abuse that and only end up drawing lines in the sand that further separate parents from their children, instead of bringing them together.

  5. 0
    Vincent says:

    The funny thing is our musicians and other artists have stood up and are fighting the group (I forget whats its called I think its the Canadian version of the RIAA or MPAA), that group is trying to change copyright laws in terms of downloading and p2p and artists are fighting that group.

    Because downloading has brought many unknown artists with true talent into the limelight and artists are seeing that publishers and big studios are useless because they can produce and sell their music by themselves with the use of p2p, and the internet in general.

    So yea our artists rock cuz they are fighting to keep p2p sharing and all that.

    Truly in a couple of years even the CD will become obselete and all the big studios and recording companies will crash and burn into the ground because they cannot compete. It’s cheaper for an artist to distribute their music by themselves. In the past before internet you needed someone to distribute your music and market it and advertise it, that is quickly becoming useless.

    So the music industry is just fighting a losing battle. The television industry is going through a similar downfall. People especially those of the younger demographic are turning away from TV in mass numbers and getting their media and entertainment content from the web.

    Why do you think there is so many American Idol-like reality shows, they serve the aging baby boomers. These shows put the old age groups in positions of authority [judges] and the younger people below them. A characteristic that appeals to baby boomers. A great example of a show for that is that new one about Grease.

    Nobody from the younger generation was old enough to have seen Grease when it came out, although I suspect many of us have seen it at one time or another. But it’s just a movie to us and doesn’t mean the same thing it meant to people who were teens when they saw it.

    I read an interesting article (or part of it) about all that I mentioned above and about the three generations the Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y [current 18-29] generation.

    The Baby Boomers which are constitute the majority of politicians grew up without video games and there fore video games are uncomfortable with them. It is a rarity to find a baby boomer that actively plays games.

    Then theres the Gen X ers, they were in their 20s when gaming started picking up, so even though theres more of them playing video games now its still a small amount because they didn’t grow up with them.

    Then there is us the Gen Y’s, we grew up around games, born in the the 80’s and 90s, we saw the evolution of games and have included them as part of our lives. We are comfortable with them.

    The point of stating the obvious above, is to predict when games will not be seen as contraband or something evil but as art and entertainment.

    First all the pro-gaming organization’s such as the ECA will have the toughest fights in the war with the current baby-boomer generation of politicians although this generation is decreasing in political presence. Then they will have to fight the Gen X’ers for quite a long time, until the current generation starts to get a sizable force of representatives in politics and final when the Gen X’ers are also gone.

    Then we can finally start to enjoy a golden age in new media, and gaming. But by then the Generation Z [which are currently children and preteens] will probably have some new and radical form of entertainment which we will look down upon and call it immoral and a bad influence on children….and basically perpetuate the cycle.

    Oh well.

  6. 0
    gs2005 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    The content industry in the United States is just angry because other countries do not have draconian DMCA-like laws in place for starters. Just look at the warpath the RIAA is on right now-suing computer illiterate and dead people over copyright infringement items (“theft” to the RIAA and MPAA). The MPAA just was so pleased with itself when it got The Pirate Bay shut down for a couple of days or whatever last year. Thankfully, the stoppage was temporary.

    Unlike some other countries, I sure hope Canada will not just roll over because the content industry doesn’t approve of their current legal infrastructure. Stupid, but very, very predictable. The DMCA is one of the stupidest laws ever made-basically telling U.S. Consumers not to hack content “protection” (aka copy restriction) technology-and it gets hacked ANYWAY…pathetic.

    Software patents are bad enough…

  7. 0
    Shockz says:

    “mod chips arn’t illegal stateside either, as there is plenty of legitimate use for them (playing backed up copies of your own games and playing import games for example) it’s hard to make the use of mod chips illegal, and as such they generaly are not

    i find it amazing that they are throwing a “mod chips arn’t illegal” argument when they are legal here as well”

    Actually, I don’t believe they are…or even if they are, there is no USE for them that is legal, as bypassing region codes or creating copies of games counts as “circumventing encryption” or whatever the bulls**t in the DMCA says.

