07.25.10

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Intellectual Monopoly Owners Association Wants Patents Off ACTA and the Dangers of Monopoly Are Explained

Posted in Europe, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 5:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Summary: The Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) does not want the ACTA to strengthen its funders’ monopolies; more news about monopolies and their tactics

“IPO asks US to remove patents from the scope of ACTA, text defines “intellectual property” broadly,” says the president of the FFII, pointing at this document [PDF]. It’s dated June 25th (a month ago) and it starts by saying that “Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) appreciates the circulation of the Consolidated Text of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).”

IPO correctly points out that “Counterfeiting is making a copy that is a fake – it is forged to look real and intended to be passed-off to the public for what is in fact real. Consumers may even know that what they are purchasing is a counterfeit, (i.e., a “knock-off” DVD sold rather inexpensively at a street corner stand). Furthermore, the counterfeit may also pose significant health and safety risks to our citizens.”

“ACTA goes far beyond addressing the subject matter of counterfeiting.”
      –IPO
ACTA basically mixes that with copyrights in order to apply pressure and carry out Hollywood’s mission (under the falsehood that ACTA is necessary just to impede fake medicine).

IPO says accurately that “As currently drafted, given the expansive use of the broadly-defined term “intellectual property,” ACTA goes far beyond addressing the subject matter of counterfeiting.”

It is true that counterfeiting can cause damages, but that mustn’t be confused with intellectual monopolies. That’s something which ACTA negotiators/apologists like Pedro Valesco-Martins, Paul Rübig, and Luc Pierre Devigne have been doing in Europe, for example. These people help harm Europe’s patent law in the same way that New Zealand's patent law is currently being ruined by adding software patenting through a loophole (the mainstream press continues to report about it somewhat inaccurately). Europe’s ACTA boosters have been repeating the counterfeiting talking points while actually referring to a controversial document which encompasses a wide range of issues (patents included), not just counterfeiting. We recently learned that Luc Pierre Devigne fled or got fired. Serves him right for his arrogance.

As a little lesson regarding the problem with software patents, consider patents which are almost everywhere that involves video. We are talking about MPEG-LA, which is a patent parasite that we covered in:

The H currently writes about “commercial licences for H.264 encoder x264″ (including the unacceptable terms), but this is not satisfactory for software freedom.

A commercial x264 license is only required by users who link the x264 library to proprietary software or software which is otherwise incompatible with the GPL and who want to sell their software commercially. Interested users should contact x264 LLC. Garrett-Glaser points out that all vendors are obliged to pay license fees to the holder of the H.264 patent, i.e. have to sign a contract with MPEG LA.

H.264 is a good example of quiet addiction that develops without sufficient scrutiny until it’s too late. It poisons media files along with their contents.

Well, it’s time to break the H.264 ‘addiction’, based on the lessons we learned from Windows. “Get them while they’re young” is the key slogan of the exploiters, who obviously include Microsoft.

Ashlee Vance recently wrote a good piece in the New York Times that touched on a concept well-known to every major company catering to consumers or other mass markets: Try to get them when they’re young.

Microsoft developed its business based on this principle (Vance mostly focused on Microsoft in this piece), which helps teach us about the dangers of monopolies and what enables them to develop in the first place (except the aspect of crime). They seed the market with their copyrights or their patents, then charge at a later stage. It’s a form of ambush where the trap is the monopoly. Software patents should be rejected, patents-encumbered standards need to be rejected, and proprietary software too should be avoided (because it’s related to the former two issues, on top of copyright with draconian licensing terms).

“They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

Bill Gates

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