Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Wellington Declaration

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  • Don Christie,

    Russell, that is an excellent and succinct summary of the Wellington Declaration.

    This ACTA treaty really does affect all of us in many ways, it is not just about counterfeiting, indeed, counterfeiting hardly gets a look in. It is about our future access to reasonably priced health treatments, knowledge dissemination, access to the Internet, the ability to go about our daily lives without being stalked and hounded by organisations whose last thoughts are for the humanity or even "rights holders" they pretend to represent.

    Congratulations to those who planned, and ran the event and thanks also to the visitors from Canada and Australia who brought a global perspective that was invaluable.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    +1 for everything Don said. It's also about our right to transparency in the creation of any legislation.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    The Wellington Declaration is a beautiful, clear piece of writing, and I recommend it to anyone here who cares about our online future. It's really that important.

    ACTA is designed to undermine previously negotiated intellectual property agreements. It has big implications for New Zealand with our current government desperate to suck up to the United States whose old media industries are behind this subversion of international fair practice to prop up their ailing business models. Pharmac is dead as a dodo if this agreement goes through unchanged. All our fledgling creative and knowledge industries that provide the jobs of the future will be threatened.

    That's why the Declaration's first principle is that things other than the original purpose of ACTA - large scale commercial copying of physical products like fake handbags - should be excluded from it. Failing that, the points Russell summarises above are offered as improvements.

    Please ask your friends and colleagues (including those beyond these shores) to read and sign the Declaration now, before negotiations start tomorrow morning. It's not a long read and a rare opportunity to shape our future.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19667 posts Report Reply

  • James Francis,

    Read. Signed. Sent.

    Thank you.

    St John's, Newfoundland • Since Nov 2006 • 121 posts Report Reply

  • Roger,

    Well done, a great piece of work and a credit to all.

    Hamilton • Since Jun 2007 • 179 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    James Francis wrote

    "Read. Signed. Sent.
    Thank you."

    Ditto.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    When ACTA first came to public notice, people were worrying that they'd be stopped at the border so their MP3 player could be searched for contraband music. I pooh-poohed them then, and I'm glad I did. The reality of ACTA is far, far scarier than any unrealistic suggestion that customs officers might want to check everyone's MP3 player on arrival - I say unrealistic because there's no way they could ever search even 1% of arrivals without jamming up the entire border control area.
    What is entirely realistic is that US interests could see Pharmac gutted (as was demanded of Australia's Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme as a condition of AUS-FTA); criminal penalties for circumventing copy protection on BluRay disks or e-books you own so that you can back them up or use them on, say, Linux; three-strikes disconnection policies; statutory damages for personal file-sharing, even in the absence of a profit motive or demonstrated financial harm.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Eminently sensible declaration. Signed it.

    Don't believe for a second it will be adopted :(.

    The loss of pharmac has always been part of this government's agenda anyway and that it will cost New Zealand more than we can afford matters not a whit to Key et al.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4449 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    Thank you Islander. It means a lot to have people of your reputation understanding the issues.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Oh, and ACTA as it stands could see this wonderful development overturned. We're now leading the developed world on the matter, but ACTA could force NZ to re-allow them.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    What is entirely realistic is that US interests could see Pharmac gutted (as was demanded of Australia's Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme as a condition of AUS-FTA)

    Could someone in the know elaborate on this? Also on what do you base the assumption that this government wants to get rid of it? Seems quite a big leap from what I have read so far.

    And are the Europeans doing themselves any favours when they complain about the use of baseball analogies by saying;

    "These sports analogies are antithetical to the spirit of the open Internet," argued EFF International Director Gwen Hinze."The Internet is much more like the Force, which as Obi-Wan taught us all, 'surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.' Evil Sith-Imperial complaints should not result in an individual being severed from the Force. That's clearly preposterous."

    Hmm, yeah, if you say so.

    Don't get me wrong, I agree with what's been said, and support the initiative, but there's a lot to take in in a short period of time.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    And are the Europeans doing themselves any favours when they complain about the use of baseball analogies by saying;

    Er, did you check the date on that one? Little geek humour there ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22724 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    Er, did you check the date on that one? Little geek humour there ...

    Whoops... The dangers of clicking on links before looking at the 'big picture'.

    Still can't fully understand the link between ACTA and Pharmac as yet though. But clearly my cognitive abilities are compromised at present. Mansplain welcomed, in the circumstances.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg,

    May get a few signatures from the BoingBoing crowd.

