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[ossig] [Fwd: Re: [FOSS-PDI] Poorest countries given more time to apply intellectualproperty rules]

Many of us had seen this e-mail. The Americans are on their way here 
from Thailand to sign the Malaysia/US "Free" Trade Agreement. How do we 
advocate to our Govt on the issues that are highlighted in this e-mail? 


Hi all,

<quote who="Javier SOLA">

> Least-developed countries have been given an extension until 1 July 2013
> to provide protection for trademarks, copyright, patents and other
> intellectual property under the WTO’s agreement, following a decision
> reached by member governments on 29 November 2005.
> http://www.wto.org/english/news_e/pres05_e/pr424_e.htm

Geez, the article translates as:

*** We the big rich countries of the world that "own" 90% of the worlds
"Intellectual Property" (using systems we designed and global committees we
run) are going to be very nice and give you little-countries who don't own
very much in our system a chance to put into place better mechanisms to pay
us loads of money. Did we mention how nice we are? ***

Most countries in the world don't "own" very much "IP", where ownership is
defined by this set of values shaped by a very small number of countries in
the world. This ownership paradigm being forced on the world is not good for
anyone but that minority of countries that own the majority of IP. Australia
wouldn't come into the "least-developed" countries specified here, but even
we are net IP importers according to this system, and it does a net IP
importer no good to their own economy or society to increase the protections
on IP. All it does is raise the amount of money that goes directly overseas
and limit the local industries.

It is kind of like pyramid selling. So long as you are one of the people
running the pyramid you will get loads of money coming your way. You
convince many many people of the personal benefits to them to sell your
product, but how they could make more money by convincing other people to
sell it, thus making a commission on that person. The weight of the
structure rests on all the individuals working hard to sell product, and the
bulk of the money goes to the people at the top who have convinced all these
layers of people that this model can work for them as individuals, when it
really only works for the people who run the system.

Some day, there will be enough resistance to such systems for people to
realise that there are other ways. Having a monopoly on an idea for a period
of time can certainly be an incentive for companies to create new stuff, but
when a huge proportion of money going into, for instance cancer research, is
simply paying for the legal fees to maintain "ownership", then how much are
we really progressing? When the monopoly granted to IT companies for
"inventions" are longer than the entire life of the IT industry, you have to
wonder how that industry can continue to move forward. When the entire world
is having to pay homage to the "IP" cretaed in a handful of countries rather
than being able to get on with creating their own, how much are we shackling
the world?

Apologies for the mini-rant, but I am simply amazed by the implementation
strategies of committees like TRIPS, and then further amazed when bilateral
trade agreements are made (such as the US/Australia "Free" Trade Agreement)
which take the IP requirements to a whole new level, a level that was
rejected at a global level by the WTO as too one-sided. And yet these IP
clauses that were deemed unfair at a global level are permeating through
bilateral agreements throughout Asia and the world, largely because of
administrations who have no idea of the potential crippling effect of such
clauses in those agreements. We have been trying to educate the Australian
administration, and with some success, but the agreement was made before any
real discussion was had, and so many politicians everywhere would rather
stand blindly behind what they've done than admit a mistake.


Linux Australia                                         http://linux.org.au/
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