In an editorial in the San Francisco Post, Ron Kirk, US Trade Representative, calls for reinforcing the global system of IP protection. He says this redoubling of efforts is needed because, “at this time of extraordinary economic uncertainty, we need to preserve and grow innovative, creative industries now more than ever. We need to create high-wage jobs today and build new industries, including new green industries to deal with the challenge of climate change, which will bring jobs for years to come.”
The ease with which we can get ideas, good and services to the global marketplace is the reason behind his call. He states, “intellectual property – embodied in products like films, software, music, and other goods and services – can hit the global marketplace sometimes with just a keystroke. If we’re not vigilant, it can vanish after that.”
He is right to throw his weight behind the creative industries. He is also right to voice his support for a legal system to protect creator’s rights. He notes correctly that new technologies make the cause of IP protection even more important. But my only question is why doesn’t he equate the new reasons for IP protection with creating a new system than trying to apply an old system to new forms of creativity?
Our current IP legal protection mechanisms have evolved over time to accomodate new forms of creativity. As opposed to calling for stricter enforcement of current measures in a new creative environment he should be calling for new legal measures to facilitate new and innovative industries.