Shampooing Baby Elephants, Buddha’s Tooth, and the World Intellectual Property Organization
Copyright Michael J. Remington (2020)
A memory resides in my brain about a special week in the Republic of Sri Lanka. Previously untold, a secret copyright story can be recollected with the benefit of paper files, photographs, and interviews. To paraphrase Oliver Wendell Holmes, memories that seem to be puzzle pieces can be put together until they make a properly connected whole, revealing a worthy history.
Almost three decades ago, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) invited Ralph Oman (then the U.S. Register of Copyrights), and me (at the time, a counsel to the House Judiciary Committee, specializing in intellectual property matters) to travel to Sri Lanka and participate in a “regional training course on intellectual property for developing countries of Asia and the Pacific.” The setting was Colombo, the country’s capital; the timing, late July 1991. Our rough assignment was to discuss U.S. copyright law through oral presentations, interaction with trainees, and answers to questions. Falling into my hands was the role of the U.S. Congress in enacting copyright legislation, constitutional parameters, and congressional oversight. Ralph would discuss the Copyright Office, highlight opportunities in developing countries for job creation through copyright protections and, at the behest of the host country, give advice about computer software protection in the United States. At the time, Sri Lanka aspired to become a domestic technology center serving other Asian countries.
As required by rules of the House of Representatives, the Chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary – Hon. Jack Brooks (D-TX) – approved my attendance and participation. Further travels supported by The Asia Foundation would take me to Bangladesh and Nepal. Earlier in my career, I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa, later receiving a Fulbright Scholarship in Paris, and serving as Counsel of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property for almost a decade. On Ralph’s resume was his Sorbonne studies in Paris, work for the U.S. Department of State in Saudi Arabia, service in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War, and counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s intellectual property subcommittee, before becoming Register of Copyrights in late 1985. Ralph and I clerked for Federal district judges. An American duo with political, diplomatic, legal, and foreign affairs experience was in place.
WIPO’s invitation to travel to Sri Lanka was approved by Dr. Arpad Bogsch, Director General of W.I.P.O. As a Hungarian-American international civil servant, he became a U.S. citizen in 1959. From 1973 to 1997, he directed WIPO with a proverbial iron fist. During his tenure, intellectual property attorneys in government agencies and the private sector were warned not to refer to the W.I.P.O. as “WIPO.”
Previously, Dr. Bogsch worked at the International Bureaux for the Protection of Intellectual Property (best known by its French acronym, BIRPI, an international organization established in 1893 to administer the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works and its twin Paris Convention for the protection of Industrial Property. His believe in copyright law was deeply rooted, as was his devotion to international standards through treaties. Early on, he had a dogged vision. The United States should adhere to the Berne Convention.
After enactment by the U.S. Congress and a presidential signature on the Copyright Revision Act of 1976, Bogsch explained to a New York Times reporter that “so many competing technological interests trying to make inroads on literary and artistic rights, membership would be added protection because there would be an international treaty obligation to combat pressures.” Bogsch became well-known on Capitol Hill, at the U.S. Copyright Office, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Under his leadership, WIPO expanded its worldwide role and obligations in the intellectual property arena. Always in the driver’s seat, Bogsch steered WIPO in several directions: among them, assistance to developing countries to improve their intellectual property laws, and the formulation of international treaties, one of which was the Treaty on Intellectual Property in Respect of Integrated Circuits (negotiated at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., in May 1989). To Ralph and me, Dr. Bogsch became more than a passing acquaintance.
For those of us who studied political science and went to law school, knowledge of legal history is just as important as engineering when it comes to advancing scientific knowledge and assisting individuals to think analytically. A warm relationship between the U.S. Congress and WIPO provided a puzzle piece for the Sri Lanka course. In November 1987, a bipartisan congressional delegation (CODEL) travelled to Geneva, Switzerland, for consultations with copyright experts about whether the U.S. should join Berne and what would be required to do so. The delegation included Hon. Robert Kastenmeier (D-WI), Hon. Howard Berman (D- CA), Hon. Hamilton Fish, Jr. (R-NY), Hon. Carlos Moorhead (R-CA), and Hon. Henry Hyde (R.-IL). On the first workday, delegates were briefed by Register Oman, and later met with Ambassador A. Samuels, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative and U.S. Mission representatives.
