We in the U.S. tend to have a limited field of vision when it comes to nascent legal concepts. Other countries are dealing with many of the same matters in their jurisprudence, but our citizens and legislators are either unaware of their efforts or fail to see their relevance. A great recent example is the European analog of the American Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA). Known as the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), the measure was executed by Poland in Tokyo, Japan today, setting off anti-government hacking and massive protests.

Until the footage of uprisings in the streets hit American media, ACTA was not a known quantity to hardly anyone in the U.S. The Agreement is designed to set international standards for the protection of intellectual property and, as its name would imply, to address rampant counterfeiting. Of note is the fact that ACTA has less to do with copyright infringement prosecution than most hypothetical examples cited by those opposing the legislation. As with the U.S. legislation, detractors suggest enacting ACTA would amount to condonation of censorship and would shortcut due process in many cases of alleged infringement.

Other nations executing the Agreement this week included Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Romania and Greece. In what will come as a surprise to many, the U.S. executed the Agreement, as well – last year (as did Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea).

The point: multiple nations are recognizing that they have aligned economic interests when it comes to intellectual property. They are centered on incenting creative activity by ensuring that the profit of such endeavors actually reaches the creator or rightsholder, rather than being diverted by intellectual property infringers. Proponents of the various anti-piracy legislative schemes suggest that many jobs and significant commerce across many industries are at stake.

Other nations are keenly aware of developments in U.S. lawmaking. Our collective intelligence and legislative efficacy would be enhanced if we would maintain like awareness of happenings in other global economies.

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