Why are there digital rights

Digital rights in transition

Business with copyrighted goods such as computer programs, films and music is booming. Exports from the USA alone rose from $ 36 billion to $ 89 billion between 1991 and 2001. So in ten years exports have more than doubled. These figures are given in a report by Copysouth that appeared in mid-May. Scientists, mainly from developing countries, deal with the negative effects that the tightening of copyright rules has on the countries of the southern hemisphere. The association of the American music industry, the RIAA, represents the other side. She works out strategies against illegal copying. She is paying particular attention to two countries: Russia and China.

China has tightened the laws on copyright as part of the accession negotiations to the World Trade Organization (WTO). However, there are many exceptions in the country of the Middle. China permits copies for private use, for research purposes and for personal entertainment. It is forbidden, however, to make copies available on the Internet or to distribute them without the artist's permission. This current law is not being enforced, criticizes Neil Turkewitz. He is Vice President of the American Music Industry Association, where he primarily deals with copyright issues.

"The biggest challenge in China is not the legal framework, it is that the law is not enforced. The Chinese government relies on activism rather than actual deterrence. Raids are teeming with pirated copies being found and destroyed. But we are seeing no prosecution, so the procedure has no impact on the market. "

There is also a different view of China. Robin Gross bothers that the American government is trying to exert pressure. In China, for example, under pressure from the US government, illegal copying has been declared a capital crime and, in extreme cases, can be punished with the death penalty. Gross is a lawyer and head of IP Justice, a San Francisco-based organization that advocates a balanced legal system for the protection of intellectual property. While international treaties allow private copies, this is often not the case in bilateral treaties between the USA and especially Latin American states, argues Gross. Your example is Chile:

"The USA and Chile signed a free trade agreement last year, where there is no fair handling of copyright."

The result is that countries like Chile have fewer rights than the US. Even in the traditional industrial nations, clear positions are still being struggled with. The Australian Department of Justice has proposed new rules for dealing with intellectual property. So far there was no right to private copying there. In the future, users should be able to record broadcasts from television or radio programs. However, there is an obligation to delete it after playing it once. In addition, the conversion of purchased CDs into other formats should be allowed.

At the same time, however, the Australian authorities have announced tougher action against the exchange of files on the Internet. In Japan, the employers' association is currently pushing for changes in the protection of copyrights. The main question is whether and how often programs from digital television can be copied for private use. Regulations are planned that are based on the fair use principle in the USA. Copies are allowed under American law, according to IP Justice boss Robin Gross. However, there are restrictions:

"It is not allowed to make two copies and pass one of them on. You can only make the copy and then pass it on."

In Europe, too, the debate about private copying rights is fierce. For example, the legal advisor of the Federal Association of German Phono Associations, Nora Braun, recently demanded that digital private copying be completely prohibited or at least significantly restricted in this country. However, it does not find any response from the legislature. In the UK, a report by the National Consumer Council provides arguments to proponents of copyright reform. So far, there is no right to private copying on the island. Nonetheless, more than half of the British responded to a survey that they copied CDs. The consumer association is now calling for this to be taken into account and for the laws to be adapted to reality.