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U.S. Puts 12 Nations On Watch For Piracy 429

ColinPL writes with a link to an AP article about a public scolding the US has given China, Russia, and several other nations. Failure to 'sufficiently protect' American copyrights is the cause of the Bush administration's ire, and has resulted in these countries showing up on a 'priority watch list' that could eventually lead to economic sanctions. "In addition to Russia and China, the 10 countries placed on the priority watch list were Argentina, Chile, Egypt, India, Israel, Lebanon, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine and Venezuela. In elevating Thailand to the priority watch list, the administration said it was concerned by a range of issues including a 'deteriorating protection for patents and copyrights.' Thailand is currently in a dispute with international drug companies including Abbott Laboratories of the United States over the cost of drugs to fight AIDS and other diseases. The Thai government in January issued compulsory licenses allowing the use of much cheaper generic versions of two leading drugs in Thailand."
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U.S. Puts 12 Nations On Watch For Piracy

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  • The third world (Score:4, Interesting)

    by n3tcat ( 664243 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @08:49AM (#18939245)
    I remember on my camp in Kuwait, the TCNs (third-world country nationals) would come on to clean, and would also stop by our living quarters with a truck load of burned dvds and vcds for a few bucks a pop. And this was very often. I know it was even worse up in Iraq, with people ripping and burning movies to sell on the markets all the time.

    So these other countries must be doing this in huge quantities to be on this list. It's rather impressive really.
  • by prakslash ( 681585 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @08:56AM (#18939319)
    I, for one, welcome this.

    These countries can do everything cheaper as seen with off-shored outsourcing and all.
    The only edge the US has is innovation.

    If these countries can just copy everything and do it dirt cheap, it will harm entities in the US who spend money on innovation - be it pharmaceuticals, music or software.

    I think a bit of personal not-for-profit p2p downloading and an exception for life-saving drugs in OK. But, the balatant disregard for copyrights and patents with businesses in these countries openly copying and selling pharmaceuticals, software and music should be stopped.

  • by ColeonyxOnline ( 966334 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @08:57AM (#18939327)
    In the brazillian newspaper "Estado de Sao Paulo", there is an articles entitled Brasil leaves the top of the american list for piracy [estadao.com.br] (free form translation)

    In the article, it says there was an announcement in the United States last Monday in which it was said that Brazil was removed from the top most part of the list of countries that ignore piracy and violate intellectual property.

    Funny thing in the article is to read that they found out that Brazil didn't manufacture the products that were confiscated by authorities, but they were manufacture in China and crossed the border into Brazil via Paraguay.

  • Pot calling Kettle (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @09:12AM (#18939481)
    It's not like the United States doesn't pirate tons of media from Japan [animesuki.com].
  • by djupedal ( 584558 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @09:17AM (#18939533)
    Let's be a bit more honest about this 'list', ok?

    If the US govt. says they 'just' put a dozen nations on a piracy blacklist, what it really means is that a dozen nations have been on said list for some time now, allowing the US govt. to harvest statistics, map patterns, etc.

    Saying this just went into effect is BS. I'd bet it's been a working list for at least the last year or three. The only reason a 'statement' is released is to keep two or more politically driven hot-button issues in sync in the public mind.
  • Re:The third world (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Heir Of The Mess ( 939658 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @09:27AM (#18939659)

    I think you will find that there are factories in China making pirate DVDs that get shipped in bulk to just about every other country in the world. There are factories in Hong Kong that start printing the retail DVDs to stock up for the retail release, of course this printing is done while the movie is still in theatres, but often theses Hong Kong factories are also the source of the early DVD rips where rogue employees get a copy out of the factory somehow.

    Counterfeiting is also big in China. There they even managed to set up a whole fake NEC organisation that was buying from the same suppliers that the real NEC did, see http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/04/27/business/ne c.php [iht.com]. They even print foreign food labels and put in on local produce. It's amazing stuff. There was even a case where they set up a car factory right next to a GM factory and were churning out the same car. Check this out http://www.automotoportal.com/article/chinese-rip- offs-of-western-automakers [automotoportal.com] Makes a truck of burnt DVDs look like childs play.

  • Spread this number! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @09:30AM (#18939687)
    09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0
    http://rudd-o.com/archives/2007/04/30/spread-this- number/ [rudd-o.com]
  • by khyron664 ( 311649 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @09:39AM (#18939831)

    I have to say I agree with this action to some degree. Namely as it relates to drug companies though. I've been involved people that work in the pharmaceutical business, and getting a drub approved by the FDA is NOT easy. Many never make it to market, and almost all of them require a lot of money to develop in R&D. While making a product is no guarantee of making money, they should be allowed some protection for doing the work. Without a patent on the drug, the minute it hits the market it will be reverse engineered by a different drug company and sold cheaper. Some say that is the way it should be, but I honestly don't agree. The company creating the drug is spending a lot of time and money in R&D, without which we wouldn't get the current drugs we have and rely on. Why should another company get to easily piggy back on their efforts? Where is the motivation to find new cures in that environment?