Legislative and executive branch individuals worked together on a bipartisan basis. A lavish reception was held by WIPO in its Geneva’s headquarters that overlooks Lake Geneva, followed by a 3-star dinner hosted by Dr. Bogsch. Numerous courses, European style, lubricated by wine and champagne, stimulated communications. In a memorable moment, Ralph posed a question to Dr. Bogsch: “Has the United States contributed its annual dues to WIPO?” Bogsch curtly responded: “no.”
Upon the delegation’s return to the Nation’s Capital, Mr. Kastenmeier wrote a letter to the U.S. State Department, expressing shock that the U.S. was in arrears of its WIPO annual contributions, to the embarrassment of the Reagan Administration (at least through the eyes of two Cabinet members who supported U.S. adherence to Berne). The arrears were expeditiously paid.
The next two workdays were devoted to hearings at WIPO before the delegation. Representative Kastenmeier chaired and delegation members participated. Dr. Bogsch sat on the dais. European experts from numerous countries testified on the record. Earlier, the Copyright Office played a critical role in identifying witnesses and developing a concrete program. An Office attorney-advisor, Lewis Flacks, was especially helpful and constructive (more about Lewis later). Congressional staff and a USPTO attorney participated. Historically, the CODEL trip was precedential, the first time a country had requested foreign consultation on domestic legislation required to join an international intellectual property treaty. Within a year, the U.S.
Congress passed the Berne Convention Implementation Act of 1988, and on November 16, 1988, the U.S. instrument of accession to the Berne Convention was deposited. Two days later, Dr. Bogsch on behalf of all countries in the Berne Union, wrote a personal letter to Mr. Kastenmeier, opining that “you are the main artisan of the conception and passage of the law enabling United 4 States accession.” He continued by stating that “accession makes the Berne Convention far more resistant … to the ever-menacing attempts to erode copyright protection ….”
Copyright history sometimes has surprises. Congressional elections in 1990 amounted to a momentary (and largely forgotten) blip on copyright’s radar screen. Overall, not much changed. But the House’s expert on intellectual property issues and my mentor, Congressman Kastenmeier, after 32 years of continuous service, was voted out of office. Press reports bemoaned his defeat, explaining that the Congressman had become a national representative who spent too much time on copyright, trademark and patent issues. Upon Kastenmeier’s forced retirement, Ralph encapsulated Kastenmeier’s contributions to copyright law, stating that he “authored or shaped all the major (and minor) amendments to the copyright law over the past 30 years, and … marched [the United States] into the Berne Convention.” Before becoming Register, Ralph was Counsel to Senator Charles “Mac” Mathias (R-MD), a brilliant man who decided to forgo running for re-election in 1986. In Maryland, he was pilloried by a State legislature delegate as “liberal swine.” In the past, Kastenmeier and Mathias took a leadership role in enactment of the Berne Convention Implementation Act of 1988, opening the door to U.S. adherence to the Berne Convention (on March 1, 1989). Democracies sometimes impose prices on elected officials. After Senator Mathias’ retirement, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) picked up the copyright banner and worked with Congressman Kastenmeier to lock in U.S. adherence to Berne.
Before traveling to Sri Lanka, ample time was available to prepare lecture materials. Part of that task required learning about a host country’s history, culture and legal system. One never wants to be a clueless, some would say “an ugly American” in a foreign land.
Hope from the Copyright Office was on the way in the form of a brilliant, fair and funny individual, Lewis Flacks, a policy-planning advisor to the Register. A seasoned attorney with international credentials, Lewis prepared talking points. He warned that some attendees might feel that intellectual property is a Western concept imposed on them and forced on their countries. By virtue of the WIPO course, sharing knowledge about how U.S. copyright law works would be helpful. Smiling, Lewis suggested that a bridge could be built between copyright and Buddha’s message of the Middle Way. Both are based on the concept of balance. Because Buddhist principles are embedded in Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese culture, at least the host country would be pleased, as well as other Asian countries, including attendees from Japan, China, Korea, and Nepal. Finally, recognize that several Asian countries joined the Berne Union (among them, Japan, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka) well before the United States; we had good company on a moral high ground. As a country, we have flaws, but in the long term, we remedy them.
