Following Up for the Week Ending 1/24/2010

US Levering Other Trade Opportunities to Force IP Concessions

I am not sure how I missed this story, I didn’t see it until Slashdot picked it up. Michael Geist describes two cases where the US pretty blatantly is using other components of trade agreements to force the issue of intellectual property normalization. This is definitely part of a larger trend, that developing nations eventually have to accept the conventions adopted by developed nations with regards to intellectual property enforcement.

My read of that trend has always been that it is usually triggered by a developing nation growing to the point where it enters markets where IP normalization is more critical. Entertainment and software would be the most common of such markets. In the case of Costa Rica, the copyright reforms being pushed by the US certainly seem premature in terms of where that country’s economy is focused. Worse it may curb the local education system, a key enabler to entering into IP based markets in the first place. Draw your own conclusions about what that may say about interfering with naturally arising competition in a global market.

More on Resale Right in EU-Canada Trade Negotiation

Nate Anderson at Ars has some more details of exactly what the recently revealed EU-Canada trade negotiation is proposing in the way of a resale right. He answers my question, Canada does indeed have its own version of the first sale doctrine. The resale right being discussed, though, currently exists in Europe so this is another example of the ratcheting action of copyright normalization.

Europe has actually had such a resale right since 2001, and the treaty is an attempt to extend that right to Canada. Europe’s Directive 2001/84/EC says that the right covers only “works of graphic or plastic art such as pictures, collages, paintings, drawings, engravings, prints, lithographs, sculptures, tapestries, ceramics, glassware and photographs, provided they are made by the artist himself or are copies considered to be original works of art.”

Nate also includes the rational, as tenuous as it seems, as well as a very apt question: how first sale may play out with digital copies. This follows the arguments made around licensing versus transfer as exemplified by the Glider case. I think Nate is right, that the question is going to be increasingly cast in this light before it is ultimately resolved one way or the other.