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07.26.10

Counterfeiting is Not the Same as Copyright Infringement

Posted in Africa, Deception, Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Patents at 3:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cinema film

Summary: How the recording industry and the proprietary software industry mischaracterise the problems they are having in order to change the law

YESTERDAY we showed that the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) was dissatisfied with the ACTA's attempt to lump together counterfeiting and copyright infringement. These are separate types of offences that have as much to do with one another as patents and trademarks (which lawyers like to group under the “IP” umbrella).

According to TechDirt, Homeland Security is using the same tricks as ACTA negotiators, part of whom is the MAFIAA (RIAA/MPAA/others).

Homeland Security Decides If It Just Keeps Interchanging Counterfeiting With Copyright Infringement, Perhaps No One Will Notice

We already wrote about the recent Congressional committee hearings on intellectual property enforcement, where IP Czar Victoria Espinel blamed China. However, there were other speakers there as well, and perhaps the most interesting was from John Morton, the assistant secretary of Homeland Security’s Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) division — the group that recently started working for Disney and seized a bunch of domains using questionable legal theories. We’re still trying to figure out what the hell immigration and customs enforcement has to do with internet file sharing, and here was a chance to set the record straight.

Wikiedpedia defines “counterfeit” as “an imitation, usually one that is made with the intent of fraudulently passing it off as genuine.”

If words cease to have a distinct meaning or their meanings fused with anything else, then something like sharing becomes the equivalent of raiding ships and killing people. Language is a tool and it is being misused by those who want to tell society to behave in a way that favours someone’s personal/commercial agenda. For instance, Microsoft likes to confuse copyright infringement with “piracy”/counterfeiting and it daemonises Africans who share Windows by calling them “pirates” (not those Somalians who actually attack ships), assisted as always by the BSA and IDC, whose claims were recently refuted by the South African press. Here is what TechDirt had to say about that same refutation:

Every year, in May, we report on the latest release of the BSA’s totally bogus stats about “worldwide software piracy.” The stats are so laughable that even the firm that put them together for the BSA, IDC has claimed that the BSA is being misleading with the stats. In years past, we’ve done a detailed analysis of how the BSA’s stats are misleading, but one bit of news that came out last year that was even more interesting is that in the majority of countries listed in the report, IDC does no actual surveys. Instead, it just makes up the numbers.

Glyn Moody points us to an article looking at the report’s coverage of South Africa, and notes not only did IDC/BSA not survey anyone in South Africa, they’re using these totally made up numbers to push for new copyright laws. As for how ridiculous the numbers are, well, here’s the quick explanation:

How was the 35 percent rate arrived at? It’s a guess, or rather, a combination of guesses combined with some market data and presented as a final authoritative percentage.

IDC and BSA ought to be disgraced in more media outlets. They not only lie but they also know that they are lying. But they merely serve their clients in this case. Microsoft is one of those clients or sponsors.

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