I seem to remember that one of the reasons the government supported the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act was to harmonize with other countries. Now, Australia is signing up for the United States – Australia Free Trade Agreement which, in part:
Harmonises our intellectual property laws more closely with the largest intellectual property market in the world, which is recognised as a global leader in innovation and creative products.
Ouch. Though the US may currently have the “largest intellectual property market in the world”, changes over the past few years are only likely to stifle creativity and innovation. I guess one way to ensure that we remain the leader is to have everyone else adopt our messed up legal infrastructure. Countries that opt out may very well find themselves taking a leading position.