Why Obama Should Change US Trade Policy On Intellectual Property
from the doing-more-harm-than-good dept
That's why it's good to see Ed Black, president and CEO of the Computer & Communications Industry Association, writing up an opinion piece for the San Jose Mercury News explaining to President-elect Obama why US trade policy concerning IP needs to change. First, he worries about the widespread reports that Obama has chosen Xavier Becerra to be the new US Trade Representative. In the past, the US Trade Rep has basically acted as a representative of Hollywood at times, and Becerra may be no different... as he's literally the Congressional rep for California's 31st district... which (you guessed it) covers Hollywood. Uh oh. That would be like making a Congressional rep from Detroit in charge of automotive policy in the US. They're less likely to have the nation's overall best interests in mind.
Black then outlines three reasons why the US's insistence on pushing draconian IP laws through trade agreements is a bad idea:
- It's alienating many of our allies who feel they're being forced to put in place excessively draconian IP laws they don't need or want.
- It takes away from America's ability to spread our culture internationally. Black notes how bootleg products in Eastern Europe helped contribute to the fall of communism there. By greatly restricting how American content can be used, we actually aid repressive regimes.
- Finally, and most importantly, these restrictions actually harm the US economy. Black specifically notes how excessive IP legislation that does not allow for fair use (which is what the US is pushing in most countries) actually harms American internet companies, allowing them to get sued for copyright infringement on things that should be fair use. He could actually go much further in how it harms our economy, but at least it's a start.