    As to the cost of the drugs, the companies are trying to make money. They're not non-profit organizations. Should they be? That's a different question all together which I won't address here. The rest of the world complains about the price of drugs and refuses to pay the prices the drug companies want to charge, instead deciding not to honor the patents on the drugs if the price doesn't come down. The result? The US has much higher drug prices than most of the rest of the world because we end up paying for the companies R&D costs since the rest of the world won't. Sorry, I can't feel bad about sanctions against countries that refuse to carry the burden of R&D costs and leave the US to carry it all. Do I feel the costs be lower? Definitely. However, I also don't know the R&D cost for a particular drug so whose to say the costs aren't in line with a reasonable time line to recoup R&D costs? I can't say I think having for profit companies develop the drugs helps things.

    Given this situation, what's the way to handle it OTHER than patents? How can a company recoup the R&D costs (plus a profit) for a drug at a price level that is fair to all countries? Why shouldn't the countries in the rest of the world be forced to honor the drug companies' patents? It's not like it's a field where the companies can simply say "Pay up or you don't get the cure".

    I don't really care much about the copyright portion of this story, but I get irked when I see people ranting against drug companies. They're definitely not perfect, but they are getting screwed by the rest of the world as bad as they screw the people in the US imo.

  • by mstahl ( 701501 ) <marrrrrk AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @10:43AM (#18940725) Homepage Journal

    Copying drugs to fight AIDS and other diseases.

    Those bastards!

    This is one of those things that's come up a couple of times in the past year or two that just turns my stomach every single time. I understand that US pharmaceutical corporations have no economic reason to spend billions researching cures to AIDS and other pandemic ailments only to give them away around the world, but seriously!

    Why is it not, instead, the case where governments all around the world pool their resources, research and distribute medications, and solve the whole AIDS problem once and for all like we did with Smallpox? Have we no compassion whatsoever? And even if we don't, don't we all realize that millions of people infected with AIDS in Africa means that there are millions of people who are totally capable of transmitting the disease elsewhere? Even if we made it a thing of the past in developed, wealthy countries, it would still affect us all.

    Also, props to parent for recognizing the most heinous part of this whole international copyright-infringement farce.

  • by soulprivate ( 1011963 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @10:57AM (#18940957)
    I can attest from Chile :

    I have mixed feelings : on one hand, I cannot deny that we almost deserve this. Piracy is raging here. You could buy illegal translations of Harry Potter and Order of the Phoenix, or the Half Blood Prince ... the same day it was released in english *in England and USA*!. CD's, DVD and VCD movies, books, you can get *anything* on a sidewalk. IP organizations here have been warning for years, and our legislators have been doing what they do best : talking and lamenting on every step, but so far they have failed to take really strong measures to stop the problem. As a chilean, I find it embarrasing.

    On the other hand, what can we expect? during the last four years, we have signed Free Trade Agreements with the USA, Canada, the EU, China, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Korea, Japan is in the works, etc etc. But, both the USA and the EU have been warning us about Intellectual Property and piracy issues. The EU have been having second thoughts about us for a while. And, as we cannot compare in importance to Russia, China or India, it is a sure thing that *we* could be elected to receive the first punishing measures from abroad, and we will unable to say *anything* in our defence. Trade restrictions, additional Custom taxes, etc, and as I said, we are as guilty of this, as the US government, that feels it can rule the laws of any country.
  • Re:That told them! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @11:07AM (#18941145) Homepage
    I think it has just as much to do with predictability. Good or bad, they know where most coutries stand. Thailand's compulsory licenses suddenly means the IP owners are no longer in control. They can just turn around at any moment and grant a compulsory license like allofmp3 has had in Russia, and the US IP revenue would go down the toilet. While it's not technically piracy, I have no doubt that's why they're on the "pressue these governments to change and enforce IP policy" list.
  • by steelfood ( 895457 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @11:29AM (#18941469)
    The only way to eventually make money off IP without DRM (and even with) in the digital age is to offer value-added services.

    For example, watching a movie on the big screen over watching it at home. Going out with friends, maybe have dinner before or after, perhaps a drink (before or after). People do this already. Perhaps that's why the MPAA isn't nearly as concerned about piracy, with some rare exceptions.

