An alternative primer on national and international copyright law in the global South: eighteen questions and answers
An alternative primer on
national and international copyright law
in the global South:
eighteen questions and answers
José Guadalupe Posada
Primer- Text only (596 kb)
Primer - Cover and text (3.29mb)
ABSTRACT: What are the basic nuts and bolts (and traps and dead ends) of copyright law? Who owns copyright (hint: it is usually not the author)? What rights do users have? Do international copyright conventions work in the interest of the peoples of the world, and, if not, why not? These are a few of the questions that are taken up and answered in “An alternative primer on national and international copyright law in the global South: eighteen questions and answers” published by the CopySouth Research Group. The intended audience: librarians, musicians, downloaders and book readers, information activists, students, and others who want to know how the copyright system actually works in practice in your country of Latin America, Africa, and Asia. In 68 pages of straightforward and non-legalistic writing, this primer tries to unpack and explain a number of both simple and complicated concepts. You will NOT find it on the list of texts recommended by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)…. but your comments via this website are welcome (see comment form below).
*Alan Story teaches intellectual property law at Kent Law School in the United Kingdom.
Imagine there is no copyright and no cultural conglomerates too... Better for artists, diversity and the economy
Theory on Demand #4
Imagine there is no copyright and no cultural conglomerates too...
Better for artists, diversity and the economy
Authors: Joost Smiers and Marieke van Schijndel
Translation from Dutch: Rosalind Buck, firstname.lastname@example.org
Design: Katja van Stiphout
DTP: Margreet Riphagen Printer: ‘Print on Demand’
Publisher: Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam 2009
If we recognise that copyright is unfeasible, and unjustifiable, what should our response be? Immediately comes to mind that copyright provides an investment protection to blockbusters, best sellers and stars, and that it distorts cultural markets and pushes a wide variety of cultural expressions out of sight. At the same time, cultural conglomerates controlling copyright dominate cultural markets by owning the means of production, distribution, marketing and reception of cultural expressions. From the perspective of democracy and fair competition this type of market control is not to be tolerated.
Thus, let us imagine what abolishing copyright would accomplish, while not hesitate cutting cultural conglomerates into many pieces. The result is a level playing field in which many, and many more artists can make a decent living. And, even more importantly: a restoration of our public domain of creativity and knowledge.
Prof. dr Joost Smiers is a political scientist and Research Fellow at the Research Group Arts & Economics, Utrecht School of the Arts, the Netherlands. His Arts Under Pressure. Promoting Cultural Diversity in the Age of Globalization has been translated into ten languages. He lives in Amsterdam. email@example.com
Marieke van Schijndel is a cultural scientist and MBA graduate. She works in the cultural field in the Netherlands. She lives in Utrecht.
Printed on Demand
DOWNLOAD Zipped PDF 460kb Imagine there is no copyright and no cultural conglomerates too...
Abstract: Developing countries need to rethink their copyright policy in light of the abundant information flows across the world. A nation’s copyright policy is a pivotal source determining the forms of control that can be exercised over access to published information. The thrust for a global regime of trade related intellectual property rights (TRIPS), which includes copyright, was initiated by the United States of America in the eighth Uruguay round of GATT talks due to intense lobbying from its domestic knowledge based industries and with unequivocal support from Europe and Japan. The inclusion of TRIPS within the subsequent WTO framework has gone a long way in aligning and harmonizing intellectual property of most WTO member states with the US viewpoint. New digital technology, enabled by the Internet, is imposing a fresh challenge to conventional copyright policy. Large copyright owning organizations argue that digital media allows for an increasing possibility for piracy. Providing higher protection standards is therefore necessary. This argument led the US lawmakers into signing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998. Though a US law it has trans-national implications. A crucial dimension to the DMCA Act, beyond the US domestic horizon, is to explore how such a new copyright act will have impact on other countries, particularly developing ones. Protecting access to digital information at one end of the world through new copyright acts will have crucial consequence for the rest of the world.
This article was published in Review of Business Research, Vol. III, No. 1, 2004
Dr. Shishir Kumar Jha (firstname.lastname@example.org) earned his Ph.D at Syracuse University in 1998. Currently he is an Associate Professor at the Shailesh J. Mehta School of Management, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, India.
DOWNLOAD Copyright and Copyduties - Importance of the Public Domain for Developing Countries (PDF, 85kb)
"Derecho de ¿autor? El debate de hoy"
LILLIAN ÁLVAREZ NAVARRETE: Licenciada en Derecho en la Universidad de La Habana. Ha trabajado como asesora en el Ministerio de Cultura, en el Centro Nacional de Derecho de Autor y como profesora en el Centro de Superación para la Cultura. Estudiosa de los temas de Derecho de la Cultura, tiene varios artículos publicados en diversas revistas y sitios en Internet. Como poetisa, además, publicó Ni el aire ni el espejo (Extramuros, 2002). Trabaja desde Cuba en la organización de la Red “En defensa del conocimiento y la cultura para todos”.
Edición y corrección: Royma Cañas
Diseño interior: Pilar Sa Leal
Diseño de cubierta: Yadyra Rodríguez Gómez
Composición: Enrique de Horta Aymerich
INSTITUTO CUBANO DEL LIBRO
EDITORIAL DE CIENCIAS SOCIALES
Calle 14 no. 4104, Playa, Ciudad de La Habana, Cuba
Undermining abundance: counter-productive uses of technology and law in nature, agriculture, and the information sector
Abstract: Technology and law are increasingly used to undermine processes of abundance intrinsic to nature, agriculture and the information sector. A number of examples are reviewed here; the relationship between such counter-productive use of technology and law and corporate profit-seeking is revealed; the phenomenon of abundance is linked with the related concepts of scarcity and commons, and an approach is proposed that harnesses abundance for the human good.
