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Feb 27

Compressed air car

Ellen Tordesillas recounts the braggadocio -turns out it was a bluff– of the President’s husband. More details in Newsbreak.

Pangasinan politics gets messy: bad news for the Speaker. Manny Pacquiao might beat a strategic retreat. Whether true or not he says he’ll campaign for the party list Partido ng Bayaning Atleta -and the Comelec can still justify disqualifying Ang Ladlad??

Filomeno Sta. Ana III explains why he’s not impressed with the economic bragging of the administration.

Davao Diaries encounters a child whose parents were liquidated. A Nagueño in the Blogosphere offers up a reflection on people power.

Last week I received this text message:

PLS patronize pirated DVD’s so that the Filipino movie industry will die & we will no longer have actors, actresses, nor their spouses running for public office. Pls pass.

And reacted negatively to it. Gibbs Cadiz explains why it’s a silly appeal. Red’s Herring delves into the same phenomenon.

Purple Phoenix won’t vote for Pangilinan. Philippine Politics 04 tries to clarify the issues in the elections. Administration tries to justify using government broadcast resources to air its proclamation rally.

Max Limpag has an amusing story.

This is truly interesting news, courtesy of A Hundred Years Hence. Cars that run on compressed air. I can see the jokes coming -20,000 miles to the congressman!

The concerns of creative people: to the tale, and other concerns on how much is a story worth? And Morofilm on being cautioned concerning the topic of his ongoing documentary project. The Bunker Chronicles on avoiding the spotlight when mentoring young people.

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  1. DJB

    Please patronize pirated DVDs?

    This is hardly a necessary appeal since Filipinos love pirated DVDs and patronize them all over the Archipelago.

    It’s a sign of just how much we actually respect Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).

    We may not be able to get our Norvasc at the price in India, where despite the low prices of medicines less than 30% of th people have access to any medicines at all.

    But at 50 pesos for 9-in-1 DVDs, we get Hollywood movies at a 1000-to-1 “discount”.

    Software is likewise a cheap commodity since widespread out-in-the-open thievery is engaged in by even the same priests and nuns that are decrying the oppression of patents and copyrights in medicine. And of course leftists for whom hypocrisy is a way of life.

    Ironically enough, maybe when it’s all actors and actresses in Congress we may get some teeth put into the IPR laws, instead of having people like Mar Roxas teach us how to defang them so we can get access to a lot of cheap medicines — FAKE or otherwise!

  2. Nick

    Piracy is still ongoing because of two reasons.

    1. There is a market for it

    2. Political Conviction is zero when it comes to tackling this issue. Arresting the small fishes in this industry is for who, while the bigger fish swims away.

    I see these DVDs all over the place, in malls, downtown Cebu, all over…

  3. Nick

    Correction: Arresting the small fishes in this industry is for show…

  4. cvj

    While the focus of the law has been on the pirates, the greater danger lies with the corporations (and their allies in government), who, as agents of Empire, seek to close off the intellectual frontier through strict interpretation and aggressive enforcement of intellectual property laws, in the name of profits. Among scientific and medical communities where open collaboration and information sharing is the key to new discoveries and innovation, restrictive intellectual property laws and practices are emerging as a real threat.

    Piracy in developing countries like the Philippines (and China) is a form of import-substitution with similar effects on the economy, both good and bad.

  5. Ate Shawie

    PLEASE DO NOT VOTE FOR KIKO “MR. NOTED” PANGILINAN

    — YOU DON’T DESERVE TO BE IN THE OPPOSITION !!!

    ANG YABANG MO, KUMAG – NAGING SENADOR KA LANG DAHIL

    SA ASAWA MO – – USER !!!

  6. the bystander

    The premise of that text message is bad enough. Patronizing pirated DVDs will all the more paralyze the movie industry.

    In fairness to actors and actresses, they are not the authors of the political mess our country is in. It is the handiwork of economists like gloria macapagal arroyo.

  7. DJB

    CVJ,
    You obviously do not understand the patent system. It is the goose that lays the golden scientific eggs, but there are “liberals” who want to kill it. The central misconception is that patents and copyrights “restrict” the flow of information and prevent collaboration. But the truth is that it is the key social innovation that has enabled disclosure and sharing of essential scientific discoveries and process techniques whilst providing a powerful incentive for innovators, inventors and discoverers. Without it, there would be NO sharing of information and the whole world of ideas would be dominated by TRADE SECRETS. In exchange for a head start on everyone else for a temporary period, the patenting system guarantees that important discoveries and knowledge will enter the public domain, intact, accurate and useful. Today’s vibrant world of scientific R&D would be impossible with it. Only ideological resentment and nationalist envy blinds some people to this otherwise universally recognized fact of history and society.

