by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
copyright, tpp, treaties

chamber of commerce, mpaa, phrma

MPAA, Pharma Demanding US Push Other Countries To Have Significantly More Draconian IP Laws Than The US

from the how-nice-of-them dept

The constant push to expand government granted monopoly privileges for those who benefit most from them never ceases. It seems like every other day or so, we hear about US lobbyists for those industries pushing for greater legal support around the globe. The latest is with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement that the USTR is currently negotiating. The MPAA wrote a letter, which was co-signed by the major pharmaceutical trade group and the US Chamber of Commerce, pushing for the agreement to include rules that go well beyond current US copyright and patent laws. This, of course, is part of the standard game of leapfrog that the industry plays: get other countries to push stricter laws, then complain that the US is not living up to "international obligations," and get them to bump up their own laws and continue the cycle. In fact, the Obama administration has apparently made it clear that they will not even consider allowing intellectual property rules to be decreased as a part of this agreement and will only look to ratchet up protections. This is, as KEI points out, even though many of the participants in the negotiations are developing nations, who would be greatly helped with lower intellectual property standards, and previous US administration have been more than happy to agree to such agreements:
After being told the Obama Administration would not consider anything that lowered IPR norms in the TPP negotiations, and only measures that raised norms, KEI reminded USTR has the Clinton and Bush Administration both were willing to lower IPR norms, when they were persuaded it was appropriate. This included:
  • President Clinton's December 1, 1999 speech to the WTO endorsing new changes in U.S. trade policy to address concerns over access to medicines.
  • President Clinton's Executive Order 13155 of May 10, 2000, concerning Access to HIV/AIDS Pharmaceuticals and Medical Technologies.
  • President Bush's decision to agree to the November 14, 2001 Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health.
  • President Bush's decision to accept the waiver to 31.f of the TRIPS agreement on 30 August 2003.
  • President Bush's July 16, 2004 agreement between USTR and Canada to modify NAFTA to allow exports of medicines under compulsory licenses.
  • President Bush's May 10, 2007 agreement on the bipartisan New Trade Policy, which eliminated patent extensions, eliminated linkage of drug registration and patents, and relaxed test data protection for the Peru Free Trade Agreement.
For the Obama Administration to claim that it can only harmonize upwards is really disappointing, given the promises that Obama made during his presidential campaign.

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  1. icon
    Greevar (profile), 15 Dec 2010 @ 8:38pm

    Something has to give.

    There has to be a point where enough people decide that this has to end. The only way we can affect any meaningful change is to completely disregard these ridiculous laws and actively work to undermine the power they grant to the undeserving leeches. The only way to bring attention to the absurdity of these protectionist policies is to violate them. Civil disobedience is the only way they will listen.

    They act like the works they sell are their property. Ideas that people they employ came up with and executed somehow belongs to the publishers alone. They throw up barriers to our cultural heritage and demand a ransom to get it back one piece at a time. They lock up ideas and in doing so, lock out creativity that can be derived from and enrich our culture. There are people that are dying because drug companies are too tight-fisted to share their medicinal research to save lives because they're too invested in squeezing every penny out of every ailment possible.

    Our government is too complacent, apathetic, or too ignorant to see the wrong these laws are doing. They are so disconnected from reality that they don't feel the pain that so many people deal with every day. Why would they want to change things? They're not perceptively inconvenienced by the laws they force on us. They have no discomfort with the state of things because they live the high life enjoying the perks of being for sale to the highest bidder. They've never had to go without.

    Copyrights and patents don't offer incentive to create, they offer incentive to control and keep others from benefiting from the good that such things can provide. It's more beneficial to rights holders to troll others for having a similar idea and trying to actually use it in a way that might be good for us all. You have to realize that something is wrong when it's more profitable to beat people down with the law and extract payment than to actually execute an idea that might do some good.

    Abolish copyright. Abolish patent. They serve no one but those who wish to exploit others.

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