US Blocking Costa Rican Sugar From US Markets Unless It Agrees To Draconian IP Laws Citizens Don't Want

from the how-nice dept

We were just talking about whether or not countries are really able to push back on the US's attempts to export draconian anti-competition/anti-innovation copyright and patent policies elsewhere. Michael Geist points us to two cases where US trade representatives are going overboard in trying to get foreign countries to put in place stringent intellectual property rules. The first is in Costa Rica, which is included in the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). Yet like with other free trade agreements that the US has agreed to elsewhere, this one includes draconian intellectual property law requirements. I still cannot understand why intellectual monopoly protectionism -- the exact opposite of "free trade" -- gets included in free trade agreements. At least in Costa Rica, a lot of people started protesting these rules, pointing out that it would be harmful for the economy, for education and for healthcare. So the Costa Rican government has not moved forward with such laws. How has the US responded? It's blocking access to the US market of Costa Rican sugar until Costa Rica approves new copyright laws. Nice of the US, right? Bankrupting Costa Rican farmers to force Costa Rica to put in place a copyright regime it does not want.

Then there's the Bahamas, where US trade representatives are demanding new intellectual property laws, claiming that the country is not in agreement with WTO treaties. Apparently, the USTR is particularly upset about the police force in the Bahamas not cracking down on the sale of unauthorized DVDs, CDs and counterfeit clothing. However, as the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce president notes, nearly all of those counterfeit products actually originated in the US -- and that the majority of people doing the buying are US tourists. In other words, the issue is really with the US, but it seems to want everyone else to deal with it.


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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jan 18th, 2010 @ 6:32am

    No

    "US Blockading Costa Rican Sugar Unless It Agrees To Draconian IP Laws Citizens Don't Want"

    Uh, please don't go all George W. Bush on us and start using "words of war" where they don't belong. This is not a blockade, it's denial of a market.

    Unless, of course, I missed the part where US Naval Warships and Air Force Jets have enclosed all the ports from which Costa Rican sugar ships....

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 7:31am

      Re: No

      To one u s citizen it is a denial of market, to the rest of the world it is a blockade. The u s needs to learn it is not the dictator of the world. Personally I would love to see the world put the same draconian measures up against the u s, lets see how long the true tyrants of the world would last.

       

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        :Lobo Santo (profile), Jan 18th, 2010 @ 7:36am

        Re: Re: No

        That's just silly. The U.S. IS the dictator of the world.

        ;P

         

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        btr1701 (profile), Jan 18th, 2010 @ 7:39am

        Re: Re: No

        > To one us citizen it is a denial of market, to the rest of the world
        > it is a blockade.

        I find it hard to believe that the rest of the world has no idea what a blockade actually is. It's more likely that it's just *you* who is ignorant of the fact that-- by definition-- a blockade is the physical interdiction of traffic going to and from a particular port or country by naval vessels of another country.

         

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          G Brodie, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 7:53am

          Re: Re: Re: No

          Call it what you like it still equates to the same thing ,'Us bully boy tactics'

           

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            Dark Helmet (profile), Jan 18th, 2010 @ 7:57am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: No

            "Call it what you like it still equates to the same thing ,'Us bully boy tactics'"

            Sigh, no, NOT the same thing. Both may be bully tactics, but in one case the US has the RIGHT to that tactic, and in the other they do not (speaking in the eye of the global community).

            Again, a blockade is an ACT OF WAR, restricting trade is not.

             

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            btr1701 (profile), Jan 18th, 2010 @ 9:14am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: No

            > Call it what you like it still equates to the same thing

            No, it's not the same thing. One is military action amounting to an act of war. The other is not.

             

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        Stuart, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 8:20am

        Re: Re: No

        You are so right. How dare the US decide who can and can not sell thing to them! Ok. Happy now. While I agree that our current IP laws are SHIT. You pissing all over about the US deciding who can and con not sell to it is what I would call bullshit. Jump on the US if you want but do it for something that dose not make you seem to be a complete tool.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 10:26am

          Re: Re: Re: No

          "You are so right. How dare the US decide who can and can not sell thing to them!"

          How dare the U.S. government dictate to its own citizens that they cannot buy things from countries that don't want intellectual property laws that most of the U.S. citizens don't want anyways. How dare the U.S. government act against the best interest of the overwhelming majority of its own citizens just to serve the top one percent.

           

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            yacc, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 4:48pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: No

            Well, you mean the US whose government is the champion of free trade?

            Guess free trade is less important then forcing a completely artificial concept
            (patents are basically about controlling what you can think and do. Does not matter that I had an idea the same time or even earlier, if somebody with a bigger bank account claims otherwise, though luck. Copyright in a digital age basically means that some corporation claims the sole right to some very big number (because that's what even the whole content of a DVD is); actually it's a family of numbers, because if you transcode it, they still claim that you are not allowed to distribute that number) on unwilling sovereign governments, that are just following the will of their population. Guess that's how "US-made democracy"(tm) works?

            And that all, just to keep antiquated business models going?

             

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          Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 10:30am

          Re: Re: Re: No

          "How dare the US decide who can and can not sell thing to them!"

          The assumption here is that it's the U.S. deciding who can and can't sell things to them. It is not the U.S. dictating who can and can not sell things to them, it's the U.S. government, not acting on behalf of the U.S. itself (ie: the citizens), but ONLY acting on behalf of the top one percent.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 10:33am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: No

            For the U.S. itself to be deciding who can and can't be selling things to them would mean the government won't interfere with free trade and I, as a U.S. citizen, can decide where I want to buy things from (so long as the source of the product is labeled. IE: made in china stickers or Made in Japan, etc...). Then, if the U.S. decides it doesn't want to buy things from x country because they don't follow our draconian intellectual property laws that none of the U.S. citizens really want, they can choose not to buy things from there and country x won't get anything from us until they change their laws. But when the government chooses what its own citizens can and can't buy and from where, it's not the U.S. making that decision, it's the top one percent, the government only pretending to act on behalf of the citizens.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 12:25pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: No

              There are two fundamental issues here:

              1.)The US is using its trade clout to get other countries to adopt its rules.
              2.)US IP laws suck.

              For #1, I'd argue the US is absolutely in the right. If we do not make adoption of our rules a precondition of selling things on our market, other countries will undercut prices by ignoring those rules. And keeping those rules effective is generally in the public's best interest; take environmental regulations, or labor laws, for example.

              For #2, yeah I agree with you. US IP laws are stupid right now, and seriously need reform.

               

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                Ryan, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 12:56pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: No

                I agree that the U.S. has every right to choose not to trade, but that doesn't make it intelligent or honorable. You are afraid other countries would undercut prices...but this is a good thing for U.S. citizens(businesses and consumers). Most trade restrictions - these included - exist to protect a very small but politically connected group of producers at the expense of everyone else.

                Your examples, for instance, I think are poor. We set labor laws according to our own situation(minimum wage is retarded as it is), but ignore that others have different situations, e.g. more white collar and fewer blue collar jobs, fewer jobs period, more available individuals, smaller costs of living, etc. that make the economics of manual labor much cheaper elsewhere. This is a good thing, because it reduces the cost of business for everybody else and thus lowers prices.

                And environmental regulations are usually the antithesis of economic sense and are more for the purposes of politicial grandstanding than any real necessity. Even if they were needed, a country is usually only screwing up its own locale with poor waste management(thankfully, this whole global warming alarmist bullshit is starting to subside, although we'll prolly be warned about global cooling in another ten years again) and isn't necessarily going to be swayed by U.S. bullying anyways. But either way, it is in the public's best interest to import those goods at the cheaper prices.

                This is undoubtedly one of them. It is beneficial for U.S. consumers and Costa Rican producers to engage in trade here, yet the U.S. coerces the CR government for the benefit of a few powerful entertainment lobbyists. While legal, it is extortion in every other sense of the word - which naturally occurs all the time in international politics, but is particularly shameful when it is in no country's best interests.

