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Intellectual Property and the Informal Economy

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Doris Estelle Long
added 2 research items
Deviant globalization is a 'powerful engine of wealth creation ...[P]articipating in deviant globalization is often an individual’s fastest ticket out of poverty and a way for an entire community to experience economic development.' Although some aspects of deviant globalization undeniably include illegal conduct, such 'illegality is not necessarily criminal or even unsavory in nature. 'Deviant globalization' in the intellectual property arena serves as a powerful force for the creation of revised standards of protection. It serves both a predictive and a normative function. It serves a predictive function because it incorporates the experimental standards we are already witnessing in domestic and international efforts to re-invent intellectual property standards for the 21st Century. It serves a normative function because it creates a new normative standard that incorporates social and economic norms from the informal market into formal normative values against which decisions regarding intellectual property standards can be evaluated and revised. With its emphasis on trade and innovation across socio-economic levels, and its focus on unmet consumer demands, deviant globalization based standards would bring new understandings of the relationship between compensation, access, and distributional innovation in present intellectual property debates. More effective support for distributional innovation under deviant globalization does not require that the needs of intellectual property owners be ignored. However, it does require that their interests be re-balanced with those of sellers and consumers. By focusing on compensation streams, deviant globalization puts the economic viability of piracy into play, not its moral necessity. Regulation is not the enemy of deviant globalization. Irrational regulation is. Some experiments in crafting effective deviant globalization models will undoubtedly fail. Yet even such failures will be useful in recalibrating present international norms so that intellectual property protection can continue to provide the innovative foundation for a vibrant, socially just, global marketplace for the 21st Century.
The strong integrating movements of intellectual property multilateralism in the latter decades of the 20th century and the first decade of the 21st century have given way to a period of increasing dís·integration. The period that saw the rise of the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and diverse regional and multilateral treaties defining the boundaries of intellectual property rights in the digital universe has been replaced by an era of “dís·integration” marked by a rise in multi-forum standard-making enterprises, many directed by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other previously unempowered actors who have found a voice through the greater communicative abilities of the Internet and other digital mobilizing media. The larger array of civil society organizations seeking reduced intellectual property protection to promote greater access to information and sustainable development powering this new phase are representative of the multiplicity of interests that now form an integral part of multilateral intellectual property relations. The major actors in earlier stages of multilateralism could be divided roughly into three groups: the creators of intellectual property, the distributors of intellectual-property-based goods and services, and the governments that largely represent the interests of the members of the first two groups. The combined forces of globalization and digitization not only ended the most recent phase of intense multilateral integration, but also brought into the process a multiplicity of previously under-represented interests that have altered the nature of intellectual property multilateralism today. In particular, globalization has introduced the concerns of developing countries seeking to secure the comparative trade advantages promised under trade agreements negotiated during the last phase of integration - including, most significantly, TRIPS. These concerns were reflected by the growth of a vibrant group of civil society organizations that continues to represent the access and sustainable development concerns of developing countries. These new players in intellectual property multilateralism modeled an increasing recognition of the role that cultural and domestic institutions and interests play in the successful reformation of domestic intellectual property laws to meet perceived international standards and national domestic policies.