US Embargo on Intellectual Property Shakes Up Canadian Change-Makers

The Canadian social change community is slowly reacting to the latest American border restrictions. It’s hard to believe but the Americans intend to restrict the free use of US intellectual property (including social change concepts and practices) outside their borders. Plus they intend to invoice you, should you inadvertently use American ideas. All they need is your IP address and credit card information.

According to Edward Rainden a Canadian expert on electronic surveillance the Americans already have this capacity. “I recommend you turn off your cell phones during meetings and definitely remove smart tv’s from the room,” he advised. “Otherwise they could bill you even for accidental use, for example, of US style social movement organizing.”

“We are bereft,” says David L. Page head of the Canadian Social Enterprise Foundation. “All of our social innovation depends on American know how and expertise. It will be hard to start from scratch. Plus we are not sure if this policy is retroactive. Social enterprises don’t have that kind of money. Retroactive payments will bankrupt them.”

Most interesting to me is a move by Canadian comedians based in California (including Seth Rogen, Dan Aykroyd, Mike Myers, Jim Carrey, Russell Peters, Martin Short and Stephen Colbert.) They have started Puck.We.Can in an attempt to satirize the Americans into changing their minds. Puck.We.Can is a twist on Gretzky’s, “skating to where the puck will be’ and Obama’s, “Yes We Can.”

Jon Stewart and his replacement Trevor Noah intend to devote their whole show to Puck.We.Can tonight. Neil Young has rewritten, “This Note’s for You” for the occasion.

Not to be outdone the federal Minister of Heritage, Tecumseh Brock declared: “This is the War of 1812 all over again.” He’s recruited Rick Mercer to prepare a series of rants based on Rick’s popular tv series, Talking to Americans. “Our government knows from personal experience how effective Rick’s rants can be,” says Brock.

PS: I’m relieved that my new book, Impact focuses exclusively on Canadian change-makers. Except for a few quotes from Americans who have passed away.


Canada started off as a company, (Hudson’s Bay) and turned into a country. The United States started off as a country and turned into a company.

      -Peter C Newman.

Don’t come a-knockin’ round my door

Don’t wanna see your shadow no more

Coloured lights can hypnotize

Sparkle someone else’s eyes

     -Bachman & Burton

Guess who’s playing? The best rock voice ever. Accompanied by my air guitarist partner.  Click here to enjoy. Copyright WPG.

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