More Content Industry Protectionism Masquerading As Free Trade

from the that's-not-free-trade dept

Last month, when people started noticing how odd it was that the new US "free trade" agreement with South Korea included an awful lot of stuff about intellectual property that was the opposite of "free trade," some suggested that this would start to become the norm in all US free trade agreements. Indeed, a new article is noting that the latest free trade agreement between the US and Australia include many changes to copyright law that will increase criminalization of copyright violations in Australia. Once again, this is the opposite of free trade. It's about content monopolization and protecting the obsolete business models of American content companies. The fact that this is hidden in a "free trade" agreement makes a mockery of the concept of free trade. As people in the article note, while this agreement was talked about as a way of "harmonizing" the IP laws of both countries, it was really all about Australia adopting stricter laws and shrinking fair use defenses (making them even worse than in the US). That's not harmonization.


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  1.  
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    Sanguine Dream, Jun 6th, 2007 @ 5:23pm

    Leapfrog..

    That is the their style. Setup strict laws in country A. Setup stricter laws in country B. Setup even stricter laws in county C. Go back and update B so that its stricter than C. Update A that it it stricter than B. Occasionally add more countries to the mix and reap until infinity.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2007 @ 6:31pm

    The sad part is that these sort of actions will only hurt legitimate content creators because as the more draconian they make these rules the more people will simply ignore even the proper uses of copyright. You would think people with access to thousands of years of recorded history and the rise and fall of countless empires and nations would realize efforts like this have never worked for more than a limited period of time. 100 years from now the history books will show it wasn't any more successful this time.

     

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  3.  
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    DML, Jun 6th, 2007 @ 6:33pm

    Harmonization depends on perspective...

    As people in the article note, while this agreement was talked about as a way of "harmonizing" the IP laws of both countries, it was really all about Australia adopting stricter laws and shrinking fair use defenses (making them even worse than in the US). That's not harmonization.
    If you're a multi-national conglomerate who could be making more money in foreign markets if only those markets had the same IP laws as the US, then anything that results in that happening can be construed as "harmonizing". As markets becomes globalized, it'll become increasingly necessary for companies to extend protectionist laws into foreign markets and these free trade agreements seem a great way to do so. If this doesn't happen, the companies will lose profits because customers will be able to by copycat products in non-IP protected countries just as easily as in the US.

     

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  4.  
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    Mike (profile), Jun 6th, 2007 @ 6:40pm

    Re: Harmonization depends on perspective...

    As markets becomes globalized, it'll become increasingly necessary for companies to extend protectionist laws into foreign markets and these free trade agreements seem a great way to do so.

    Necessary? Why? Protectionist policies shrink markets and slow innovation. Free trade agreements are supposed to be about *removing* protectionist policies. The whole reason for them is based on the recognition of the disadvantages of protectionist policies.

    If this doesn't happen, the companies will lose profits because customers will be able to by copycat products in non-IP protected countries just as easily as in the US.

    That makes no sense. The purpose of free trade agreements aren't to "protect profits." They're to expand markets. Protecting profits shrinks markets by removing competition and slowing innovation. However, free markets open up *new* possibilities for profits by putting in place incentives for innovation and growth.

    However, based on your reasoning above, we should allow monopolies in anything. Only one automobile producer should be allowed, since competition would allow for "copycat" products that would cause Ford to "lose profits." That doesn't make much sense, does it?

     

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  5.  
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    Raymond, Jun 7th, 2007 @ 2:14am

    Yarg.

    Can't little johnny do anything right? I know, it's more complex than that but it still sucks. Makes you wonder about moving to NZ.

    The trouble is that your incredibly intelligent president will make it difficult for our incredibly competent pm to get stuff we want from you guys if we don't make ridiculously disgusting laws for petty crimes. We should just be buying things elsewhere if our laws are incompatible with you (read **AA).

     

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  6.  
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    DML, Jun 7th, 2007 @ 9:43am

    Re: Re: Harmonization depends on perspective...

    Necessary? Why? Protectionist policies shrink markets and slow innovation. Free trade agreements are supposed to be about *removing* protectionist policies. The whole reason for them is based on the recognition of the disadvantages of protectionist policies.

    Necessary for the company to protect their profits (via the use of government force). But yes, this is bad for the general consumer.

    That makes no sense. The purpose of free trade agreements aren't to "protect profits." They're to expand markets.

    I judge people by what the do, not who they say they are. I judge laws the same way. These laws are *called* "free trade" laws, but what they really are are ways for companies to extend their influence into foreign markets.

    Protecting profits shrinks markets by removing competition and slowing innovation.

    This is true, but these things only affect the new guy entering the market and consumers. Established companies can use threat of government force to protect their profits. Protecting profits in priority number one for these guys.

    However, free markets open up *new* possibilities for profits by putting in place incentives for innovation and growth.

    Agreed. While customers and innovators would benefit, established companies won't. This is why they buy politicians to pass laws like this. Of course they need to dress it up as "free trade" to make it palatable.

    However, based on your reasoning above, we should allow monopolies in anything. Only one automobile producer should be allowed, since competition would allow for "copycat" products that would cause Ford to "lose profits." That doesn't make much sense, does it?

    I was only giving the perspective of the companies who've paid money to have these laws passed. If it's possible for another company in another country to make a duplicate product, then the company will lose profit, though consumers will benefit.

    So who it makes sense for depends on your perspective - are you head of a government enforced monopoly or are you the consumer?

     

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  7.  
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    Phil, Jun 7th, 2007 @ 1:09pm

    More Content Industry Protectionism Masquerading A

    Yah...I live in Canada and we've had a so called "Free Trade" agreement with the US for years now, and we're much worse off now than before we signed the agreement. Hopefully South Korea reads the "we want to screw you" mantra behind all US "Free Trade" agreements.

     

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  8.  
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    mysoretrendz, Oct 30th, 2008 @ 12:54am

    design

    information details mysore, information of mysuru, information of mysooru, information about mysooru, information of business directory details mysore, train information mysore, information of important departments phone numbers mysore, information of job offer mysore, information of daily update news mysore, choultry information mysore, information of cinema mysore, information of tourism places mysore, wishes your college classmates, wishes your beloveds in mysore, find wishes mysore

     

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