    For music, there's nothing like actually going to a concert. So instead of using CD's to make money, use CD's as a marketing loss-leader, and use concerts for revenue. Oh wait, that's what musicians do now anyway. The RIAA is the one making money off CD's. Now the reason why the RIAA is so aggressive comes to light. The RIAA doesn't actually have a business if every music artist suddenly all went independent.

    Internet-downloaded copies are so much more convenient that the real things. Have you bought a DVD recently? Have you seen the hoops you have to jump through just to watch the damn thing? First there's the region compatibility issue. Then, if you can get the damn thing to play, there's the paid advertisements that you can't skip. Why spend $20 for all that when I can wait 5 hours for a 4GB download to finish, 20 minutes for the extraction and burn, and watch the movie. The biggest problem would be burning a coaster. And, I can watch it on any computer without being afraid of it being hijacked by autorun software loaded on the DVD. Which means I can bring it to family functions where the only DVD player is a computer running Windows XP MCE.

    As for music, I'm a big fan of buying CD's, but if I can't rip it onto my music player of choice in the format of my choice, I'm going to download it. And save the hassle of buying the CD altogether. Well, that would be true if I listened to anything other than Classical. As such, I don't really have much of a choice in the matter, as the sound quality still is audible on my sound system at home.

    Yes, so it is far more convenient.

    Now for literature, I'm actually all for buying the book. I can't stand reading books off an electronic display. I like my bookmarks and actually having a book in my hand (and getting high off the glue--you know that's a nice value-added service right there ;) ). Nor can I stand audiobooks. I'm sure most people feel the same way when it comes to the printed medium.
  • Re:Thailand? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @12:01PM (#18941971) Homepage Journal
    Copying drugs to fight AIDS and other diseases.

    Those bastards!
    - let's say I am working on my own project in a garage to try and find cure for some weird disease, let's say I am trying to remove the HIV from a human. Let's say I succeed.

    I do not see a single reason to allow anyone to copy my work without my permission and without being paid for it. In fact if I did find such a cure I wouldn't even sell it through pharma firms, I would open my own hospital, where I would accept those, who can afford the treatment only, and I would treat them at highest possible cost they can sustain while still willing to sustain it. I would make sure that noone can get their hands on the actual cure, the administration of cure would be done in high security facilities, everyone would be locked down until the moment they can leave.

    The cure itself would have a timing mechanism built into it, that would biodegrade the medicine after a short time period from being produced.

    I would setup more of these kinds of hospitals and I would price discriminate based on who can pay what. I would only setup such hospitals if the cost of the setup could be recouped and the money could be made.

    Once there are no more clients who are useful to me from practical point of view, THEN I would mass produce the medicine and would sell it again with price discrimination, to make the most from it.

    I guess, there are ways of making the money in this business, but you have to own the monopoly so you can really milk it for a few years at least.

    Now back to the drawing board, all I have to do now is find the cure ;)
  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @12:05PM (#18942055) Homepage
    So, rage all you want. You will never get "piracy" back. Nor will we get "hacker" back. It's a lost battle.

    And on top of all the other reasons, calling copyright infringement "cop-y-right in-fringe-ment" sucks because it's six syllabels, whereas "pi-ra-cy" is three syllables and "pi-rate" two.

    piracy <=> copyright infringement
    pirated <=> copyright infringing
    pirate <=> infringe on copyright (verb)
    pirate <=> copyright infringer (noun)

    Now I'm not saying the word has to be "pirate", but there's no way you'd get people to start talking using the copyright infringement terms. Just be happy they didn't manage to make the word "steal" but rather the now defunct term, except in hollywood movies starring Johnny Depp. Since there's hardly any factual dispute on what copyright infringers/pirates do, embrace it and change the stigma. That's pretty much the worst you can do to it. The pirate bay does it, the pirate party does it, as in "We're pirates and proud of it". If people see it your way, the tag doesn't matter.

    With the danger of invoking Godwin's law, that's all the difference between "quisling" and "jøssing". One was Nazi collaborators, the other was the Nazi attempt to do the same to the resistance. The resistance took it as a honorary title, as good Norwegians. Just because the RIAA/MPAA has managed to force the term pirate on copyright infringers, doesn't mean the meaning is final. After all, nobody argues the fact that Robin Hood was a thief, and yet most tend to think he was a good guy.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @02:17PM (#18944235)
    The R&D expense should be paid by the tax payers, in my opinion. Anything else lends market forces too much control over products intended to save and improve the quality of life, which is not something that should be defined by the market. It tends to force research away from cures to diseases - they don't pay nearly as well.

    MAKING drugs makes sense as a capitalistic, competitive project but developing them does not, in my book.

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