The meeting point of global Intellectual Property (IP) norms and local culture produces an unsettled process of glocalization. The global and the local might merge, but they often conflict, and their intersection then mirrors another clash, between trade and culture. This article argues that Global Copyright regime (G©) should be evaluated on the background of a complex set of local factors that form each country's cultural field, instead of an exclusive legal or economic inspection. The main factors to be considered are the legal system of a country taken as a whole, its economy, its unique cultural features and the political situation of the country. No less important is the dynamic interaction of these factors. G© should be evaluated not only by studying the law in the books, but also by exploring the law in action.
The article outlines the G© regime in political terms and describes it as a spiral, expanding net of laws. It then outlines a general framework of the glocal gap. After setting the stage, I describe the various factors which form the cultural field and trace the political dynamics of the global IP pressures. Especially, I describe a process of foreign leverage, in which local interest groups turn to global players so to pressure the local government.
The case of Israel serves as an illustration of the general framework. Israel is defined as a high-income developing country. It has a shaky international political status but it does enjoy the close support of the United States. Israel has a robust local culture, but struggles to maintain its uniqueness in the face of external powers. Thus, Israel is not a typical "southern" country; rather, it is caught between the North and the South. The conclusion is rather dim: whereas copyright used to be about science, culture, education and the flourishing of humankind, it became a matter of trade, for the flourishing of some, but not all.
Date of this Version
Michael D. Birnhack, "Trading Copyright: Global Pressure on Local Culture" (December 2007). Tel Aviv University Law Faculty Papers. Working Paper 49.