It's no secret that the US has been trying to force other countries to adopt more stringent copyright laws as a part of "free trade" agreements. As we've pointed out, this is particularly ironic, given that these policies are usually the opposite
of free trade. They're really traditional protectionist policies to protect the business model of Big Copyright companies. That's why it came as no surprise (and barely seemed worth mentioning) when the Bush Administration's Trade Representative Susan Schwab announced plans to keep pushing draconian copyright laws on the rest of the world
. However, reader Kevin
writes in to make a good point. After Schwab spoke, Senate Finance Committee Senator Max Baucus talked about how important it was to support this export of our copyright laws: "Ideas are America's true currency and if we want to be economically competitive, strong protections for U.S. intellectual property are key." As Kevin explains, it appears Senator Baucus, so enthusiastic about exporting our copyright laws, doesn't understand copyright law
: "You cannot copyright ideas. Though the dichotomy between expression (qualifies for copyright) and ideas (not allowed copyright) is subtle, as a protector of the Constitution and exporter of American legal systems, I would hope Mr. Baucus would review it." Though, honestly, does it really surprise anyone at this point that those pushing for stronger copyright protectionism don't actually understand copyright?