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Orwell Didn't Know Shit

And they call themselves christians.

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And they call themselves christians.

Orwell didn't know shit. All his pigs and farm animals and ministries of lies and all that - he didn't know shit. Orwell could never have predicted the world we live in today.

We couldn't have predicted it either. It's only ten years and some that we've been connected together on this thing called the Internet so you can read articles like this, communicate with your friends and colleagues, join forums, Facebook, Twitter, and basically see what's going on in the world and how TPTB are ripping you off.

Don't kid yourselves. Today you can communicate at the speed of light. You might think you finally have the power. Here's a clue: you don't. It's till the same TPTB as always that control all aspects of your life.

Rick Falkvinge published the second part of his series on patents today. He's used the book Information Feudalism for most of the information in the series. He has other numerous sources he's going to list before he publishes part three in a fortnight.


Do you know how pyramid schemes work? he asks. People are encouraged to send money to someone who joined the scheme earlier. They're told they're going to be filthy rich if they just play along. But it doesn't work that way. It's only the ones who started the scam who pick up.

The situation with patents today is a pyramid scheme too. It's something that comes out of the 1970s. Triggered by Toyota.

Toyota introduced their automobiles and those were of a high quality. Detroit had been working for years on reducing the quality of their products so people would have to buy more; Toyota came along and outflanked Detroit. Toyota blew away the rickety petrol-hungry gaudy Detroit automobiles even in the US domestic market. The politicians tried to keep Toyota at bay but people weren't stupid: they bought foreign because their own products sucked.

Detroit had at one time represented a full one fifth of the US gross national product. Knock out Detroit and you knock out the US. The dominance of the US in the industrial world was suddenly a thing of the past. Gone. To never return.

The US government started study after study in a panic. Their objective: figure out how the US could keep global economic dominance in a future where they were no longer producing anything of value. And the answer came unexpectedly from the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.

Edmund Pratt was head of Pfizer at the time. He spearheaded the debate. He was against letting third world countries manufacture their own medicines in a free market. He said the US had to be much more aggressive to keep their place in the revenue chain.

Edmund Pratt was put on a presidential committee. The Advisory Committee for Trade Negotiations (ACTN). This committee created a new plan for trade politics for the country.

India had been forced to introduce new patent laws and just as in the west adapted their laws to favour their own needs. There were no patents on medicines and only 5-7 years patent on manufacturing processes. The same thing was going on in other countries as well.

But Pratt wanted the patent protection his company enjoyed in the US to work for the rest of the world too. So he wouldn't be threatened by competition in countries with different social conditions and patent legislation. And that's the way most protectionist CEOs think. But Pratt didn't stop at thinking - he put his ideas into practice as well. Through a lot of hard and goal oriented work.

Pratt and the ACTN told the US government they should use their good relations to start threatening their trade partners and thereby get new agreements that favoured the US more.

  • Multilateral agreements. Within a framework for major multilateral trade agreements.

  • Bilateral agreements. Offer free trade to select nations if they passed IP and patent legislation that favoured the US. The new free trade agreement with Australia is a perfect example.

  • Unilateral actions. Condemn nations that didn't respect IP and patents the way the US wanted, call them 'pirate nations', use trade sanctions or threats of trade sanctions to force them into line.

The US still have a 'black list' of countries that do not measure up to their standards in these regards. And most of the people on the planet live in these countries. Even Sweden's Pirate Party gets a mention.


The role of the ACTN was to become the organ of US industry to tell the US politicians what US industry needed. The politicians caught on quickly. The ACTN had the answer to the eternal question: how the US could keep a position of global economic dominance in a new era when they could no longer produce anything of any value that people wanted to buy.

And the answer was both self-evident and simple: use the muscle power of the US economy to force licence fees from the rest of the world for something other than production. For ideas and concepts from the US. By rewriting the rules so that things other than production suddenly had value, the US might be able to maintain dominance.

US representatives took their proposals to the United Nations. To WIPO - the World Intellectual Property Organisation. But WIPO understood that the new proposals only helped one country - the US - and they almost literally threw the US lobbyists out. So the US lobbyists knew they'd need a forum other than WIPO to push their ideas through. And the forum they chose was GATT - the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

The US lobbyists restructured GATT and started negotiating a new worldwide agreement. This new agreement would make sure third world countries couldn't manufacture their own medicines for their own peoples but would be forced to purchase from Pfizer and the other pharma giants at prices the giants set. They also covered copyright. And most of the US industries watched developments closely.