                 

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          me, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 8:55pm

          Re: Re: Re: No

          niggers lol

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 11:53am

        Re: Re: No

        Bullshit. A blockade, by definition, is an act of war, by deliberately blocking all trade in and out of a country's ports. This is a denial of market; ie: The US is not going to buy stuff from you. Not buying someone's stuff is hardly being "the dictator of the world". Saying that it constitutes tyranny is essentially saying the US MUST buy all other countries products, regardless of other concerns...now THAT is tyranny.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 12:19pm

          Re: Re: Re: No

          "Saying that it constitutes tyranny is essentially saying the US MUST buy all other countries products, regardless of other concerns...now THAT is tyranny."

          It is tyranny, the U.S. is not allowing its people to buy products from a certain country for no good reason other than to serve the top one percent. That's tyranny. No one is saying that you or anyone must buy something from a particular country, but the tyrant U.S. is telling its citizens and businesses that it can't buy something from a particular country. That's tyranny.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 12:29pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: No

            Agreed entirely. In addition, this is hardly likely to win us any more friends abroad. Once again this is a clear black and white example of the rights of citizens and businesses in the U.S. being violated by the very entity whose sole purpose of existence is to protect those rights. Free trade is the only logical option.

             

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        tamis, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 1:37pm

        Re: Re: No

        'Personally I would love to see the world put the same draconian measures up against the u s, lets see how long the true tyrants of the world would last.'

        Nah, they just do it in secret and without public input. Search 'ACTA' for further details.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2010 @ 10:53am

        Re: Re: No

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2010 @ 10:55am

        Re: Re: No

        I would love to see that too, and I'm an American.
        Lets just see how well the rest of the world does without the aid of the US.

        That would be sweet.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 9:22am

      Re: No

      Call it whatever the fuck you want, it's still the same thing. Let's call it "waxalakes". The U.S. is waxalakesing the costa rican market, not allowing trade, until.....

      A blockade doesn't have to be a physical blockade, there are further meanings to words. Yes, hard to grasp, but there are deeper meanings.

       

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      Greg, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 9:26am

      Re: No

      Actually, DH, its extortion by the US government. The government said, to paraphrase, "Do what we want you to do or else we will hurt you," in this case financially. If I'm not mistaking doesn't this fall under the RICO Act?

       

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        Dark Helmet (profile), Jan 18th, 2010 @ 9:41am

        Re: Re: No

        "Actually, DH, its extortion by the US government. The government said, to paraphrase, "Do what we want you to do or else we will hurt you," in this case financially. If I'm not mistaking doesn't this fall under the RICO Act?"

        God dammit, NO! This is why the words are so fucking important, for christ's sake. RICO is US Federal law and has no standing in the realm of multinational trade law. It's designed to combat organized crime rings, not to be brought against a nearly uniformly recognized government.

        And it's not "extortion" either, for the simple reason that these actions are ILLEGAL. The very coersion being applied has to be illegal for extortion to apply, and in this case the carrot the USTR is taking away from Costa Rica is NOT one to which they are entitled.

        Or was that just a really, REALLY excellent job of trying to bait me?

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 10:26am

      Re: No

      "Uh, please don't go all George W. Bush on us and start using "words of war" where they don't belong. This is not a blockade, it's denial of a market. "

      Words are alive and have definitions beyond that of what's in the dictionary. A quick glance instantly lets you know that the "blockade" is relative to the US market and not to a war-time enforced lock-down.

      The author may not have been *as* correct in using the wordage he did, but you going emo about incorrect wordage that was easily understood with the context shows your maturity.

       

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 18th, 2010 @ 12:03pm

      Re: No

      Uh, please don't go all George W. Bush on us and start using "words of war" where they don't belong. This is not a blockade, it's denial of a market.

      Hmm. I guess I agree with some others that blockade does not mean an act of war at all, but just denying the entrance. I still think it's a perfectly acceptable use of the word, but since it seems to bother a few of you, I've updated the post title.

       

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        Dark Helmet (profile), Jan 18th, 2010 @ 12:08pm

        Re: Re: No

        Danke schön, sir...

         

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        Chargone (profile), Jan 18th, 2010 @ 6:35pm

        Re: Re: No

        What's going on there sounds more like an embargo than a blockade, really, though I'm not sure that's quite right either.

        I know you changed it already, Mike, but the bellow is, near as i can see anyway, the logic:

        A blockade involves parking ships (well, taking it in it's most literal sense) actually in the way, keeping anything and everything belonging to Anyone from going in or out, and sinking those who don't comply. it will cripple the place in question if they rely on trade at all, and cause problems for all their trading partners too.

        in this case, the USA is refusing to trade in sugar with Costa Rica. still potentially crippling if Costa Rica is heavily dependent on sugar exports to the USA, but all Costa Rica has to do is say 'fine, sod off then.' and go trade with someone else. disruptive, and not ideal, but doable, and doesn't affect anyone else.

        using the word blockade here might be metaphorically appropriate, but as the literal interpretation is available, confusing.

         

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      ikiiki, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 3:11pm

      Re: No

      No, it's like describing someone who died in hospital as having a "negative healthcare outcome". Still amounts to the same thing.

       

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      Percy, May 22nd, 2010 @ 5:34pm

      War is not just fought with weapons.....

      Terrorism definition is to threaten a political body with harm if they do not do as told. That is war by terror. The US is the enforcement arm of the NWO and globalizing will occur and it will be run by fascist corporations and international bankers and their fiat theiving and all countries will comply or else. Its that simple. They don't need to use expensive war ships when they can sit in an office for nothing and prevent your products from being sold, destroy your farmers, and do it all without firing a shot. This is modern high tech warfare. You have no clue. Here, go visit this place and find out what is going on in your world while you are sleeping. www.vaticproject.blogspot.com WAKE UP, MY DEAR...... you are rapidly being left behind as one of the few people on the planet that does not see the nazification of the globe.

       

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    Sage (profile), Jan 18th, 2010 @ 7:25am

    RE: No

    block⋅ade

    2. any obstruction of passage or progress: We had difficulty in getting through the blockade of bodyguards.

     

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Jan 18th, 2010 @ 7:36am

      Re: RE: No

      "2. any obstruction of passage or progress: We had difficulty in getting through the blockade of bodyguards."

      Interesting...where did you get that definition?

      From freedictionary.com:

      1. The isolation of a nation, area, city, or harbor by hostile ships or forces in order to prevent the entrance and exit of traffic and commerce.
      2. The forces used to effect this isolation.

      From wikipedia:

      "A blockade is an effort to cut off food, supplies, war matériel or communications from a particular area by force, either in part or in toto. A blockade should not be confused with an embargo or sanctions, which are legal barriers to trade, and is distinct from a siege in that a blockade is usually directed at an entire country or region, rather than a fortress or city"

      From Wordrefernce.com:

      "a war measure that isolates some area of importance to the enemy"

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 8:36am

        Re: Re: RE: No

         

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        Ullhass, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 8:36am

        Re: Re: RE: No

        If you look at the definition stated in Merriam-Websters dictionary, there is a broader use of the term:

        Main Entry: blockade
        Function: noun
        Date: 1693

        1 : the isolation by a warring nation of an enemy area (as a harbor) by troops or warships to prevent passage of persons or supplies; broadly : a restrictive measure designed to obstruct the commerce and communications of an unfriendly nation
        2 : something that blocks
        3 : interruption of normal physiological function (as transmission of nerve impulses) of a cellular receptor, tissue, or organ; also : inhibition of a physiologically active substance (as a hormone)

         

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          Chargone (profile), Jan 18th, 2010 @ 6:37pm

          Re: Re: Re: RE: No

          you know, i've never heard it used in the second sense? the word for that is usually 'blockage'. they don't even sound similar, as the stress in 'blockade' is on the a, but in 'blockage' is on the o.

          not heard of the third sense either, but that's less odd.

