US Chamber Of Commerce Launches Ad Campaign For Son Of SOPA

from the of-course-they-are dept

Next to the MPAA, the main lobbying organization that pushed SOPA was the US Chamber of Commerce. The organization and its laughably inept "Global Intellectual Property Center" are infamous for the fact that they have absolutely no shame in using completely bogus numbers to argue for bad laws that their highest spending backers support. Not surprisingly, the USCoC did not take the loss over SOPA lightly, and it appears that they're gearing up for the next version of SOPA in 2013. As pointed out by Gautham Nagesh, the USCoC has kicked off a new ad campaign priming the pump for new legislation to "protect intellectual property."

In other words: get ready for "son of SOPA."
The powerful business lobby, perhaps the biggest supporter of controversial legislation intended to stem online piracy, is at it again. The group is up with a billboard advertisement in Manhattan's Times Square and an online video series urging Congress to "protect America's IP rights."
The Chamber is claiming that "this is an awareness campaign.... not political," but no one believes that. They've also set up a "website" at DangerousFakes.com, which includes a silly video and more debunked stats.
World-wide cross border trade in physical counterfeits alone costs the global economy $250 billion a year.
This number is so bogus that it's been debunked through and through over and over again through the years. As we have explained, the real number may be closer to about $5 billion (still decently large, but nowhere near $250 billion) and that $250 billion is based on a single unsourced claim in an article in Forbes from 20 years ago. In other words: bogus.
96% of all online pharmacies are operating illegally, many out of compliance with international IP laws that protect the public health and safety.
Of course, this depends on how you define "illegally." Many are merely gray market re-importers, helping people get more affordable, and perfectly legitimate drugs. But the big pharma companies (USCoC members, of course) don't like the competition and efforts to drive down their insane margins.
In the United States, the domestic value of counterfeit pharmaceutical seizures in FY 2011 rose by more than $11 million, an increase of almost 200%.
And, again, how much of that was gray market, legitimate drugs that were just being re-imported? And how much of it were true "fakes"? Also, if the problem is really $250 billion, doesn't it seem to highlight how small a problem fake drugs are if the US seized just $11 million approximately $17 million worth? (Update: Correcting the number based on $11 million being the "increase" of "almost 200%" to approximate the total). Oh, and note that they said "domestic value," not the actual price. That's because they're taking the fake drugs and then inflating them way up to the price that would have been charged. Meaning the real amount seized was much, much less.
Counterfeits also have the potential to put our military at risk and jeopardize our national security missions, according to two recent reports by the Department of Commerce and the Government Accountability Office.
More fear mongering. And of course, if the military is buying counterfeit parts, shouldn't the focus be on the military's procurement process? Why is the military buying from shady equipment dealers in the first place?

The thing is, there is a risk from fake drugs and military equipment, but it's a really, really, really small problem. Barely noticeable. That's why the Chamber likes to lump those in with other things, like copyright infringement, because then they can pretend that the "risk" is really big. But it's not. I'm all for focusing in on stopping those who actually sell truly fake drugs and fake military parts, but there really aren't that many of those out there, and they can be targeted specifically, rather than passing broad legislation with massive consequences for the rest of the internet.

But that's not how the Chamber works.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Tim K (profile), Aug 29th, 2012 @ 6:27am

    How to reduce fake drug imports

    It's really not that hard to figure out how to reduce the number, and it's not through new legislation. If they take away, or significantly reduce the length of drug patents, or if they granted compulsory licensing, then the cost of drugs would decrease and the need for importing fakes or cheaper drugs would drop.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2012 @ 8:30am

    "Global Intellectual Property Center"

    GIPC

    Is that pronounced gypsy?

     

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  3.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Aug 29th, 2012 @ 8:32am

    Re: How to reduce fake drug imports

    Pish! As if that would ever happen...

    The US Drug Companies have faith in their god-given right to gouge the American public forever--not just a time-limited forever, but for as long as the US Federal Regime endures.

     

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    Trainspotter, Aug 29th, 2012 @ 8:47am

    "...FY 2011 rose by more than $11 million..."