An Air Lanka airplane with us on board landed on the western shore of a tear-shaped island. As we exited the plane, we were welcomed by a blast of sweltering, tropical air. We were in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital, and its largest city by population. My checked baggage was nowhere to be found, requiring standing in a queue for lost-bag claims. Luckily, my carry-on bag had a suit, dress shirt, necktie, and a legal file about the course. During my entire Sri Lanka sejour, the bag did not arrive. Oh, the perils of international travel…. In any event, we checked into a Colombo hotel in the city’s center with a vivid view of sunsets in the western sky over the Indian Ocean. Jet-lagged, we took a walk to get our bearings. At a nearby restaurant, we consumed a delicious Sri Lankan dinner.
On the course’s opening day, participants entered a modern building, a worksite that we would frequent daily. Shahid Alikhan, a WIPO high-ranking employee in charge of the course, greeted us. Born in India, he received a master’s degree from the University of Hyderabad. Joining WIPO in 1976, he became responsible for the fields of copyright and neighboring rights, advising on legislation and administration. As a specialty, he represented WIPO at meetings about copyright issues in developing countries.
After introducing themselves, our Sri Lankan hosts, a number of whom were eminent lawyers and professors, welcomed all attendees. One Sri Lankan host advised that Colombo was safe during the day, but everyone should be careful after sunset. Along-time civil war was ongoing in the country’s northeast with origins rooted deeply in political and religious rancor between Sinhalese (Buddhist) and Tamil (Hindu) interests. To make matters worse, India had entered the fray, sharing ethnic kinship with its State of Tamil Nadu, which arguably led to the assassination of ex-Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, by a female suicide bomber holding a bouquet of flowers. Hostilities ebbed and flowed in Sri Lanka. But in July 1991, near Sri Lanka’s Elephant Pass that controlled access to the Jaffna Peninsula, the government launched the largest battle of the war. According to newspaper reports, on both sides, deaths and casualties were in the thousands.
My presentation took place before an attentive audience. At least that is my recollection. A self-introduction informed the attendees that, in my five-member family, I was the only one born in the United States. My wonderful wife entered the world in Paris, France, and our three adopted children were born in India, two in Old Delhi and one in Kolkata (formerly, Calcutta). In 1991, they were all U.S. citizens. After that introduction, I turned to substance. Here is a summary of six subjects covered.
First, Article I, section 8, clause 8 of the U.S. Constitution empowers Congress to “promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” For more than two centuries, Congress exercised its authority to incentivize authors to create artistic and literary works and receive a grant of a limited property right. After a limited term expires, works enter the public domain, and society benefits.
Second, it is not only the copyright owner’s exclusive rights to control and exploit a copyrighted work through licensing and infringement actions, if necessary, but also a set of different, or may be even conflicting, interests set forth in limitations and exceptions to copyright protection may appear. In addition, copyright law operates in a larger environment that includes respect for freedom of speech and enforcement of policies that promote competition.
Third, the U.S. Constitution provides for a judicial branch of government. The founding fathers contemplated a common law system similar to that of the United Kingdom (and Sri Lanka) in comparison to civil law systems of continental Europe, permitting American judges to play a significant role in interpreting and enforcing statutory enactments. For foreign observers, it may appear at first glance that the judiciary does not play a lead role in the development and evolution of U.S. copyright law. This view is mistaken; the judiciary’s role is central.
Fourth, the executive plays a role in copyright law. The President has authority to draft legislation, forwarding it to the House and Senate to be introduced. Through cabinet departments, witnesses may testify. All matters are reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) which serves the President in overseeing implementation of matters of interest. If the White House finds issues not to its liking, the President has veto power. Finally, the executive branch is empowered to negotiate treaties.
Fifth, in the United States, copyright is considered to be a big success story. Economists in both the government and the private sector are able to identify copyright industries and quantify job creation and Gross National Product. Copyright produces quantifiable positive balance of trade in the United States and is one of the brightest spots on the budgetary deficit horizon. But from an economic perspective, the costs of illegal copying are decreasing, and the costs of enforcing copyrights are increasing. Property rights are arduous to enforce, but copyright is particularly so.
Sixth, in about 55 B.C., Greek philosopher Heraclitus observed that “nothing endures but change.” The proof of that statement is its truth. However, Heraclitus could never have contemplated the speed of change in the modern world. In 1984 at a conference on law and technology, Senator Mathias remarked that Congress can be “likened to Balboa when he first viewed the Pacific Ocean lying before him – full of wonder at a great new resource but not knowing what it meant was a matter of conjecture.” Developing countries must brace themselves for technological changes on the horizon.
As the week-end break in the conference neared, Ralph broached the subject of ongoing multi-day festivities in Kandy about Buddha’s Sacred Tooth, one of the most important public celebrations in Sri Lanka and, indeed, the Buddhist world asking: “Should we go?”
