USA & Piracy

A walk through history? Some very interesting reads. A time when the US was on the other side of intellectual rights protection for upwards of 100 years.

History of US Piracy — Short PDF file
Wikipedia: Berne Convention Implementation Act of 1988
A brief history of intellectual property
The United States and the Berne Convention

Some things are not straightforward. IP in global or US historic terms has not been a static universally agreed to issue. If you follow an IP policy for a century, and then turn around wagging fingers at others, keep in mind that you wouldn’t be in a position to point fingers if not for the same practices adopted by you. It isn’t just a case of values and upbringing, so simply passing it off as superior moral integrity doesn’t wash. If you choose to be blind to the complexities of issues, it doesn’t mean that it really is so. In some/many cases depending on who/where/what is being discussed, it does come down to integrity. But not always by a long shot. The context is not immaterial when you look at developing countries and IP. Fairness and protection of interest of the local entrepreneur, foreign entrepreneur and end users must be evolved in a fair and equitable manner. Continuing with the status quo won’t necessarily aspire to that fairness, neither will the IP doctrine that the US is now vociferously trying to enforce. That fairness certainly doesn’t exist currently for all three parties, but to pass off the issue as one of pure rectitude is a gross misrepresentation and incorrect simplification. IP rights have evolved through history and not in a homogenous universal way, and are still evolving. There is a lot of complexity involved. Intellectual “Property” as currently understood has not always been so. Property that is intellectual is a relatively new concept. Does it mean it should be ignored and rights/labor of people working hard should be ignored? Certainly not. Private rights, public interest, IP policy as a tool for economic development, domestic innovation protectionism, monopolies on IP …, these are not straightforward issues.


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