Why We Must Stand On Guard Over Copyright

Michael Geist, Toronto Star, Oct 23, 2003
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This brief article outlines why many nations - including Canada - are reluctant to adopt the strong copyright protections demanded by the U.S., and describes some of the tactics being employed to widen this regime despite these nations' reluctance. The author suggests that the less stringent copyright regime desired by these nations may be sacrificed in ongoing trade negotiations in order to obtain concessions in other areas. It would be a mistake to sacrifice any current leverage we may have in the information economy in order to obtain short-term and illusory gains in more primary industries. Having an export agreement with the U.S. is one thing. Having the U.S. respect its terms and conditions - as anyone in the Canadian softwood industry will attest - is quite another. Selling out on copyright will buy us nothing, and will cost us a developing industry.
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