Without hesitation, my answer was: “of course.” The Esala Perahera (Festival of the Tooth) is part of Sri Lankan tradition and must be seen by serious visitors. Annually, festivities are observed in Kandy during Esala (Sinhalese term meaning “procession of the full moon”) most often in July or August. Esala is designated to celebrate teachings by the Buddha after he achieved enlightenment. All we needed to do was to figure out transportation to and from Kandy. Our initial plan was to take a narrow gauge railroad up its winding trail into the mountains towards Kandy. Our excitement almost got the best of us. When we asked our Sri Lanka hosts about the best way to travel, unexpectedly, they answered in unison: “do not travel to Kandy, it is too dangerous.”
Our response, “this is important, we’re going.” A couple days later, good news arrived from Geneva, Switzerland; Dr. Bogsch had authorized a car and driver to make the trip.
Sri Lanka’s history is inextricably intertwined with histories of the broader Indian subcontinent. Two dominant religions, Buddhism and Hinduism, made their way from India to surrounding regions. Indian influence pervaded in a number of fields: literature, music, art, architecture, and traditional culture and folklore. Over time, artistic and literary expressions developed into unique identities. For more than two millennia, Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) has had a continuous record of human settlements. Here are some key events. Jumping to the early 16th Century, the Portuguese arrived in Colombo, creating a bridge from the spice isles to Europe. Roughly 150 years later, Dutch forces pushed out the Portuguese except for the Kingdom of Kandy. Around the time of the American Declaration of Independence and our successful revolution against British rule half away around the globe, the Brits took action to add Ceylon to colonial possessions. Years later, the Kingdom of Kandy was conquered, and the entire island became administered by the British. After World War II, Ceylon became an independent republic, eventually changing its name to Sri Lanka. In intervening decades, Sri Lanka maintained its link with the British Commonwealth, adopting numerous copyright laws borrowed from the British. In the wake of independence, ethnic tensions between Sinhalese (Buddhist interests) and a Tamil minority (Hindu) that wanted an independent state in the north and east of Sri Lanka. Hostilities led to a civil war that lasted for twenty-six years.
Almost twenty-five centuries earlier, Buddha was born with the name Siddhartha Gautama. He lived and taught in the region near the frontier of modern-day Nepal and India. The history about Gautama Buddha’s tooth starts with his death sometime around 543 B.C. He was 80 years old. His body was cremated on a pyre of sandalwood. Squabbling took place about who would keep the relics. But a left canine tooth was taken from the ashes by one of the disciples, Khema. According to ancient scripts like the Dathavamsa (Chronicle of the Tooth) written later by unknown authors, Khema, took the tooth across India to the southeastern coastal Kingdom of Kalinga (in India), where King Brahmadatta – despite being Hindu – accepted the tooth in the capital, Dantauramnd – which translates as “tooth city.” The tooth became so venerated that beliefs grew that the relic conveyed a divine power to rule. Over eight centuries passed under Kalinga rule, protecting the tooth from wars and other conflicts. During the 4th Century A.D., the tooth was smuggled to Lanka (a word found in Austro-Asiatic languages as meaning “island”). Princess Hemamali and her husband, Prince Dantha, were instructed by her father, King Guhasiva, to deliver the tooth and confer custodianship to King Meghavanna in Anuradhapur, a major Buddhist monastery on the island. Over the years, Buddha’s tooth would endure colonization by the Portuguese, Dutch and English, a kidnaping to India, and a ransom plot. The tooth moved through the country on the waves of Sri Lankan history, ultimately residing in Sri Maligawa (Temple of the Tooth), located in a royal complex first constructed by the former Kingdom of Kandy in the 16th Century and restored over the years. The Temple was attacked in 1989 by the People’s Liberation Party (a Marxist-Leninist political movement) but has been rebuilt.
Well before sunrise, a friendly driver of a comfortable sedan picked us up. Noticing that the car had tinted, impenetrable windows, we buckled our seatbelts. Destination Kandy. Enroute, the driver indicated that we might be interested in taking a morning tour of Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage located midway between Colombo and Kandy. We responded, “yes, tell us more.”
