TPP and the copyright future

Canada is still considering if they will ratify TPP. The TPP looks very grim in many ways and the section on copyright is just one more issue to worry about. Luckily the United States is also worried about TPP and many presidential candidates have voiced their concerns. If they U.S backs out of TPP the whole trade deal may fall apart.

My question is if TPP goes forward and Canada ratifies it what does that mean for freedom of expression in Canada? Freedom of expression is protected in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. There is a clause to override that freedom but it has had very little public support.  If Canada decides that corporate interest is worth more than freedom of expression, Canadians may start to question if Canada can be called a democracy anymore.


Subtle Changes with Copyright Provision in TPP

A slight change in TPP may lead to the possibility of an expanded definition of copyright violation. This means that their could be a possibility for more criminal action as well. The version of the TPP released in November allowed for signatories to be exempt from enacting a variety criminal laws relating to copyright infringement as long as they did not prevent copyright holders from being able to make money off of their works.

The new version takes away this exemption. The Electronic Frontier Foundation believes that this means that all copyright violations are to be illegal under the TPP. Even if they do not prevent copyright holders from making money. It is unclear why this change has happened because governments have spoke on this change.

Maybe corporations have lobbied TPP for this change. If that is the case corporations may not trust judicial interpretations of what will or will not prevent copyright holders from making money. With these changes corporations do not need worry about judicial interpretation because no copyright violation would be okay.

Critique over Jim Bastille on TPP?

Mark Warner from Huntington Post has recently criticized Jim Bastille for being against TPP because of implications of TPP on intellectual property in Canada. Jim Bastille believes that TPP will hurt innovation in Canada because Canada will become subjected to American-style intellectual property laws. Mark Warner Argues that Changes to intellectual property from TPP would be minimal if TPP gets ratified in Canada, and that most of TPP is a good deal for Canada so we should not let a few negative changes to intellectual Property prevent us from ratifying TPP.

Mark Warner said that criticism of TPP has been ‘convincingly’ countered by intellectual property lawyers that said TPP would have only a minimal influence on Canadian intellectual property laws. My question for Mark Warner is who’s side are intellectual property lawyers on? I would assume that intellectual property lawyers would support corporate interests. Now if the intellectual property lawyers that Warner referred to supported Canadian corporate interests then they may side with Bastille. It is possible that the intellectual property lawyers were working for American Corporations. If that is the case then it would be likely that they would downplay implications of TPP on Canadian intellectual property law.

Warner also suggests that Canada is better off using a few intellectual property changes to use as a bargaining chip to get what Canada wants. He makes it sound like that TPP is still getting created. The truth is that TPP is already written up and Canada signed it. How can Canada use intellectual property changes as bargaining chip to put what Canada wants in TPP  if TPP has already been long past the drafting stage? Is TPP able to get amended, Warner has made no indication of this. Is Warner suggesting that Canada may have used small changes to Canadian intellectual property law as a bargaining chip during the drafting stage? If this is true then why has Warner not provided evidence backing this claim up?

Warner needs evidence to back his claims up. My gut feeling is to trust Jim Bastille’s worries about TPP. Business men tend to be self-interested so if Jim Bastille is worried about TPP hurting the Canadian economy I will believe him. Free Trade Agreements tend to benefit American corporate interests anyways.

American Netflix

Some shows or movies are on American Netflix and not Canadian Netflix because Netflix does not have the Canadian rights to those shows or movies  (Possibly because a competitor has those rights) Many Canadians who have Netflix feel like Canadian Netflix is being unreasonable by not giving them access to their favourite shows and movies that can be found on American Netflix. The solution to this problem is virtual private networks and proxy services that can be found online to trick Netflix into thinking your computer is actually in the United States.

Canadians accessing shows and Movies only found on American Netflix does violate copyright. Theoretically the owners of the copyright of the shows and movies found exclusively on American Netflix can sue Canadians who are illegally accessing American Netflix. It has not happened yet though.

This suggests Canadians are not content with Canadian movies and TV shows. Canadians would rather  have more American movies and TV shows on Canadian Netflix. Does this mean Canadian culture is to much influenced by the United States? I think it might mean that.

It is worrisome that accessing American Netflix violates copyright regardless if no one has been punished yet for using American Netflix. I can understand frustrations of people who feel like they are not getting what they paid for because the American Netflix has T.V shows and movies they cannot watch. It would be awful if Canadians started to face criminal charges for accessing American Netflix illegally. When everyday citizens start becoming criminals because they  found a way to watch movies and T.V shows that can’t be found on Canadian Netflix then copyright law has gone too far.

Remix thoughts

Remix stresses that creative ideas come from combinations of other ideas. Remix suggested that every idea is either a mash-up or a recycled version of an old creation.  I am not convinced that these are the only two options for creative works.  Does that mean that hip hop culture is not art because it involves sampling from other songs? Absolutely not! Hip hop is just as valid of an art form as any other musical genre even if it does involve sampling. Does it need to involve sampling? I think it can exist without sampling.

Art does not have to be a mash-up or  recycled from previous pieces of art.  That does not mean that those forms of art or invalid. Combining or tweaking existing art can be a creative expression of an individual. Does the individual who combines or tweaks art needs to be subjected to copyright? I think that if a mash-up can blend songs in a way that makes them unrecognizable than they should not be subjected to copyright but I am unsure if they should be subjected to copyright if they are recognizable.  What I do not believe is that the creative works are only composed of mash-ups and recycled versions of old art work. One can be influenced by artists work and use that for their own creations.