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As we can see in the preliminary discussion above, in the face of the extension of copyright and patent-heavy cultures from western nations to global trade relationships, the very conflict between capitalism and social progressivism is implicated. Indeed, many socially conscious global economic groups are protesting international intellectual property laws that they say are burdensome to developing economies and which favor the sense of entitlement and ownership typically reserved for those individuals and entities with greater resources at their disposal. Critics cite the World Trade Organization (WTO) and global legislation which it has sponsored such as the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) as fundamentally flawed and unfairly biased to benefit the wealthy. This helps to characterize a major aspect of the philosophical debate which currently differentiates the relevant perspectives of nations such as China, on one hand, and Canada and the United States on the other.
Globalizing groups and nations are concerned with the issue of protecting such commercial properties as those which might be defined as 'intellectual' in nature. Intellectual property is that property which, though represented in terms of words, images, ideas or designs, can nonetheless be demonstrated to have quantifiable and qualified economic value. This is a core social issue relating directly the philosophical orientation of different social contexts, with capitalist nations such as Canada and the United States taking a highly stringent position on the subject and with more socialist oriented nations such as China taking a fundamentally non-proprietary approach. Thus, with the growth of international trade, this issue has prompted widespread disagreement and sweeping legislation designed to resolve these differences. As the legislation currently in place clearly favors the ideals of proprietary economies, it represents a core social conflict with widespread implications. (Chengsi, 1)
There is a direct impact of globalization which TRIPS is essentially designed to prevent. This may be noted in the manner in which the Chinese have come to rather voraciously consume Western-borne culture content, and particularly film content. Here, the implications of globalization become ever more obfuscating with some of the challenging differences in cultural perspective and policy producing a pattern which has discontented many in, for instance, the American film industry. Indeed, while Americans attempt to co-opt and formulize that which is profitable from Chinese cinema, China has simply become the world's capital for the unauthorized piracy of American cultural content. Though the United States government and film associations have expressed continued grievance over the matter, policy differences have prevented the Chinese government from truly addressing what is essentially a differential in the understanding of 'copyright.'
The concept has, Chinese social theorists have argued, unquestionably capitalist and western implications which are not consistent with Chinese values. To this end, it is argued that "copyrighting' culture is connected to the political economy of capitalist development in general and the United States' national interest in particular. If the United States is the culture Empire, this Empire is maintained largely through the global copyright regime's ensuring that all players in the culture industry comply with it rules." (Pang, 11)
In sum, the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is aimed at imposing stronger regulatory means to supporting the protection of patents and of intellectual property, operating under the premise that this will help to stimulate innovation, profitability and self-sufficiency in developing countries. This issue continues to prompt broad social discontent over the implications of globalization.
As we can see in such cases as that still persisting between the China and its western counterparts, national unwillingness to yield to enforcement regulations continues to be a problem for the WTO. Specifically, piracy of intellectual property continues to be an issue at the center of international debate. Nations which have led the global community in the exportation of pharmaceuticals, technological patents and media content, such as Canada, the United States, the European Union and Japan all have a significant economic stake in ensuring that due compensation is had for such intellectual property. Atpresent, legislative disagreement suggests ones of the core cultural conflicts of globalization, here a perpetrator in the philosophical divergence over intellectual property rights.
Archibugi, D. & Filipetti, A. (2010). The Globalisation of Intellectual Property Rights: Four Learned Lessons and Four Theses. Global Policy, 1(2).
Chadha, A. (2005). TRIPS and Patenting Activity: Evidence from the Indian Pharmaceutical Industry. University of Connecticut: Department of Economics.
Chengsi, Z. (2000). The TRIPS Agreeement and Intellectual Property in China. Duke Journal of Computers and International Law.
Nayyer, K. (2002). Globalization of Information: Intellectual Property Law Implications. First Monday, 7(1).
Pang, L. (2005). Cultural Control and Globalization in Asia. Routledge.
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