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 802 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Good one, Martin Lindberg -I really must get back to reading BoingBoing more often.

    And thanks Don Christie - it'd be nice to learn other writers et al are prepared to poke their heads above the parapets (have sent Russell's original post around to people who may be interested, including NZSA national & local bodies.)

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Hardly an expert on medicines policy but I recall reading that some ACTA drafts try to classify generic phamaceuticals as forbidden counterfeits, thus providing another avenue to force buying of only the more expensive (and profitable) branded drugs.

    In broader terms the pharma industry detests NZ's centralised Pharmac drug-purchasing agency because it interferes with their profit maximisation. It has been suggested elsewhere (sorry no refs for now) that any 'Free' Trade Agreement with the USA will demand Pharmac's scalp, and it seems some of our current government are dead keen to hand it to them beforehand without any negotiation, in much the same way as we're kowtowing about whales and climate change. For daddy's approval.

    Others who know more should be able to shed light, and I'm very open to correction if I have anything substantively wrong.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19667 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    Oh, and ACTA as it stands could see this wonderful development overturned

    I'd be interested to hear exactly why you think ACTA threatens that development. I hadn't heard this issue raised before in relation to ACTA.

    (I am also tempted to ask what is so wonderful about that particular development, but I fear a copyright flamewar would erupt)

    West • Since Feb 2009 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Harris,

    @recordari
    Under US law, any drugs that are not registered with the FDA can be regarded as counterfeit and seized at the border. So you can legally buy a cheaper, generic drug in Canada and have it confiscated as counterfeit as you cross the US border.

    As for this Government's approach, John Key has indicated this:

    "Prime Minister John Key has already confirmed that NZ “must be prepared to make concessions”, saying that the US will have its own “shopping list... You can’t rule out Pharmac – it’s been on the list before. You can’t rule out issues of intellectual property and investment. All of those things will inevitably be part of the negotiations” (Press, 17/11/09; “Concessions needed for US deal, Key”).

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_8033/is_20091117/ai_n43591222/

    Waikanae • Since Jul 2008 • 1343 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Scott: assuming the leaked text is accurate, patent infringement is mentioned, although software patents specifically are not mentioned.

    I'm going to assume that you are in fact familiar with the case against software patents -- it's not exactly a new argument for those of us who care about such things :D

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    It has been suggested elsewhere (sorry no refs for now) that any 'Free' Trade Agreement with the USA will demand Pharmac's scalp

    This is what I was afraid of. They are not perfect, but they are at least providing an essential gatekeepers role.

    It still amazes me that when we look at the rest of the world with Free Trade Agreements with the US, that we still want one. Go on, take everything.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Quite. And Key is over there early, negotiating away.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19667 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Harris,

    With Biden, who is so far up the copyright industries' fundamental orifices, it's a wonder his feet still touch the ground.

    Waikanae • Since Jul 2008 • 1343 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    It still amazes me that when we look at the rest of the world with Free Trade Agreements with the US, that we still want one. Go on, take everything.

    What amuses me is the people who were so thoroughly opposed to our FTA with China, convinced we would be shafted completely and given token treatment, are often the ones so desperate for us to get an FTA with the US. Given that AUS-FTA is widely considered to be the template for all future developed-nations bilateral FTAs with the US, we're better off with China than with the US. Our FTA was concluded after AUS-FTA, but completes sooner, drops tariffs lower, covers more areas, has fewer exceptions, and is projected to have a greater level of economic benefit.
    Who's being fucked by whom, exactly?

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Ah but it's a familiar screwing..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19667 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    I am also tempted to ask what is so wonderful about that particular development, but I fear a copyright flamewar would erupt

    Particularly for a country that is full of tiny software houses, software patents are a significant hindrance to innovation. They're frequently very broad in description, and often used as a shield against competition. Look no further than Microsoft's claims about Linux, alleging infringement of unspecified patents covering unspecified functionality.
    The major international patent players do almost no local development work, so any notional benefit offered by software patents isn't observed by our economy. This is all the more so when much of the software that is developed here is built on open source projects. The spectre of proprietary software companies wielding patents as a defensive measure against Kiwi developers is very real, and quite chilling. Hopefully we will see an increase in local development operations in the future, now that we're a safe haven against Microsoft's anti-competitive rumbling.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

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