Descended

For completely unknown reasons I suddenly started to care about useless things.

This is strange, since normally I don’t.

As far as trade agreements go, ACTA is currently not on anyone’s priority list since we have a new report on copyright coming up, a proposal for a common patent which, like the Prüm Convention of 2004, is allowed by Commissioner Michel Barnier to go through the highly dubious process of ”deeper co-operation between a limited number of member states.” I am not particularly cynical, but after the signing of the Prüm Convention it took almost exactly two years before it was EU standard. With Michel Barnier at the steering wheel of DG Markt, I also do feel that both the French LOPPSI2 and the Spanish Sinde law justifyably should create a concern for EU-wide harmonisation of sudden shutdowns of webpages.

The India-EU FTA is progressing solemnly. Just like I got the opportunity to mention on alt1040, bilateral trade agreements are not of high concern. One of the best examples of which is the EU-South Korea FTA which in fact has already established the oh-so-feared ACTA rules in the international trade agreement framework. And in a CARIFORUM agreement. Soon in a Canada agreement. A cause for concern in the Colombian and Peruvian agreements. I heard that too many links destroy your Google hit count, so I advice readers to have a thorough look at bilaterals.org which lists interesting details on every bilateral FTA you could imagine.

Now, shutdowns of webpages. I have only briefly mentioned the Usenet-case of FTD in Dutch courts from last year. Last autumn it looked exactly as if FTD could not be held liable for users putting up links to copyrighted material. A few days ago a high court in the Hague decided differently. Despite good news from German courts relating to the Atari-RapidShare case, Spain, France and Benelux are enough for Michel Barnier to act swiftly. Which he has promised to do.

Now to the happy news! The Pirate Party, governed by wise people suggests that trademarks have the sole function of protecting consumers. I don’t understand how lawyers and many party members can disagree with this statement considering that because of trademark law, eBay is forced to limit their services because they are liable for what their users do, because of trademark law, member state customs authorities are having to carry out the trademark protection of private actors in thir countries, because of trademark law, memberstate authorities are having to carry out the trademark protection tasks of private parties in third countries (the last two are actually different links! they are two cases the latter of which refers to the first). Because of trademark law Commissioner Algirdas Šemeta is allocating EU money cigarette trademark combat, a European Union for cigarette protection and the fight against garlic (the vampiric ,a-ha, irony of this is not lost on me). This is the method they use to save our tax money even if the hardened criminals that buy these goods are often perfectly aware of what they are doing. Cross-border trade for citizens is obviously a problem when this is the way the Commission is knowingly and willfully using our taxmoney to protect us from a globalized market in which we ourselves have control and knowledge about what we are buying and how, and they are masking this under consumer protection. Because of trademark law, the collected wisdom of Pirate Parties end up in this. That last linked comment is unfortunately not merely a troll, but also a symptomatic approach to trademarks displayed by the previous front figures of Pirate Party of, particularly, Sweden. Because the Pirate Party of Sweden believes, just like Commissioner Mr Šemeta, that this form of consumer protection is good, and desirable.

The present chairman is still difficult to evaluate since she has mostly mentioned trademarks sarcastically in relation to the dehumanisation of people with cultural aspirations. But it potentially bodes for a new, and reasonable understanding of trademark problems. I will probably put forward a new motion for the annual congress, and hopefully the eBay and Nokia cases will have stirred up enough attention to get to grips with this.

The stupidest part of this is that this is what I keep track of when I am trying not to work with politics or keep track of exactly every link on the web that relates to my political crusades. Someone gag me. I am waiting for Samir Allioui to comment on the Sony vs LG vendetta though. Because this is another one of those things that just slip under the radar. Almost.

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  1. mars 3, 2011 kl. 09:32

    Many interesting and valid points, there.

    My personal take on this, is at another level, though. It is, in my opinion, a general trend that corporations and entities carry a higher lawful protection than individuals, particularly when it comes to imaginary property. Whether it is under the label of trademark law, or some other, is less important, really, as I see it. What is needed is a strengthened consumer protection, and also proportionality that takes civil rights in regard, to cancel out excessive intrusions and sanctions when for instance possessing, having purchased a few items for personal use, or simply passing a border control.

    If Italy, for instance, is eager to protect its domestic businesses, it is important that this is carried out in a way that ensures civil rights, so that individuals always have stronger protection than corporations and entities.

    I think that if you are to have laws strongly and vastly protecting businesses, efforts should always first go after systematic abuses, and not individuals acting on the market.