           

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 7:26am

    Whats the difference between "denial of market" and blockade?

     

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      kyle clements (profile), Jan 18th, 2010 @ 7:38am

      Re:

      It's sort of like saying 'making use of vertically deployed anti-personnel devices' instead of 'carpet bombing a city'. One obfuscates the message to make it sound less objectionable, while the other is direct to the point.


      Note to other countries engaged in free trade negotiations with the America:
      Even when you comply with their laws, they don't.
      Look into the Canadian softwood lumber dispute. Even their own courts ruled America was in the wrong on that one, and they didn't change their ways.

       

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        Jay Wilson, Jan 19th, 2010 @ 2:14pm

        Re 'free-trade' agreements with US

        I live in Costa Rica.. a Canadian who suffered through the aftermath of the blood red negotiations on the NAFTA.. the way the US has behaved since is perhaps predictable, but no less disgusting.. I tried to warn my CR friends .. since what can they expect from a 300 million strong bully in a dispute with a 4 million 3rd world country (with no army, by the way).. the measure passed by such a slim margin, many feel it was rigged..perhaps it was. Now the thought police raid coffee shops and bars attempting to collect fees on copyrighted music playing over the speakers.. radio stations are going to be closed.. chaos reigned so the Legislature is meeting in camera and should be making some unintelligeable statement before next months election. Amazing that with all the precedent evidence that exists through history, some folks still believe the US is about fair play and free markets...

         

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Jan 18th, 2010 @ 7:40am

      Re:

      "Whats the difference between "denial of market" and blockade?"

      Well, I'm supposedly an unconstructive nitpicker, but to me the intracacies and subtle meanings of words has true value and writers who have a respected following ought to be careful about the way they use their words. But, to answer your question, there are two differences:

      1. One is an act of war, the other is not

      2. Traditionally, when you deny entrance to your market, you are "enclosing" yourself or your market, where as with a blockade the object of the encirclement is not yourself, but an "enemy"

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 8:57am

        Re: Re:

        "but to me the intricacies and subtle meanings of words has true value and writers who have a respected following ought to be careful about the way they use their words."

        If that is really the case, perhaps familiarize yourself with the full meaning of the word in question before claiming miss-use.
        "a restrictive measure designed to obstruct the commerce and communications of an unfriendly nation"
        It does not have to be an act of war....
        And it's "intricacies".. not "intracacies" tsk tsk Mr.Defender of proper use of words....

         

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          Dark Helmet (profile), Jan 18th, 2010 @ 9:14am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "If that is really the case, perhaps familiarize yourself with the full meaning of the word in question before claiming miss-use.
          "a restrictive measure designed to obstruct the commerce and communications of an unfriendly nation"
          It does not have to be an act of war....
          And it's "intricacies".. not "intracacies" tsk tsk Mr.Defender of proper use of words...."

          Hey, I'll hold myself to the same standards too, and I've been perfectly willing to admit when I'm mistaken. Now I've shown several definitions from several sources that mention a blockade, when existing between two nations, to be an act of war. Your definition doesn't look like it makes that distinction at first glance, but actually it does with one VERY important phrase.

          An unfriendly nation, when discussed in this context, is a nation with whom another nation has either no formal diplomatic relations or with whom it is at war.

          And even beyond that, what the USA has done in this instance is not to restrict the commerce of Costa Rica in toto, but rather to restrict it's reach into our sovereign borders/market.

          So, in short, your definition agrees with me too....

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 9:27am

        Re: Re:

        "Well, I'm supposedly an unconstructive nitpicker"

        Yes, you are. Everyone here, including you, knows EXACTLY what the meaning is here. No one is suggesting that naval warships are physically stopping shipping traffic. But for some reason you find it a good idea to argue semantics rather than to actually contribute a meaningful opinion to the discussion.

        Here you've joined a conversation about world trade and the only argument you can come up with is that one word MIGHT be misused in the headline. Jesus Christ, grow up.

         

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          Dark Helmet (profile), Jan 18th, 2010 @ 9:47am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Yes, you are. Everyone here, including you, knows EXACTLY what the meaning is here"

          Well, maybe I'm the sole idiot here, but I actually immediately went to the linked article looking for what ships we had sent to Costa Rica, what class they were, and what was being said internationally about the incident. I was getting all prepped for one of my classic American Fascism rants because of that supposedly insignificant word. It's wrong. It shouldn't have been used.

          "No one is suggesting that naval warships are physically stopping shipping traffic."

          No one other than the headline.

          "But for some reason you find it a good idea to argue semantics rather than to actually contribute a meaningful opinion to the discussion."

          I contribute regularly. One of the things I do, because I so enjoy the writing of Mike, is to point out where I think he could be more effective. Maybe he dislikes that, I don't know, but he's certainly never said so and he's occasionally incorporated some of my suggestions.

          "Here you've joined a conversation about world trade and the only argument you can come up with is that one word MIGHT be misused in the headline. Jesus Christ, grow up."

          It's what interested me. The number of subsequent comments, including yours, indicate it was at least of passing interest to others as well. So maybe stop being a petulant fucktard and contribute something yourself instead of whining about the discussion we were having.

           

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            Richard (profile), Jan 18th, 2010 @ 10:23am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            No one is suggesting that naval warships are physically stopping shipping traffic."
            OK try running a ship full of sugar from Costa Rica to a US port and see what happens.

            My guess is that the US government will use force to stop you.

             

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              Dementia (profile), Jan 18th, 2010 @ 12:11pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              My guess is the ship would reach harbor and not be allowed to unload. Interdiction of a vessel for reasons as mentioned here (ie. denial of trade in time of peace, with a trading partner no less) would constitute a violation of international maritime law.

               

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              Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 2:16pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              No, because forcibly stopping ships WOULD be an act of war.

               

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          Marcus Carab (profile), Jan 18th, 2010 @ 10:08am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Anyone who thinks a single word can't matter clearly doesn't understand the finer points of diplomacy and international politics. Fuck, wars can start over a single word if you aren't lucky.

          I definitely have to back DH up on this one. The discussion has spiraled out of control, but that's only because everyone should have agreed with him in the first place -- it's clearly the wrong word, and while it's not some terribly egregious error or an intentional switch (we know Mike better than that) I think DH was absolutely right to point it out.

           

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        CP, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 9:13pm

        Re: Re:

        Intracacies of words, you say?

         

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      Yosi, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 7:41am

      Re:

      The difference is that Costa Rica is welcomed to trade with _other_ countries.
      While I wholeheartedly disagree with draconian US copyright laws, boycotting products of country with laws you don't like is perfectly normal.
      Nobody recall "blood diamonds"? How dare we to dictate employment conditions in Africa!

      So, the idea itself makes perfect sense: want to trade with us - follow rules we make. Rules looks stupid to you? Trade with someone else.

       

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        Ryan, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 7:58am

        Re: Re:

        So, the idea itself makes perfect sense: want to trade with us - follow rules we make. Rules looks stupid to you? Trade with someone else.

        Yes, boycotting is a tactic, just as violence is a tactic, but the conditions in which it is used make a large difference. In this case, blocking off Costa Rica from selling sugar to the US(which makes a huge impact to them and a smaller - albeit also negative - impact to us) "makes perfect sense" in the same way that protection rackets make perfect sense.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 7:32am

    Good point..

    ..when you don't have anything constructive to argue, nit-pick over in-consequential wording..

     

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    Sweet tea, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 7:51am

    So this is why the price of sugar went up.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 8:04am

    "Embargo on! ... Who runs Bartertown?" ... "Master Blaster runs Bartertown."

