Chamber of Commerce: ‘Interference With Copyright Laws = Marxism’

President and CEO Tom Donohue praises his group’s ability to have prevented making such things as cheaper drugs and environmental technology more accessible to all.

In remarks before the US Chamber of Commerce’s "5th Annual Intellectual Property Summit" yesterday, Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue made some startling comments that should raise the eyebrows of those that think that piracy is merely about movies, music, or software.

Intellectual property rights is also about much more important concerns like health education, and even the environment, which Donohue lauds his organization’s ability to have prevented the effort by some to make developments in these areas accessible to all.

Donohue notes his ability to take on those trying to make cheaper drugs available to the sick and injured in third-world countries around the world: "For example, earlier this year at the World Health Organization, our broad coalition of associations and companies were able to turn back an anti-IP effort and send the message that such assaults against innovation norms will no longer go unchallenged.
Activist NGOs had been urging the World Health Organization to oppose IP protections for pharmaceutical products, medical devices, and biotechnology."

Say what you will about the merits of file-sharing, but certainly healthcare is a subject of pressing concern, especially when US citizens, supposedly among the most affluent in the world, can no longer afford the cost of medications or treatment. Can we honestly say with a straight-face that we expect people in third-world countries like Zimbabwe or Cambodia to pay themselves what many of us cannot?

It’s downright criminal.

Donohue defends the effort to by saying that undermining pharmaceutical patents "…jeopardizes American jobs as well as the possibility of finding the next wonder drug." Try telling that to the millions dying from AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa.

To affirm Donohue’s already apparent insanity, he even goes on to call those that oppose intellectual property rights Marxists.

"Nowadays, academics, NGOs, and even governments are jumping into the fray to undermine IP rights all over the world by retooling the old Marxist contention that ‘property is theft’" said Donohue "This cadre of radicals are trying–sometimes successfully–to build public support against IP and innovation around the world."

Danaher even takes aim at those trying to make environmental technologies more accessible. This should certainly be of concern in light of global warming and large-scale pollution by many countries.

"In a similar vein, over the last year, governments, NGOs, and UN agencies have begun to call for a full abandonment of the patent system to allow developing countries to acquire environmental technologies," he continued. "What started with medicines has now shifted over to a new battleground–environmental technologies. Where these radical activists go next no one knows, which is why we must remain vigilant for new international challenges and aggressively fight them."

Yes, we certainly don’t know where these crazes "radical activists" will go next. I mean first they were concerned with the health of the planet’s population and then of the Earth itself? Those darn Marxists.

The speech was given to a group of businesses that unsurprisingly included Pfizer, General Electric, News Corp, and Proctor and Gamble among others in order to urged President Bush to follow the Senate and House’s lead and approve the PRO-IP Act.

The "Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act" would toughen civil and criminal laws against counterfeiting and piracy, provide enhanced IP enforcement and prosecutorial resources, and improve IP coordination within the executive branch by creating a so-called "copyright czar" position in the White House. It’s the latter part that is the reason why Bush has threatened to veto the legislation for he is concerned about separation of powers and "legislative intrusion into the internal structure and composition of the President’s Administration."

Let’s hope Bush vetoes the bill and helps protect "radical activists" and Marxists for a change.

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