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RE: Re: NGOs and the Indulgence Racket (was re: Compulsory licenses andaccess to essential medicines NGO-sponsored meeting in Geneva, March 26,1999)
- To: "'email@example.com'" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Robert Hettinga <email@example.com>
- Subject: RE: Re: NGOs and the Indulgence Racket (was re: Compulsory licenses andaccess to essential medicines NGO-sponsored meeting in Geneva, March 26,1999)
- From: "Brown, R Ken" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Thu, 11 Mar 1999 06:16:21 -0600
- Cc: Digital Bearer Settlement List <email@example.com>, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, CYBERIA-L@LISTSERV.AOL.COM, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Reply-To: "Brown, R Ken" <email@example.com>
- Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org
I think everyone is missing the political point here, though Philip
Hallam-Baker by less than some of the USAns (whose grasp of politics outside
the protection of their own rather wonderful constitution is often a little
The point of these discussions is to try to persuade some poor countries to
*continue* *to* *enforce* US-style intellectual property law. Faced with
real disease and expensive drugs people will manufacture those drugs
themselves if they can. The discussions are a face-saving fudge - a way of
allowing these people to seem to be following the rules while actually they
are breaking them.
Because they will break them anyway. If you were the government of India
and one of your companies told you that by manufacturing such and such a
drug, or planting this or that breed of crop plant they were saving
thousands of your citizens lives (they may be poor but they have the vote -
also India has a free (-ish, by Asian standards) press) then the US
government came and told you you couldn't because one of their companies had
a patent & refused to license it for use in your country, who would you
US & UK governments have spent decades trying to get other countries to
recognise "our" kind of IP law - the US pushing hardest on patents & the UK
on copyright. Now that they more or less all do those governments are hardly
likely to let the consensus appear to be broken.
Slightly off topic:
> Intellectual property is a privilege granted towards a social end and
> not an absolute right unconstrained by any responsibility.
I really don't like the word "privilege" there, implying that such things
are gifts that are inevitably in the gift of some legislator, court or
state. BUT it is certainly true (& another things those blessed with a
half-decent constitution tend to forget) that rights to property are
socially defined, they are not "natural". Different societies recognise
different property rights in different ways (& these ways are usually - or
should that be always? - the subject of conflict within any society).
These rights are not always enforced by a State - there have been plenty of
stateless societies and all of them have some form of property rights,
socially enforced in all sorts of ways. Lots of which bear very little
resemblance to the fantasies of the US so-called libertarians.
Maybe some cypherpunk list members should read accounts of the traditional
societies of the Igbo or the Gikuyu. Maybe I should get out more.
> You can yell 'let them eat cake' as much as you like. They will ignore
> you and for very good reason.
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