A Little Piece of Copyright History from 2009

Map of North America

For the Copyright Alliance’s blog series called The Secret History of Copyright, I thought it would be interesting to share an actual piece of history. In early 2009 as the U.S., Canada and Mexico began to think about hemispheric priorities, I reached out to representatives of the performer, songwriter, publisher and label communities of the three countries to develop a common agenda – something expressly not designed as a script for any proposed agreement, and merely a reflection of a common thread amongst the communities of the hemisphere. The result was the following letter, sent to Prime Minister Harper of Canada, President Calderon of Mexico, and President Obama in April of 2009. It reflects the role of copyright as a tool for both economic development and cultural diversity, and the fact that each country had both an interest in securing modern and effective protection, and unfinished business to achieve it. I also highlight the following context – clarifying the intent of the letter and our individual and collective sense that we weren’t advancing a trade agenda, but rather an agenda for a better future fueled by concerted unilateralism, not binding agreement. Anyway, here is a little piece of copyright history, or a footnote to history perhaps, that I hope you will find interesting.

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