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Old 03-13-2012, 07:26 AM   #1
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Interesting Pharmaceutical Patent Decision from India

Below is a link to an article entitled "Putting lives before Patents".

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/201...e-copied.shtml

Whilst not directly about Copyright and EBooks it is informative and deals with a number of the themes discussed in various copyright threads on this forum. To give just one example, India sought to establish a thriving pharmaceutical industry by refusing to recognise pharmaceutical patents, much as the United States publishing industry is built on the failure of the United States to respect foreign publishers copyrights.

It makes most interesting reading.
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Old 03-13-2012, 07:32 AM   #2
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... much as the United States publishing industry is built on the failure of the United States to respect foreign publishers copyrights...
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Old 03-13-2012, 07:51 AM   #3
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I think it's more accurate to say that the US developed because of their disregard for intellectual property. But that was a long time ago, when the US was a developing nation.

There are fundamental differences between that and our discussions on copyright. Both India today and the US of the past depended upon intellectual property from foreign nations. In most cases, that intellectual property was created because of copyrights and patents in the more developed nations. The second big difference is that pirating the latest entertainment does little to promote social or economic development. Pirating medicines and books that form the foundations for education does promote social and economic development.

For what it's worth, I do support compulsory licensing in these cases. A functional health care system, education system, etc. is necessary to promote development in developing nations. We, the rich (relatively speaking) should be willing to bear some of the burden because the cost will be too high if we don't.
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Old 03-13-2012, 07:59 AM   #4
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Below is a short quote from a document entitled "Coda - A Short History of Book Piracy" which can be found at:

http://piracy.ssrc.org/wp-content/up...Coda-Books.pdf.

My earlier post linking to this can be found at:

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...hlight=history

"The American Pirate Century

In the second half of the nineteenth century, there were several efforts to curb state-sponsored
cross-border piracy through bilateral agreements, but a truly international copyright standard
came together only in 1886, when Germany, Belgium, Spain, France, the United Kingdom,
Italy, Switzerland, and Tunisia signed the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and
Artistic Works. From Berne forward, local and cross-border piracy became a more explicit
subject of national attention, if not always of new regulations or sanctions. For many countries,
copyright and enforcement remained exercises in triangulation between the desirability of
cheap access to foreign works, the interests of local publishers, and the demands of international
trading partners. One of the chief pirate nations, in this context, was the United States of
America.
For roughly a century, American copyright law was a clear-cut case of situational piracy—
of behavior legalized under US law but widely condemned abroad. The US federal copyright
statute implemented in 1790 was based closely on the Statute of Anne and replicated its limited
fourteen-year renewable term. But—possibly due to a misinterpretation of the English statute
(Patterson 1968:200)—the US law granted copyrights only and exclusively to US citizens. As
a major importer of British titles, this clause created a massive subsidy for US publishers and
helped establish a de facto cultural policy of cheap books, which in turn became an essential
component of mass public education. This situation persisted until the 1891 Chace Act granted
limited copyright to foreign authors. Another century would pass before the United States
joined the Berne Convention, in 1989."
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Old 03-13-2012, 08:01 AM   #5
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I'll chime in after this gets moved to the political board.
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Old 03-13-2012, 08:05 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by BWinmill View Post
Pirating medicines and books that form the foundations for education does promote social and economic development.
Were I to slide down that slope to its eventual valley -- were all new drugs and text books are freely copied without penalty once they show promise -- I might soon find there are no more new drugs, no more new text books. Pirating removes profit. Without profit, there is no incentive.

Last edited by Rob Lister; 03-13-2012 at 08:07 AM.
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Old 03-13-2012, 08:46 AM   #7
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I think it's more accurate to say that the US developed because of their disregard for intellectual property. But that was a long time ago, when the US was a developing nation.

There are fundamental differences between that and our discussions on copyright. Both India today and the US of the past depended upon intellectual property from foreign nations. In most cases, that intellectual property was created because of copyrights and patents in the more developed nations. The second big difference is that pirating the latest entertainment does little to promote social or economic development. Pirating medicines and books that form the foundations for education does promote social and economic development.

For what it's worth, I do support compulsory licensing in these cases. A functional health care system, education system, etc. is necessary to promote development in developing nations. We, the rich (relatively speaking) should be willing to bear some of the burden because the cost will be too high if we don't.
Thank you for your post. I agree there are many differences, but there are also many similarities and common themes.

Generally speaking it is not in the interests of the undeveloped nations, like, as you say, the United States then and India now, to respect foreign intellectual property laws. It is a simple matter of self-interest. I think we will be able to watch this principle in action as China develops intellectual property of its own which it wishes to protect. For purposes of our discussion of copyright law I see little difference between the position of a developing nation then and now.