  8. 0
    tony Selby ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    mod chips arn’t illegal stateside either, as there is plenty of legitimate use for them (playing backed up copies of your own games and playing import games for example) it’s hard to make the use of mod chips illegal, and as such they generaly are not

    i find it amazing that they are throwing a “mod chips arn’t illegal” argument when they are legal here as well

  9. 0
    Brokenscope ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    The RIAA used to do what the ESA does for the games industry. Collectively represented them to the government and attempted to provide them with fair wages ect ect.

    Now…. its the RIAA.

  10. 0
    Ashla ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @F**ked up

    Well sure, but how exactly is Riaa benefiting the people of the united states by Zealously guarding the there copy righted products? If they were doing so in order to ensure that the artists who they represent are in fact getting a decent wage off of the sales of there cd’s I might be willing to acknowledge there credibility, but at present most artists are seeing a tiddlywink 5% royalty on the sale of there CD’s.

    So really, aside from enforcing Copyright laws (in order to keep it’s cash cows producing) what the hell does Riaa do?

  11. 0
    Scazza ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I love how they feel the right to impose their views and laws on others, yet they fail to realize to look within their own borders to realize that most of the piracy actually COMES from within the US. Its usually just hosted on places like where law cannot touch them.

    In canada we cherish our peoples rights, and unlike the US, we don’t bend so easily for companies with big money that force people to put peoples freedoms and basic rights aside in the interest of money.

    Check out how the industry recently failed in trying this in canada:

    I guess they now decided to try this approach now.

  12. 0
    Blaktron says:

    As a Canadian this is outrageous. Our laws are our own, the United States has no right to even suggest that we change them to fall into line with their anti-freedom acts. It is very illegal here to record a movie in a theatre and distrubute it. It is illegal to make a software copy of something and distribute it. What it is not illegal is doing anything in your private home pretty much at all unless it harms someone else, and thats how it should be. I have a solution for them to stop all the movie piracy: piss us off until we stop shipping power to california. Then, they wont be able to make any movies for us to pirate as there wont be any lights. I have nothing against americans but your governments stance against, not only your citizens, but the citizens of other countries really puts a stain on your otherwise wonderful country.

  13. 0
    AbsumZer0 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “Making and distributing the chips has become a staple of Canadian organized crime gangs such as the Hell’s Angel and Big Circle Boys.”

    This is a pretty big step-up from the manufacturing and distribution of methamphetamines, heroin, white slavery, child pornography, and counterfeit money, isn’t it?

  14. 0
    Wolf ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Brokenscope, your first comment took the words out of my mouth. I’d hate to see that happen.

    Speaking of Canada, I’ll be moving there soon actually, if everything goes right.

  15. 0
    F**ked up says:

    We as americans just love piss people off for the stupidest reasons hell we dont even need a reason well just do it.

    Well in the not to distant future I see America becoming isolated and on its own. I m just waiting for the day when the foreign countries start demanding there money back from us. Hell I m waiting for when America will be blacklisted.

  16. 0
    Jabrwock ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    heh, more info. The ‘grey market’ satellite dish rulings stated that since the US broadcasters didn’t authorize anyone living in Canada to decode their signals, then you didn’t have permission to decode them. Therefore those Dish Net decoders, without a valid subscription (and simply faking US residency by using a PO box didn’t count), were illegal.

  17. 0
    Jabrwock ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    “also things that allow you to get Dish Network for free are also legal there”

    Actually, no. But that’s because of a clause in the Broadcast Act, not the Copyright Act:

    “No person shall… decode an encrypted subscription programming signal or encrypted network feed otherwise than under and in accordance with an authorization from the lawful distributor of the signal or feed”

    Once you have permission to decode the signal though, private copies become fair game. So as long as you have a valid subscription (ie the company giving you a subscription is the lawsful distributer of that signal in Canada), then you are ok.

