With the pervasiveness of the information revolution, the preservation of intellectual property rights through patents, copyrights, and trademarks has become far more difficult. Knock-off imitations abound and outright piracy of everything from pharmaceuticals to films to music videos is rife, especially in the vibrant markets of developing countries. Enforcement of existing international laws is often weak and countries are at odds over what should be enforced. And beneath this conflict is one more profound: where is the border between the rights of authors, singers, and innovative manufacturers to profit from the fruits of their intellectual efforts and the rights of libraries and other institutions, as well as individuals, to have access to information? In this book, Michael Ryan explains the issues, politics, and diplomacy of balancing intellectual property rights with the public’s right of access. He discusses the major negotiations to forge international policy in the 1980s and 1990s, including the bilateral U.S. intellectual property negotiations with China and other developing countries, the multilateral negotiations conducted at GATT, and the 1996 copyright treaties negotiated at the World Intellectual Property Organization. He analyzes the shaping context of global competition in intellectual property-intensive industries—pharmaceuticals and fine chemicals, film and music, publishing, information technology, and software—and the industries’ policy advocacy tactics and strategies to protect their markets. He examines the role of the World Intellectual Property Organization and explores the new “knowledge diplomacy” that will establish the rules governing the exploitation of innovation and expression in a digital, twenty-first century global economy.
Michael P. Ryan directs the Study on Innovation, Expression and Development at the School of Business at Georgetown University, where he also teaches at the School of Foreign Service. He is the author of Playing by the Rules: American Trade Power and Diplomacy in the Pacific (Georgetown, 1995).