Re: Indian view of US IP Law
A happy new year to you. Thanks so much for remembering me in your
updates - always appreciated. You may enjoy Bruce Sterling's angle if
you haven't yet seen it.
ACCEPTABLE USE POLICY
The documents on this disk are not commodities. They're not for sale.
They are not part of the "information economy." Some of them were part
of the commercial economy once, in the sense that I got paid for writing
some of them, but they've since been liberated. You didn't have to pay
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and tell me about it. Information *wants* to be free. And I know where
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You can copy them. Copy the hell out of them, be my guest.
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whatever *that's* worth. You don't have any right to make this stuff part of
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knowledge: there's a difference. Don't sell them. And don't alter the text,
either; that would be a hopelessly way-dork move. Just make
more, and give them to whoever might want or need them.
Now have fun. Bruce Sterling -- firstname.lastname@example.org
> Date: Sat, 14 Dec 1996 09:20:41 -0500 (EST)
> From: Paul Jones <email@example.com>
> Reply-to: Paul Jones <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> To: Mark Hosler <email@example.com>,
> James Boyle <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
> Bert Dempsey <email@example.com>,
> Laura Gasaway <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Cc: Andie Miller <email@example.com>
> Subject: Indian view of US IP Law
> Indian view of the US Economic Espionage Act. Particularly germane to the
> Shamans section of Jamie's book.
> ---------- FORWARDED MESSAGE ----------
> Date: Fri, 13 Dec 1996 11:47:32 -0800
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> From: email@example.com (Robert Winthrop)
> Subject: IPR: US criminalizes information flow
> Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> To IPR colleagues:
> This press report raises interesting issues regarding IPR, local cultures,
> and international commerce. I'd be interested in reactions. Is this
> relevant to our areas of knowledge and concern?
> Rob Winthrop
> NEW U.S. LEGISLATION CRIMINALISES EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION
> The recently passed US Economic Espionage Act criminalises the
> natural development and exchange of knowledge and empowers the
> nation's intelligence agencies to operate world wide to protect
> the interests of US corporations.
> By Vandana Shiva
> Third World Network Features
> New Delhi: The United States Congress has recently passed a piece of
> legislation which can be interpreted as criminalising the natural
> development and exchange of knowledge and empowers its intelligence
> agencies to operate world wide to protect the interests of US
> The legislation empowers the intelligence agencies to investigate the
> activities of ordinary persons world wide in an effort to 'protect' the
> intellectual property rights of US corporations, by viewing such IPRs as
> 'vital to national security'.
> Increasing the absurdity of this action is the fact that what is often
> seen as 'intellectual property' is information 'pirated' from non-Western
> societies and indigenous communities.
> Imperial power has always been based on a convergence of military
> power used in the defence of trade. This convergence was at the heart of
> the gunboat diplomacy during colonialism. A similar convergence is now
> taking shape around the defence of trading interests in a period of
> 'globalisation' and so-called 'free trade'.
> The British empire was built through the destruction of manufacturing
> capacities in the colonies, and the prevention of emergence of such
> Thus 'free trade' during that era of 'technological superiority' of
> England was based on the cutting off of the thumbs of master weavers in
> Bengal, the forced cultivation of indigo by peasants of Bihar, the slave
> trade from Africa to supply free labour to cotton plantations in the
> United States and the extermination of indigenous people of North
> It also included laws that prevented technology transfer. From 1765 to
> 1789, the English Parliament had passed a series of strict laws preventing
> the export of new machines or plans or models of them. Skilled people who
> worked the machines were not allowed to leave England to ensure that
> England remained the industrial power.
> Samuel Slatter (1768-1834), who is called the 'Father of American
> Manufacture', acted in violation of these British laws when he came to the
> US (then the colonies) secretly carrying the knowledge of mechanical
> spinning and weaving from England. He transferred his experience of
> working in the English factories to the US and built the first complete
> mill for spinning yarn.
> While the US built its economic power and manufacturing capacity by
> breaking free of the British monopolies, the current US Congress and the
> present-day US corporations appear unwilling to allow this spirit of
> freedom so fundamental to US history and economic development to exist
> anywhere else in the world.
> Anyone following in the footsteps of the 'Father of American
> Manufacture' today would be arrested and jailed for 15 years or fined up
> to $10 million under a new Act called the 'Economic Espionage Act of
> 1996'. The Act was introduced in the US Congress in July 1996, and passed
> on 17 September 1996 by a vote of 399 against three.
> [The Act] 'Amends the Federal criminal code to prohibit wrongfully
> copying or otherwise controlling economic property information (1) with
> the intent to, or with reason to believe that the offense will benefit any
> foreign government, instrumentality or agent or disadvantage any owner of
> proprietary economic information that is related to or included in a
> product produced for or placed in inter-state or foreign commerce or (2)
> with intent to divert that information to the use or benefit of anyone
> other than the owner'.
> The Economic Espionage Act takes espionage from military domains to
> economic domains. It redefines intellectual property infringement as a
> crime, and justifies the use of intelligence agencies to deal with issues
> of science and technology exchanges.
> As the introduction of the Act states: 'There can be no question that
> the development of proprietary economic information is an integral part of
> America's economic well-being. Moreover, the nation's economic interests
> are a part of its national security interest. Thus threats to the
> nation's economic interest are threats to the nation's vital security
> Transfer of technology has, through the Act, been redefined as
> 'economic or industrial espionage'.
> Espionage is typically an organised effort by one country's government
> to obtain information vital to the national security interests of
> Scientific and technological development depend on the free exchange
> of knowledge, technologies and ideas: and such exchange is now being
> defined as espionage.
> The absurdity of this 'intellectual property theft' becomes even more
> dramatic in cases where 'intellectual property' is derived from the
> transfer of knowledge from non-Western and indigenous systems to Western
> corporations. 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.
> Will the intelligence agencies of the US government be used to protect
> this 'intellectual property'? What methods will be used to destabilise the
> traditional uses, life-styles and cultures in order to protect 'the owners
> of proprietary economic information' such as W R Grace, which owns the
> majority of neem patents?
> The Espionage Act, in a world characterised by biopiracy, carries the
> danger of transforming the everyday activities of farmers and healers,
> students and researchers, scientists and industrialists into crime and
> 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
> The text of the bill signed into law can be found via the Web at:
> It is about 85Kb in length. You can also retrieve the bill using ftp via
> "ftp.loc.gov" site:
> ftp ftp.loc.gov
> (log in as "anonymous")
> (give your user ID as the password)
> cd pub/thomas/c104
> get h3723.enr.txt
> Rob Winthrop
> Cultural Solutions |
> PO Box 401, Ashland, OR 97520, U.S.A. |
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