He explained that in Sri Lanka the Asian elephant has a long history (twenty-five centuries of human beings being associated with elephants, leading to cultural, economic, symbolic, and societal benefits. Historically, in 1975, the Sri Lankan Department of Wildlife Conservation created a sanctuary and care facility for a handful of orphaned baby elephants in a zoo that could not handle them. A government-run site was established in Pinnawala Village on land adjacent to the Maha Oya River for the elephants. In 1978, the orphanage was assigned to the Department of National Zoological Gardens Sri Lanka. In 1982, an elephant breeding program was put in place. From an aspirational perspective, the government believed that a facility would not only help infant elephants and their impaired elders but would also attract tourists and generate income to maintain an orphanage. Being curious travelers, we responded “yes.”
On a sunny summer day, we procured tickets to enter the orphanage before elephants took their daily bath. Not many people were around except the mahouts (skilled individuals who remain in personal, direct contact with the elephants for years). As handlers, they take care of the elephants’ needs, developing positive bonds between human beings and elephants. We walked to the river’s edge, placing us in proximity to more than fifty elephants. One mahout gestured that we assist in bathing an infant elephant. Standing on slippery, soapy rocks, and not wanting to fall into the muddy river, we participated in the shampooing process. Bear in mind that a baby elephant pounds weighs more than 200 pounds at birth. After the baths, the elephants collectively departed into a forest across the river.
On the road to Kandy, our intrepid driver asked whether we would be interested in doing a quick, roadside stop to walkthrough a family-run tea factory (Embilmeegama), learn about the history of Ceylon Tea, and witness how tea is processed from leaves to the marketplace. If we took a quick tour, we would enjoy a complimentary pot of steeped tea in a small shop that sells teas and other items. Expressing interest, caffeine was on our minds. The guide showed antiquated machines, still operable, more than one century old. The British, having found that the rolling hills were conducive to tea production, and succeeded in producing a sought-after commodity in the English market. The tour concluded, the guide pointed to the floor covered with tea leaves, shards, and dust, stating that the debris on the floor would be swept up, put into tea bags, and processed by the factory for the American market. A pot of tea arrived. The small shop was happy to see Americans. Ralph and I purchased Ceylon tea boxes to take home and several batiks for family members. Although batiks originated centuries ago in Indonesia and Malaysia, making batiks for clothing or works of art has found a home in Sri Lanka.
Back in the car, bolstered by the caffeine, we approached Kandy, and were close to fulfilling our desire to witness the Festival of the Sacred Tooth. Gautama discovered the Middle Way, a critical aspect of his teaching. While following a path, his wisdom grew, and he became the Buddha. The path maps thoughts and deeds that are most likely to create happiness. Buddhism seeks always to reconcile opposing viewpoints and maintain balance. The legend of the life of the Buddha bears out a concept that endured over 2500 years, with more to come. It deserves a festival.
Esala Perahera’s procession of Buddha’s tooth commemorates Buddha’s conception, renunciation, and first sermon. As an integral part of Sri Lanka’s history and culture, entertainment takes place on multiple days, exceeding American three-ring circuses and the Super Bowl half-time shows. Because summer temperatures are high, even in Sri Lanka’s mountains, festivities occur at night. We arrived mid-afternoon and thanks to our driver, who had become tourist guide and bodyguard of sorts, found a “standing-room only” spot close to the Temple of the Tooth where the procession started. We were not far from the island’s holiest temple, Dalada Maligawa (Temple of the Tooth). At nightfall, the Temple’s tens of thousands of white lights sparkled. Fragrances of jasmine, hibiscus, and plants we did not recognize perfumed the air.
The main attraction event was a decorated, lead elephant carrying Buddha’s Tooth (actually a replica) in a sacred casket on its back for all to worship. Like the Oscars, the elephant stood on a path covered by white cloth. Fifty or more elephants stood in line, carrying six-foot logs balanced on their tusks, and held firmly in place with their trunks. With commands from their mahouts, these elephants dropped their logs, stomped on, and crushed them. As it turned out, the logs were a version of sugarcane, and the elephants relished a sweet treat. So, the procession commenced with happy elephants in the lead. In today’s COVID-19 parlance of “social distancing,” we could have touched elephants as they passed. Outfitted with large car batteries, the elephants were aglow with a myriad of twinkling lights, a surreal atmosphere as they lumbered through the crowd. Next came music, gymnastics, and smoke. Countless dancers, drummers, whip crackers, jugglers, musicians, acrobats, stilt-walkers, fire-breathers all wearing unique costumes, performed their key roles, In nine words, years ago, D.H. Lawrence aptly crystalized the festival as “perpetual fire-laughing motion among the slow shuffle of elephants.” He actually understated the beauty of it all, neglecting to add the activities of thousands of fruit bats (also known as megabats). Hanging lakeside in trees near the Temple of the Tooth and Kandy’s botanical garden, loud noises from the procession — a crescendo of drumbeats, music, and fireworks—agitated the bats to fly overhead. They joined the show. In all seriousness, the bats actually have a positive effect on human beings as pollinators, seed carriers, and insect eaters, But, unfortunately, they carry many deadly viruses, such as Ebola and Marburg, and possibly COVID-19.