     

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    Pookie64 (profile), Jan 18th, 2010 @ 8:09am

    I'm with Dark Helmet, the title *should* be boycott of Costa Rica sugar. CR can still sell sugar to anyone else, as opposed to a real blockage that would impede the exportation in general from Costa Rica to other markets.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 8:12am

    Amazing what Hollywood money can buy eh? In addition to our politicians, Hollywood payoff money can force other countries to their will too.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 8:32am

    Assuming that the US wants CAFTA for reasons other than imposing US IP law on Central America[*] then CR should get together with the other potential CAFTA members and negotiate that requirement out of the agreement. If they back down then they will get the same sort of one-sided agreement that the US struck with Canada and Mexico over NAFTA.

    [*] I am not sure that this is a good assumption as this may be the over-riding reason that the US wants CAFTA. The only good thing about NAFTA is that it was struck before it occurred to the US that they could bully the world over IP rights.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 8:51am

    Copyright is only for the protection of CORN farmers. Sugar farmers can, in the immortal words of class act Anti-Mike, "FOAD."

     

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    senshikaze (profile), Jan 18th, 2010 @ 8:58am

    so. our gov't wants another gov't to change their laws or they can't sell here. if i was Costa Rica, I would tell the US to shove off and sell to Brazil or something. This is bullshit.

    so, can i buy any Costa Rican sugar on the black market?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 9:29am

    Is the USTR guy that Ron Kirk guy who is also juggling the ACTA agreement in which he admitted "People would be walking away from the table of ACTA were made public"?

    If so, he sure seems like a charming fellow who needs some oversight.

    Secondly, I thought the US Chamber of Commerce was not a Government organization on paper, but they were just a lobbying group made to looks like a government organization.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 9:38am

    What they really need to do is tax pizza. I'm not sure why, but sources tell me that vacationers to the Dominican Republic would be able to make up the trade imbalance as well as pay down their debt in a mere 3 to 6 months.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 9:43am

    wtf down with the USA

    OMG what will tim hortons do without sugar OMG
    the worlds coming to an end
    and i say we get the imperial Canadian navy down there to smash the Americans around

    /me wakes up form dream

    and if i were this country i'd be calling up china and saying look we need some communist help down here these yankies have gone stupid

    obama + biden = forbiden
    holly + stiff = hollywood

     

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    dark dumhelmet, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 9:48am

    we dont need no usa stinkin lawyers

    yea cause the usa is made full of laws that are moral and just
    this is why a lady can celebrate her birthday in a movie theatre and get arrested for video taping 4 -5 minutes of a movie that happens ot be in background

    and why you constantly invade other countries in your almighty name of money

    yea we need more usa style laws already
    heh

    and also why american organizations in Canada haven't paid 300000 artists since the 80's FORCING THEM to relocate to the usa to then be subject to your fascist laws

     

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Jan 18th, 2010 @ 10:18am

      Re: we dont need no usa stinkin lawyers

      Er, if you're trying to paint me as some habitual defender the United States, you might want to review some of my past comments and rethink that....

       

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    Jim Gaudet (profile), Jan 18th, 2010 @ 9:51am

    Americans...

    What else would you expect from us?

     

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    Elaine (profile), Jan 18th, 2010 @ 9:59am

    As always Americans create the demand.

    I live in Costa Rica and I will grant that piracy is pretty rampant. Case in point, the other day I saw a group of American tourists buying copies of Avatar from a street vendor. The local video store obtains one copy of a Hollywood movie and then makes their own copies for the rest, profiting from the rental sales (again mostly to Americans).

    That said, these poor quality bootlegs probably don't take much if any money out of anyone's pocket and this response is a bit harsh a sentence in poor country of only 4 million.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 10:02am

    A dramatization:

    USTR: We export ideas and words, and we import food! It's OK to stake our survival to our ideas and words because they're so awesome you guys. But in order for that to work, we need to make sure that people in countries we have trade agreements with are forced to pay what we want (even if they have more important things to spend what little money they have on--hey that's the way it goes).

    CR: Dudes it probably costs us more and benefits us less to crack down on something as meaningless as taking notes and listening to the radio. I mean even you have to admit it's kind of a waste, right?

    USTR: Don't worry, citizens of the US, I've got you covered. I told them that if they don't force their citizens to pay what we want for our awesome ideas then I won't let you guys buy their food. Now let's watch 'em squirm.

    US Citizens: OK but it's winter and I'm hungry. Also kind of broke because the economy is ass?

    USTR: No problem. Have a delicious bowl of... I don't know, a bowl of ideas? But I'd better not catch you sharing!

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 10:30am

      Re: A dramatization:

      USTR: sorry, we are out of bowls and spoons too. Since we outsourced them to China, and are now boycotting them for your own good. They are pirates and we don't like terrorist pirates.

      US Citizens: Uhm, eff the laws, screw you, *** call to arms*** *** hack the planet*** KILL KILL KILL

      USTR: you can't do that because we protect you for your own good... *girgle-girgle*, blood everywhere, oh no.

      US Citizens: WHAT MAKES THE GREEN GRASS GROW?!! BLOOD, BLOOD, BRIGHT RED BLOOD!!!!

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 11:10am

    Arguing both sides

    In this article, you supposedly argue AGAINST IP laws.
    In the article "It Isn't Easy To Break Out Of Obscurity In The Music Business" you implicitly argue FOR IP laws.
    In this article, paying $$ for songs and ideas is bad because "they" don't have money (although the second story implies that it's rich tourists on vacation who actually buy the stuff).
    In the other article, you assume that even if you give the music away, an artist will make money by selling other things. But what if someone else makes a "My Favorite Obscure Band" t-shirt and sells it? What if they copy that artist's music / songs / lyrics and play them?
    What if someone copied all of the content from your website and put it up on their own site with their own google adsense? Or even just one story without giving you a link or footnote as to where it came from?

    I believe you'd be waxalakesing too.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 11:25am

      Re: Arguing both sides

      Just because you don't understand the arguments doesn't mean they don't make sense.

      I can argue for anti-theft laws with advocating the amputation of hands. They aren't mutually exclusive.

      I'm not sure what kind of world you live in where arguing against draconian laws and policies means you hate a concept in its entirety. All you're doing here is something akin to "you're saying totalitarianism is bad, that means you're an anarchist".

       

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 18th, 2010 @ 11:59am

      Re: Arguing both sides

      In this article, you supposedly argue AGAINST IP laws.

      Yes.

      In the article "It Isn't Easy To Break Out Of Obscurity In The Music Business" you implicitly argue FOR IP laws.

      No. I did not. Not sure how you read that.

      In this article, paying $$ for songs and ideas is bad because "they" don't have money (although the second story implies that it's rich tourists on vacation who actually buy the stuff).

      No, that is incorrect. I argue that it is ridiculous for the US to be enforcing protectionist policies on countries that don't want them. I have nothing against people paying money for songs or ideas.

      In the other article, you assume that even if you give the music away, an artist will make money by selling other things. But what if someone else makes a "My Favorite Obscure Band" t-shirt and sells it? What if they copy that artist's music / songs / lyrics and play them?

      We have discussed that at length elsewhere. If the content creator connects with fans, fans will easily want the official merchandise. You don't need IP protection to ensure that.

      What if someone copied all of the content from your website and put it up on their own site with their own google adsense? Or even just one story without giving you a link or footnote as to where it came from?

      We encourage it. http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090116/0348223430.shtml

      Lots of sites do it. And people show up every week or so asking the same question. Go right ahead. All our content is public domain. No we won't complain. Go right ahead.

       

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        Still Anonymous, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 3:27pm

        Re: Re: Arguing both sides

        ...
        We have discussed that at length elsewhere. If the content creator connects with fans, fans will easily want the official merchandise. You don't need IP protection to ensure that.
        ...
        How do you know it's the "official merchandise" if it's a copy of the "official merchandise" and there's no laws to protect the originals? With no IP protection, I can make a copy and call it original. Who would know? or better, with no IP protection, who would care? Mine's cheaper because I'm not inventing it, I'm copying it. And, I'm only copying the good stuff.
        I believe you're not projecting a "no IP" world forward in time, just using a pseudo-world (like today's landscape) where a majority of countries have strong IP laws and a majority of people follow them.
        ...

