Copyright and imperialism

Professor Lessig of Stanford University is my personal US copyright guru. He is also one of the founders of the Creative Commons intellectual property licencing system, which incidentally protects this site.

In his blog today he mentions, inter alia, an aspect of the Free Trade Agreement being negotiated between the US and Australia of which I was unaware:

As Michael Geist writes, it is increasingly the practice of the US government to export its copyright policy though bi-lateral trade agreements. One example is the trade agreements being concluded with Australia right now that will require Australia to increase its copyright term to life plus 70 [years].

Emphasis added. There is a little more information in Lessig's blog entry. Essentially, this outcome appears to have been the work of those powerful lobby groups in the US, the RIAA and Hollywood.

At present, the copyright term in Australia is (in a nutshell) life plus 50 years. There is a whole lot of great copyright info available on the Australian Copyright Council's website (however deeply they might try to bury it in !#@$ing PDF files).

So, all the more reason to protest on this day the Puppet President invades our Parliament. Are you Melbournians going to be at the State Library at 5pm this afternoon?

Joseph | 22 Oct 2003

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