Friday, February 25, 2011

Francis Gurry (DG - WIPO) on "Future Directions in Copyright Law"

Here is an  absolute "must read" speech from today delivered down under on "Future Directions in Copyright Law" by Francis Gurry, Director General of  WIPO (above)

It has some rather trenchant comments for everyone from pirates to Presidents. Here are some examples of what he sees as necessary:
The fourth element in a comprehensive and coherent design is institutional collaboration. This is a very delicate area, where any action may have a disproportionate influence on the battle for the hearts and minds of the public on the question of appropriate copyright policy. It is also a somewhat incoherent area, with different national approaches, some emphasizing action against offending consumers and others targeting intermediaries; some plurilateral approaches in the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA); and some practical, industry actions or codes of self-regulation.  
I believe that we need greater coherence if we are to make progress in this area. We need to define sensibly what objectives we share, starting in a modest manner. But we are very limited by the unwillingness of some countries to entertain any international discussion or action in this area.
The final element of a comprehensive and coherent design is better business models. This is undoubtedly happening now. But the story is not over and, for the future, we should constantly remind ourselves that the history of the confrontation of our classical copyright world with the digital environment has been more a sorry tale of Luddite resistance than an example of intelligent engagement.
(emphasis added)
He also deals with other important general principles such as the need for neutrality to technology and to the business models developed in response to technology and the need for comprehensiveness and coherence in the policy response.

Canadian policy makers at all levels who are involved with Bill C-32 would do well to read this speech and see how Canada measures up to Mr. Gurry's lucid analysis of what is desirable in the future of copyright law.


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