Our driver safely returned us to Colombo after midnight. We were exhausted, safe and sound. We learned first-hand why Buddhists, during their lifetimes, believe that they must complete at least one pilgrimage to the Temple of the Tooth.
The next day, we benefitted from an interchange of views expressed by various attendees. We met Dinesha de Silva Wikramanayakewe through her husband, a Sri Lankan host and program participant in the course. In 1991, Dinesha served as a program officer for The Asia Foundation, specializing in education, economics, and other issues. To Ralph’s surprise, Dinesha attended (and taught at) the National Cathedral School in Washington, DC (a school that Ralph’s three children attended). Supported by the Foundation, my travel itinerary would take me to their offices in Dhaka and Kathmandu. Established in 1954, with headquarters in San Francisco, California, the Foundation is a non-profit committed to improving lives in developing Asian countries. The Foundation’s vision is a peaceful, just, and thriving Asia. Dinesha invited us to a family dinner at her residence for a sumptuous meal. We all laughed about how small is the world. The theory of six degrees of separation were developed by a social psychologist in the 1960s to resolve small-world problem. His hypothesis – that everyone on the planet is connected by just a few intermediaries – rang true.
Close to my last day in Sri Lanka (Ralph stayed longer), in search of my lost baggage we decided to pay a visit to AirLanka’s headquarters. Repetitive attempts to get information at the airport were unavailing. And my departure flight to Bangkok, Thailand, with a connection to Dhaka, Bangladesh, loomed. In despair of washing clothes in hotel sinks, I was ushered into the office of an extremely able AirLanka executive who had computer access. She advised me that my bag was in Saudi Arabia. Because your bag will arrive in Colombo after your departure, she announced proudly that it will be forwarded to the Dhaka Airport. “I promise.”
She kept her promise.
Readers may wonder why this blog mixes together copyright, Kandy’s Festival of Buddha’s Tooth, an elephant orphanage, a tea factory and megabats. American author, Zen teacher, and one of the founders of the Paris Review (along with George Plimpton and Harold L. Humes), Peter Matthiessen, provides an answer. “When we are mired in the relative world, never lifting our gaze to the mystery, our life is stunted, incomplete; we are filled with yearning for that paradise that is lost when, as young children, we replace it with words and ideas and abstractions — such as merit, such as past, present, and future — our direct, spontaneous experience of the thing itself, in the beauty and precision of this present moment.” Nine-Headed Dragon River: Zen Journals 1969-1982 (1986). Copyright and culture span authorship, music, words, and creativity, combining to connect puzzle pieces of a whole.
International travel in developing countries opens opportunities to get out of the mire and avoid fear. The more we know, the more we reflect our own weaknesses. The Internet is strewn with opinions that copyright law conflicts with culture, as though they are enemies. “Que sais-je? (What do I know?) Our spontaneity in shampooing an orphaned baby elephant and witnessing Buddha’s Tooth pass by not only provides a lasting memory, it places us in the present.
In closing, it is noteworthy that WIPO annually promotes World IP Day, a holiday that it created in 2002. A specific theme is chosen annually, inviting interested parties to participate in a myriad of activities. In 2020, the theme was “Innovation for a Green Future.” Unfortunately, the worldwide COVID-19 diluted traditional celebrations that were planned for April 26. No IP panels and no educational events, no champagne toasts, and no music to celebrate the day Tardily, let this blog celebrate the arts and sciences, authors and their creativity, copyright successes, cultures of developing countries, and WIPO’s contributions to a better world. And let this blog also celebrate the important role of the Copyright Alliance in promoting copyright and creativity in the United States and around the world. Finally, thanks go to Ralph Oman, my long- time friend and traveling partner, for reviewing an initial draft of this blog, improving it substantially, and to my daughter, Cecile Remington, for her editing skills. All mistakes are my own.