    "...small a problem fake drugs are if the US seized just $11 million worth?..."

    Small error in you answer I believe.
    And thanks for your posts. Keep it coming!

     

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  5.  
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    Tim Griffiths (profile), Aug 29th, 2012 @ 8:49am

    It's at times like these I feel like giving up and/or going in to politics. I tend not to want to go in to politics because I'm very afraid I'd be good at it.

     

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  6.  
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    The eejit (profile), Aug 29th, 2012 @ 8:50am

    Re:

    Yes, yes it is. These "intellectual" thieves truly live up to the negative stereotype.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2012 @ 8:51am

    Re: Re: How to reduce fake drug imports

    that's a problem in other countries as well.

    And it is a shining example of how overreaching 'Intellectual property' can kill people.

     

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    John Doe, Aug 29th, 2012 @ 8:52am

    The risks may be small but the consequences are huge!

    While the risk of getting a counterfeit MP3 are small, the consequences are huge. What if I wanted the latest Miley Cyrus song and what I actually got was Britney Spears? Can you imagine the irreparable harm done by something like that?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2012 @ 8:56am

    Re:

    To be fair, as the $11m is "an increase of almost 200%", that puts the total figure at something around $17m, which is still well shy of one-thousandth of the global piracy damages figure they'd like us to accept.

     

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  10.  
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    hfbs (profile), Aug 29th, 2012 @ 8:57am

    Re: The risks may be small but the consequences are huge!

    Nowhere near the harm done if it turned out to be a Nickelback song.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2012 @ 8:59am

    Re: The risks may be small but the consequences are huge!

    I once got a counterfeit MP3. Turns out it was WAV file.

     

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    gorehound (profile), Aug 29th, 2012 @ 9:01am

    Fuck You US Chamberpot of America.none of us wants another SOPA and we will fight you.I have a huge dislike for this filthy Corrupt Organization.

     

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    gnudist, Aug 29th, 2012 @ 9:11am

    Re: Re: The risks may be small but the consequences are huge!

    Nah brah the knockoffs are np9

     

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  14.  
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    Aklyon (profile), Aug 29th, 2012 @ 9:22am

    /sigh

    Its like trying to argue with a wall sometimes, isn't it. Except the wall will at least let you punch it without shouting at policemen.

     

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  15.  
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    aethercowboy (profile), Aug 29th, 2012 @ 9:31am

    Silver Bullet for Protecting Intellectual Property:

    Stop believing that it exists.

     

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  16.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 29th, 2012 @ 9:32am

    Re: Re:

    Yup. Good catch. Correcting. Thanks.

     

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    The eejit (profile), Aug 29th, 2012 @ 9:36am

    Re: Silver Bullet for Protecting Intellectual Property:

    Well, to be fair it is intellectual. But given the state of modern TV, that's about the only thing intellectual about it.

     

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    Berenerd (profile), Aug 29th, 2012 @ 9:41am

    Re: Re: Re: The risks may be small but the consequences are huge!

    I thought they were .wdE's

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2012 @ 9:45am

    Wow, talk about a whole lot of talking down to someone... WTG Mike!

    " As we have explained, the real number may be closer to about $5 billion (still decently large, but nowhere near $250 billion) and that $250 billion is based on a single unsourced claim in an article in Forbes from 20 years ago. In other words: bogus."

    Actually, your explanation is a lot of supposition and third hand information, but hey, whatever. Yes, the 250 billion number is probably too big, but 5 billion is actually a very small number in the global economy (we aren't talking US here)... that is less than $1 per person on the planet, which seems VERY low indeed. Come spend some time in China and you will see how big the knock off, counterfeit, and downright dangerous goods markets really are.

    " this depends on how you define "illegally." Many are merely gray market re-importers, helping people get more affordable, and perfectly legitimate drugs."

    Operating outside of the law, there is always a question of quality and product. Is there any method to assure that those drugs are legal, that they are not cheap pill mill knock offs? Are you just supposing?

