The Australia-US Free Trade Agreement's Impact on Australia's Copyright Trade Policy
Australian Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 69, No. 5, pp. 538-558, 2015
21 Pages Posted: 7 Sep 2015 Last revised: 15 Sep 2015
Date Written: September 7, 2015
The Australia-US Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA) required extensive changes to Australian copyright law. This paper assesses the impact of these changes one decade on. It considers, first, whether the costs and/or benefits predicted in 2004 have eventuated, finding clear evidence that AUSFTA has undesirably constrained domestic copyright policy, but no clear evidence either of the feared financial costs to society, or, importantly, the touted benefits to copyright owners. The most significant impact of AUSFTA’s copyright provisions, however, appears to have been their impact on Australia’s copyright trade policy. Pre-AUSFTA, Australia promoted multilateral standards and mostly sought to comply with, but not exceed international IP standards. Post-AUSFTA, Australia has pursued an approach akin to that of the US: endorsing international copyright rules that are significantly stronger, and more detailed. The paper queries whether this shift has been in Australia’s national interest, and raises interesting questions of path-dependence in policymaking and trade negotiations that warrant more, and broader attention in the literature.
Keywords: Copyright, international trade, free trade agreements, trans-pacific partnership agreement, international intellectual property
JEL Classification: K10, K30, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation