A coalition of American media industry trade groups is asking the US government to put Canada on a list of the world's worst countries when it comes to enforcing intellectual property rights and fighting piracy, according to an article in The Globe and Mail.
The seven-member International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) includes trade groups, such as the Entertainment Software Association, the Motion Picture Association of America, and the Recording Industry Association of America. According to the IIPA, Canada has failed to deliver on promises of more stringent copyright laws and stepped-up enforcements for the laws already on the books.
Canada is a leading exporter of bootlegged films and mod chips for game systems, the group said. It also claimed that up to one-quarter of the bootlegged films sold around the world originate in Canada, and the country's mod chip businesses are run by organized crime rings.
"Canada remains far behind virtually all of its peers in the industrialized world with respect to its efforts to bring its copyright laws up to date with the realities of the global digital networked environment," the IIPA said. "Indeed, even the major developing countries have progressed further and faster than Canada in meeting the challenge."
The IIPA is asking the US to move Canada from a lower-priority watch list to the priority watch list for countries not respecting intellectual property issues. Other countries already on that priority watch list include Russia, China, Belize, Venezuela, and Turkey. If Canada is added to the list, failure to address the US government's concerns could lead to challenges in the World Trade Organization and possible sanctions.
A representative for Industry Canada, the group overseeing the country's copyright laws, 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."
Canada is by no means alone in being criticized by the IIPA. The Associated Press reported this week that the group recommended that dozens of countries be included on the US government's various watch lists, with 16 countries (including Canada) cited as having the worst records on piracy. The IIPA claimed that software piracy had cost copyright holders $12.3 billion last year, while music piracy affected US companies to the tune of $2.4 billion.