IP Imperialism

It’s not a new development, but it is one that seems to resurface every few months. The US is, of course, trying to export US-style copyright reform to Canada. This is happening all around the world. Many new treaties and trade pacts between the United States and foreign countries include copyright stipulations. The US is exceedingly aggressive in this regard and, often times, very one sided. They complain when other nations don’t respect copyrights as strictly as they do, citing international treaties and agreements, but they turn a blind eye to their own anti-competitive practices. Sometimes even rewriting WTO treaties for their own gain at the expense of other nations: In May, the United States said it was rewriting its trade rules to remove gambling from the jurisdiction of the W.T.O.. It’s easy to understand why the United States does this: culture is the only major exportable resource it has left.

This is why, in this age of globalization and bitTorrent and cheap DVD copies, those of us outside of the United States get this bullshit:

Region locked out

There’s a lot to be said about how region locking is anti-competitive and how a lot of these major IP holders are in favour of globalization if it gets them into new markets but against it if it benefits the consumer. Essays have been written. Books are likely to be published. But the biggest problem with it, from a personal perspective, is that it requires local IP holders to be as “on the ball” as its major American owners. Online region locking wouldn’t be such a problem if there were local alternatives and competition. There isn’t. Canadian media companies aren’t exactly at the forefront of such progress, which is a shame because this is a very internet and tech savvy country. Hell, we’re just now getting on the iPhone bandwagon — a year late to the party.

But there’s hope…

Sorry Canada

Quite a bit of it. Hopefully, Canadian media companies will soon get their heads out of their asses and realize that, yes, Canadians use the internet too.

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