  18. 0
    GoodRobotUs ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Well, it does need to be borne in mind that just because you are a flake in an avalanche, doesn’t always mean you are the cause of that avalanche. This kind of muscle flexing goes on all the time, particuarly with Industry focus groups.

    Yes, the ECA will need to grow in strength, while I admire and respect the ESA’s efforts in controlling the flood of moronity from legislation makers recently, their primary focus is, and always will be, the industry, not the consumer, so it is important to have a balance between the two points of view.

    My main concern is that, in order to kill off piracy, the group of organisations which include the ESA will start to advocate laws and restrictions which are just as unconstitutional as those they fought. Still, in all fairness it hasn’t happened yet, and yes, the ESA will pressure in support of industry and its interests, but you’ll usually find the outcome is a half-way meeting between what the lobbyist wants (industry) and what the voters want (the ‘public’).

  19. 0
    Thefremen says:

    Now we see why a strong ECA is so important, and will become more important in the future: the ESA simply does not care about the consumer in any way whatsoever.

  20. 0
    ChronoWraith ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Michael Giest has recently brought up a good article relating to this issue ( A good point he brings up is that news articles representing this story are totally misleading. Other countries included on the watch list are: Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Spain, Israel and India. What are the countries that these news articles report Canada being a part with: Belize, Venezuela, Ukraine, Argentina, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, Mexico and Turkey.

    He also mentions that another 23 of the world’s 30 most populous countries are targeted for criticism with the exceptions of Germany, Ethiopia, Iran, France, the UK, Congo, and Myanmar.

    He finishes saying that Canadians should not be led to think that our copyright laws are not meeting an “international standard”, but rather that maybe the US laws are not the standard.

  21. 0
    Twib says:

    also things that allow you to get Dish Network for free are also legal there…

    So I think this is actually a good thing.

    Yet CHina completely ignore patent laws, yet we are ok with their goods, made with technology they do not own.

    I guess in the end its the price tag

  22. 0
    Azradesh says:

    If this comes to anything I’ll be quite angry. Canada is the only 1st world country I know of that has copyright law that makes any sense and I really hope that the EU will follow their example.

  23. 0
    Jabrwock ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    That’s partly why the government is taking so long. They need to balance IP rights, with the rights of the user (Section 80). This is why the DMCA is going to need some serious rework if it’s going to fly up here. Simply making decryption illegal (except when you have a license to do so) is clearly a violation of Sec 7 of our Charter of Rights (equiv to the 14th Amend).

  24. 0
    Pixelantes Anonymous ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “…modernizing its copyright law…”

    If by modernizing they mean revoking all fair use rights, making p2p illegal (regardless of the content transmitted over it), making DRM mandatory, making reverse engineering software a felony crime and making 75% of your population criminals, then yes, I suppose Canada is not doing that.

    How about instead we declare the copyright mafia an organized crime organization they already are?

  25. 0
    Jabrwock ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Some background info. Our “Fair Use” laws are actual laws, not temporary rulings from the Library of Congress. So they’re a lot harder to overturn.

    That’s why the DMCA is so hard to port into Cdn law.

    Copyright Act, Section 80:
    – the act of reproducing all or any substantial part of [media] for the private use of the person who makes the copy does not constitute an infringement of the copyright
    -private use obviously does not include copying for: distribution, renting, transmission to the public, or performing.

    So while pirating games is illegal, making mod chips isn’t, because you are allowed to make private copies. It’s only when you hand those copies out to others that you are in trouble.

  26. 0
    SilverStar says:

    I think this is just prompted mostly by the RIAA, because they’re so angry that downloading of digital music isn’t illegal up here. The reason for that, is because we already pay a levy on blank CDs. We pay the piper, we get to do whatever we bloody well want with it, short of trying to turn a profit or claim it as our own.

    Now, if the ESA does step in and try to lobby for Canada to be blacklisted, that works both ways, and the chances of Ubisoft releasing anything south of the border suddenly looks rather small, since they have.. what? 2 or 3 studios set up, up here?

