In Canada, the audio-visual and print industries are referred to as the cultural industries, whereas the United States calls them the entertainment industries. These language distinctions are accompanied by different domestic policies and political discourses. The United States has relatively open policies toward these activities, while Canada has adopted an inward-looking approach. Failure to integrate cultural industries into NAFTA and WTO has led to trade disputes between Canada and the United States over copyrights, television licensing, violence in media, and discriminatory magazine policy, indicating the need for an agreed-upon process for settling cultural trade disputes.
Much Ado about Culture explores the differing sets of policies--cultural nationalism versus the open option--and the resulting conflicts in the context of technological developments as well as international agreements dealing with trade, investment, copyright, and labor movements. The Canadian cultural industries are examined, from film and television production and distribution to broadcasting, publishing, and sound recording. Several areas of recent conflict, such as Sports Illustrated, Country Music Television, and Borders Books, highlight the types of policies disputed, the process followed, and the conclusions reached. Finally, the authors propose an alternative approach to constraining national cultural policies by international agreement that would allow the gains from openness to be realized while serving legitimate cultural concerns.
Authored by the acknowledged experts on trade disputes in the cultural arena, this book will be essential reading for international economists, policymakers, and lawyers interested in the cultural industries.
Keith Acheson and Christopher Maule are Professors of Economics, Carleton University, Ontario.