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USA Blackmailing The World Over Copyright Law? 28 January 2003 Edition
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Right now, the USA is gearing up to launch a major military offensive against Iraq and oust Saddam Hussein.

If they engage in such an action, it will probably be in defiance of world opinion which has largely swung behind the option of taking a more moderated approach.

The USA however, is determined to go it alone if necessary -- believing it knows best and that it has a responsibility to protect the world from evil.


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So what does this have to do with the Internet?

Well this "we're going to protect you from evil" attitude also appears to be affecting the USA's attitude to the issue of copyright.

It was with some concern that I read this story on the Australian IT website today.

Now we all know that in the USA, the recording industry wields some incredible clout with government and its legislators. America is a nation where money talks and, like politicians everywhere, its lawmakers are always keen to lend an ear to the pleas of well-funded lobby groups.

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    As a result, the USA's copyright laws are becoming some of the most draconian in the world.

    But it seems that the lobbyists are not happy to just have US copyright law enforced just within the borders of their own nation -- they want the rest of the world to toe the same line.

    In order to force other countries to adopt or enforce these US laws, they appear to be quite willing to play dirty.

    The Australian IT story indicates that the USA will attempt to blackmail Australia into adopting US copyright laws before a long-awaited free trade agreement will be put in place.

    Is this just an example of the legitimate bargaining and negotiations that surround any international trade agreement -- or is, as I'm sure some will allege, another move towards "global domination" by the USA?

    Here in New Zealand, we're also keen to strengthen trading relationships with the USA due to its massive size as a market for our exports. But will our government yield to this type of blackmail?

    Will the DMCA become a part of New Zealand's copyright law and will the citizens of this country soon fall under US jurisdiction -- as a matter of economic expediency?

    It would appear that Iraq may not be the only country about to feel the full weight of the USA's battle against evil things such as weapons of mass destruction and the piracy of intellectual property.

    Let's hope that our government remembers just who they're elected to serve when it comes time to make such a decision.

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