    " Also, if the problem is really $250 billion, doesn't it seem to highlight how small a problem fake drugs are if the US seized just $11 million worth? "

    Amounts seized don't denote amounts consumed, false correlation there Mike. In fact, one only has to look at the "war on drugs" to understand the issue - by their own estimates, ICE / DEA and all the local authorities intercept only a very small percentage of the total product imported into the US each year. Even with an incredible amount of time and effort spent, they hurt the illegal drug market for something around 4 or 5 billion dollars per year... and that is by their own admission probably 1% of the business in the US alone.

    Since it's much harder to intercept illegal goods (and often hard to determine it's status when inspecting), there is a huge market in knock off goods and duplicates.

    "More fear mongering. And of course, if the military is buying counterfeit parts, shouldn't the focus be on the military's procurement process? Why is the military buying from shady equipment dealers in the first place? "

    You are putting the blame in the wrong place here. The military can buy from reliable sources, who in turn buy from reliable sources, who purchase lots of parts from sources they feel are reliable, but turn out to be not so reliable, using knock offs or fake parts at a lower level. The end products that the military obtains may appear to be correct with all of the correct parts, but they are not.

    Remember, when you have parts that are life rated for say 100 hours of in flight service, and the knock off fails at 50 hours, you have issues.

    It can be sometime as simple as ordering grade 8 bolts, and getting a lower grade. You may not notice the lower quality until the part is really stressed in service.

    "The thing is, there is a risk from fake drugs and military equipment, but it's a really, really, really small problem."

    Actually, fake drugs are a real issue, often unreported because they aren't even realized. One of the way that knock off makers can turn a profit is by not putting as much active ingredient into the pills, and instead using inactive filler material or other material to "bulk up" the product. When people take the drugs are they aren't as effective, perhaps they die or suffer needlessly, without any way to know because they are working outside of the system.

    When you work outside of the system, you give up all your checks and controls. That's why the price is cheaper.

    I would say Mike that you need to get out of the US-centric view of the world and get out to see how the rest of the world works. Come to Asia, where fake drugs run rampant, where you can get many prescription medications on street corners or from pharmacies with no accreditation, and where the reliable sources for base materials to make the drugs are sometimes caught bulking up their products with non-active ingredients, just to make more money. It's why US drug companies are forced to test every batch of material they source and buy, because there are way to many scammers out there. The pill mill guys aren't worried about that, they buy whatever source material they can get for the cheapest price, and knock out fake drugs.

    Take a trip to Thailand, and see the guys selling Viagra and Cialis on the street corners... take some to a lab and test it. You might be shocked what you find in it.

     

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  20.  
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    Nathan Gibson (profile), Aug 29th, 2012 @ 9:49am

    It's missing "For the children." Won't anybody think of the children?

     

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  21.  
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    Fanic, Aug 29th, 2012 @ 9:52am

    Its inevitable...

    I hate being the ultimate pessimist but....
    A reincarnation of SOPA will eventually get passed, it's just a matter of time before they grease enough palms and swing enough voted.

    I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of awareness that was raised and the number of people who responded. However the American people have very very short attention spans and its just a matter of time till the general masses get board with it and say "SOPA what? Oh, we said no to that years and years ago that will never pass.", but do nothing to stop it. So it passes. Its happened enough times, if there is something that the people with power want they will get it because they are patient and they know people will forget....eventually.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2012 @ 9:52am

    Re:

    Canada and the E.U. have cheaper drugs than the US. Must be because of all that lawlessness and lack of control, huh?

    Perhaps you should come to a civilized country and see how we handle things around here, instead of spending your time in third world countries visiting the local drug market.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2012 @ 10:00am

    Re: Re: How to reduce fake drug imports

    @ #3

    that's as maybe, but no need to inflict the same crap on the rest of the world, is there? just because those in charge of the US seem to want the rest of the world to die, including through not being able to afford life saving/life preserving drugs, doesn't mean they can have what they want, does it?

