April 30, 2003 · Lessig
There’s a standard dance that the IP extremists do well: When they lose in Congress, they go overseas and negotiate a treaty that imposes on the US the same obligation they just lost in Congress; then they come back and say, “we must do this to live up to our international obligations.”
So here we go again: The US Trade Representative is negotiating trade agreements with Chile and Singapore. The agreements essentially require these two countries to adopt the DMCA, and make it a violation of “our international obligations” if we were to change the DMCA. Representatives Lofgren and Boucher — who both have bills introduced to amend the DMCA — have written a strongly worded letter to the USTR asking for clarification. For consistent with this policy making process, just what is being promised is never made clear — until it is too late. Here’s the letter.