Roberto Verzola is a convenor and member of the Philippine Greens. He is active in information, environmental and agriculture issues. He may be reached at email@example.com.
Copyright and Non-western Countries
Gradually we are starting to understand that the philosophy behind our present copyright system is less self-evident than we usually accept. We observe that copyright is mostly not in favour of artists, the public domain and Third World countries. I have proposed elsewhere that we cannot continue to support a system that favours huge cultural industries more than the public interest.1 Furthermore copyright has an octopus-like character. It includes all expressions that contain even a vague reference to a specific work, and its reach is nearly endless.
Copyright filters artistic communication. The 'owners' of artistic expressions decide who may use, in what way, and for what price those elementary sources of our cultures expressed in theatre, dance, music, films, works of visual art and design, and literature. We should keep in mind that those 'owners' - cultural conglomerates that also control the production, distribution and promotion of artistic goods and values - are privatising and appropriating most of our cultural expressions. Free cultural communication is the victim. It is also strange that one person may privately 'own', for instance, a melody, with the consequence that others may sing or change it only in accordance with the conditions of the 'owner'. This is contrary to what has happened in all cultures everywhere in the world and dates back only to the end of nineteenth century with the introduction of the system of copyright in the Western world and the privatisation of knowledge and creativity.
Abstract: This 2003 article challenges some of the conventional wisdom in the field of international copyright law and attempts to show why this system predominantly works for the benefit of wealthy media corporations (and other copyright owners) in rich industrial countries and NOT in interests of people living in the global South. It explains that the concept of “national treatment” promotes, rather than reduces, discrimination and why the metaphor of “balance” misleads us about the very nature of this system. In fact, the 1886 Berne Convention is a colonial relic and should be repealed. “Burn Berne” was published in Volume 40, Issue 3 of the Houston Law Review (in the United States) in 2003.
Alan Story is a senior lecturer in intellectual property law at Kent Law School, United Kingdom, and a long-time Copysouther. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
DOWNLOAD "Burn Berne" (PDF, 240 kilobytes)
Abstract: WIPO claims that by providing the framework for strong intellectual property rights, it can facilitate economic development, even in the least developed countries. Since its inception as an organization, WIPO has aligned itself with the UN goals of development. However, "development" for WIPO takes the form of institution building to protect intellectual property. WIPO only assesses itself based upon how often it communicates its message of strong intellectual property rights, not ever on if the institutions and legal framework it introduces around the world actually facilitate development. It is time to make that assessment – has the work done by WIPO in the past 37 years contributed meaningfully to economic development in the least developed countries of the world?
This paper introduces a WIPO counterfactual – the world without WIPO. The question before us is: what if WIPO did not exist; what if WIPO had not, for the past almost 40 years been working towards its goals regarding IPRs; finally, what might be the impact on development for the least developed countries in the world?
In order to examine the impact of WIPO on development, I’d take two countries as case studies – Chad and Mali – in order to assess the methods through which WIPO’s activities have facilitated development in these countries. Ultimately, the case studies suggest that while WIPO has contributed to institution building, economic, social, cultural or political development has not been substantially enhanced by WIPO’s existence. Despite decades of meetings and educational activities, not only do IPRs remain relatively unprotected, but strengthening their protection has not sparked development; at least not in the countries that could use it the most.
Debora Halbert (email@example.com) is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
A philosophy professor in Argentina, Horacio Potel, is facing criminal charges for maintaining a website devoted to translations of works by French philosopher Jacques Derrida. His alleged crime: copyright infringement. Here is Professor Potel’s sad story.
“I was fascinated at the unlimited possibilities offered by the internet for knowledge exchange”, explains Horacio Potel, a Professor of Philosophy at the Universidad Nacional de Lanu´s in Buenos Aires. In 1999, he set up a personal website to collect essays and other works of some well-known philosophers, starting with the German Friedrich Nietzsche and Martin Heidegger. Potel’s websites – Nietzsche in Spanish, Heidegger in Spanish and Derrida in Spanish – eventually developed into growing online libraries of freely downloadable philosophical texts. Nietzsche in Spanish alone has already received more than four million visitors.
One of Potel’s best known websites, www.jacquesderrida.com.ar focused on his favourite French philosopher, Algerian-born Jacques Derrida (1930-2004), who was the founder of “deconstruction”. On this website Potel posted many of the philosopher’s works, translated into Spanish, as well as discussion forums, research results, biographies, images and the usual pieces of information typical of this type of online resource. "I wanted to share my love for philosophy with other people. The idea was disseminating the texts and giving them some sort of arrangement" declares Potel.
WELCOME TO COPYSOUTH! | En Español |
We are told that we live in the 'digital revolution' era and that we can communicate across the globe as we never could before. In fact, restrictive copyright laws still act as a serious barrier to sharing and learning from each other. This is particularly true in countries of the South where three quarters of the population live.
To read more, get a copy of the 208-page Copy/South Dossier produced in May 2006 by the Copy South Research Group after more than 18 months of research. Available at no charge, this unique dossier contains more than 50 articles examining many dimensions of the issue across the global South, such as access, culture, economics, libraries, education, software, the Internet, the public domain, and resistance. It is available at no charge.