     

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  24.  
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    Digitari, Aug 29th, 2012 @ 10:02am

    Re: Its inevitable...

    then why do you vote for people like this and let them into Office??

    What are YOU personally doing to fight against this, Have YOU run for office so you can change the system??

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2012 @ 10:20am

    Re: Re:

    "Canada and the E.U. have cheaper drugs than the US. Must be because of all that lawlessness and lack of control, huh?"

    Actually, many places in Canada (example) have government subsidized drugs or government mandated cap pricing in place.

    Also, they have a much lower risk of lawsuits, class actions, and other issues if there is even a problem. Remember, in the US, you pay a big price in part because your legal system is ready to club companies over the head when they have failures, many times over what was taken in. That's a real issue right there. Try to do a class action against "pill mill #326665" in India.

    The price includes all the good and the bad in your legal system and government funded coverages and mandates. It's hard to compare one to another.

    I live in a very civilized places,and yes, that does include Canada. That doesn't stop it from being very easy to find knock off drugs.

     

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  26.  
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    Fanic, Aug 29th, 2012 @ 10:29am

    Re: Re: Its inevitable...

    I do not vote for people like that, but the better question is who ISN'T like that. Small time local its easy to change I have helped do it. I have changed my small local politics by helping someone I thought would make a difference and they have. But your talking Federal, no one is up the food chain that high that has not already been bought and paid for. And there is not a chance in hell that an independent is going to get the Presidential Election, and its only once in a blue moon they get anything else.
    The system is so routine no one stops to look at it and say "Gee you know what Republicans and Democrats are the same group of people doing the same thing, just in a slightly different way."

    You have Republicans who are so Republican you could not change them if your life depended on it. You have Democrats who are so Democrat you could not change them if your life depended on it. You have a very small group (so small they have no power to do anything) that sees that but tell me when it was the last time an independent was even close in a Presidential Election, and if I do recall he FUBARed the hole things so he lost...

    I challenge anyone to tell me the name of a person who is running that could actually CHANGE things AND that has a chance. Someone that is not pushing someone else's agenda along.
    (HINT: If you say Obama or Romney your and idiot)

     

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  27.  
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    Haywood (profile), Aug 29th, 2012 @ 10:31am

    Re: Re: How to reduce fake drug imports

    I treat the Drug companies exactly like I treat the Mafiaa, They get, very nearly, none of my money. I shy away from doctors, (another cartel of a sort), & refuse prescriptions when I do go. I buy a little OTC pain and allergy stuff, but mainly use homeopathic cures with good success. I see so many pensioners whose centerpiece on the table is a cluster of pharmacy bottles. Sad really, especially when most of it is chain pills, the previous one made me sick to the stomach, so he gave me this for that, but that gave me hives, so he gave me this for that........
    And we wonder why Medicare is in trouble.

     

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    Chosen Reject (profile), Aug 29th, 2012 @ 10:58am

    Re:

    Come spend some time in China and you will see how big the knock off, counterfeit, and downright dangerous goods markets really are...

    Come to Asia, where fake drugs run rampant, where you can get many prescription medications on street corners or from pharmacies with no accreditation, and where the reliable sources for base materials to make the drugs are sometimes caught bulking up their products with non-active ingredients...

    Take a trip to Thailand, and see the guys selling Viagra and Cialis on the street corners... take some to a lab and test it. You might be shocked what you find in it.
    We need SOPA in the US so that the people in Asia won't have to deal with counterfeit drugs!!

    The military can buy from reliable sources, who in turn buy from reliable sources, who purchase lots of parts from sources they feel are reliable, but turn out to be not so reliable, using knock offs or fake parts at a lower level. The end products that the military obtains may appear to be correct with all of the correct parts, but they are not.
    If A buys from source B who buys from source C and C is unreliable, then B is an unreliable source, unless they guarantee that they do quality control. It does not matter how many sources you put between the buyer and the first unreliable source. Unless and until one of those sources guarantees the quality of their product, the buyer is buying from an unreliable source.

    All that being said, how would SOPA prevent this anyway? The real problem lies in the procurement process for the military.

