“You can’t stop the signal, Mal.” Mr. Universe, Serenity
[Bright eyed people might note the irony of using a quote from a product out of Universal -- one of the most ardent opponents of a free internet.]
As horrific ACTA bill moving its way through the European parliament like a plate of beans through a fat guy’s digestive tract got derailed by the International Trade Committee, the Legal Affairs Chairwoman Mariell Gallo has likened the resistance to having an innovation and free speech-killing bit of legislation to “soft terrorism.” That’s the level of European discourse these days (or really, any day for meddlesome, self-important bureaucrats anywhere) — “You don’t agree with me, so you are a terrorist.” Time was they would use the term Nazi or fascist, but they’ve worn the shock value of those words out, sort of like calling someone a racist in the United States. All it elicits is a shrug.
Even better is this blowhard’s response to the idea that their constituency is opposed, her response is telling, “We’re supposeed to represent citizens, but since they are busy with other things, we are supposed to think for them!” In other words, we’ll represent you when it’s convenient, but the rest of the time (being all the time) we’ll “think” for you.
She’s not the only one not happy that their corporate masters in copyright and IP trolling won’t have their desires satiated, the EU Commissioner in charge of the treaty has declared that, “…the Commission will nonetheless continue to pursue the current procedure before the Court, as we are entitled to do. A negative vote will not stop the proceedings before the Court of Justice…”
So much for democracy or even representative democracy in Europe, but that’s no surprise to a student of the continent’s history. the aristocracy may have been whisked away in many nations, but the elected and appointed bureaucrats that took their place are guilty of the same abuse of power and sense fo entitlement as the second asswiper to the king in Louis XIV’s time would have had.
The sooner this awful pretense to unity and representative government is swept away by the forces of debt and incompetence, the better off Europe’s respective nations will be.
ACTA or the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is a proposed bit of nastiness from the World Trade Organization and the World Intellectual Property Organization, in league with the increasingly onerous United Nations. The main targets: counterfeit goods, generic medicines and copyright infringement on the Internet…in other words, it’s a power grab by large media and pharma conglomerates, in league (as always) with big government types looking to keep you shelling out more money for products.
It will remove legal safeguards for internet providers, big pharma will be able to knock generic drugs out of the running and keep prices artificially high, and big media will be able to do the same with small media providers. It’s cronyism and monopolism on a global level, and yet another excuse for a massive, bloated, overpowered supranational bureaucracy. And it’s no surprise the law originated in the United States and Japan.
To be fair, the pharmaceutical industries are most healthy in these two nations, where there is enough of a profit margin to develop new drugs, but where the most intrusive, convoluted, and abusive regulations keep their products from getting to the market in a timely manner. Often European markets see the roll out of these products before the US and Japan ever do, but they are also price fixed — another drain on the profitability of creating medicines. I can see why they are looking to protect themselves, but I would rather see a streamlining of FDA rules and the end of price fixing in other nations. We could see a quicker adoption and recouping of the massive investment it takes to get a drug to market (and that doesn’t touch the hundreds of medicines that either fail or never get through testing.)
Drugs are an interesting problem for intellectual property laws — there is a manifest product that comes out of them; I would think defending a patent on the physical product is more appropriate than to tie it to IP legislation.
This is an infinitely more aggressive and dangerous bit of legislation, and people need to come together to stop it.