Copyrighting Culture: The Political Economy of Intellectual Property

By Ronald V. Bettig | Go to book overview

7
Recolonizing Communications and Culture: The Expanding Realm of International Intellectual Property Law

This chapter moves the analysis of intellectual property law from the national to the international level while maintaining the focus on cable television and the videocassette recorder. As these new communications technologies increased their presence throughout the world, copyright owners faced similar problems regarding the control of their property as those surfacing in the U.S. market. This chapter develops two case studies examining how new communications technologies generated challenges to U.S. intellectual property rights as well as how rights owners responded to them.

The first case considers the contest between U.S. filmed entertainment companies and Canadian cable operators over the issue of copyrights for cable. The central conflict in this case parallels the one discussed in Chapter 5 between copyright owners and cable operators in the United States. The problem for U.S. copyright owners was how to persuade Canadian cable operators to accept copyright liability for the use of filmed entertainment programming carried in retransmitted broadcasts and to develop a regime that would govern the distribution of royalties generated by this use.

The second case focuses on Hollywood's battle against videocassette piracy in international markets. In this case, copyright owners of filmed entertainment had to respond to the challenge to their copyrights from unauthorized users of their property. The challenge here was to compel foreign governments to recognize the illegality of unauthorized duplication of prerecorded videocassettes and then to enforce the intellectual property rights of filmed entertainment copyright owners.

Given the international character of these intellectual property disputes, the filmed entertainment industry found itself engaged in foreign policy making alongside the U.S. government. These cases thus lend themselves to an integra

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