     

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    The eejit (profile), Aug 29th, 2012 @ 11:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: The risks may be small but the consequences are huge!

    You're thinking of the Nanny .ogg's

     

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  30.  
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    The eejit (profile), Aug 29th, 2012 @ 11:03am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Remind me again why it costs less in America to treat cat infections than it does to treat people infections?

     

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    The eejit (profile), Aug 29th, 2012 @ 11:05am

    Re: Re: Its inevitable...

    It's not people that're the problem. IT's people. The US, as it stands now, is going to become irrelevant in the next 10 years. The only problem is, what will the US take with it?

     

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    Fanic, Aug 29th, 2012 @ 11:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Its inevitable...

    Yes you are exactly right. I am sorry, when I say people I general mean People.

     

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  33.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 29th, 2012 @ 11:12am

    Re:

    Operating outside of the law, there is always a question of quality and product.


    Operating inside the law, too, there is always a question of quality and product. There are numerous gray-market sources that are reliable and reputable, where your risk is no greater than established US sources.

    You are putting the blame in the wrong place here.


    He wasn't saying what you appear to think he was saying.

    Actually, fake drugs are a real issue


    Nobody said otherwise.

    When you work outside of the system, you give up all your checks and controls. That's why the price is cheaper.


    Not necessarily. Buying drugs from Canada in no way gives up checks and controls. The price there is cheaper because their system isn't specifically designed to gouge the people who need the medication.

    It's why US drug companies are forced to test every batch of material they source and buy, because there are way to many scammers out there.


    They aren't "forced" to do any such thing. They could simply get their source materials from somewhere reliable instead.

    I love this sentence, though, because it shows that US drug makers are buying their source materials from the very same shady operations as counterfeit drug manufacturers. If buying domestic really enhances product quality, why don't the drug makers themselves do it?

     

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    trish, Aug 29th, 2012 @ 11:24am

    "World-wide cross border trade in physical counterfeits alone costs the global economy $250 billion a year."
    Perhaps my understanding of economics is shaky, buit how the hell does anyting "cost the global economy" anything? What, did the money disappear? Did we launch a few tonds of gold into outer space? ((-_-))

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2012 @ 11:42am

    "World-wide cross border trade in physical counterfeits alone costs the global economy $250 billion a year."

    As opposed to the costs of the broken patent system or the amount pissed away on legislation like this that will do nothing?

    These IP asshats are no different from the asshats that want to take away our guns and our porn, using extreme examples that rarely happen as an excuse to smear more feces on the Constitution and fill prisons/reeducation camps for the sake of filling prisons/reeducation camps. They all want us to be like North Korea, China, or some Middle Eastern dictatorship because their sugar daddies made a dollar less than they did last year or because we're not living by the "word of God" 100% of the time.

    The worst part: voting won't fix it. The polls are rigged, and the only two choices that are even considered are typically "Mao Zedong" and "Count Dracula." It's like these fuckheads are actively trying to finish off the USA.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2012 @ 12:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Medicaid, Medicare and other medi- legal thingies.
    On the other hand, it is a ridiculous proposition that the price on drugs should depend on those kinds of fears from the producers side (and especially when it is importers at risk here...).
    His statements reminds me of the air-travel industry before the cheap competitors entered: The primary argument for having as high prices as they have had was based on fears of aircrashes costing upwards of half a billion in total costs (up to 200 million for the investigation, a similar amount in legal fees and compensations and the rest for a new plane). Yes, it might be because of fears of getting sued, but in the aircraft industry they have now pushed the costs on to insurance. Having pooled the risk, the prices on airfares went way down...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2012 @ 12:54pm

    If their goal is to stop fake drugs, military parts, ect stop putting copyright law with it. Otherwise they clearly want that copyright law to go through and citizens should make sure its political suicide.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2012 @ 1:33pm

    Re:

    LOL

    You truly have no idea how idiotic you sound.

