Friday, May 23, 2008

A world where everywhere is New York

This has turned up on Wikileaks: a proposal to adopt American (i.e. punitive) standards on intellectual property throughout the globe. The site claims the idea is for the agreement to be formalised at the July meeting of the G8.

Amongst the proposals included is one that, effectively, would commit signatories to spending more public money on "fostering specialized expertise" in IP cases "within law enforcement structures" - because that, I'm sure, is where most people feel the UK government should be targeting its police and court resources.

Cheerfully, they're also proposing strengthening the criminal law, so as to make good use of this extra funding. The proposal is not merely that commercial exploitation of copyright material be treated as a crime, but also "significant willful infringements without motivation for financial gain". There's no definition of what "significant" would mean, of course.

Completely lacking from the discussion document, of course, is any suggestion of providing safeguards for the public, or ways in which copyright law should be shaped in order to encourage creativity. But then, this is about money, not art, after all.