copyright laws slop over international borders, what do other librarians think?

I’m not talking much about copyright in my talk, but I have been boning up on some of the Australian library community’s responses to the Australia – United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA) which passed in May. One of the things that AUSFTA did was “reduce differences” between US and Australian copyright law which, as you can probably guess, means the Australians get to tighten up their laws and bring them more in line with restrictive US laws that favor business uses of intellectual property over community and library uses. To this end, the Australian Libraries’ Copyright Committee released this Statement of Principles [word doc] which says, among other things

The recent conclusion of the Australia – United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA) threatens to fundamentally shift the fine balance in our current copyright regime. The “harmonisation” of Australia’s copyright legislation to that of the United States as required by the treaty may have irreversible negative impacts unless balancing provisions are also introduced. The negative unintended consequences created by the introduction of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act 1999 (DMCA) in the United States are well recognised by copyright experts and commentators around the world.. Careful consideration needs to be given to the implementation of treaty obligations in order to avoid similar outcomes in Australia,