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ACTA - How to kill Babies for Fun and Profit

The EU Parlament released a new study about ACTA

Wednesday 20 July 2011, by mond

Initially I wanted to write a short analysis of this study. But just skimming over the study shows that is a blatant pro IP propaganda piece. Still interesting to dissect that a bit.

The Study (pdf) starts with the following statement:

“The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is motivated by the perceived lack of progress of multilateral enforcement of intellectual property rights.”

Ok. How to translate that: the “the perceived lack of progress of multilateral enforcement of intellectual property” means that some people are unhappy that the WTO did not manage to upgrade the insane TRIPS to a TRIPS+ agreement. Why did this happen? The answer is easy: The developing countries sooner or later found out that it does not help them much to pay huge licensing bills to the more developed countries just to be allowed to use newer technology. They realized that this would cost them a lot of money for nothing. On the other side where the big corporations who secured hundreds of thousands of patents and other so called “Intellectual Property” Rights that would have loved to see this money in their balance sheet. And thus this corporations would ask the political parties in the developed countries to do something about it.

Now, it happened that the interests of those political parties where somewhere aligned with the interest of those corporations. (Maybe there where some kind of financial bonds between them or something.). Now those parties which governed the G8 countries where happy to comply with the requests of these corporations and found some ways around the “problem”: If the poorer countries are not willing to comply with our IP regime then we will just ignore them and enforce those regulations anyway.

According to UN there are about 900 Million hungry people worldwide. About 6 Million Children are starving each year. Most of them of course in the least developed countries. Now those countries have rejected the TRIPS+ regulations out of some good reason. Further enforcing those absurd IP regulations would cost them money. And this of course would mean: More hungry children. More children starving.

It is that simple.

So this is what is ACTA all about: Killing Babies for Profit. Or to repeat it, as the euphemism of the EP study reads:

“The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is motivated by the perceived lack of progress of multilateral enforcement of intellectual property rights.”

Now to the point about the blatant propaganda of the "study":

Today, there is growing statistical evidence suggesting that a stronger environment of IPRs contributes to an enhanced level of economic development, FDI and technology transfer in developing countries. Based on the most comprehensive empirical research to date, an OECD study of the relationship between IPRs, technology transfer and FDI in 115 countries found that in developed countries an increase of 1% in the strength of patent rights resulted in 0.5% of increase in FDI flow (based on licensing deals), which in turn resulted in the transfer of know- how, i.e. innovative capabilities.139 The study found that in developing countries, including least developed countries, the effect is even stronger so that an increase of 1% in the strength of patent rights could be associated with an increase of 1.7% in FDI flows.

Or to translate that into plain english: “Hey, everyone is accousing us of killing babies. We need to do something about that. Lets find some numbers that would help us to prove that we are not killing that babies. Numbers. Any numbers. How far fetched. It does not matter. Killing babies for profit that would be a PR disaster. We need to avoid that. Just give us numbers. Any numbers.

Now here is the long form. Why is the study totally wrong:

1.) Correlation does not imply causation: Countries with a neoliberal agenda are likely to also implement stronger IPR. After all this is what helps the rich get richer. And countries with that neoliberal agenda are likely to also be attract foreign investments. After all: Who does not want a chance to make some quick money?

2.) Now there is some correlation between foreign investments and IPR regulations: A company is motivated to build up sweat shops in countries that have some rules to ensure that those who work in these shops even if they gain some know-how there will never be able to use this knowledge for them self and might produce similar things on their own and maybe cutting into the profits of that corporations. So a strong IPR rules that “protects” the neocolonial slave labor are indeed in the interest of foreign investors. This helps to “stabilize” the difference between rich and poor. The rich will get richer and the poor will stay poor. Ergo: More dead babies in the long run.

Stay tuned for more analysis on these revealing ACTA study here.

Meanwhile: within the 10 minutes it took you to read this article. about 110 children died. male nutrition.

Franz Schaefer, July 2011

Further Reading:

- American University Washington College of Law: Collateral Damage: The Impact of ACTA and the Enforcement Agenda on the World’s Poorest People
- New ACTA leak: It’s a screwjob for the world’s poor countries
- developing country opposition to acta mounts

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