India Concerned How ACTA Changes Previous Trade Agreements

from the protests-getting-heard dept

We’ve pointed out in the past, that one of the reasons why ACTA was done outside of the existing infrastructure for such agreements set up under WIPO and the WTO was to craft an agreement without involving the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China). The negotiators knew, quite well, that the BRIC countries would fight back strongly, as all four have used the ability to copy to create economic growth, and have recently been much more vocal in pushing back about some of the more annoying parts of earlier agreements on intellectual property. Now, the ACTA negotiators keep talking about how they’d like the BRIC countries to join “someday,” but by creating ACTA outside of the WTO, they’ve been able to leave those four powerhouses totally out of the negotiations, so that if they ever join, it’ll be a total “take it or leave it” situation.

Thankfully, those countries are expressing their concerns about the whole thing. Earlier, we noted that Brazil had come out and declared ACTA “illegitimate.” Now it’s India’s turn. At a recent WTO meeting, India (rather politely) appears to have expressed its serious concerns about the “far reaching implication” for those who are not part of ACTA. The link above lists out many of those concerns, but one key one is how ACTA appears to have redefined “commercial scale,” contrary to what the WTO has said constitutes “commercial scale.”

We call attention to the fact that ACTA negotiators have decided among themselves to overturn the decision of the WTO dispute settlement panel in the recent China-Enforcement case by reinterpreting the phrase “commercial scale” with respect to willful trademark counterfeiting and copyright piracy so as to refer to any activity carried out for a direct or indirect economic or commercial advantage. This is startling in light of the WTO panel’s contrary decision that the term “scale” refers to a level of activity, and it highlights the risk to WTO law posed by turning enforcement matters over to small groups of plurilateral negotiators operating outside the WTO legal framework.

India is also pointing out that the negotiators involved in ACTA appear to have exaggerated the “threats” involved (something we’ve pointed out for years, but it’s nice to see it called out in an international forum):

To find an effective and enduring solution to the problem, we need to step back from a purely mercantilist approach. We also need to avoid exaggerating the issue of counterfeiting and piracy since there is lack of empirical data. Even the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has recently raised serious questions concerning the data that has been relied on by proponents of the ACTA to support the effort.

This is also the first time I’ve seen anyone else actually point out that ACTA is, very much, a mercantilist (protectionism) approach.

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Comments on “India Concerned How ACTA Changes Previous Trade Agreements”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Same as TRIPS, they just redefine “commercial” and nothing has to change on paper. Like, re-interpreting the bible throughout the ages. “No!, the Torah *did not* say there was a great body of watter above us called the firmament! If you use this one dialect of Aramaic, the interpretation means “vast body”! we all know space is vast body, therefore the bible tells us of space before we even knew what “space” was! 8^D “

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Back to The Future ((c) and so what!)

Welcome back to the Halcyon days if such outfits as the Hudson’s Bay Company and the British East India Company when mercantile interests were promoted and encouraged by the British government.

At least partly to lower the cost of troops and policing because the above companies took that on themselves.

Didn’t work very well in North America but the investors in the East India Company made out like bandits!

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Re:

” … those laws will be used against the very people who want them and they won’t like it when it happens.”

Unintended consequences, gotta love them. They are pushing for this so hard they don’t see it is creating a situation where they are locked into a system with no flexibility, no room to adapt, and no room to change how they do things. ACTA is an attempt to totally monopolize content and lock in the current industry players. While legislatively forcing people to use their system and purchase from them.

The really big problem for them is the public domain, the creative commons, and the increasing trends towards using them for music and video. Its a blip now, but thats how it always starts.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Peel” back the rhetoric and ask but one simple question? What is it about ACTA that would give India pause for concern?

It tipped its hand when it talked about patents apparently being off the table. I would be upset too if someone was trying to stick their finger in my “generics pie”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Please, pray tell, where these millions are dying due to “massively inflated medicine prices”, as well as who specifically is behind this carnage?

Is it possible that price is not the issue, but other factors such as poor systems of distribution, lack of medical facilities, insufficient medical staffing, etc.?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

I am afraid you missed my point. Medicines are available for most critical medical problems at prices far less that “massively inflated”. Second, no one disputes that persons succumb to critical medical problems, particularly in underdeveloped countries, but trying to lay the blame at the feet of patent law is not at all accurate.

The price for the newest generation medicines could go down to zero today and people would still not receive the care they need in such countries, for the reasons (and more) I noted above.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

Medicines are available for most critical medical problems at prices far less that “massively inflated”.

The link I gave you shows that generic drugs (which are a lot less expensive) are being held up solely by patent laws. And that the only reason Western pharmacy companies (“BigPharma”) is able to demand higher prices is due to patents. And that those patents are directly responsible for critical cures not being available to poor countries, resulting in deaths that could be preventable.

What more do you need, exactly?

The price for the newest generation medicines could go down to zero today and people would still not receive the care they need in such countries, for the reasons (and more) I noted above.

So, because some African warlord kept drugs from people, that absolves BigPharma from any and all responsibility for anything they do in Africa?

Yeah, right.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

I did not mention “warlords”, though I have no doubt that political corruption is a factor in some countries.

The more salient point to be made is that the medical “infrastructure” in so many of these countries borders on non-existent. It is well nigh impossible to “give” medical care to people if you cannot “get” medical care to them.

Efficacious medicine exists, and means are at hand to make sure they are affordable, including even the newest generation of such medicine (though in many cases they are not necessary to provide effective treatment). But without a distribution system and qualified medical personnel the medicines are worthless to those in need. As for areas where medicine distribution systems and medical personnel may be sufficient, more of less, to administer treatment, necessary long term follow up and treatment is still largely a pipe dream for those still in need.

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