Fair Trade?

The May 14th, 2007 issue of the New Yorker contains an insightful article on the Financial Page about intellectual property (I.P.) laws and international/free trade agreements. The gist of it is that certain countries, primarily the United States, are forcing smaller nations to essentially rewrite their I.P. laws in order to meet the terms of trade agreements. South Korea is one country cited as having to adopt U.S. and E.U. copyright terms, life of the author plus 70 years, and to adjust their patent laws, which could significantly impact their national health care policies.

What does this have to do with art, you say? Well, where there’s copyright bullying, there’s media conglomerates, who see the trade agreements as an opportunity to fight piracy. Tech companies have similar incentives.

“The benefits of stronger I.P. protection are even less convincing when it comes to copyright: there’s little evidence that writers and artists are made more productive or creative by the prospect of earning profits for seventy years after they die, and the historical records suggests only a tenuous connection between strong I.P. laws and creative output.”

James Surowieki. “The Financial Page: Exporting I.P.” The New Yorker. May 14, 2007. 

Posted by: Ian M.

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