February 2, 2012

Let’s first try to find the right questions

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With accusations of propaganda going both ways, we may like to first try to find the right questions regarding the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. Some suggestions.

The 1994 WTO TRIPS agreement contains civil and border measures against infringements, and criminal measures against wilful trademark counterfeiting or copyright piracy on a commercial scale. Will heightened measures (above TRIPS) solve problems?

1. Is it possible to solve the global media piracy problem or is it rather a global pricing problem?

2. Is it possible to solve the global counterfeiting problem or is it rather a global pricing problem?

3. Is intellectual property rights enforcement the right approach to fight dangerous products, or do we rather need safety regulations (whether IPRs are infringed or not)?

4. Did the Doha Declaration solve the problems with access to medicine and public health?

5. Did we solve problems with transfer of green technology needed to fight climate change?

6. Before people had computers, it took an effort to infringe copyright. One had to make a physical copy. Since people have computers, infringement is often just one mouse click away. Forwarding an email (with an attachment) can already violate copyright law. Did we all become infringers? Do we have to rethink copyright and enforcement, or unleash draconian measures upon ourselves?

Suggested reading:

Media Piracy in Emerging Economies, edited by Joe Karaganis http://piracy.ssrc.org

Enforcing European Intellectual Property Rights in Europe and in Third Countries – The Quest for Balance, Prof. Annette Kur, MPI Munich
http://www.se2009.eu/polopoly_fs/1.28342!menu/standard/file/Kur%2C%20Max%20Planck.pdf (pdf)

A Trade Barrier to Defeating AIDS, Tina Rosenberg
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/26/a-trade-barrier-to-defeating-aids/

3 thoughts on “Let’s first try to find the right questions

  1. “1. Is it possible to solve the global media piracy problem or is it rather a global pricing problem?”

    No it is not possible to solve the global media piracy problem, it is only possible to mitigate it via law enforcement, global pricing policies, etc. People have free will and while they do, they can and some will, break the law(s).

    “2. Is it possible to solve the global counterfeiting problem or is it rather a global pricing problem?”

    See above.

    “3. Is intellectual property rights enforcement the right approach to fight dangerous products, or do we rather need safety regulations (whether IPRs are infringed or not)?”

    Dangerous goods are no covered under IP rights afaik therefore have no rights. As such, IP laws do not touch dangerous goods. As you state, Health and Safety laws should be used to tackle dangerous goods.

    “6. Before people had computers, it took an effort to infringe copyright. One had to make a physical copy. Since people have computers, infringement is often just one mouse click away. Forwarding an email (with an attachment) can already violate copyright law. Did we all become infringers? Do we have to rethink copyright and enforcement, or unleash draconian measures upon ourselves?”

    We are all willing and unwilling infringer, this means we most likely are ALL criminals under ACTA for being a willing counterfeiter[1] or aiding and abetting[2].

    [1] – “Each Party shall provide for criminal procedures and penalties to be applied at least in cases of wilful trademark counterfeiting or copyright or related rights piracy on a commercial scale.9 For the purposes of this Section, acts carried out on a commercial scale include at least those carried out as commercial activities for direct or indirect economic or commercial advantage.”

    [2] – “With respect to the offences specified in this Article for which a Party provides criminal procedures and penalties, that Party shall ensure that criminal liability for aiding and abetting is available under its law.”

    Full ACTA text: http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2011/may/tradoc_147937.pdf

  2. Pingback: We’re all criminals under ACTA | awbmaven