North American Leaders to Crack Down on Piracy

The Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) is a meeting held between the leaders of Canada, United States and Mexico.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

Generally speaking, it brings delegates from North America to discuss issues related to North America. The meeting concluded yesterday with new agreements and strategies. One of these strategies are related to counterfeiting and piracy.

As a result of the meeting, an Intellectual Property Action Strategy was released which outlines the plans:

· Detect and Deter Trade in Pirated and Counterfeit Goods. This element focuses on developing best practices for overall enforcement, creating enforcement networks to enhance information sharing and enforcement operations, and improving border enforcement. Through enhanced cooperation in these areas, our goals are to reduce the movement of pirated and counterfeit goods into and between Canada, Mexico and the
United States and develop a network of enforcement professionals to collaborate on transnational IP crime.

· Public Awareness and Outreach to Our Business Communities. In this element, our goal is to encourage the private sector to take a greater role in preventing IP infringement and assisting enforcement actions by building private sector awareness of the enforcement
systems in Canada, Mexico and the United States. We are also committed to working with the private sector to develop an initiative to reduce demand for pirated and counterfeit goods through IP public awareness campaigns for the public and other relevant constituencies.

· Measuring Piracy and Counterfeiting. In this element, the governments agree to facilitate the ongoing OECD Counterfeiting Study, develop measurements to assess progress, and refine and apply the results in developing domestic and regional enforcement strategies in North America, including targeting specific high-risk product sectors.

Within the strategy is something that may strike some Canadians as familiar. There is a recommended goal to develop “…network of enforcement professionals among the governments of Canada, Mexico and the United States to jointly collaborate on enforcement against transnational counterfeiting and piracy.”

Just two months ago, The Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology recommended that “…the Government of Canada establish an Intellectual Property Crime Task Force, a partnership between government and industry, composed of police officers, customs officers, and federal prosecutors to work with intellectual property business leaders in order to guide and coordinate anti-counterfeiting and anti-piracy efforts in Canada.”

“All of these measures were entirely predictable,” Michael Geist commented, “given that they are precisely what the North American Competitiveness Council recommended earlier this year.”

While much of the recommendations focused on physical piracy, there was one note which says, “During future work, the three governments and relevant stakeholders will further explore the issue of digital piracy.”

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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