No Free Trade in Culture?


A piece on NPR's Morning Edition today looks at UNESCO's proposed international convention to exempt cultural products from ordinary free trade rules. The theory here is that while it's crucial that widgets be allowed to cross borders freely, ideas and works of creative expression are different and must be carefully managed by national governments. Normally I'd be disturbed by this kind of backwards thinking, but in an age when it's ever cheaper for people everywhere to download songs and video from just about anywhere, this seems (forutnately) like so much pissing in the wind. Maybe someone should send the agreement's French sponsors a brief courriel to clue them in.