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Intellectual Property Rights: The Quiet Killer of Rio+20 198

Posted by samzenpus
from the staying-in-the-lead dept.
ericjones12398 writes "Richard Phillips, president of the Intellectual Property Owners Association, sent a powerful message to Washington the day before the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development regarding the U.S. intellectual property community's stance on sharing IPR with developing nations. Philips argued any language included in the Rio+20 final declaration compromising the existing IP regime would discourage investment and destroy trade secrets. 'Any references to technology transfer should be clearly qualified and conditioned to include only voluntary transfer of IPR on mutually agreed terms.' The IPO has no interest in helping developing countries transition to a more sustainable economy if it means sacrificing valuable IPR. And the IPO's chilly message set the tone for what many pundits and participants considered a disappointing Rio+20 conference yielding few substantive results."
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Intellectual Property Rights: The Quiet Killer of Rio+20

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  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Monday July 02, 2012 @02:37PM (#40519495)

    The IPO has no interest in helping developing countries transition to a more sustainable economy if it means sacrificing valuable IPR.

    In other stunning news, the rich still have it better than the poor, politicians don't have the best interests of their citizens at heart, and 2013 won't be the "Year of Linux."

    Since when has anyone WITH that much valuable IP ever given it up freely? Oh sure, here and there, a token gesture. But does anyone really expect Monsanto or Intel to give up their *entire business model* and *everything that makes them money* tomorrow because some third-world country is poor? Not likely.

    And to be brutally honest, how is it really fair to ask them to? If they paid for the R&D, why should someone else be entitled to it without paying a cent? Is it some first-world tech company's fault that your country is poor, that your government is too corrupt to invest in its infrastructure instead of padding El-Presidente's pockets, that your education system is a joke? Sure it would be a great charitable gesture for them to give it to you at a big discount, but that hardly gives you the right to *demand* it. You're certainly not entitled to it just because you're poor. And it probably wouldn't even do you any good, in the long term anyway, unless you deal with the underlying problems in your country that put you in poverty to begin with (El Presidente will just stuff his pockets deeper with any new money too).

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 02, 2012 @02:41PM (#40519527)

      Fortunately, the laws that magically make "intellectual property" "exist" are national laws.
      Any poor country can create such things, or not, as it chooses.

      Monsanto and Intel don't really have any choice as to whether or not their monopoly rights exist in a given country.
      That's up to the country.

      • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Monday July 02, 2012 @02:49PM (#40519603) Homepage Journal

        Any poor country can create such things, or not, as it chooses.

        But just think - if a small third-world company started manufacturing, say drugs that the local people who live on a dollar a day need, earning perhaps a trivial profit, it would be the end of the 1st world countries!

        As if the idea weren't already impeding the progress [stephankinsella.com] of the arts and useful sciences. Because a company like Apple would never use such a system to try to band the competition from the marketplace or anything...

      • Law of unintended consequences.

        If they don't want the terminator gene to be widely deployed they will just have to pay up. There are technical solutions to national R&D freeloading.

        That said even in the first world patents run for only 20 years. Companies could potentially keep secrets for longer.

        • You can 'widely deploy' terminator genes, but you just need a few fertile seeds to spread to undermine that. Seeds that don't reproduce are an evolutionary dead end.

          Also, If they could reliably keep something secret for longer than 20 years in a certain instance, they wouldn't seek a patent on it, and right now, seeking patents is entirely voluntary.
          • And when the value of patents falls more will just keep secrets, just like they did before patents were issued.

            Like I said, unintended consequences.

            I've asked this on this site many times. How do you make a Stradivarius? Losing knowledge like that is a cost of _not_ having patents.

            /. will continue to ignore 'secrets' as IP and claim that IP is a government invention. Par for the course.

            • by Mprx (82435) on Monday July 02, 2012 @03:37PM (#40520281)
              You make a Stradivarius the same way you make any other high quality violin, as shown by skilled musicians failing to distinguish them from modern replicas in blind tests.
              • Citation needed. I call bullshit.

                We can see what is different about Stradivariuses (wood pores are wide open), but we don't know what varnishing process was used.

              • I saw that article and took the "test." I picked out the Strad right away - the performer couldn't make the lower passages on the G string sound as consistent and strong. I doubt they had many classically trained violinists listen to the excerpts (a bassoonist or percussionist probably doesn't spend much time listening to solo violin music.) I'm sure not all strads are up to the same quality, but there are real reasons Strads and Guaneri violins are in such demand - not just because they're not being replac
            • And when the value of patents falls more will just keep secrets, just like they did before patents were issued.

