Monday, April 12, 2010

ACTA - what should we be afraid of?

Copyright (and by extension the whole concept of Intellectual Property[a.k.a. content]):

Who owns it?
What is it?
When was it created? When should copyright expire?
Where are the laws that govern it?
How is it enforced?
WHY is it needed?

The arguments are endless. Central themes are:

  • Death of Content: Without strong protection, nobody will create new IP.
  • Encouraging investment: Content owners must be able to profit from investing in their assets. How can they do that while protecting the public interest? (what is the public interest? free entertainment/knowledge?)

  • Content is cultural in nature. How can one entity have a monopoly(and the right to profit off it) on any culture?
  • Economic rent-seeking - ergo - Michael Jackson buying up the Beatles backlist of songs. Does he get to profit from those songs for eternity? new laws effectively guarantee "eternity"
  • Encourages only $profitable content creation - No real economic imperative to create better lifesaving drugs for the 3rd world when they cannot pay for it.
    Higher profits from charging "predatory prices" on minor life-improving drugs in 1st world developed economies.

Why should Singaporeans be concerned about ACTA?
We wanted LucasArts to invest here.(unfortunately, they probably endeed up hiring more foreign talent than local talent since we didn't build a resource base of progammers first.)
We wanted the HK film industry. (didn't get it.)
We want the electronic Gaming industry.
We seek new investments in 'cutting edge' markets.
We don't want to be lumped together as Thailand or Indonesia in our approach to protecting IP. We are part of the ACTA negotiations going on.
We "kay-poh"
We are afraid of laws requiring ISPs to cut off your internet access [Three-strikes rule, HADOPI] just because someone like ODEX thinks you are stealing their IP. (NOTE: ACCUSED, not convicted! It doesn't require evidential proof that is needed to satisfy criminal court! What happened to the rule of law?]
We do not want to be beholden to content guilds. Do you know why wait-staff at most commercial eating establishmentcannot sing the Happy Birthday song ? They can get sued for copyright infringement.]

So should we be concerned? perhaps we should.

PublicACTA petition - NZ's public's response to closed-door trade negotations.
Background material - the actual petition itself.

Does the IP-concerned portion of Singapore know and care to do the same?


[ to think - a defunct space combat system set in the Babylon5 universe also happens to be called ACTA - A Call To Arms. Must be some cosmic joke.]


Blogger DK said...

Personally, I think even if someone is convicted of piracy, the punishment should never be cutting off the internet connection.

Just like you don't stop selling water to someone who throws litter into the river.

The punishment should justify the crime.

11:15 AM  

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