In the 19th century, the United States was both a rapidly industrializing nation and - as Charles Dickens, among others, knew all too well - a bold pirate of IP. But these days, when it comes to dealing with developing nations around the world, this United States seems to be ignoring its own swashbuckling heritage. Or at least that's the implication of a recent report by the international Commission on IPR. The report recommends that the World Trade Organization's treaty on IP rights be made much more flexible so that developing nations, from Brazil to Bangladesh, can adopt rules more at their own pace. The global debate over IPR - patents, copyrights and trademarks - is focused mainly on forward-looking industries like computer software, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. But Americans can look back to this nation's 19th-century experience in book publishing, for example, to understand the developing world's viewpoint. Back then, American law offered copyright protection - but only to citizens and residents of the United States. The works of English authors were copied with abandon and sold cheap to an American public hungry for books. This so irritated Mr. Dickens - whose "Christmas Carol" sold for 6 cents a copy in America, versus $2.50 in England - that he toured the United States in 1842, urging the adoption of international copyright protection as being in the long-term interest of American authors and publishers. Such appeals proved unpersuasive until 1891, when the United States had a thriving literary culture and its book industry that wanted its own IP protection abroad. So Congress passed a new copyright act extending protection to foreign works in return for similar treatment for American authors overseas. Indeed, the economies that were shining success stories of development, from the United States in the 19th century to Japan and its East Asian neighbors like Taiwan and South Korea in the 20th, took off under systems of weak IP protection. Technology transfer came easily and inexpensively until domestic skills and local industries were advanced enough that stronger IP protections became a matter of self-interest. But according to the recent report, this kind of economic-development tactic copying to jump-start an industry - is endangered by the United States-led push for stronger IPR worldwide.
They stood in a hall incredibly tall,
like a cathedral but ten times the size,
and passages exited everywhere,
And astonishing things took their eyes,
there were tombs made out of sheer marble,
and vaults descending under the ground,
ornate paintings on all walls and ceilings,
vaulted masonry spans to astound,
and over all was the total utter silence,
that kept this space locked in awe,
and no one had seen anything like it,
none had seen its like before,
and the music started so quietly,
and seeped its way into their psyche,
it started so simply and quietly,
it started so laid back and lightly,
it didnt seem long since it started,
but they all soon knew the tune,
it was a classic of peacenik times,
it was the dark side of the moon,
and when its final laugh had faded,
so apocalyptic in such a setting,
in a backdrop fit for Wagner,
a power play so ably abetting,
then being slowly appeared,
and glided artfully into their senses,
who was so very subtly opposing,
yet not so they thought of defences,
and he spoke to them succinctly,
not a word lost forgotten nor wasted,
welcome those that would know everything,
would sup of wine ever tasted,
would set out to see, how to be free,
learn failings of old, and labours of love,
would listen and search, under the earth,
of all ancient history of the above.
for I am him called the Soothsayer,
I keep the records and tend the power,
I have many that help and scurry around,
I have many that tend the towers,


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