              And that's bad how? Just because they try to keep secrets doesn't mean that they will actually manage to do so successfully. If they could, they would be idiots to seek patents. The argument that patents reduce trade secrets is an obvious joke. The decent rationalization is that it spurs on R&D funding, although that doesn't seem to hold up to scrutiny either.

              I've asked this on this site

            • by h4rr4r (612664)

              You market the hell out of a name and make them expensive enough that only really good players can get one.

              Look it up yourself, there is nothing magic about those violins.

              I have said it many times and will again, people will not stop creating for lack of protection, they did before.

            • by poetmatt (793785)

              this is bullshit.

              You don't need a patent to make software.
              Patent for a stradivarious is for making a physical product.
              Let's not strawman this shit into oblivion, please.

              When a software patent expires, the knowledge doesn't "magically disappear" people just start doing what they could have done the last X years that the patent existed. It's a monopoly, not a benefit.

            • by Livius (318358)

              The key to the Stradivarius is the material, not the design. The design is the same as every other violin, or it wouldn't be a violin.

      • by Internetuser1248 (1787630) on Monday July 02, 2012 @03:05PM (#40519831)
        Except that when 3rd world countries don't do what they are told, they are hit with economic sanctions, their leaders are demonised in the world media, and in extreme cases they are invaded, bombed or both. The poverty in the third world is manufactured, not in the sense that it wasn't there before and someone created it, but in the sense that it would have naturally faded away by now if powerful rich nations weren't working their asses of to perpetuate it. Cuba is a nice example, they got the sanctions for having strong welfare, education and medical policies designed to bring them up to first world status. First they got crippling sanctions, and although these succeeded in keeping them poor, it didn't make them give up their system. Then they got the invasions.
        • by h4rr4r (612664) on Monday July 02, 2012 @03:18PM (#40519999)

          The thing is when we were a basically a 3rd world nation, right after we became a nation we ripped off everyone's IP.

          Without that step you can never really get to a point at which you can create a workable economy.

          • The national anthem of the US is actually a reworded English drinking song.
            • As is the English national anthem. The same drinking song.

              • My Country 'Tis of Thee (tune of "God Save the King/Queen") isn't the U.S. national anthem...

              • I can't tell if you are trying to be funny or not, but the US national anthem is the "Star Spangled Banner." The lyrics are from a poem by Francis Scott Key. These lyrics, written during the War of 1812, were eventually matched to the English drinking song "To Anacreon in Heaven."

                On the other hand the English (UK) don't have an official national anthem. "God Save the King/Queen" is probably the closest approximation. While the origin of the lyrics and tune are not known, it probably dates back to the 17

        • by crazyjj (2598719) *

          While you may have a point about Cuba, I'm pretty sure the vast majority of third-world countries aren't under any economic sanctions from the the first-world.

          • They will be if they don't do enough to 'respect IP.' That's the purpose of the Special 301 report.
            • And then you will have polarization to China and other non aligned powers. Please do try to do that with Brazil, for example. You won't like the results, I guarantee.
          • We kept the rest of the third world impoverished by trading with them (or something).

            We kept Cuba impoverished by not trading with them (or something).

            When your axiom is 'The poverty in the third world is manufactured' you twist everything to support that view.

            • by J0nne (924579)

              We don't trade with them as much as bribe their leaders to allow western companies to shuttle natural resources out of the country for ridiculously low prices. When leaders try to nationalize oil/banana/ore production, they are suddenly branded dictators/communists (see Venezuela, Guatemala, Congo, etc).

        • by Jeng (926980)

          Cuba is a bad example since the reason for their sanctions has absolutely nothing to do with what you said.

          The reason for the sanctions is that the US paid for a revolution and then the people of Cuba had the gall to go communist.

        • by poity (465672)

          Cuba was sanctioned for having strong welfare, education and medical policies designed to bring them up to first world status.

          I thought it was because they were aligned with the Soviet Union, and also because they nationalized billions worth of US assets.

          • by cusco (717999)
            A few million in sugar plantations, certainly not 'billions' (at least not in 1957 dollars), even if you were to include the Mafia's casinos. Almost everything that was nationalized belonged to rich Cubanos (many of whom already lived in Miami). While the initial sactions may have been because they were godless commies, by the time of Ronnie Raygun the reason had changed to a fear that if Cuba was allowed to survive and succeed they would provide a "bad" example to the Central American banana republics.
        • The poverty in the third world is manufactured, not in the sense that it wasn't there before and someone created it, but in the sense that it would have naturally faded away by now if powerful rich nations weren't working their asses of to perpetuate it. Cuba is a nice example, they got the sanctions for having strong welfare, education and medical policies designed to bring them up to first world status.

