Re: Fwd: IPR: US criminalizes information flow (fwd)

On Wed, 15 Jan 1997, Paul Jones quoted:
> A developing country's version of American IP laws....
>     What would happen if Third World countries used the same logic, and
> declare all bio-prospectors and ethno-botanists working for US
> corporations as engaged in 'economic espionage' and a threat to 'national
> security'? - Third World Network Features

	either the case would be ignored, or it would be treated as a
"horrible example of how the undemocratic-repressive government of
ThirdWorldCountry is acting against the interests of its own people and
violating The Standards Of The Civilized World". if the ethno-botanist or
"bio-prospector" that was charged with espionage was an academic
motivated by curiosity (and wanting a good paper topic) there would be a
good chance that the case would be ignored. but if the research is of
interest to a US-affiliated Corporation, the case could become a Major
Issue. if it did we would get lots of well-written statements about
intellectual freedom and "free exchange of ideas" - which somehow are not
seen as contridictory to the US (and other industrialized world) attempts
to restrict information flow by labling it as "espionage".

	except that i know some ethno-botanists that could happen to be
the person who ends up in-jail-awaiting-trial it would be a great show to
	in the past "intellectual property" has been able to be treated as
if it were physical property because of the nature of its storage (books,
etc.). it took time and effort to copy the information, time and effort
that is much reduced with digital storage. biological information, in the
form of (for example) a plant is - in my opinion - more similar to digital
storage than it is to a printed book. while it does take some time and
occasionally a bit of effort to get a plant to reproduce, like digital
storage it is not intrinsically necessary to "take" the original or to
spend a lot of money in order to get a "copy".

	i can't think of any case that i've heard of (other than based
upon personal dislike) of a farmer being unwilling to share seed with a
neighbor. the first farmer didn't do worse because the neighbor was also
doing well..... similarly, one country doesn't automatically do worse
because its neighbor is also doing well.

	hopefully out of all this confusion and change will come a
realization that property that is easily copyable is different from
property which is not easily copyable. ("unique property" and
"reproducable property"? i'm not sure what terminology best reflects the

> The US corporations have 'pirated' indigenous innovation and
> claimed it as their 'intellectual property'. Examples include patents on
> neem, haldi or turmeric, and Phyllanthus Niruti.
	i'm not at all sure what these are - does anyone know? (plants or
plant products is my guess.....)


Christopher Gwyn
5602 Lockridge Rd.
Durham NC 27705-8099 USA