14 February

Today, February 14th, the International Intellectual Property Alliance complained to the US government about Canadian copyright laws. The first tip that these guys may not be completely even-handed frank is the name of the ogranization, "the International PA" which (according to their own web page was formed "..to represent the U.S. copyright-based industries..." Their desire is to force Canada to come into line with US information control policies. This kind of effort is also being pursued via US pressure with GATT, which has led several countries to adopt regulations similar to the infamous Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) which goes as far as preventing people from fiddling with the internals of electronic devices (or media) they purchase and own.

I think there is a real need for the authors of "intellectual property" including books, music and movies to make money from their activities. In fact, these seem to be the predominant forms of value-generating activity left to North Americans in the 21st century. On the other hand, the regulations being pushed by the DMCA, GATT and the IIPA are aimed at concentrating wealth and power in the hands on companies (and people) who already have a lot of it. They reduce the extent to which information and creative output can move within society and, as a direct side effect, seem to stifle the ability to generate new creative content (since the old stuff remains equally valuable, and the intellectual tools to create new material are tied up and restricted).

In short, Canada needs to resist the efforts of the IIPA and form it's own policies as an independent country. Failing that, Canada should simply join the United States and be able to vote and have a say in the government that is controlling it's policies. This might have a genuinely helpful effect on both the Canadian and (optimistically) the US administration and economy. Either solution is probably good. What's bad is letting US interests control Canadian policy without having genuine representation with the government (potentially US) that determines the policies that effect Canadians.

By Gregory Dudek at | Leave a comment |    
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