And whilst Entertainment seems frivolous compared to medicine, failure to respect foreign copyrights in entertainment can in fact aid developing economies simply by preventing the outflow of funds which would otherwise flow out of the country. This is quite apart from any benefits in the development of local industries, for example, a local publishing industry publishing cheap books by foreign authors. Once again, I see little difference between the position then and now.

That the so-called pirate century referred to in the article took place a long time ago does not make it as an excuse. Let's simply be honest and accept that countries and their politicians usually act in accordance with their own self-interest. It was not in the interests of the US to respect copyright then but it is now.

And finally, I think it is simplistic to say that the "intellectual property" pirated was developed because of copyright and patent law. Whilst they no doubt played some role, innovation was not unknown before the existence of either.

Personally, I think it is long overdue for intellectual property laws to be fundamentally reviewed. I don't think they should be abandoned, but I do think they need to get the balance correct. At the moment they do not.
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Old 03-13-2012, 08:51 AM   #8
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I'll chime in after this gets moved to the political board.
I look forward to your contribution, whether here or on the political board if a transfer is required. I had hoped it would not be.
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Old 03-13-2012, 09:43 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Rob Lister View Post
Were I to slide down that slope to its eventual valley -- were all new drugs and text books are freely copied without penalty once they show promise -- I might soon find there are no more new drugs, no more new text books. Pirating removes profit. Without profit, there is no incentive.
Y'know, there's a very good case that the entire healthcare sector- drug companies included- shouldn't be in it for the profit. They should be in it to save lives. The same is arguably true for the textbook companies; like teachers they should be in it to educate the children instead of getting rich at their expense. But that's not even a question for the politics board, more one of philosophy and ethics.
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Old 03-13-2012, 10:08 AM   #10
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This would be far more acceptable if we were talking about some dirt poor African nation. Yet India is a country that affords istself nuclear weapons, a space program and they are about to buy state of the art French Rafale jet fighters. Apparently they believe it to be a priority to buy jet fighters instead of providing esential services like health care.
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Old 03-13-2012, 10:18 AM   #11
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This would be far more acceptable if we were talking about some dirt poor African nation. Yet India is a country that affords istself nuclear weapons, a space program and they are about to buy state of the art French Rafale jet fighters. Apparently they believe it to be a priority to buy jet fighters instead of providing esential services like health care.
If the Indian government were to subsidize healthcare for its vast poor population, then it'd get criticized for having a "socialist healthcare system" that supposedly doesn't make its doctors enough money and "doesn't encourage the poor to get better jobs." Either way, India loses.
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Old 03-13-2012, 10:55 AM   #12
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This would be far more acceptable if we were talking about some dirt poor African nation. Yet India is a country that affords istself nuclear weapons, a space program and they are about to buy state of the art French Rafale jet fighters. Apparently they believe it to be a priority to buy jet fighters instead of providing esential services like health care.
If this were the politics forums, one could point out that the same is true of the US
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Old 03-13-2012, 12:15 PM   #13
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Y'know, there's a very good case that the entire healthcare sector- drug companies included- shouldn't be in it for the profit. They should be in it to save lives. The same is arguably true for the textbook companies; like teachers they should be in it to educate the children instead of getting rich at their expense. But that's not even a question for the politics board, more one of philosophy and ethics.
But not a case that is different or better in any way than the case that production and preparation of food, or the construction of shelter should be non profit endeavors. The assertion falls apart under even the most cursory scrutiny.

However, if you desire free stuff enough you can always hang on to notions like that, trying to justify them in the face of withering logic...and eventually you become Giggleton.
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Old 03-13-2012, 02:34 PM   #14
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But not a case that is different or better in any way than the case that production and preparation of food, or the construction of shelter should be non profit endeavors. The assertion falls apart under even the most cursory scrutiny.
You're following the same train of thought that caused de-regulation of the telephone and power industries. If you live in a de-regulated state, then you should know firsthand that de-regulation only brings higher prices.

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However, if you desire free stuff enough you can always hang on to notions like that, trying to justify them in the face of withering logic...and eventually you become Giggleton.
There's a huge difference between wanting free stuff, and the reasonably- priced stuff that a free market promises but doesn't provide.

Besides, logic only has to be consistent within itself. There's no requirement for it to actually work in real-world settings. All that matters is whether or not you can have (A & -A).
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Old 03-13-2012, 06:57 PM   #15
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If you live in a de-regulated state, then you should know firsthand that de-regulation only brings higher prices.
Ah yes.
A three hour phone call from Oklahoma to Louisiana costs far more than the $357 I paid under the ma Bell monopoly.

Oh wait, I forgot, no it doesn't. Its covered under my monthly rates and plans like that became available within the first few years after deregulation.

Last edited by Phogg; 03-13-2012 at 11:19 PM.
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