Saturday, February 18, 2006

The HEAVY hand of FREE markets

Speaking at an international forum devoted to Russia's bid to join the World Trade Organization, German Gref said 223 factories involved in piracy had been shut down in Russia recently. He said a total of 35,000 enterprises had undergone checks as part of the campaign against intellectual property rights violations in Russia, which hopes to join the global trade body at the end of 2006.
223 factories! Closed, so that a few copyright holders can exploit to the max the natural desire for humans to share their culture. The local economy is sacrificed so that corporate profits can swell beyond their current abominable size.
Violations of intellectual property rights in Russia have been one of the chief concerns of the country's negotiators in WTO talks, particularly of the United States. [surprise, surprise] According to U.S. experts, losses from copyright piracy in Russia amounted to $1.7 billion in 2005 and have exceeded $6.5 billion in the past five years. [all icing] Experts have said virtually all films, music, software and books are counterfeited in Russia and that pirated products account for 67-85% of all copyright material . . . ordinary people [continue] to buy widely available less expensive counterfeit audio, video cassettes, and CDs.
Sure, why should they pay more? So that corporate copyright holders can add to their already overflowing coffers?
[A]lmost a million counterfeit items, worth $4.3 million, had been confiscated in Russia in 2005.
What will they do with $4.3 million worth of assets? This is other people's property. Copyright holders didn't pay for supplies or labor. They own nothing but a legal fiction. Yet, the government confiscates tangible property in the name of these so-called "rights."
[A]pproximately 3,000 criminal cases, involving about 1,500 people, had been opened in Russia on charges of copyright violations and 78 people had been convicted.
How much does it cost to enforce these draconian laws and prosecute these so-called criminals? Who pays the price? The unwilling people, of course - the same people who must pay a premium to buy copyright products, and royalties for the privilege of producing them. So much for spreading freedom and democracy. The west replaced the iron fist of communism with the heavy hand of "free" markets.


Red Tulips said...

This post is wonderful. It just underlines exactly what is wrong with the system. Thanks for posting it!

qrswave said...

My pleasure!..:)

Red Tulips said...

I remember watching a program on NY1 over the Winter Break, called "Counterfeit City."

We have actually killed people over counterfeit IP. Amidou Diallo was killed when he was caught in a warehouse with counterfeit CDs.

The problem is probably worse in America than in Russia.

I remember the NY1 program was portrayed in a way of "Oh, look at all the city cops are doing for us all! Thank god we have them to go after counterfeiters!"

I thought the NYPD was barely able to make ends meet to pay for its counter-terrorism forces. They have enough money to waste on this??

qrswave said...

You are missing the point. They get paid to do this.

They're not here to protect us.

PLUS, they get to keep all the money that they seize from counterfeiters.

Land of the free.