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Management Buzz 06/02

A treaty for copyrights and the benefits of using a headhunter

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This story appears in the June 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Copy & Robbers

Protecting your company's creative works--whether software or music--from theft is a good thing. So entrepreneurs should be embracing the World Intellectual Property Organization's Copyright Treaty. The treaty allows you to protect copyrighted creations using technologies that limit access. As a practical matter, however, the treaty won't affect your business much immediately. The reasons are twofold. First, according to Jay Dratler Jr., the Goodyear Professor of Intellectual Property at the University of Akron School of Law, Japan and the United States are the only industrial countries who have ratified the treaty. That will change with time, but market conditions will still limit your ability to use the treaty's protections. "Competition makes it harder for small companies to sell highly restricted versions of their works," says Erich W. Merrill, Jr., a copyright attorney at Miller Nash LLP in Portland, Oregon. "They simply don't have enough of a reputation to impose limitations that the customers don't like." As so often in business, what looks good on paper doesn't mean much in reality.

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