Education International
Education International

EU demands Canada overhaul IP rules

published 15 April 2010 updated 15 April 2010

A leaked text of the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) confirms that Canada’s copyright and patent legislation are being targeted in the negotiations.

Among the EU’s demands are requirements that Canada extend copyright protection by 20 years, require fees be paid for the retransmission of broadcasts in public places, and that Canada provide stronger criminal enforcement of IP rights.

Some observers say these proposals could have serious consequences for teachers and students.

“The danger is that CETA could ratchet up and lock-in very restrictive provisions, making it more difficult to access materials for educational and research purposes,” says David Robinson, EI’s consultant on international trade.

University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist says the EU’s demands would require a complete overhaul of Canada’s intellectual property laws.

“Given the magnitude of the proposed changes, the price of a trade agreement is clear,” Geist wrote in a blog posting. “The EU is effectively demanding that Canada surrender its sovereignty over intellectual property law and policy.”