Canada signed the international Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) on Saturday.
Canada, Australia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea joined the United States in agreeing to target the theft of intellectual property. The EU, Mexico and Switzerland remain open to participating at some point in the future, and have until May 2013 to sign ACTA.
The U.S.-led initiative requires signatories to create civil and criminal enforcement mechanisms in dealing with intellectual property infringement. It targets pirated copyright goods, counterfeit trademark goods and goods used to commit IP theft.
The most contentious element of ACTA is the focus on digital locks. While in line with current U.S. policies, the circumvention of digital locks is not yet unlawful in Canada, and is being debated in the House as an element of proposed Bill C-11.
The London High Court recently ruled for UK-based Canadian writer and sociologist, Sarah Thornton in a lawsuit over a “spiteful” book review of the non-fiction bestseller Seven Days in the Art World. Thornton was awarded £65,000 (around $101,178 CAD) for libel. The crux of the case fell on false allegations made by Daily Telegraph critic Lynn Barber claiming that she had never been interviewed by Thornton despite being listed as an interviewee in the book. But in fact, she had.
An extra £15,000 in punitive damages were added for malicious conduct. As the judge explained:
A reviewer is entitled to be spiteful, so long as she is honest, but if she is spiteful, the court may more readily conclude that misstatements of fact are not honest, since spite or ill will is a motive for dishonesty.