          Bullshit.

          Poverty in the third world is manufactured by the corrupt, miserable leadership of the third

          • by grcumb (781340)

            Bullshit.

            Poverty in the third world is manufactured by the corrupt, miserable leadership of the third world.

            False dichotomy. Corrupt, miserable leadership exists in many parts of the world. Italy and Greece are two examples off the top of my head. The corruption and miserable leadership - in my part of the developing world, at least - is assisted in no small part by wealthy business people and corporations from the developed world who are willing to grease palms in order to gain easier access to resources, to ignore workplace safety requirements, to hire at substandard wages and sometimes to commit acts of viole

      • Fortunately, the laws that magically make "intellectual property" "exist" are national laws. Any poor country can create such things, or not, as it chooses.

        Apparently, you've never heard of the IMF and how they operate on global trade.

    • by Baloroth (2370816) on Monday July 02, 2012 @02:46PM (#40519577)

      The problem TFA specifically addresses is the problem of pollution and "green" technology. The developed world, understandably, has done most of the research in that field. What the IPO is basically saying is they don't give a shit if the developing world gets clean technology or not. That severely hampers the ability of developing nations to control pollution and CO2 emissions, even if they want to, which can have a global impact down the line on the entire planet. And that is frankly the problem, because it would mean the short-term selfishness of the corporations (in and of itself actually understandable and acceptable, in many ways: they're in it for the profit, after all) will, in the long term, do tremendous damage to the planet (which is not acceptable).

      Not to mention it is in the best interest of the world for undeveloped countries to develop stably, not just for pollution concerns. An unsustainable but otherwise relatively developed country is a recipe for World War III, in the long run. Possibly even nuclear war, if they are developed enough and desperate enough.

      • by crazyjj (2598719) *

        There is nothing stopping governments from doing the R&D themselves. But you can't very well let a private company foot the bill and then turn around, after the company spent all the money on the tech and are looking to sell products based on it, and tell them "We're taking it and giving it away." That's just glorified theft.

        Again, the governments could pay for the research *themselves*, you know.

        • Governments do pay for a lot of the research, the company chips in a pittance, gets the patent and gives a nominal royalty to the university that developed the technology. Even if a private company completely did all of the research, the patent they hold is agreement between themselves and the governments of nations that have agreed to give them patents for a temporary legal monopoly in exchange for having done the research and disclosure. Nations that have not agreed to give them patents have made no suc
        • by Baloroth (2370816)

          Governments do sponsor a lot of the development, either through contracts/loan support (like Solyndra) or through university research (which may be direct or simply letting them use the facilities cheaply). In any case, they aren't trying to "take it away", what they want is for them to sell the technology at below market prices. Realistically speaking, the companies will make back their research profits selling in developed countries anyways (or they would never have developed it in the first place). What

        • by AK Marc (707885)
          They are "taking" nothing. The R&D is still there, was still done. The developing world just wants FRAND licensing at rates below what anyone wants to offer. And if FRAND isn't offered, then their only other option to use that tech is to use it unlicensed. And the IPO has said they'd rather deal with that than be seen as being weak by issuing FRAND licenses for their tech.
    • Big picture ideas, fail when details get in the way, and people are unable to find an appropriate compromise, and take your opponents view into account.

      For Example... Lets simplify the US tax plan, and get rid of all those loopholes that the 1 percent use to get off tax free.
      Well what about deductions for charity?
      How about investing in your retirement?
      Well you have kids? ....
      You shortly find the simple idea of making the Tax Plan easy and fair quickly comes up with a lot of details that you find, that there

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by cayenne8 (626475)

        For Example... Lets simplify the US tax plan, and get rid of all those loopholes that the 1 percent use to get off tax free.

        Well what about deductions for charity?

        - Not needed, people keeping more of their tax money will have more to give.

        How about investing in your retirement?

        - Not needed, people keeping more of their tax money will have more to save for retirement.

        Well you have kids? ....

        - Not needed, people keeping more of their tax money will have more to spend on raising children. And aside from

        • You've got it half right. The american tax system is hopelessly complicated, and should be simplified. But you should also pay more in taxes, not less. Essentially all other countries in the western world have higher taxes than americans, but don't pay (or pay orders of magnitude less) for health insurance, putting your kids through college, and soforth. In total, we have more money for food, paying rent, having fun etc.