        We encourage it. http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090116/0348223430.shtml
        ...
        You don't encourage it - you say it doesn't work. You hope it doesn't work. You hope that the copycat's sites drive people to your site. If people were actually shelling out $$ to visit your site and someone copied your site and charged less $$, you'd care deeply - any protests to the contrary are completely untrue. Go ahead and write something original (not a couple paragraphs - but a song or a software program) and then post about that.
        I came to the site from slashdot.org. That article should have pointed to the original story, not your regurgitation of someone else's summary of the original article. Except you plused up the fervor.

         

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          Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 18th, 2010 @ 8:46pm

          Re: Re: Re: Arguing both sides

          How do you know it's the "official merchandise" if it's a copy of the "official merchandise" and there's no laws to protect the originals? With no IP protection, I can make a copy and call it original. Who would know?

          Because you buy it directly from the creator, knowing that they'll get the money. Not that hard.

          And if you claim it's the official version, then the creator can just point out that you're a fraud, and you lose all your business. Why risk it?

          Mine's cheaper because I'm not inventing it, I'm copying it. And, I'm only copying the good stuff.

          Indeed. But I know that true fans want to support the actual creator, so it's nothing to worry about.

          I believe you're not projecting a "no IP" world forward in time, just using a pseudo-world (like today's landscape) where a majority of countries have strong IP laws and a majority of people follow them.

          I have no idea what that means.

          You don't encourage it - you say it doesn't work.

          No, you did not read closely enough. We say that in most cases it does not work, yet if it DOES work, then it is just free market research for what we should be doing (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20091210/0530007290.shtml)

          You hope it doesn't work. You hope that the copycat's sites drive people to your site.

          No, I hope it *does* work, because if it *does* work then it gives us useful information about how to make our site better.

          . If people were actually shelling out $$ to visit your site and someone copied your site and charged less $$, you'd care deeply - any protests to the contrary are completely untrue.

          Huh? You are saying that if we put in place a dumb business model, we'd be upset if someone else used a smarter business model? Why?!?

          And, no, we still would not use any IP laws to stop people. The content on this site is public domain. Anyone is free to do what they want with it.

          Go ahead and write something original (not a couple paragraphs - but a song or a software program) and then post about that.

          Ouch. We've got nearly 40,000 posts on this site. If printed out in books, it would fill many volumes over. Pretty obnoxious and wrong of you to suggest that we have not written something original or something important as a song.

          And yes, we have written plenty of software as well, and worked with numerous musicians -- and we find it's good to give that away free too.

          I came to the site from slashdot.org. That article should have pointed to the original story, not your regurgitation of someone else's summary of the original article. Except you plused up the fervor.

          I see. So now you're blaming us because of Slashdot's decision to link to us.

          You appear to be a very confused individual.

          I would suggest that you try learning a few things about this site, basic economics and the world before commenting again.

           

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            Not Confused, Jan 19th, 2010 @ 5:47am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Arguing both sides

            Again, if there's no copyright, then I can say I invented it - I don't have to give you credit. How do you know what the original is?
            ...
            And yes, we have written plenty of software as well, and worked with numerous musicians -- and we find it's good to give that away free too.
            ...
            Ok - you consult for free? And I've worked with musicians as well - as waiters.
            ...
            It is Floor64's policy to respond to notices of alleged copyright infringement that comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.?
            ...
            Did the USTR cut off your sugar imports, too, to force you to agree to compy with the DCMA?

             

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              Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 19th, 2010 @ 10:51am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Arguing both sides

              Again, if there's no copyright, then I can say I invented it - I don't have to give you credit. How do you know what the original is?

              You are assuming most fans are morons. I assume otherwise.

              Ok - you consult for free? And I've worked with musicians as well - as waiters.

              No. You do not seem to want to understand what we have said here. You provide *non-scarce* goods for free. But you charge for scarce goods, because those are not easily copied.

              Did the USTR cut off your sugar imports, too, to force you to agree to compy with the DCMA?

              Huh? What does that have to do with anything?

              You're really, really reaching here. I find it amusing that you simply picked and chose what to respond to here, rather than actually admitting that you were wrong and that we proved you were wrong.

              I suggested in my last comment that you spend some time learning before commenting again. I see you have chosen to go in the other direction.

              Good luck in life. You're going to need it.

               

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                Very Lucky In Life, Jan 20th, 2010 @ 8:06am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Arguing both sides

                I pick and choose what to argue against to make my point, which I firmly believe in and I believe it is you who are confusing your marketing/hobby with other people's bread and butter. I also believe that you didn't fully read the original article, just the summary that you link to, or at least did not do any time learning before re-gurgitating the story you linked to.

                I'll start over and keep it real simple:
                1) IP shouldn't be copied because it undermines the livelihoods of creative entities. You're argument that IP can be infringed upon - you're example - is that you give stuff away free all the time. You don't. You charge for your consulting, you support the DCMA rights of others' IP, and you make a living out of helping companies innovate. You do not make a living out of giving stuff away - that you do for marketing purposes. All companies give stuff away for free for marketing - you give away blog posts, others give away swag of all kinds. I have a Windows98 sweater. That doesn't mean that all sweaters are free. There should be a penalty for any country that supports the wholesale copying of music, movies, software - for whatever purpose. The copying of IP is anti-innovative and anti-competitive, not the copyright laws. Again, I'm not talking about the stuff you give away, I'm talking about the hard work someone puts into a software program only to have it illegally copied and handed out. The impact is that I, as the developer, get less $$ for that software and thus I would be disincentivized to write more software and would move to a career in blogging. The argument that developing countries can't afford a piece of software is a pricing/market problem that does not support the stealing rationalization.
                2) You have greatly exaggerated the "blockade" on Costa Rica. Sugar is fungible (they can sell it other places if we don't buy it - Brazil, India, and the EU are big importers of sugar, the US is not - we're overall an exporter of sugar), it's less than 2% of their aggricultural exports, and the amount of sugar produced in Costa Rica is on the decline and has been due to land use, demand, profits, etc.
                3) The whole premise is wrong - the U.S. is not the one holding up the deal, it's the Costa Rican legislative assembly who are trying to add in additional constraints - above and beyond CAFTA (read the original article). The additional constraints are for protecting Costa Rica businesses and politicians (who may or may not be corrupt depending on who you believe). This process, on the 14th amendment, has taken over a year and will take much longer due to 121 motions still remaining.
                Costa Rica decided to join CAFTA by a national referendum. Without joining, they could still export more than 15,000 metric tons of sugar (I think it's close to 20,000 metric tons but the info for 2010 isn't online that I can find) to the U.S. without any tarif. Costa Rica over the past 5 years at least has never paid a tarif because they choose to not exceed their quota.
                So, the Legislative Assembly has put things in limbo - they haven't ratified CAFTA but the old rules ran out Dec. 31. They had a year and it will take 3 more months. That's far short of an embargo - it's a self-imposed pause.
                The claimed impact to education is wrong. Currently, thieves in Costa Rica take copyrighted textbooks, copy them, and sell them to students. There's a whole discussion about the price of textbooks, the availability of textbooks, etc. but I can't believe that you would support this completely illegal activity.
                The impact to healthcare is an internal issue - the Health Care industry in Costa Rica feels daunted by the Costa Rica copyrighting procedure - this is not something the U.S. set up, demanded, or is involved with in any way.

                I know that none of this will dissuade you from exaggerating or repeating exaggerations of other blogger's interpretations of short stories since the exaggerations are what blogging/news is all about. But I can hope to think that you'll re-read the original Tico Times.net story - perhaps do a search on sugar exports from Costa Rica and - a long shot here - rethink what would happen if any innovation by any company you helped innovate was made freely available in Costa Rica.