    But the benefits are not automatic. Take the case of Norvasc, which is at the center of Mar Roxas own apparent ignorance of how this all works. It will come off patent in June, 2007 here in the Philippines. But I wonder how many generic companies are gearing up to produce it by studying the patent and learning how to make it? NONE. Because it’s a bunch of viajeras getting ready to shuttle back and forth from Mumbai to import the stuff under the parallel importation regime. This is a sure guarantee that we shall never have local production of Norvasc and may flood the country with illegal knockoffs with fake trademarks and dubious efficicacy. Because we don’t have the even more expensive machinery to test and regulate what is going to come flooding in.

    But back to piracy and the respect of Filipinos for intellectual property rights. It’s like drugs…no supply without demand.

  8. cvj

    You obviously do not understand the patent system… – DJB

    From your reaction, you seem to think that i’m against patents, but if you reread my comment, you’ll see that i was talking about intellectual property in general which comes in different forms including patents, trademarks, trade secrets, copyright, electromagnetic spectrum allocations etc. As you have pointed out, patents are better than trade secrets. I agree, but only up to a point.

    The logic of patents derives from the logic of private property which encourages innovation, productivity and accountability on the part of the owners. That is well and good. However, from our own history, we know that private property can be misallocated in the same way that vast tracts of land in the Philippines ended up concentrated in the hands of a few families. Today, a similar dynamic is taking place in the area of Intellectual Property on a global scale.

    Corporations have been busy coming up with new forms of immaterial property to own. For example, traditional medicine, long practiced in countries such as India, have been the subject of patent disputes. Software patents, in particular, have been singled-out by the Open Source community as an obstacle to getting real software development work done. As the Norvasc case shows, Pharmaceuticals are intent on enforcing and extending their patents to preserve their monopoly profits at a cost to public health. With the above, and other similar cases, Thomas Jefferson’s original intent when he authored the US Patent Law is being undermined.

    Because it’s a bunch of viajeras getting ready to shuttle back and forth from Mumbai to import the stuff under the parallel importation regime. – DJB

    What’s your beef with the viajeras? From your previous pronouncements, I thought you were in favor of free trade?

  9. Nick

    CVJ, you are correct to assert that patents and copyright on the extreme end of the spectrum blocks the flow development.

  10. watchful eye

    Hey, guys, have you heard about Michael Jordan’s plan to patent his “fade away shots” and the estate of Marlon Brando the actor’s famous mumble? A lot of R&D have been put into them, they said. hehehe

  11. DJB

    CVJ,
    You do understand patents! Okay. But my beef with the viajeras is not the “free trade” aspect of it. Rather, it is the wrong solution to the problem of expensive medicines. We need to have a real generic drugs industry that fully exploits the patent system for what it is: the best way for scientific knowledge to become commercialized. Not argues about inequality and calls them “agents of Empire.” Granted there are profit-maximizing pharmaceutical giants? What have we got against profits?

    The other things about “viajeras” being encouraged by the new “Cheap Medicines” bill is that it will also encourage the entry of fake meds, in which we are already awash now.

    The parallel importation scheme being proposed is not matched with a properly equipt BFAD and demagogic arguments have been used to justify entering a new and officially sanctioned era of “free trade” in meds that we may come to regret. By the way, there is no problem importing traditional meds, but for some reason there is not rush to get them. Why? Maybe it is because the R&D to develop dosage and application has never been done with them. Or they just don’t work and are really being romanticized by some for no good reason. It’s the patented meds that is being targeted by the law. This may only benefit still the rich who can afford them anyway.

    Of course we’ve wandered off-topic…which was, as you correctly point out, IPR and DVDs.

    I still read people who do encourage or justify software and entertainment piracy along the same grounds you do: “import substitution”? Care to elaborate?

  12. watchful eye

    no no no djb, don’t even think about it… of copyrighting “cut-and-paste idiotarian” hehehe

    and and some usernames here can be IPR goldmine like “indoor ni emilie” hahahaha

    sorry guys I’m just having fun ….

  13. watchful eye

    … i mean “inodoro ni emilie” hahaha

  14. pingkian

    Hi cvj,

    I’m a daily visitor of mlq3 and ellen’s blog, though I seldom post a comment, ‘coz most of the points I would like to stress or raise are well covered by you and others. Keep it up and I hope you’ll put up your on blogsite.

    Tnanks to mlq3 for hosting such a wonderful site.

  15. DJB

    Folks, there is simply no avoiding the perception that we are a nation of IP thieves. Granted, piracy is a global problem, but my God, we certainly cannot pretend to be standing on high moral ground on this issue. Take a look at CVJ’s comment above:While the focus of the law has been on the pirates, the greater danger lies with the corporations (and their allies in government), who, as agents of Empire, seek to close off the intellectual frontier through strict interpretation and aggressive enforcement of intellectual property laws, in the name of profits.