          Numbers by the WHO (for 2005) say that US spends 15% of GDP on healthcare when you ad
          • The US health care system is fucked, but that doesn't mean the solution is adopt the system used by others. For starters, a national health care system would be roughly on par with a EU-wide health care system, which is just too large of a scale to be manageable. Handling most things at the state level would be much smarter. Another issue is the way federal money is spent. Tax dollars fund a lot of medical research, and pharmaceutical companies and bio companies are allowed to double dip, benefiting fro
          • by cayenne8 (626475)

            You've got it half right. The american tax system is hopelessly complicated, and should be simplified. But you should also pay more in taxes, not less. Essentially all other countries in the western world have higher taxes than americans, but don't pay (or pay orders of magnitude less) for health insurance, putting your kids through college, and soforth. In total, we have more money for food, paying rent, having fun etc. ...[snip]

            Long story short: Americans are really, really stupid if you fall for the GOP

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        Well what about deductions for charity?
        How about investing in your retirement?
        Well you have kids? ....

        None of those deductions should exist. I say this as someone impacted by 2 of the 3.

        You shortly find the simple idea of making the Tax Plan easy and fair quickly comes up with a lot of details that you find, that there are not easy answers too.

        Somethings do have easy answers.
        All income should be taxed at the same level based on a simple progressive tax scheme. No deductions means no loopholes.

        • by Sentrion (964745)

          I have two special needs children, and I was able to take advantage of the child tax credit, child care deduction, and out-of-pocket medical expenses. That said, the tax savings were not spectacular compared to what I have had to pay above and beyond what a typical middle-class family has to pay to cover their essential living expenses. I would much rather pay a simple tax without deductions and such. Even a flat tax wouldn't be a bad tradeoff to avoid the hassle and potential criminal liability in makin

      • by RKThoadan (89437)

        With the exception of the people who grew up with a golden spoon in their mouth.

        That "exception" is rapidly becoming the rule, at least in the US.

        I also know plenty of extremely poor people who easily work just as hard and sacrifice as much as as the wealthy. "taking risks" is just code words for "had enough money to take risks with" and wasn't a complete idiot. In my experience who you know is far more important than any of those factors anyway.

        • by Belial6 (794905)
          Yes, quitting your job to go back to school when you know that mom and dad will pay your mortgage if you come up short while you get the new career sorted out, is not the same thing as quitting your job to go back to school when you know that even in a best case scenario, you cannot make your mortgage if you do, so you WILL lose your home. And, if things don't go perfect, you children are going to go hungry.
      • Social mobility in the US (and everywhere else) is decreasing ... there are a lot of golden spoons.

      • by gl4ss (559668)

        taxing the rich is actually very, very simple - luxury taxes are very simple to implement, it's very very simple to tax expensive cars to be more expensive for example(luxury cars in america are very cheap - just ask linus). it's very easy to tax alcohol on a progressive scale too(what's that you ask? well fuck, you ever heard of a poor guy drinking a 100$ bottle of whiskey? it might just as well be taxed to 200).

        spending less on things like gitmo is actually very, very simple as well. paying less to cia is

      • by cusco (717999)
        Most of the successful people in the United States and the World usually got there with Hard Work, personal sacrifice, and taking risks.

        I'm assuming that by "successful" you mean "rich", and if so you're rather dramatically wrong. Today the most imporant factor in accumlation of personal wealth is starting out with a pile of money that you can then make into a larger pile of money, or at least pay someone else to make your pile larger (i.e. Paris Hilton). The next most important factor is connections,
    • by stanlyb (1839382)
      If they have paid for R&D......
      IF, and only IF, ELSE what? Because, you know, it very rare for the big companies to actually invent something new. They do prefer to buy it. Look GOOGLE for example, except their search engine and gmail (which now is becoming more and more bloated), there is NOTHING else that they did invent. Literally. ZERO.
      • by Sentrion (964745)

        Google Search was originally developed and hosted by Stanford University. Google benefited from a Federal grant and was allowed to maintain the rights (via licensing from Stanford) to the intellectual property, but only because the Bayh-Dole Act made an allowance for this. Without Bayh-Dole, this wouldn't have been possible, as the intellectual property created by the grant would have been property of the Federal government. So as for the Google example, Google Inc., in actuality, never really invented a

        • I think you mean PageRank, which is a part, but not the entirety of Google's search algorithm. And without Bayh-Dole, it wouldn't be property at all, which is how things should be. Google would still be free to implement PageRank into their search, but so would Yahoo, Bing, AltaVista, etc. That said, it would seem like a difficult patent to enforce anyway, given that the interal functions of a search engine are not visible to the public.
    • by Hentes (2461350)

      They shouldn't give it up for free. First world countries should give up their tech as long as the recipients guarantee cuts of pollution in return. This is the system every global ecological problam should be handled: for example, instead of blaming the poor Brasilians because of deforestation, the Western world (that has already cut down most of its forests) should hire the forest areas giving third world countries an income and incentive to preserve. This is how Kyoto is supposed to work, unfortunately t

  • Reading the MSM I got the impression I'm was the only person in the world expecting the conference to fail. I always assumed that was because MSM is stupid, but came-on, here too?

