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I am a Professor of Law and the Director of the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property at the American University, Washington College of Law and am a founding member of the Creative Commons board.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The TRIPS Hammer

Lobbyists for the trade organizations of large copyright-owning intermdiaries, such as the MPAA, RIAA and AAP, have become fond of pulling out the TRIPS hammer whenever they meet resistance to their proposals for more rights.

The TRIPS hammer is the argument that Congress must do what the lobbyist wants or the United States will be non-compliant with its international obligations under the TRIPS Agreement. The hammer then comes down with the argument that the United States has to set an example for the rest of the world about how to "respect" intellectual property because otherwise, certain trading partners will undermine the effectiveness of the TRIPS agreement.

And, of course, this is all said with a straight face even after the United States has been judged to be in violation of TRIPS and has failed to remedy the violation.


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