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Russia Sings Like a Canary (Recanting

Vladamir Putin has taken time off from denying the murder of critics to work out a deal whereby the US will support his country’s entry to the World Trade organization. Apparently intellectual property issues have been a key issue as the press releases celebrating the successful outcome of the negotiations clearly tolls the bell for ‘websites that permit illegal distribution of music and other copyright works.’ Unsurprising contest this characterization of their activity, as licensed as they are by the collective rights agency Russian Organization for Multimedia & Digital Systems (ROMS) at a rate of 15% of revenue. A small snag to this is that in 2004 ROMS were expelled from CISAC, an international organization of 217 worldwide copyright societies. Indeed the International Federation of the Phonographic Industries claims that they have no right to license the distribution of music by their artists. ROMS claims that it distributes the monies collected to artists, but how this is done seems a little unclear. has been in the crosshairs of US Trade Representative Susan Schwab for some time now, and the admission procedure for the WTO is traditionally used as a chance to lean on countries to change practices in the grey zone. Now that Visa and Mastercard are refusing to process payments to them, the skies have taken on a more foreboding hue.

Aside from music copyrights, USTR continues to provide full-service to the Big Pharma as evidenced by the demand to protect pharmaceutical test data, essentially a scam to drive up the prices of potential competitor’s products by forcing them to conduct expensive and time-consuming tests where proof of bioequivalency already reveals the necessary information. In South American countries such as Argentina there has been a wide campaign of litigation against competitive local producers based on exactly these types of claims.

See the ipwatch article on the negotiations here.


December 1, 2006 - Posted by | copyright, enforcement, trade

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