copyright law, developing nations


Professor Hansen reviews the development of copyright from its traditional domestic orientation to the modern emphasis on globalization and harmonization. His commentary analogizes modern trends in international copyright to religious equivalents. He notes that the current players include a “secular priesthood” (the traditional copyright bar and academics), “agnostics and atheists” (newer academics and lawyers, particularly those concerned with technology and the culture of the public domain) and “missionaries” (whose task it is to increase copyright protection around the world and who are primarily driven by trade considerations). The copyright “crusade” has been driven by this last group. The author compares the task of increasing copyright protection in newly industrialized and developing countries to the conversion of any group to a new religion. The missionaries, primarily from the United States and the European Union, have the choice of seeking voluntary or involuntary conversions. He augurs that the prospects for voluntary conversion are slim and that coercion will continue to be used against newly industrialized and developing nations when copyright protection is at stake.