    As with all debates on intellectual property, or sanctions against privacy and personal freedoms, many vastly different perspectives are brought up in a dishonest and non-stringent way, in order to motivate sanctions.

    For instance, when explaining why sanctions to protect, say, trademarks, arguments are often put forward explaining to us that it is for our own good and protection – false drugs and medicines are hugely dangerous, and pirated toys may just not live up to the safety protections the EU has set up. Fair enough, but that explains very poorly why Italians face very hard punitive sanctions for simply owning a fake Gucci handbag, right?

    In order to turn this development, my simple opinion is that we should not debate whether trademark law is getting out of control, but to question where the proportionality perspective has gone, in lawmaking in general. And why should corporations ”freedoms” carry higher protective value than that of citizens’ right to act on the market, purchase the handbag they deem has the right value, or simply passing a border control wearing their old fake Nike t-shirt…

    My 25c

  2. CLUEZ
    mars 3, 2011 kl. 14:30

    +1

    Partiprogrammet nästa!

  3. mars 3, 2011 kl. 19:31

    You care, and many others should too.

    Be it patent law, copyright, trademarks… each of them is being twisted in every imaginary way to maximize profit for the corporations that fight our battles on the world arena. Each power centre tries to claim and extend the maximum rights for his own sponsored corporations, and also increase available resources to them by minimising the cost of running them… be it by lowering taxes, allowing less environment-aware production processes, dumping hidden costs on the community or the public budget, …

    Most of us do not understand yet we (by proxy, through our elites) are waging a global war and sacrifices are being imposed on us.

    Every single aspect of our lives is getting out of control, as we will simply be starved to keep on feeding the assault and defence mechanisms those elites oppose to each other in order to fulfil their duty to safeguard our survival to the bitter end.

    We wont survive as common people if we are not able to correctly assess the logical deadlock our elites delusionally live within, and defuse their behavioural dysfunction.

    To be able to do that, we have to clear our minds of the wrong ideas we have been spoon fed through time to support the need for the buildup whose final stages wev are living these days, leading to a present that is so different in reality of what we have been taught to think… that we dare not open our eyes because the real world might be waiting miles beyond our feet, and it does not help Icarus in such a position to be aware of the fact that the wax that holds together his wings is melting if he was not even aware of the fact that he was flying nor does he know how to fix the problem.

    Awake, and be aware… at least enough to be able to make a difference.

    Whoever forsakes freedom for security, will get neither, because when freedom is outlawed… only the outlaw can be free.

    Never thought I would be telling that to Pirates ;)

  4. Amelia Andersdotter
    mars 3, 2011 kl. 21:38

    I’ve written about trademarks a number of times in the past (here, here, here and here) and while I believe I have justified my position on trademarks well, other people are not insensitive to some of the problems that may arise from strictly applied trademarks.

    I’m not in agreement with majestatispluralis that we need stronger consumer protection. We do need applied consumer protection which is not always available. As long as trademarks, disregarding their connection to the idenity of a legal entity, are economically treated as property (which they inevitably are, since this is in the nature of the currently defined intellectual property legislation) we will see problems with weird lawsuits, small (or large) enterprises getting badly affect by the religious applications of trademarks by other large (or small) enterprises. I believe there are a few cases where trademark law has also been directed at private individuals through the UDRP in Geneva (related to domain names) where specific domains where people have been offended (there some story about Glenn Beck and subsequent criticism of bypassing US freedom of speech protection). There’s some mischievous lawsuit between AdWords vs Google Adwords which I believe is one of those ”who goes to court first?” things. AdWords may milk Google for a settlement, or Google may be upset if AdWords would actually be successful given that they might have come to be associated with what is the world’s most dominant information brand.

    The latter case would actually well be covered by consumer law. There is no need for either AdWords or Google AdWords to be trademark protection order to protect consumers – as end consumers, we are already protected from confusion that we were not aware of that we were exposed to, that is, we would be protected if we unknowingly got a substandard product. With trademark protection, we (as end-consumers) can be help liable despite not being confused in the least and the money involved in breaching property laws when in a lawsuit is larger than if it were merely a case of fooling end-consumers.

    In some cases the Piratpartiet is truly paleoconservative, Or simply just behind. Trademarks, dataprotection, trade secrets are all becoming principal parts of the intellectual propety web, and what worse is, they control an enterprise not only externally but also internally. Perhaps this is something for SACO or TCO to bring up?

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