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2012 @ 1:39pm

    As we've read countless places now (including several times on TD), the 250 billion number is essentially an aerially-extracted guess that's been repeated enough to become "fact." It's annoying, though not surprising, that GIPC would repeat it and ignore its debunking, because it suits their agenda.

    But the numbers Mike cites don't do much to debunk this GIPC campaign or add much to the argument that the problem of counterfeits is overblown. The term "domestic value" that CBP uses is supposed to track the real price of a fake, not the retail price of the real thing, as Mike fears. Sure, maybe customs is inflating their figures, but the use of "domestic value" rather than "retail price" is actually an improvement over the alternative of valuing a crappy fake handbag at a thousand bucks or whatever a real designer one costs from Prada or Gucci.

    As others have pointed out, it's to be expected that customs catches only a small amount of whatever bad thing might be coming into the country. Ive seen 1% or 2% used as a baseline estimate in some scenarios, but obviously it depends on a lot of things. If the 1% or 2% holds for fake drugs, then seizing 17 mil would it would indicate something on the order of a billion dollars in fake drugs coming into the US last year. That's a lot. Maybe not cause for sky-is-falling alarm, but fake drugs worry me a lot more than fake handbags or designer jeans or whatever.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 29th, 2012 @ 2:33pm

    Re: Re:

    He is making a valid point.

    One of the features of these things is the conflation of copyright enforcement and the issue of counterfeit products.

    If the goal is to stop, say, counterfeit drugs, it would be easier and much less controversial if the laws being proposed addressed that topic alone. They won't do that, though, because they don't care about the counterfeit drug issue as much as they want to be able to use it as cover for the copyright expansion stuff.

     

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    Jessie (profile), Aug 29th, 2012 @ 2:43pm

    Good lord. It's like these idiots are having relapses every few months about this thing.

    Where's the petition to stop this thing? I want somewhere to put my john Hancock.

    (SHAKES HEAD IN DISAPPOINTMENT)

    Looks like we'll just have to keep on telling them that BILLS LIKE SOPA ARE NOT NEEDED.

     

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    Keii (profile), Aug 29th, 2012 @ 3:10pm

    Tens of millions of Americans are killed each day in IP Theft related crimes. 115% of those killed are children. Don't let the terrorists win.

     

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  43.  
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    Psyga Sanichigo (profile), Aug 29th, 2012 @ 9:12pm

    ... These guys see how people reacted to SOPA? How can saying that this is the Son of SOPA be a good thing? This is bad PR.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2012 @ 10:28pm

    Re:

    I 100% disagree that everything you talk about here requires additional laws to correct these issues, especially broad ones which are then used mostly to slap a $20,000 fine on a kid for downloading a torrent of The Avengers (the eventual goal of the **AA's), but thanks for stating your point well and not being a troll, which is generally the only dissenting opinions I see around here.

     

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  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2012 @ 10:32pm

    Re: Re: Its inevitable...

    1) You obviously have zero understanding of how voting people into higher offices in the US works.
    2) Candidates who show even the smallest but of understanding of the laws they're passing are few and far between, forget ones who actually then take the info they have and move in the right direction with it.
    3) Many (Obama is a wonderful example) preach what we want to hear, and then when in office, either do nothing or do a 180 when the time comes to vote.
    4) If you think the answer to all this is for every one of us who understands this particular issue well and wants change to run for office, I refer you to point #1.

     

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

  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2012 @ 10:35pm

    Re:

    And thank you, I'm glad someone brought this up, or I was going to have to.

    This did not cost the global economy one cent. What this did, was cost the producers/"legit" sellers profits. Others selling in black/grey markets made money off of the products they sell, and consumers spent less on those products, therefore had more disposable income to put towards other products, thus bringing up the global economy.

    But of course, global economy in this case actually means "our pockets," so it's all moot.

     

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

  47.  
    icon
    Lauriel (profile), Aug 30th, 2012 @ 4:42am

    Re: Re:

    Join in if you know the tune..

    GIPCs against IP theives
    We'd hear it from the people of the town
    They'd call us GIPCs against IP thieves
    But every night MPAA would come around
    And lay their money down

     

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


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