A day after U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk added Canada to the USTR's "Priority Watch List" of copyright offenders, Canadians are beginning to fire back.
University of Ottawa law prof Michael Geist writes:
The move is not unexpected, given recent comments from Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Congressional panels as well as the demands from U.S. lobby groups... (never mind that Canada enacted anti-camcording laws in 2007, introduced C-61 last year, is an original negotiating partner in the ACTA negotiations, joined the U.S. as a third party in the WTO copyright complaint against China, etc.).
Geist also cites the Canadian government's 2007 objection to pressure applied by the USTR:
In regard to the watch list, Canada does not recognize the 301 watch list process. It basically lacks reliable and objective analysis. It's driven entirely by U.S. industry. We have repeatedly raised this issue of the lack of objective analysis in the 301 watch list process with our U.S. counterparts.
In a separate post, Geist calls the Priority Watch List designation absurd, noting figures which show Canada's piracy rate to be quite low compared to other nations:
The IIPA, the lead U.S. lobbyist on international IP matters, has issued a press release on the USTR Special 301 report, welcoming the inclusion of Canada on the Priority Watch List. Yet the release inadvertently demonstrates why the designation is so absurd...
compare Canada to the remainder of the list. Canada comes in at 32%... Not only is Canada not even remotely close to any other country on the list, it has the lowest software piracy rate of any of the 46 countries in the entire Special 301 Report...