The Canadian government's protection of intellectual property right for U.S. content creators, including authors and publishers, is insufficient, according to the Association of American Publishers. In a Special 301 report submitted Friday to the U.S. Trade Representatives by the International Intellectual Property Alliance, the AAP alleges that the Canadian definition of fair use is subject to an "excessively broad interpretation," and the country should therefore be placed on a USTR watch list.

Canada's Copyright Modernization Act 2012, according the the AAP, expanded fair dealing exceptions to include an "undefined" education purpose, lacking any "specific parameters, thus conflicting with established international norms regarding exceptions." The group insists that the "now-pervasive misconception" that distributing copyrighted material for educational use without permission or compensation has lead to publishers seeing a "contraction of direct sales of educational materials in Canada."

“The global demand for the works of U.S. authors and publishers makes significant contributions to the U.S. economy and job market, proven most recently by the Department of Commerce and National Endowment of the Arts report,” said Tom Allen, president and CEO, AAP. “The value of book and journal publishing is damaged, however, by recent changes in Canadian law that appear to permit unlicensed use of copyrighted works for any educational purpose."

The AAP and IIPA also noted that China continues to pose copyright concerns. The AAP reported that despite improved cooperation from the Chinese government on certain issues, "authors and publishers are experiencing continuing problems in China due to online piracy of scholarly journals, websites engaging in unauthorized document sharing and trafficking in journal subscription log-in credentials, and other market access issues," the AAP said.

For more information on Special 301 Reports, click here.