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ESA Canada Urges Copyright Law Update

Responding to Canada's inclusion on the U.S. Trade Representative's "Priority Watch List" for piracy havens, the country's ESA says Canada "urgently needs to update its copyright laws," and understands a "frustrated" U.S.
Canada's Entertainment Software Association is expressing its support for the U.S. Trade Representative's concern for the country's intellectual property protection measures. In its "Special 301" report, the USTR placed several countries on a "Priority Watch List" for failing to institute adequate IP protection, a list in which it called out 11 countries including Canada and China. In a statement to Gamasutra, the Canadian ESA agreed that its home country "urgently needs to update its copyright laws." "Canada signed WIPO 13 years ago, and we still haven't done anything to change the way our country approaches this issue," says public relations director Julien Lavoie. Canada is the world's third-largest producer of games, and according to the ESA, is home to more than 14,000 industry jobs. "We have a vested interest in protecting these jobs, and in protecting the investment our industry has made in developing some of the best games in the world," Lavoie says. Although the total cost of piracy is difficult to quantify concretely, Lavoie says IP theft continues to impact the industry -- and that the impact is compounding as gaming popularity grows and broadband improves. "It's also worth noting that the Canadian game industry is a net exporter of video games, and the majority of Canadian development studios rely on exports for 90-100 percent of their revenues," says Lavoie. "Most of these exports are to the U.S. So, while Canadian companies distributing to the U.S. benefit from the higher level of copyright protection afforded in the U.S., U.S. companies distributing in Canada do not benefit from reciprocal treatment." He concludes: "When you look at it this way, it's not surprising that the U.S. is getting increasingly frustrated with Canada's failure to update our copyright laws."

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