                 

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                  Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 20th, 2010 @ 12:05pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Arguing both sides

                  1) IP shouldn't be copied because it undermines the livelihoods of creative entities.

                  That argument makes no logical sense. It's like saying "Burger King should not be allowed to exist because it undermines the livelihood of McDonald's employees."

                  What do you have against competition in the market?

                  You're argument that IP can be infringed upon - you're example - is that you give stuff away free all the time. You don't. You charge for your consulting, you support the DCMA rights of others' IP, and you make a living out of helping companies innovate. You do not make a living out of giving stuff away - that you do for marketing purposes. All companies give stuff away for free for marketing - you give away blog posts, others give away swag of all kinds. I have a Windows98 sweater. That doesn't mean that all sweaters are free. There should be a penalty for any country that supports the wholesale copying of music, movies, software - for whatever purpose.

                  Wow. How badly you misunderstand basic economics. Okay, let's start from the beginning. Yes, of course you give away stuff for marketing purposes. That's the whole point. No one is claiming you give "everything" away for free. It's that you figure out what makes the most sense to give away for free (the stuff that the market will price at free anyway) and then figure out what to charge for. You seem to be complaining that because *we* figured this out correctly, we can't suggest others do the same?!? Wow. Stunning.

                  There should be a penalty for any country that supports the wholesale copying of music, movies, software - for whatever purpose. The copying of IP is anti-innovative and anti-competitive, not the copyright laws. Again, I'm not talking about the stuff you give away, I'm talking about the hard work someone puts into a software program only to have it illegally copied and handed out. The impact is that I, as the developer, get less $$ for that software and thus I would be disincentivized to write more software and would move to a career in blogging. The argument that developing countries can't afford a piece of software is a pricing/market problem that does not support the stealing rationalization.

                  Someone appears to be economically ignorant and historically ignorant as well. Let's go through the arguments.

                  First Costa Rica does not "support the wholesale copying." Please. Straw man.

                  Second, copying IP is not inherently anti-innovative at all. In fact, if you've looked at the actual research you'll see that countries that have purposely allowed such copying tend to grow at faster rates and to create more new stuff than those that lock things up with IP. Details, details.

                  It's also extremely pro-competition. Again, a little historical knowledge would help, but if you look at countries that had no patent laws, and then look at them post-patent laws, you see that beforehand certain industries were significantly more competitive, but afterwards, the number of competitors dwindled. Damn those pesky facts.

                  If the impact is that you are disincentivized all it means it that YOU chose a bad business model. Here in the capitalistic world we think that means you SHOULD go out of business, because you picked a bad business model. Too bad. But for those who choose business models that are smart, they can make a ton of money, even ignoring IP laws.

                  You have greatly exaggerated the "blockade" on Costa Rica. Sugar is fungible (they can sell it other places if we don't buy it - Brazil, India, and the EU are big importers of sugar, the US is not - we're overall an exporter of sugar), it's less than 2% of their aggricultural exports, and the amount of sugar produced in Costa Rica is on the decline and has been due to land use, demand, profits, etc.

                  I don't see how that disproves any of the points raised in the post.

                  The whole premise is wrong - the U.S. is not the one holding up the deal, it's the Costa Rican legislative assembly who are trying to add in additional constraints - above and beyond CAFTA (read the original article).

                  Heh. Twisting the story, but okay... So the copyright issue is totally meaningless then?

                  That's far short of an embargo - it's a self-imposed pause.

                  Wow. And rape victims "asked for it" too, right? Sorry, the US imposing this blockage is not "self-imposed" by any means.

                  The claimed impact to education is wrong. Currently, thieves in Costa Rica take copyrighted textbooks, copy them, and sell them to students. There's a whole discussion about the price of textbooks, the availability of textbooks, etc. but I can't believe that you would support this completely illegal activity.

                  Thieves? What is being stolen? It's difficult to discuss this logically with someone who cannot understand the difference between infringement and theft. And, I see no problem with sharing knowledge and encouraging education. You do?

                  The impact to healthcare is an internal issue - the Health Care industry in Costa Rica feels daunted by the Costa Rica copyrighting procedure - this is not something the U.S. set up, demanded, or is involved with in any way.

                  Heh. How much experience do you have with these sorts of int'l treaties and the pressure they put on countries? If you don't think the new laws will impact healthcare, you haven't been paying attention.

                  rethink what would happen if any innovation by any company you helped innovate was made freely available in Costa Rica.

                  Seems like a good deal to me. Spreading innovation in the world is always a good thing -- and since companies we work with look to use business models that support the spread of innovation, I can't see most of them complaining.

                   

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                    Real quick, Jan 20th, 2010 @ 2:28pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Arguing both sides

                    So should Burger King be able to sell a Big Mac?

                    And you sell stuff and you give stuff away. It's ok to copy the stuff you sell without any attribution/payment to you?

                    And you're equating this all to rape?

                    And infringement isn't thievery? (ok, from a Black's Law dictionary perspective, perhaps I've overstated - wait, thief is a person who commits larceny, and copywrite infringement is larceny)

                    Heh - I've had probably more experience with international treaties than you have, unless you've done ITAR work for more than 10 years, and other international relations stuff since 1983.

                    And I bet you don't do your sales pitch like that "We're going to spread your innovations in the world and you'll get nothing except for the next time they need a good idea they'll come back." I actually hope that all of the companies Floor64 consults for take you up on that.

                     

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                    mc, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 12:52am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Arguing both sides

                    Please read this post which I think is quite useful:

                    http://www.technollama.co.uk/update-on-costa-rican-sugar-trade-row

                     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 11:22am

    Wait a minute.. Costa Rica agreed to CAFTA, which has a certain number of provisions in order to have access to the largest consumer market in the world. Yet, Costa Rica doesn't want to actually meet those provisions and the U.S. is at fault for granting access to itself? And that demonstrates a problem for the U.S.? Whether you agree to the provisions in CAFTA or not, whether you agree to WTO or U.S. IP laws, how is this really any more than Costa Rica not owning up to their agreements?

    If you don't like U.S. IP laws, that's one thing. But don't pretend that having strong IP laws and revenue for U.S. based companies that produce IP doesn't benefit the U.S. as a whole. Between the computer and entertainment industries, the employment and taxes provided for those industries is a huge part of the U.S. economy. It doesn't just benefit the top 1 percent of Americans. After all, all of you that don't make enough money to pay any income taxes receive benefits from all of us that do pay substantial taxes.

    Now, I believe our IP laws have lots and lots of problems, but that doesn't mean Costa Rica can get a free pass. American companies have to operate within those laws.. and we don't get that free pass ourselves, why should the Costa Rican's have it? I can't go counterfeit Avatar without suffering legal consequences. I can't produce knock off copies of Microsoft Windows and get away with it legally. Why should companies in Costa Rica get away with it?

     

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    Flora Fernandez, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 11:46am

    Go on with the embargo, we do not need CAFTA

    Great, go ahead with the embargo, we do not need CAFTA, all it does is making people poorer while Oscar Arias and the rich-rightist people in Costa Rica are the only ones who benefit selling sugar, the rest of the people cannot afford such plantations, it has nothing to do with Fair Trade, organic production nor good wages. Agricultural estates has nothing to do with peoples wellbeing.

    UPOV, Budapest Treaty and many other laws regarding abusive intellectual property will destroy Costa Rica, we do not need CAFTA, we need to free our country from that disaster.

     

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    transmaster (profile), Jan 18th, 2010 @ 11:51am

    Copyright enforcement is just an excuse.

