unjapanologist: (fetchez la vache)
[personal profile] unjapanologist
In The New Imperialism: Forcing Morality Shifts And Cultural Change Through Exported IP Laws, the always-informative Techdirt gives a rundown of recent incidents where pressure from US media companies forced countries to change their IP laws in ways that are against the interests of their own citizens. The whole thing is interesting and also contains a lot of links to related relevant stuff, but here's the important bit:

The end result is the US government using protectionist policies to force cultural change on other countries, shifting legislative viewpoints to match up with corporate demands which routinely exceed the severity of our existing laws. In essence, "your culture is wrong." Should the US government be in the business (and it is very much a business) of applying "our" moral standard on other countries, especially when non-conformance is subject to threats implicit and explicit?

It's been stated here before that infringement
is not a moral issue, but those pushing for harsher legislation and more enforcement abroad certainly believe it is. Making countries subject to compliance with an arbitrary moral standard (written by certain industries) as a prerequisite for entering an advantageous trade agreement doesn't create copyright converts. Instead, it creates the IP equivalent of "rice Christians" who allow the US to rewrite their IP laws in order to prevent being locked out of beneficial agreements by one of the most prosperous nations in the world. The end result is coerced compliance that runs roughshod over existing IP laws at the expense of their own constituents.

Applying a new moral standard via the institution of new laws that only benefit the industries being catered to sounds a lot like an advantaged group using its governmental patrons to conform the world to its preferred standards. The government of perhaps the most powerful nation in the world at your fingertips is the sort of thing that no industry, no matter how "beleaguered," should ever have at its disposal.

The end result is an entertainment industry occupation by proxy. The limitations enacted in order to enter a free trade agreement put these countries at a severe disadvantage by crippling local tech industries.
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