Thursday, September 08, 2011

How About Only Enforcing Copyright in Your Country if the Owner Allows Your Citizens Access

I have seen many title of articles over the last few months talking about how American politicians forced foreign countries to serve the interest of those giving large amounts of cash to the American politicians. Now I honestly haven't read the articles or the evidence presented in the wikileaks releases (supposedly showing the tactics used to push the interest of those paying politicians large amounts of cash).

The extent to which the policies of the USA were naked power plays to serve the interests of large donors surprises me a bit, but it is consistent with the large amount of such dealing for those paying USA politicians large amounts of money. It is fairly amazing how readily other countries sold out their citizens. But then again it isn't hard to imagine the USA offered deals (including not carry out threats) to get countries to go along with the interests of those giving USA politicians large amounts of cash.

In any event the release of the selling out of citizens is a great opportunity for some principled politicians to appeal to voters by saying they will no longer be the lapdogs of the lobbyists the USA government told them to follow. Right now many of the companies that used the USA government to pressure foreign governments into crazy policies even as favors to large USA political donors even when those donors refuse to allow those countries citizens to buy the products.

I suggest saying "our country will no longer enforce copyrights if the foreign country company refuses to allow your citizens to buy the product."  For example, I can't watch BBC or USA network TV or use Netflix or buy the Kindle or... in many countries. If you want me to pass laws enforcing your copyrights then you allow my citizens to buy the products in questions. Some details would have to be worked out, my initial thoughts are any organization with sales or expenses over $1 billion must comply. And they may not charge more than double the price they charge others.

And that we don't intent to tolerate lawyer gimmicks like claiming some subsidiary in the Bahamas really owns... and therefore we are don't have to comply. If you play such games and we catch you, you forfeit all copyright claims in our country for that material. Negotiation can take place on the precise details. Until that time we do not agree to restrict our citizens access to material you have copyrighted in your country and refuse to allow my citizens to buy.

It seems like it has been long enough for companies to either start allowing my country to buy your products or quit telling me that I need to enforce your laws against my citizens. I realize the American government has pushed the policies of their big political donors into many international trade agreements. I am suggesting countries rebel from these policies that are treating their citizens as unimportant. We are willing to enforce some copyright rules as long as our citizens have a chance to buy the items.  If not, once you do we will.

Amazon won't sell the kindle to many countries. Amazon will let you individually look at the status of every single country. Amazon seems at least somewhat interested in treating a few more countries as worthy of dealing with than many companies do. Still they don't allow those in China to buy it - isn't it made in China? You are good enough to make it but no we won't allow you to use it. Yes, I bet the claim is that those ip lawyers, and the like, refuse to allow Amazon to treat those that make the device with respect. I am tired of that thinking. My guess is Amazon wants to sell them. My guess is the same people paying the USA politicians to twist the arm of foreign governments are not allowing the sale in some way.

It is not ok, to treat most of the world as unworthy and as thieves. Allow them to buy the items or don't expect us to attack our citizens for you. In the information age if you citizens are denied the right to information your country will suffer.

It isn't ok to let those that pay USA politicians well harm your citizens. Now when those politicians just harm the USA that is their business, and the business of those that chose to elect them.

I'm sure many companies will say it is too hard for us to serve your citizens.  Fine, then they can consume those goods any way they want.  No I am not going to harm my citizens while you ignore them just because you think sometime maybe you will get around to caring enough about them.  When you care to make them customers we will enforce reasonable copyright laws, until them the material is in affect open access.  You can fix that buy making them customers.  My problem, as leader of my country, is not how you make this work for your company, it is serving the citizens of my country.  I'm willing to negotiate.  I am not willing for you to pay your politicians to have them force us to bully our citizens.

The next thing that will be needed is for countries that have some leaders not so beholden to those paying them large amounts of money to create harmful copyright rules for society put some balance back into copyright rules. I'm sure there are plenty of people that can improve the ridiculously silly system we have now, but Lawrence Lessig would be a good person to talk to.

Then those countries can frame a sensible international treaty that benefits society not just a few people that pay politicians well. Hopefully you can lead the world, including the USA, to a better future.

Related: Copywrong - Deadly disease #9, A broken intellectual property system - What is Wrong with Copyright Taking Public Good for Private Special Interests - Lessig Video: Information Revolution - Banks Hoping they Paid Politicians Enough to Protect Billions in Excessive Fees

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