Commerce Department Postpones 'Africa IP Forum' After People Point Out How One-Sided It Is

from the all-stakeholders?-you-mean-we-have-to-hear-from-the-other-side? dept

A couple weeks ago, we pointed to an absolutely ridiculous "Africa IP Forum" that was being organized by WIPO and the US Department of Commerce, where it appeared the entire event was around forcing extreme IP enforcement on Africa, despite plenty of evidence that developing nations, such as most of those in Africa, are hurt by such enforcement. The whole schedule was one-sided with speakers who mainly supported extreme enforcement over looking for the most reasonable overall solutions for different economies. After widespread outcry concerning this rather non-subtle attempt to export US-style copyright maximalism to the African continent, the US Commerce Department has announced that the event has been postponed.
The African Intellectual Property Forum, originally slated for April 3-5, 2012 in Cape Town, will be rescheduled. Organizers are committed to ensuring that all stakeholders – in government, private business, the arts and the development community – are represented and engaged in the conference organization and agenda.
The organizers apparently also sent emails to those who had registered, apologizing to people who had already made travel arrangements.

While it's nice that the Commerce Department has recognized that the original program was no good and that all stakeholders should be heard from -- it would have been much nicer and a hell of a lot more convincing if they had done so originally, rather than just a few weeks before the scheduled event when people started protesting...


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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2012 @ 2:46am

    'Organizers are committed to ensuring that all stakeholders in government, private business, the arts and the development community are represented and engaged in the conference organization and agenda.'

    still dont see any mention of the general public or their representatives being invited so will still be a one-sided meeting, catering only for the stricter side of enforcement to protect US companies. best it's scrapped completely or at least the US interests told to keep the fuck away before Africa becomes another American State, even though it's 1,000s of miles away!

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2012 @ 3:51am

    Government Capture

    It is quite stunning how the copyright maximalists have at least five kinds of government capture.

    (1) Legislative capture -- they can get the laws they want passed. Many members of Congress are still accepting bribery.

    (2) Regulatory capture -- they can get government departments to do their dirty work for them, paid for by the taxpayer.

    (3) Police capture -- many foolish members of the police force treat copyright infringement as far more serious than it really is.

    (4) Judicial capture -- Judges hand out wildly excessive fines based on bogus statistics for losses. Judges hand out prison terms that are grossly disproportionate to the actual harm, for example, the Ninja Video case.

    (5) Diplomatic capture -- US diplomats attempt to export tyrannical laws to foreign countries. How to get hated in one easy lesson.

    All this constitutes a large subsidy from the poor old US taxpayer to a small number of wealthy companies. It would be interesting to compare the total profits of those companies that want all this government capture with the cost of the capture.

     

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  3.  
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    Torg (profile), Feb 28th, 2012 @ 5:10am

    "it would have been much nicer and a hell of a lot more convincing if they had done so originally, rather than just a few weeks before the scheduled event when people started protesting."

    And how were they supposed to do that? Everyone knows that nothing the government does is inherently unreasonable. They only become unreasonable when people protest them. Are you suggesting that the Department of Commerce should be able to somehow look into the future and predict protests before they happen?

     

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  4.  
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    fb39ca4, Feb 28th, 2012 @ 5:42am

    The Africans are too poor to pay for any of the copyrighted stuff so it's not like there is any lost sales.

     

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  5.  
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    fb39ca4, Feb 28th, 2012 @ 5:43am

    Response to: fb39ca4 on Feb 28th, 2012 @ 5:42am

    [/sarcasm]

     

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  6.  
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    David Muir (profile), Feb 28th, 2012 @ 5:46am

    Re:

    I am looking into the future right now. The specific event is shrouded in mist. But I clearly see that figuring out who the stakeholders in an issue are, then inviting them all to participate makes the event eminently reasonable.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2012 @ 6:59am

    They say they want to make sure all stakeholders are represented and engaged, but do they really mean it, or is it just another way of saying they need a new strategy for providing the appearance of involving all stakeholders and being able to make a plausible claim of doing so while still enabling the copyright maximalists to push through their agenda without making any real concessions?

     

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  8.  
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    Someantimalwareguy (profile), Feb 28th, 2012 @ 7:33am

    Re:

    The Government is locked in politics and the agenda is what the agenda is because of the organizer's ideological biases. IF they however were to use the strategy of DO IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME, they at least would reduce the cost of their dry cleaning bills to remove all those nasty egg stains...

     

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  9.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Feb 28th, 2012 @ 8:55am

    Re:

    They will do it in total secret the next time ...

     

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  10.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Feb 28th, 2012 @ 3:12pm

    Anyone else waiting for the other shoe, where we find out the conference was held in secret somewhere in Europe at a later date?

     

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  11.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), Feb 28th, 2012 @ 8:11pm

    Heaven forbid that they'd have given a thought to the creators of cultures in various parts of Africa. You know, the story tellers, writers, elders, indigenous film makers and the actual public...the real stakeholders in this discussion and what they might have to say.

    Not to mention the crushing poverty of many parts of the African continent, not a little of it caused by European and North American meddling. (More recently Chinese.)

    All of the above, of course, makes a firmer argument for a meeting at a secret location all the more probable as there are people in Africa who don't share the opinions of WIPO and the US Department of Commerce. Not to mention Hollywood.

    I foresee a sign posted saying "riff-raff not invited".

    Heaven and ACTA forbid that Africa might just come up with its own ideas of what intellectual property is and is not. We can't have that, can we?

     

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  12.  
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    Gene Cavanaugh (profile), Feb 29th, 2012 @ 10:27am

    Africa summit

    Follow the money. So long as Darth Vader (aka big entertainment) doles out the "grease", the US will slide toward Nazism.

     

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