Copyfight: The Global Politics of Digital Copyright Reform

Copyfight: The Global Politics of Digital Copyright Reform

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By Blayne Haggart
Studies in Comparative Political Economy and Public Policy
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2014
World Rights
400 Pages
ISBN 9781442614543
Published Apr 2014
Online discount: 25%
 $37.95    $28.46
ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781442666238
Published Apr 2014
Online discount: 26%
Full purchase $37.95

Widespread file sharing has led content industries – publishers and distributors of books, music, films, and software – to view their customers as growing threats to their survival. Content providers and their allies, especially the U.S. government, have pushed for stronger global copyright policies through international treaties and domestic copyright reforms. Internet companies, individuals, and public-interest groups have pushed back, with massive street protests in Europe and online “internet blackouts” that derailed the 2012 U.S. Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). But can citizens or smaller countries really stand in the way of the U.S. copyright juggernaut?

To answer this question, Copyfight examines the 1996 World Intellectual Property Organization internet treaties that began the current digital copyright regime. Blayne Haggart follows the WIPO treaties from negotiation to implementation from the perspective of three countries: the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Using extensive interviews with policymakers and experts in these three countries, Haggart argues that not all the power is in the hands of the U.S. government. Small countries can still set their own course on copyright legislation, while growing public interest in copyright issues means that even the United States might move away from ever-increasing copyright protection.

Blayne Haggart is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Brock University.


1: A Most Unlikely Debate

2: An Historical-Institutionalist Framework for Analysing Copyright Policymaking

3: The Political Economy of Copyright

4: The United States, the Internet Treaties, and the Setting of the Digital-Copyright Agenda

5: 1993-1996: U.S. Copyright Reform and the WIPO Internet Treatise

6: 1997-1998: The Digital Millennium Copyright Act

7: Canada and the Internet Treatise: Aborted Implementations

8: Mexico and the Internet Treatise, 1996-2010: International Pressure, Domestic Politics

Conclusion: The New Politics of Copyright and the Potential for Variation




“Blayne Haggart’s Copyfight provides an exceptional contribution to our understanding of how copyright laws are made, the role the public can play in influencing policy, and the global pressures faced by Canada and other similarly placed countries. His comparative analysis of Canada, the United States, and Mexico offers a unique window into both the similarities and important differences between the NAFTA countries, helping to explain why the laws have evolved in different ways.  With the ‘copyfight’ likely to continue, this book is a must-read for those seeking insight into the forces that shape our digital environment.”

Michael Geist, Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa

“Modern copyright has become a shadowy labyrinth in which states, big business, interest groups, social movements, and activists engage in complex manoeuvres and fights. Blayne Haggart’s Copyfight tells the story of the politics of digital copyright in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Through its wonderfully clear prose and conceptual framework it guides the reader through copyright’s labyrinth. It deserves to be widely read.”

Peter Drahos, Professor of Law and Director of the Centre for Governance of Knowledge and Development, Australian National University

Copyfight is a powerful reminder of the way in which the lines between multilateral, regional, bilateral, and domestic governance have become increasingly blurred. Well-written and based on extensive primary research, it is quite compelling.’

Susan K. Sell, The Elliott School of International Affairs, The George Washington University

“Copyfight is an eloquent primer on the whole concept of the capitalist hybrid of “individuality and private property”, as Haggart puts it. The research is fascinating”

Holly Doan, Blacklocks Reporter