    Why would anybody expect any agreement? Wasn't Kyoto enough to show that nobody wants to commit, and everybody wants everybody else to? There is no more easy stuff to do for the environment (like banning CFCs), nobody will reach an agreement on anything hard. Claiming the failure is due to any cause, but lack of commitment is a lie.

    • by DarkOx (621550)

      Ironically CFCs have been replaced with chemicals that by some estimates have one hundred times the green house effect when they do get released. So in saving the Ozone we have made AGW worse.

      The simple fact is that cutting emissions is stupid. Most of the science suggests that we are already on a path that is sure to exceed the point where the oceans will become loaded with enough hydrogen sulfide to completely destroy our ecosystem. Possibly within a few hundred years and that IF we cut emissions beyo

  • by Mr. Firewall (578517) on Monday July 02, 2012 @02:57PM (#40519705) Homepage

    ...that the the IPO’s "chilly message" set the tone for anything at Rio +20. It was doomed from the start and everyone involved knew it.

    One look at the drafts of the ridiculous "The Future We Want" document is sufficient to explain the failure of Rio +20. No "chilly message" from IP owners is required.

    • . . . 50,000+ delegates? That's just too many to get any real work done. Even G20 has too many wonks. And everyone wants to step up to the podium to get heard; even if they have nothing worth contributing anyway. And that in Rio. What you end up with is a wet & wild, boozy spring break mayhem.

      Instead, get a small group (less than 10) of the most important developed and non-developed countries together to agree to a draft first. Hold it in Minsk, in the middle of winter, to keep all the hang arou

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 02, 2012 @03:00PM (#40519755)

    The content Mafia has invented a model, that allows them, to take the works of others (the actual creatives) via a adhesion contract, and make money on every worthless copy, without moving a single finger. It's fraud. Plain and simple.
    And for those who don't fall for the bullshit, they have set up a racketeering scheme, where they scaremonger people into not going to court and paying money, because they know exactly that in court, they wouldn't stand a chance, because they have as much proof as that one "lawyer" in Idiocracy.

    Not to forget, that this industry is ridiculously tiny, and only can keep up its ego through massive overinflated self-importance. (Comparison: The whole global music industry has the same revenue, as a single bankrupt German construction company [Holzwinkel]. The whole German music industry has one quarter of the revenue of the municipal transportation services of a 1 million people city. That's *nothing*!)

    Yet they want to destroy our entire society to keep up their insane delusions. Even though their fantasies aren't even physically possible, unless you think putting DRM (you know: that thing that by definition can’t work) in every single brain and device is somehow realistically doable and would work too.

    Come on guys! We have to push against a bunch of madmen with extreme (often drug-inflated) egos! We can't just push normally. We have to push *harder*!
    it is a valid argument, to note, that the reason Germany got the Nazis was not the few crazies. It was the whole nation not doing much against it, and falling for the propaganda!
    (Hell, I've seen loads of people even here already use their bullshit propaganda terms like "intellectual property", or even *defend* those criminals! That's *completely* and *utterly* unacceptable!)

  • the expected business model of the have-nots is to steal and cheat their way into international economic solidity?

    that's not fair! -- you're copying Wall Street bankers! quit it!

  • by benjfowler (239527) on Monday July 02, 2012 @03:09PM (#40519879)

    The myopia and greed really makes them no better than that other special interest group determined to crimincally enrich themselves at the expense of everybody and everything else: the bankers.

  • Don't think for a moment that technology given to the Third World will only be used to clean the air. It will be used to make factories more efficient and will then be packaged up and sold back to the West, undercutting the people who developed it.

  • People ofter preface the IP (Intellectual Property) acronym with the word "valuable", like they are on some propaganda mission.

    Is all IP valuable, or only some of it, or is it invaluable (and is it really property) ?

    In any case, this guy goes to the next level, hes not saying the IP is valuable, he is saying its the RIGHTS that are valuable.

    Hes not concerned about reality, just its effect.

I wish you humans would leave me alone.

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