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There is no longer any doubt that public access to computer software and information is essential for the economic development of every country on earth, rich and poor. Yet it is precisely here, in this most forward-looking of technologies, that the ancient legal battle lines of private ownership versus public interest are being drawn again, with extreme intransigence, in the field of international law pertaining to intellectual property rights.
In a situation bristling with ironies, it is particularly disturbing that the rampant software piracy in developing nations undermines local development of this crucial economic sector, halting growth and actually reinforcing the global dominance of a few US companies. It is urgently necessary to create a legal framework that not only protects licensors and makes piracy unattractive, but also fosters the growth of software and information industries in every country - and particularly in those emerging countries most desperate for economic recovery. This text presents the case for such a framework.