Global copyright watch list reveals US hypocrisy and how out-of-date legislation is damaging consumer interests

 

Consumers International (CI) today released the results of its inaugural Intellectual Property (IP) Watch List: a global snapshot of how national IP and copyright laws serve or subvert consumer interests.

The Watch List of IP laws in 16 countries demonstrates that copyright legislation in transitional economies such as India, South Korea and Indonesia were amongst the most favourable to consumers. The United Kingdom came bottom of the Watch List because of an almost total lack of consumer flexibility, despite a 500 year history of copyright legislation.

The Watch List shows that consumers in the US enjoy a relatively liberal copyright regime that allows for ‘fair use’ of copyrighted material. But special interests in the US are pushing to eliminate that same openness and flexibility for consumers around the world.

By highlighting this hypocrisy through the release of the IP Watch List, CI hopes the Obama administration will take this chance to distinguish itself from policies of the past.

In May, the US government will publish its own review of international copyright legislation, the ‘301 Report’. To date, this has been heavily influenced by corporate lobbyists pushing for stricter copyright laws around the world. CI’s IP Watch List is an effort to demonstrate where and how copyright law can work better for consumers.

Jeremy Malcolm, CI IP Programme Coordinator says:

Fair use in US copyright law has contributed an estimated $4.5 trillion to the US economy, by allowing the use of copyrighted material by educational institutions, Internet innovators, and sellers of devices like the iPod and TiVo. Yet the US government is actively stopping other countries from having the same opportunities. CI wants to see an end to this hypocrisy.”

The Watch List also reveals that, in addition to US pressure for stricter laws, the IP legislation in the majority of the countries surveyed is still designed for 20th Century copyright issues. It does not take account of the new ways in which content is created and consumed in the Internet Age, such as blogs, online video sharing, wiki entries, mashups, remixes and more.

Jeremy Malcolm, CI IP Programme Coordinator says:

In the Internet Age, consumers are creators as well as users of content. Existing copyright laws are from a bygone era that goes against the prevailing environment of creativity and sharing.

Good IP law should not be about strict copyright protection as one small group of special interests demands, but about fair and open access that contributes to innovation broadly, and a vibrant and prosperous public domain. That’s why we’re calling for ‘fair use’ copyright laws to be extended around the world.”

Download CI's IP Watch List (pdf)

 

1 comment

Surely this won't be able to

Surely this won't be able to be down now with the recent change in the way IP addresses are now changing to support latin URLs? Will it still be able to be imposed in the same way?

J.Flemming

iPod Touch

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