Internet piracy disrupts economic growth across the continents. How nations react to Internet piracy could well define the future economic health of a nation. Piracy laws and copyright infringement laws have reached global attention – and international treaties continue to grow that seek to give credit to the originator and encourage economic gain while still promoting freedom, progress and education.
Copyright laws have existed for centuries but have been weak in international standards. The swell of Internet Piracy clearly advanced the heightening necessity of developing international standards.
In 1994, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) resulted in the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), which provided a foundation for standards in copyright infringement laws and regulations. Internet piracy law, copyright infringement, and intellectual law were addressed globally at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a division of the United Nations, in 1996. As a result, 184 nations have now signed the World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty – a modern predecessor of the 1883 Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property and the 1886 Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works.
WIPO strives to develop “a balanced and accessible international intellectual property (IP) system, which rewards creativity, stimulates innovation and contributes to economic development while safeguarding the public interest.” Nations are joining forces to protect the rights of their creative citizens and increase their potential for international economic gain – but not without strife. Many nations still resist the stringent copyright infringement laws of the West. Other nations, such as Canada, develop creative solutions, such as placing a levy on blank CD purchases. However, the US, Japan and the European Union began negotiating towards a tougher Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in 2007 to combat Internet piracy and toughen piracy law.
The US has substantial financial interest in combating Internet piracy The RIAA, one America’s largest advocates for overhauling the current state of Internet Piracy and Piracy Law, has given the US valid concerns over stifled economic growth due to Internet piracy and copyright infringement – and statistics to support it. The RIAA invested substantial resources to support their strong stance on religious adherences to piracy law. A verified report by the Institute for Policy Innovation (IPA) declared that Internet piracy accounts for a $2.7 billion loss in workers’ earnings and a $131 million in lost corporate income and production taxes – not to mention a loss of $291 million in personal income tax that the US could surely use to offset its deficit.
Internet piracy laws and the definitions of copyright infringement are at the top of international trade agendas across the continents. Piracy law will continue to undergo substantial review as the Internet and other forms of technology progress. The United Nations has already developed task force groups to analyze the Internet-driven economy of the future – and the potential for new and stronger surges of Internet piracy and copyright infringement that will come with it. When the nations can peacefully recognize both state and international copyright protections that give credit to the originator and promote a healthy economy, while still retaining the freedoms of the Internet, then perhaps global trade agreements might run as smoothly as a website visit to a country that’s just an ocean away. Until then, the transitioning copyright infringement and intellectual property agreements will continue to determine the future state of our Internet-driven economy.
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