By using a combination of threats of trade sanctions, promises of a better world, and classic chicanery in impoverished countries, the US got their agreement. They called the agreement TRIPs - Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. GATT got a new name too - the World Trade Organisation.

Ask Médecins Sans Frontières or any international aid organisation what they think of TRIPs. Even if they don't know the backstory or what role Pfizer played, they do know what it means to poor peoples in the third world who can't get medicine.

TRIPs was the foundation for a great number of successive agreements and directives: the WCT of 1996, the DMCA of 1998, and the EUCD of 2001 to name but a few examples. And these all had one thing in common: cement the industrial interests of the US and guarantee a revenue stream into the US, even if the US couldn't actually produce anything anymore.

The US also began working for an expanded patent regime - today in the US you can get patents on software, genes, plants, business processes, and a lot of other things. And they're trying to get the rest of the world to play along. Like the classic pyramid game. It's gone so far that specific medical diagnoses cannot be used because they've been patented.

Falkvinge ends with these words:

In part three of this series I'll explain how TRIPs gets tens of thousands of Indian farmers to take their lives because US corporations use it together with patent legislation to force them into a poverty trap they can't get out of.

And they call themselves christians.

Aggrandising their own wealth at the expense of peoples who suffer and starve. What happened to good old generosity? Isn't that in their fetid bibles? Don't they go around and bombastically boast what nice kind people they are? Praise the lord.

Patents. Copyright. Echelon. The DMCA. And currently: ACTA. The EU commission.

Raids on single mothers and grandmothers. Håkan Roswall. Thomas Bodström. Henrik Pontén. Monique Wasted. Peter Danowsky. Tomas Norström. The Swedish appellate court. The Södertörn district court. The IFPI. John Kennedy. The MAFIAA. Carla Bruni. Nicholas Sarkozy. Mandy and his wealthy pals in the English government.

Internet provider spy agreements. And more. And more. And more.

They're turning our world into a nightmare. Into something Orwell could never have dreamt of.

Orwell didn't know shit.

Pirates have even established a political party, The Pirate Party ('Piratpartiet') which had about 0.63 percent of the votes in the September 2006 elections (fortunately less than was expected) and they are campaigning heavily to get into the European Parliament in 2009.
 - IIPA report 2009
Having engaged in widespread copyright infringement for over 20 years, the CRIA members now face the prospect of far greater liability. The class action seeks the option of statutory damages for each infringement. At $20,000 per infringement (the amount owed on some songs exceed this amount) potential liability exceeds $60 billion. These numbers may sound outrageous yet they are based on the same rules that have led the recording industry to claim a single file sharer is liable for millions in damages.
 - Michael Geist
Digital music services frequently pay labels advances in the tens of millions of dollars for access to their catalogs and it's unclear how (or if) that money is shared with artists.
 - Tim Quirk

See Also
Rick Falkvinge: On Patents (2/3) (Swedish)
Information Feudalism: Who Owns the Knowledge Economy?
IIPA: Sweden: 2009 Special 301 Report On Copyright Protection And Enforcement (PDF)
Médecins Sans Frontières
Médecins Sans Frontières: No agreement reached in talks on access to cheap drugs
Médecins Sans Frontières: World Trade Organisation wrestles with access to cheap drugs solution
Médecins Sans Frontières: Donate to Médecins Sans Frontières
Slashdot: Doctors Fight Patent on Medical Knowledge
Prometheus Labs
Wikileaks: Yahoo 'Spy Guide' (compliance guide for law enforcement) 23 December 2009
TorrentFreak: Record Labels Face $60 Billion Damages for Pirating Artists
Michael Geist: Canadian Recording Industry Faces $60 Billion Copyright Infringement Lawsuit
SVT: Swedish Minister to US to Discuss ACTA but Won't Bother Reading It
My $62.47 Royalty Statement: How Major Labels Cook the Books with Digital Downloads
Too Much Joy: My Hilarious Warner Bros Royalty Statement
The Problem With Music by Steve Albini
Wikipedia: Steve Albini

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