EU Follows US Steps, Signs 'Free Trade' Agreement With Korea That's All About IP Protectionism

from the that-bill-isn't-what-it-says-it-is dept

It always seems amusing to us when various trade officials include stronger copyright and patent laws in so-called “free trade agreements.” By their very nature, copyrights and patents are monopolies. They’re protectionist policies and the very antithesis of true free trade. Yet, for a variety of reasons (i.e., lobbyist demands), it’s now becoming quite standard for officials to put stronger protectionist patent and copyright rules into the misnamed “free trade agreements.” The gold standard here, of course, was the one that the US and South Korea signed a few years ago, that forced Korea to massively ratchet up its copyright laws, leading to dangerous precedents, including fears that certain advertisements could get you in trouble for copyright infringement. Of course, the US-SK FTA was also the basis for ACTA, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the EU has now signed a similar “free trade agreement” with South Korea, and EU officials are hyping up how it involves stricter patent and copyright requirements. They also note how they followed the lead of ACTA in keeping all the details entirely secret from the public (though you can probably assume that industry representatives were able to read it) until it was already signed. The new transparency at work.

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Comments on “EU Follows US Steps, Signs 'Free Trade' Agreement With Korea That's All About IP Protectionism”

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18 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

It seems your fantasies of an IP-free utopia will never come to pass. I’m sure that must make you sad.

For the rest of us (ie. those who live in reality), this is a good thing. IP employs a very large segment of the Western world. It is the job of government to protect the industry and output of its people.

They are doing their job.

The eejit (profile) says:

Re:

No, they’re not. They are not following the wishes of their people, at least in the EU. Hadopi has cost France more to implement for less governmental gain. And another thing – these ‘lobbyists’ are little more than people paid to bribe elected officials.

And if the output of Hollywood in recent years is anything to go by, it can die in a fire.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

“IP employs a very large segment of the Western world”

And that’s why economies are crumbling everywhere. Instead of powering industry, governments would rather protect virtual goods that do nothing to boost the economy (they just move money around, they don’t create money).

Look at the old economic powers. Their industry is in shambles. Everything moved to China (or somesuch “third-world” country), which, ironically, has become much stronger that the “old powers”, to the point of squeezing the balls of half of the world (economically speaking). All that based on industrial output alone (powered by abusive work laws and an oppressive regime, but still).

But we feel all cool that we just made it much easier for foreign countries who do not respect “our” IP at all to screw us even harder, while we strangle the very thing we are trying to protect. Very smart. We’ll go far.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

The White House Asks: What’s Blocking Innovation in America? – My Answer: IP Laws

Call to arms, we need to start thinking on how to:

– Reduce liability in IP law.
– Change those laws.
– Produce a draft of legislation we want.

The way it is today lobbyists are making the draft laws and handing it to legislators and they don’t bother to read it or think about it, it is time to show them what the other side think about it.

Pete Austin says:

Will kill more people than all the terrorists combined.

“The data exclusivity provision prevents generic drug manufacturers from relying on data used by the patentee for market authorisation. Clinical test data generated by the patent holder, for example, therefore cannot be used for market authorisation of a generic drug using the same substance, obliging the generic drug users to reiterate the tests.”

If you’re too poor to afford a patented drug, and were waiting for a generic copy, tough. You have to pay more and wait a few years for treatment, until tests can be re-done. This will kill a lot of people.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

In today’s story, we realise (once again) that the “free” in “free trade” means “free as long as there is some sort of loophole or irrational law that allows someone with money, power and influence to crush the competition without even having to compete in the first place or to prevent them from even entering the market, thus allowing for total monopoly over some portion of ‘the market’ with no actual effort and no actual benefit for consumers or even the general population”.

Paul Clark says:

Re:

The Asian countries only have an interest in IP until they can grow their regional markets up to replace the western markets. Then they will have no more need of western markets and can ignore IP rules. IP is a western concept. Useful for people too lazy to actually compete on the world market on direct inputs.

If you look at the best 30 years, the economies that have developed the farthest are the economies with the weakest IP rules. Nice economics experiment. IP is the last gasp of a has-been power that has lost the capitalist spirit and has been relying on government sponsored monopolies to protect outdated business models.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re:

IP employs a very large segment of the Western world.

Who does “IP” employ?

I believe you are incredibly confused. IP employs no one. Some people use IP as a business model, but that’s very different.

It is the job of government to protect the industry and output of its people.

No, it’s not actually. I mean, seriously, this is Adam Smith stuff. Governments that seek to protect rather than enable are governments that fail their own citizenry.

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