    This is a lil bit like saying, while the focus of laws against bank robbery are bank robbers, it is the bankers, who as agents of Money, are a threat to the financial community because they want to suppress the bandidos.

    Further, CVJ sez:

    Among scientific and medical communities where open collaboration and information sharing is the key to new discoveries and innovation, restrictive intellectual property laws and practices are emerging as a real threat.

    Yet, 90% of Nobel Laureates in science and medicine come from the US, where IPRs are most strongly protected and the laws enforced.

    IP thievery will not free science and medicine innovation. It will kill it.

  16. watchful eye

    Now I’m really really mad, I saw one of my bolero routines copied at Dancing with the Stars. I’m gonna sue. Yeeaahh!

  17. Francis

    CVJ is not for IP thievery, she’s againts IP being used by large corporation as a leverage against upcoming innovators.

    Blackboard patent LMS
    BlackBerry vs NTP
    IBM vs SCO
    RIAAs lawsuits
    Microsoft spreading FUD about Linux IP violations
    Patent trolls

  18. watchful eye

    Seriously, one thing that bothers me is the privatization of intellectual commons, like my lola’s concoction for my asthma from her medicinal garden which she freely shared with our barrio folks, or perhaps the de-intellectualization of those properties common among villagers as a basis for commoditizing them by corporate business – for profit.

    Because some ‘properties’ have no price does not they have no value.

  19. watchful eye

    … does not mean they have no value.

  20. UPn student

    watchful eye: Some people do not take the little extra (or the huge extra) effort to put a patent around some “thing”. If a person does not believe that what they have is worth something, then there should be no hard feelings when not a centavo heads into their bank account.

  21. UPn student

    In addition, many a thing jumps in commercial value only when it enters the US and/or EU markets. Strains of rice were just strains of rice until some marketing folks realized that they can multiply twenty-times over the value of a particular strain of rice by branding it, packaging it differently, and then plunking money up-front to raise the visibility of the new product.
    Who wants to pay 25%-extra for brown rice, anyway? But Basmati, that’s a different story. And someone can probably have a reasonable-sized business with “Baguio-mountain terraced wild rice organic”, but one has to put money down first to grow the market (and has to decide whether to use Kennon Road, or the image of the Marcos-statue on the packaging).

  22. rego

    “In fairness to actors and actresses, they are not the authors of the political mess our country is in. It is the handiwork of economists like gloria macapagal arroyo”.—the bystander
    ———————————————————

    Isn’t Erap came from showbiz? And what is his positive contribution to the progress of the country. If you would only rewind it just a littel bit. There can be no Gloria without Erap. Naglasing ng nag lasing si Erap sa Malacanang, nangurakot, umabuso. Pinatalsik at pinalitan ng Gloria….Walang Gloria kung hindi nag loko si Erap.

  23. cvj

    DJB, i agree that the quality and authenticity of medicines should not be sacrificed. There should be a certification system in place that will accommodate *both* the pharmaceuticals and the viajeras to protect the public. As for the source, it does not matter to me whether these are locally manufactured or imported as long as they are available at an affordable cost. IMHO, the Pharmaceutical sector is not a good candidate for a local Industrial Policy.

    The term “agents of Empire” is not meant to be rhetoric. It is part of an analytical framework which recognizes that at this stage of capitalism, the system seeks to preserve itself through non-stop war (i.e. GWB’s ‘Long War’), and that Corporations seek to extract profit by converting as much of the Common (what is shared by everybody) into private property. Since we are at a point where immaterial production is becoming the dominant form, this aggressive seeking of new kinds of private property comes by way of Intellectual Property Laws. In this situation, the profits of these corporations become more like quasi-rents which are good for the few, but bad for the majority. (For further details, you can read Hardt and Negri’s books ‘Empire’ and ‘Multitude’.)

    BTW, for anyone who has a good idea or invention but for some reason is not able or willing to apply for a patent, the alternative would be to publish so that such idea or invention can be in the public domain and as such, no longer patentable by anyone else. We’re lucky that ideas like the spreadsheet and the web browser were not patented by its original inventors. So much better for the Common.

    pingkian, glad to hear from you again.

  24. Philippine Vigil

    Re: hi-tech and patents

    Most of our current civilian technologies were patented by defence companies for military use at the beginning.

    In other words, what we use in our every-day lives are military derivatives. Fortunately not all defence patents are available to the public and rightly so. Some of the world’s biggest defence companies’ real wealth lies in their tech patents. Their hardware storages are almost nil.

    Pinas engineers could actually come up with their own hi-tech innovations for the country’s own defence and civilian use inasmuch as lots of civilian hi-techs are 60 to 70% software devolpment and 30 to 40% hardware.

    Most engineers and technicians employed circa 70s by European defence companies in the Middle East and in Iraq (before the US quagmire there), for instance were solidly Pinoys.

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