Brazilian Plans To Ignore US Intellectual Property Laws: Trade Dispute Or Saving

from the take-your-pick dept

While it's likely that this is just a lot of posturing before a diplomatic resolution between the US and Brazil, it may pay to watch what the Brazilian government does in the near future. Brazil made some news last week for its strong support of open source software as a way of helping to inexpensively push computer literacy throughout the country. However, it appears their views on intellectual property have gone much further. Ernest Miller points out that Brazil is talking about ignoring all intellectual property law from the US -- in some ways, actively encouraging people there to copy things. While the article presents the issue as a simple trade dispute (Brazilians pissed off about American cotton subsidies), another take on the matter suggests Brazil is really just concerned that they're wasting millions of dollars having to license anti-AIDS drugs from the US, when it would be much cheaper to produce generic versions within Brazil -- potentially saving millions of lives. This is, of course, brings up the old debate concerning the issue of patenting medication. If anyone can create a knockoff drug, the argument goes, the pharmaceutical industry won't be willing to spend so much on research and development to find new life saving drugs at all. In this situation, of course, Brazil has managed to freak out not just the pharmaceutical industry, but also the entertainment industry -- who warns that this will just turn into an escalation battle concerning trade between the two nations. That's probably true -- which is why it's unlikely to go very far. However, it certainly does raise plenty of issues that many developing nations are thinking about, wondering why they have to pay so much for goods that are just as easily copied. Even international observers have admitted that many developing nations would be much better off ignoring intellectual property rights -- something that has helped some nations in the past. It's easy to say these countries shouldn't do those things -- but it may be difficult to convince them why, when they see the benefits of ignoring those laws.


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  1.  
    identicon
    dorpus, Jun 10th, 2005 @ 12:57pm

    Asia-Latin America Axis

    Since South American countries have a long tradition of anti-Americanism instigated by their intellectuals, they may ally with countries like China or India, with whom they already have strong economic relations. Brazil is surpassing the USA as the world's largest producer of agricultural products, so US grain exports no longer have the political leverage they used to. Latin America would be eager to distance themselves from USA/Europe, to whom they owe extensive debts.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Jeff, Jun 10th, 2005 @ 1:29pm

    Re: Asia-Latin America Axis

    Becoming the world's largest exporter of agricultural products at the expense of destroying the Amazon.

    But I am for them making their own drugs. Pharmaceutical companies can complain all they want, but how much money do they need to make? They don't have a right to earn billions of dollars per year while people die because they can't afford to purchase these drugs.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    dorpus, Jun 10th, 2005 @ 3:22pm

    Re: Asia-Latin America Axis

    Yup, I have a friend who works for Pfizer, and the stories will make you sick -- Pfizer hires these gorgeous young female "marketing reps", who cozy up to doctors and take them to week-long "education courses" in Hawaii. They also arrange these Friday night basketball games, which are carefully fixed so that doctors win half of the time, and they are given free Pfizer water bottles and stuff.

    But ignoring the waste issue, it does really cost a lot of money to hire armies of scientists and doctors to test new drugs, most of which will fail. Drugs amount to a software hack of human physiology, and it's hard to do better than the hacks we already have.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Rafael, Jun 10th, 2005 @ 4:07pm

    No Subject Given

    This is all bullshit, only part of propaganda against legitimate efforts from Brazil's government.

    And Jeff, if you knew Brazil you'd know that Amazon has very little to do with the agricultural growth we've been exeperiencing. Since the last time I checked the map, Amazon was located on the North region. The biggest producers are in South and Central Brazil.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2005 @ 4:49pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    Since the last time I checked the map, Amazon was located on the North region.
    Well sure it is NOW. That's all that's left of it!

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    VonSkippy, Jun 10th, 2005 @ 9:58pm

    No Subject Given

    It's easy to say these countries shouldn't do those things -- but it may be difficult to convince them why, when they see the benefits of ignoring those laws.

    I could see the benefits of having a nice Brazilian slave girl, so maybe ignoring laws is a good idea after all?

    All these 3rd world Countries love to play the "poor old us" card when it's in their favor, but yell bloody murder when it goes against them.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Pete Austin, Jun 12th, 2005 @ 1:49am

    It's only a threat

    Brazil is *considering* breaking trade laws unless the USA stops *actually* breaking trade laws (according to the World Trade Organization).

    "Angered by subsidies to U.S. cotton growers, Brazilian lawmakers said Thursday that they were considering suspending the intellectual property rights of American products in their country if the U.S. government did not explain how it intended to change subsidy programs by July 1. The deadline was set earlier this year by the World Trade Organization"
    Original Story

    "US Cotton Subsidies Declared Illegal by WTO, Again"
    Oxfam

    Changing subject, I have to ask dorpus: in this tropical paradise where young, fit, male doctors are winning basketball games and having sex with "marketing reps", what are the female doctors doing? Does your friend have any pictures?

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    thecaptain, Jun 13th, 2005 @ 10:27am

    Re: It's only a threat

    Actually, for once Dorpus isn't too far off. Assuming drug reps work everywhere the same as they do here.

    My cousin is one...his job is simply to buy stuff for doctors, take them to dinner, golf, whatever. They have tons of "reward programs" for doctors who prescribe whatever flavor-drug-of the month is being pushed at the time.

    His firm is pretty small potatos tho, others give cruises and such

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Marcelo, Jun 15th, 2005 @ 10:22am

    Re: No Subject Given

    Yes, and according to your thinking, some ten years ago the Amazon forest reached the Argentinian Patagonia, correct?

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Marcelo, Jun 15th, 2005 @ 10:31am

    Brazilian Plans To Ignore US Intellectual Property

    Although the Brazilian government is really stupid (our president is quite a drunk fellow), this text represents the most absurd distortion that I've ever seen.
    It's not of the interest of Brazil to ignore IP treaties, and this patent issue regarding the AIDS medications has not yet been aproved by the Senate.
    Notwithstanding all these problems, it is most likely that the US and Brazil should join forces in the next years, something seen by many as the only hope to overcome the "new" economic players.
    Now is the time to keep the focus, and not to write down lies of this size.

     

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