  27. 0
    mrspunky says:

    There is a large and varied history of Bev Oda taking graft from Big Content — Canadians should be aware of Geist’s other findings and quickly contact your MPs.

  28. 0
    udx ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    To Brokenscope: Yeah. Me too.

    The RIAA’s practices ha shown how distrusting it is, the MPAA is following in that path, and I have a feeeling the ESA could lead down that path.

  29. 0
    Flynn says:

    As a Canadian (living state-side for a college) I can only wonder at the wisdom of this move. Frankly, Canada is one of the few countries that doesn’t hate the U.S., why risk pissing them off? (and yes, Canadians will take it personally, it’s what we do when Big Brother gets pushy)

    But politics aside, the trade enjoyed between Canada and America is a very important part of both countries well-being. Letting overly greedy coperate asshates influance policy like this can only end badly for everyone, even the MPAA/RIAA/whoever…

  30. 0
    Jabrwock ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Unless the IIPA can find me these stores chock full of pirated games (I mean more than those 3 in the US that were busted last year), I’m calling bull.

  31. 0
    Jabrwock ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I find it ironic that the US government only invokes the WTO when it suits them. If Canada invokes the WTO, the US calls it irrellevent and ignores it’s rulings…

  32. 0
    Jabrwock ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Yeah, Prof. Geist even blew their “most pirated movies come from Canada” bull. He showed that most pirated movies are in fact copies sent to movie reviewers, ie full DVD quality, not screeners shot in a theatre with camcorders.

    Mod chips are not illegal up here because you’re modifying a product you paid for. It’s the pirated games that are illegal. The reason the criminal gangs do it, is because the industry leans heavily on regular stores to not carry them, so there’s a grey market (market for items that are technically not illegal)

  33. 0
    Dorkmaster Flek says:

    Some stories have been coming up on Slashdot in the past several weeks about proposed changes to the Canadian Copyright Laws and their effects on consumers. I’ve been writing my MP lately about these changes (as well as proposed revoking of Net Neutrality laws) to protest them, and I encourage everyone to do the same. We have to make sure they don’t go too far in trying to appease the **AA cartel.

    For reference, Maxime Bernier and Bev Oda are the main people behind what’s going on right now. You should check out Michael Geist’s blog ( to see some of his responses to what’s going on.

  34. 0
    BinaryGeek ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    the name of the RIAA equivalent up here is CRIA, Canadian Recording Industry Association, and they’re just as annoying as the RIAA, only they get shut down in the courts alot (thankfully). If this happens I could see Bioware, Relic, Ubisoft and a few other studios delaying game titles to the US, seems fair really. I have nothing against the US people, most of my friends are americans, but US government is really screwed up. I still say that the RIAA missed the whole thing about innocent until proven guilty. with them it’s guilty until you prove your innocence. I hope the ESA doesn’t go this way, the RIAA has caused more trouble for artists than it has helped them. As for making copies of movies up here, my friend has a 2 and 4 year old, he buys a DVD and makes a copy simply because the kids usually destroy DVDs with finger prints and scratching the discs. Doesn’t make him a pirate, just makes him someone who doesn’t want to pay 30 bucks for another copy of a DVD he’s already bought once.

  35. 0
    Yuki says:

    You know, I have no issue with a company wanting to protect it’s product. I do have issues with a company wanting to make me PAY for the same product 4 times.

    That being said, I have always held the idea that, one of the ways the ESA could cut down on Piracy was to have game consoles be compatable with games from ALL regions. Many of the so called “Pirates” are not pirates at all but people forced to mod there system to play games from Other markets. I am a great example. I modded my PS1 to play games from japan, same for my PS2, and my PC Is setup for the same thing. Why? Not cause I pirate games, but cause I wanted to play certain games from overseas that my American system couldn’t play. So ,I don’t thinks it’s fair that i’d have to buy 2 versions of the same system just to play games.

    If they would drop region encoding in place of some actual form of copy protection, among other things, a lot of piracy they claim is happening would just stop.

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