    The Real Reason for this blockade is the domestic sugar industry. They have a very powerful lobby and have successfully kept foreign sugar out of the US for many decades. Because of this the price of sugar is artificially high. The domestic sugar industry is located mostly Louisiana. It is because of this monopoly, and high price beverage bottlers have gone to corn syrup as a sweetener. Some bureaucrat, or perhaps a hidden rider put on another bill passed into law by a politician with ties to the Democratic sugar industry has hit on this idea as a way of keeping imported sugar out of the country. So don't be fooled by the IP law smoke screen.

     

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    senor rita, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 11:57am

    the sugar market is like the oil market

    Origins are hard to track. Costa Rica can sell to handlers in other countries who can then sell it to whoever- completely subverting the sanctions. Who cares? This has made a lot of Europeans very rich in the Euro sugar market, and there is little, if anything, that could ever be done about it.

     

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    Merrickville, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 12:26pm

    Why why is America considered the beacon of Democracy when they continually ""interfere"" with other Democratic countries?

    The people elected the Costa Rican government, and if the Government says it's not going to do such & such, it is assumed they are speaking for the voting public. However, if that government flies in the face of American policy, governance etc... America starts to play hard-ball.

    It's fun when you're the biggest on the block. History reveals, that ALL empires fall. It's just a matter of time, perhaps in my lifetime the way things are going, but eventually anyway.

     

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Jan 18th, 2010 @ 12:45pm

      Re:

      "Why why is America considered the beacon of Democracy when they continually ""interfere"" with other Democratic countries?"

      That is a great, legitimate question, but....

      "The people elected the Costa Rican government, and if the Government says it's not going to do such & such, it is assumed they are speaking for the voting public. However, if that government flies in the face of American policy, governance etc... America starts to play hard-ball."

      That is a horrible example of your above question. I don't like the Federal government any more than the next person, and probably far less, but the USA isn't doing anything WRONG here, and they are certainly NOT interfering in another sovereign country. They're bargaining, and they're doing so WELL within their rights. CR sugar farmers don't have a natural right to US markets, but they can get it if their government gives us something in return.

      There are plenty of reasons to hate our government. This ain't one of them....

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 12:55pm

        Re: Re:

        "CR sugar farmers don't have a natural right to US markets"

        ...but do U.S. consumers have a right to buy from CR farmers if they wish to do so?

         

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          Dark Helmet (profile), Jan 18th, 2010 @ 1:04pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Absolutely not, not if we have trade restrictions or sanctions against them. Not, and I would think this goes w/o saying, that I AGREE with those restrictions.

          We have a free market here in the States (supposedly), but even the most idealistic American forefather never championed a GLOBAL free market. There's too much complexity in trading between two sovereign, often competing states for it to be absolutely free. You need a mutually agreed upon platform for effective trade to exist, and without that platform states can refuse international commerce. This can exist for a variety of reasons:

          1. Trade income is used to fund things the American Government doesn't like, i.e. Terrorism, paramilitary groups, drug trafficking, etc.

          2. Potential trading partner is unethical in their industry in the for of human rights abuses, child labor laws, etc.

          3. Free and open trade with the USA could be strategically unproductive, i.e. we might be willing to trade with Russia in most respects, but certain technologies are restricted from international commerce with them

          The point is there ARE legitimate reasons to restrict free trade between competing nations. That this isn't one of those legitimate cases shouldn't lead to cries that such restrictions should never happen.

           

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        Ryan, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 1:00pm

        Re: Re:

        Well, this is the exact same behavior exhibited by large corporations that you hate so much - they are well within their rights, and are merely playing the game and bargaining with politicians for a better deal. But at least they benefit financially from it, whereas here the U.S. government is just screwing over its own people.

         

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          Dark Helmet (profile), Jan 18th, 2010 @ 1:26pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Well, this is the exact same behavior exhibited by large corporations that you hate so much - they are well within their rights, and are merely playing the game and bargaining with politicians for a better deal. But at least they benefit financially from it, whereas here the U.S. government is just screwing over its own people."

          Sigh, comparing the actions of two sovereign governments engaging in international trade that follows the law and requires no changes to that law and corporate groups actively lobbying to change the law so as to change the game is laughable.

           

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            Ryan, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 1:41pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Umm...why do you think the law was set the way it was? Because Costa Rica wanted it like that, or because the U.S. "bargained" for it? Are the corporate groups suddenly devoid of criticism once a law is passed because "they're just following the law"?

             

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              Dark Helmet (profile), Jan 18th, 2010 @ 1:48pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              That's a fair point, I suppose. Still, it is at least partly different because the playing fields are so drastically different.

              I think the difference I see is that in the trade case, two powers are bargaining for the rules they must play by, where as in the corporate case it seems like those two parties are bargaining for the rules that a third party plays by.

              Perhaps I'm giving too much weight for that subtlety (sp?)...

               

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                Ryan, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 2:14pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                I think there's less difference than that. Both cases begin with U.S. politicians taking on Big Media's interests as a cause celebre and subsequently altering national policy.

                In one instance, the government then passes laws that harm consumers. In another, the government makes trade demands that harm both Costa Rican consumers and U.S. consumers.

                I would fully support U.S. coercive tactics when they're in the long-term national interest(and other nations have every right to engage in the same practices as well, which may ultimately lead to a necessary conflict of interest), but that's not the case here.

                 

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 12:27pm

    Is it not the case that U.S. citizens ought to be as concerned as Costa Rica. Their government is violating the right of the people to buy sugar from whomever they please.

     

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    Johnny Canada, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 1:46pm

    Take a look at this U.S. Gov web page.

    http://www.export.gov/tradeproblems/index.asp

    You may have a laugh

     

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    Volntyr (profile), Jan 18th, 2010 @ 2:30pm

    Calling the Kettle black?

    "Then there's the Bahamas, where US trade representatives are demanding new intellectual property laws, claiming that the country is not in agreement with WTO treaties"
    Gee, I love the hypocrisy that the US is displaying with regards to not in agreement with WTO treaties. Considering that the WTO has ruled repeatedly that the US has violated WTO treaties concerning Antigua online gambling.
    If the treaty said free trade, then it should be just that, free trade.

     

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    batch, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 3:58pm

    Other countries also have limited, in-demand resources, and they too can use that as leverage.

     

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    meh, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 6:25pm

    Don't feed the trolls. Look at how much time, "Dark Helmet" has put into this thread. He's obviously a moronic, loser without a life.

     

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    nix, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 6:36pm

    The effects

    Random thoughts...

    * Financially disrupting their economy.
    * Drives up the cost of sugar here in the US.
    * Higher sugar prices means alternative fuels based on sugar gets increased.
    * Hybrid vehicles that uses the various sugar based fuels become less attractive.
    * We pollute the environment due to the fact of less hybrid vehicles or because we use more dead dino's for fuel.
    * Hey, how about disrupting the US auto industry which is trying to make inroads in the hybrids. No, it's not like we have already given them billions already to bail them out. Lets make it just a little worse.
    * So the moral of the story is; Yes we can cut off our nose to spite our face. Providing the entertainment industry is filling the coffers of the politicians. Somehow I don't believe giving course in economics to politicians would help; since their donations may get reduced.
    * On a related note; does the US like it when we get hammered for oil prices because we piss off some major oil producing nation? I guess it means we like it.
    * People wonder why Americans aren't liked outside our own borders. That one still has me puzzled.

     

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    deputycleric (profile), Jan 18th, 2010 @ 7:04pm

    The Obama administration has never seen a successful Latin American democracy it didn't like... to brutalize.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 10:23pm

    Wow, with all that artistic freedom unencumbered by the burdens of copyright law, Costa Rica must have an absolutely THRIVING local film industry...

     

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 19th, 2010 @ 1:36am

      Re:

      Wow, with all that artistic freedom unencumbered by the burdens of copyright law, Costa Rica must have an absolutely THRIVING local film industry...

      Huh? Non sequitur much?

       

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 19th, 2010 @ 1:44am

      Re:

      Wow, with all that artistic freedom unencumbered by the burdens of copyright law, Costa Rica must have an absolutely THRIVING local film industry...

