Intellectual Property’s Digital Divide

My weekly Law Bytes column (freely available hyperlinked version, Toronto Star version, homepage version) assesses the recent WIPO Development Agenda meeting, pointing to the need to bridge the divide between the United States and the Friends of Development coalition.

The intellectual property digital divide is evident beyond the halls of the United Nations. Last week I attended a conference on Internet and intellectual property law issues in Beijing, China (more on the Chinese visit in next week s column). The U.S. was represented by an embassy official who emphasized both the need for stronger criminal penalties for intellectual property infringement and the creation of policing institutions to address these issues. The official vigorously exhibited his disagreement when a Hong Kong law professor questioned the U.S. position, outlining many of the same concerns as those expressed weeks earlier in Geneva.

The column also focuses on the role that countries such as Canada should play as part of the development agenda. It concludes that Canada s own intellectual property position is closer to the developing world that most might think and that we are ideally suited to play a leading role in pushing the agenda forward.

Update: The Ottawa Citizen version of the column, titled Intellectual Propertys Digital Divide, is now online.

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