      Ok, fine. Let me respond to this further, because I just realized who you are. Folks, the above obnoxious and idiotic comment comes from our resident movie industry "insider" who regularly takes to these pages to insist that none of us should comment, because only he knows what it's like to make big budget successes (and, according to his odd logic, it's not a real Hollywood movie if it's not a big budget movie).

      No one said that Costa Rica was "unencumbered" by copyright laws. They do have copyright laws. They're just not as ridiculous as the US would like them to be.

      Second, no one has ever said that if you took away copyright laws you get a thriving film industry. I don't know where you got that from, other than from an inability to understand basic logic. What we have said is that the industry itself could do better for itself by not relying on ridiculous copyright laws that limit its ability to better off what fans want. But you failed basic logic 101 if you think that means no copyright laws (which again, is not the situation in Costa Rica) means a successful thriving film industry.

      Ok. Now feel free to go back to begging the gov't to rescue your job.

       

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        Still Lucky, Jan 20th, 2010 @ 8:15am

        Re: Re:

        "They're just not as ridiculous as the US would like them to be."

        REREAD THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE. The laws are not as ridiculous as the Costa Rica Legislative Assembly would like them to be.

        "Arguedas said another issue stalling passage of the 14th amendment is the fact that legislators are looking to pass a law that is more extensive than the requirements of the agreement. "

        You may have passed basic logic 101, but you didn't fare well in English 101.

         

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    identicon
    Chris Coles, Jan 19th, 2010 @ 1:33am

    US Hypocrisy over IP law

    In 2005 I drafted a petition to the United States Supreme Court asking the question; is the United states Ultra Vires if it does not act to the highest ethical standards. Last September, 2009, I incorporated that draft petition, (as chapter 12), into a new, free PDF book titled; The Road Ahead from a Grass Roots perspective which may be downloaded from www.chriscoles.com/page3.html My central theme is that I am an inventor that has been told to his face that the United States government is infringing my IP but that they would ignore me. Rather than try and recreate that debate here, I ask anyone interested in this subject as a debate to read my new book. They will discover that I am advocating a new way to look at the use of equity capital in creating new jobs and a new structure called A Capital Spillway Trust. Perhaps Techdirt might also like to talk to me further on the subject.

     

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    Tony, Jan 19th, 2010 @ 5:50am

    America a schoolyard bully.

    What do you expect? We've seen it all before. For my part when anything goes wrong for America, any setback, defeat or loss, there's a sweet song in my heart.

     

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    The eejit (profile), Jan 19th, 2010 @ 1:17pm

    Remember folks; a person is smart, people are stupid.

    Also, I am aware that the word 'blockade' CAN be used to mean a restriction of a market to your advantage.

    Also, this does look like a bully-boy tactic byt the US, meaning that it has lost some political capital in the international arena.

    What would interest me is if Costa Rica refused aid from the US in response to this.

     

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    Luke, Jan 19th, 2010 @ 9:31pm

    I'm confused, how is the United States inhibiting fair play and free markets?

    "A free market is a market without economic intervention and regulation by government except to regulate against force or fraud. This is the contemporary use of the terminology used by economists and in popular culture; the term has had other uses historically. A free market requires protection of property rights, but no regulation, no subsidization, no single monetary system, and no governmental monopolies. It is the opposite of a controlled market, where the government regulates prices or how property is used." Source: Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_market

    It's great that Costa Rican farmers want to sell their sugar to US consumers. However, if we really want to be fair about things, we can't allow countries to both profit from our citizens and steal from them at the same time. Look at it from another perspective: economic statistics aside, would you be upset if Costa Rica prohibited the sale of US developed software because a few American citizens were commandeering Costa Rican sugar boats and selling their goods on the black market?

     

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 20th, 2010 @ 11:51am

      Re:

      A free market requires protection of property rights

      Yes, it does. But copyright is not a property right. It's a gov't granted privilege. Very different.

      we can't allow countries to both profit from our citizens and steal from them at the same time

      Indeed. But who's talking about stealing?

      would you be upset if Costa Rica prohibited the sale of US developed software because a few American citizens were commandeering Costa Rican sugar boats and selling their goods on the black market?

      That would involve stealing (actual piracy). That's entirely different than requiring ever stricter copyright laws.

       

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    Gringa living in Costa Rica (profile), Jan 21st, 2010 @ 12:45am

    "Economic Hitman" tactics at work here!

    I would like you all to watch the following video interview, so you can understand how the U.S. Government preys other countries to protect corporate interests.

    Confessions of an Economic Hitman – What really goes on behind Global Affairs

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5541564304553695985#docid=808526880666247652

    Perkin’s was involved with Ecuador, so he initially talks a lot about that country specifically, as well as other Latin American countries - how their natural resources were taken from them and how their leaders are either deposed by coup, assassinated or both if their don’t cooperate - if all that fails, this is when young men and women are sent in to die and kill (i.e. the wars: Vietnam, Iraq, etc.) – and about how the Indonesian economy was broken in order to pay for the failed war in Vietnam.

    He also talks about why both Panamanian President Omar Torrijos and Ecuadoran President Jaime Roldós where both assassinated in 1981. He goes on to note the assassinations of President Salvador Allende of Chile in 1974 and former President Jacobo Árbenz of Guatemala in 1971.

    The Panama Canal Treaty was the ultimate demise of both the murdered Omar Torrijos and the jailed Manuel Noriega of Panama (Noriega is still in a Florida prison today) and the canal treaty was also the reason why the U.S. Army was sent in to kill 2 to 3 thousand innocent Panamanians in 1989. I specifically remember that incident, since I knew a Costa Rican whose son was killed in that massacre – his son, who was a protesting college student in Panama at the time, was machine gunned down in cold blood along with many other protesting college students there. My friend (the boy’s father) literally cried for many days and nights after receiving news of his son’s death – it was so sad.

    In the video Perkins also talks about OPEC and the Saudi Arabian Royal Family’s, the House of Saud’s, deal with the U.S., as well as U.S. designs on Iraqi, Iranian and Kuwaiti oil and the Bush family connection with oil companies and their connection to the bin Laden family.

    Saddam Hussein’s demise came about because he refused to cut a Saudi-like deal with the U.S., so once again young men and women were sent in to die and be killed (i.e. the Iraq War that is still in process today).

    Basically though, the bottom line really is that if you are in a position of power and you go along with the plan, you are rewarded monetarily or are promised a reward (that may in-the-end be taken away from you, as did happen in the case of the Arabs). But if you do not cooperate you are deposed or assassinated. As an Economic Hitman, working for Corporate America, you are either rewarded well for your work towards breaking the economies of Third World countries or you are fired (or worse) if you don’t cooperate with that plan.

    The people of the countries that are being “hit” (Costa Rica in this case) have nowhere to turn for help and if they try to do something they are labeled as “terrorists,” so where does that leave them? They’re trapped in a nightmare.

    The sugar embargo is not going to be the final word on this – if Costa Rica refuses to comply with US demands regarding the copyright laws, this thing will escalate beyond just a simple embargo! Therein is where the problem lies.

     

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    Andres, Jan 26th, 2010 @ 1:20am

    This is a non-story

    As a Costa Rican IP expert, I've researched this thoroughly, and I have come to the conclusion that the U.S. is not threatening Costa Rica. More details in my blog:

    http://www.technollama.co.uk/has-the-u-s-threatened-costa-rican-sugar-if-ip-law-is-not-appr oved

    and:

    http://www.technollama.co.uk/update-on-costa-rican-sugar-trade-row

     

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    identicon
    Max, Feb 12th, 2010 @ 9:52pm

    response

    Is it not useful that harmful American trade restictions exist? America as the democracy experiment needs to display "worsts". There is no lesson, otherwise.
    Max

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 29th, 2010 @ 6:34am

    Who cares about your personal opinions?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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