Hollywood, Big Pharma, love the TPP

Dodd v Warren
Ex-Senator Christopher Dodd, head of Motion Picture Association – and Sen. Elizabeth Warren

In 1998, the United States Congress granted a 20-year extension of copyright terms — from the life of the author plus 50 years to the life of the author plus 70 years. Economists like Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman were incredulous, arguing that such long terms couldn’t possibly increase the incentive to produce creative works.

Now, through the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, the US is trying to force nations ranging from New Zealand to Vietnam to do the same.

And it’s not just copyright terms. The US also has legal protections for digital rights management technologies that are designed to prevent piracy of movies and music. These protections, though, are loathed by the open source movement, and have had a wide variety of unintended consequences, from restricting cellphone unlocking to limiting people’s rights to repair their own cars. Nevertheless, the TPP requires other countries to adopt similar provisions.

The stakes are highest in pharmaceuticals, where industry groups are seeking new regulations to limit competition from generic drugmakers, including extended patent terms and longer terms of exclusivity for a class of drugs called biologics. Critics say this will lead to higher prices, depriving millions of patients of access to lifesaving medicines. But defenders predict that drug companies will blah, blah, blah…Advocates say higher prices are good for everyone in the long run…

There’s no guarantee that boosting drug company profits will cause them to spend a lot more on research and development — perhaps they’ll spend it on marketing, or on dividends for their shareholders. Nor can we be sure that more spending will necessarily have a big impact on the number of lifesaving drugs that are invented or the quality of Hollywood blockbusters.

The argument seems particularly dubious when it comes to lengthening copyright terms. It defies belief to think that lengthening copyright terms from 50 to 70 years is going to induce Hollywood studios or record labels to invest more in creating content — 50 years is too far into the future to have any effect on a company’s financial calculations…

The United States won’t have to change much in the area of intellectual property or copyrights for the TPP. Congress and a couple of administrations in the White House have already guaranteed we have some of the crappiest, profit-centered regulations in the world. Even at that, if we suddenly acquired Congress-critters who have a rush of good will to their brains sufficient to turn them from the path of fulltime pimps – we’d then have to withdraw from the TPP somehow and renegotiate entry and membership.

A bureaucratic process that makes hitting yourself in the forehead with a ball peen hammer seem appealing.

26 states sue to stop Clean Power Plan – 61% of their public support the policy

On October 23rd, President Obama’s signature climate change program The Clean Power Plan was entered into the Federal Register. Almost immediately, 26 US states sued to stop the policy, which sets strict limits on coal-fired power plants.

However, according to our model of state-level public opinion, a majority of the public in 23 out of the 26 states filing suits actually support setting strict limits on coal-fired power plants. Across all 26 suing states, 61% of the public supports the policy, ranging from 73% public support in New Jersey to 43% in Wyoming and West Virginia. Furthermore, only 38% of the public in those states on average opposes the policy.

America’s history of controversy over climate change and the legal and political challenges to the Clean Power Plan might suggest that the nation is divided over regulating carbon dioxide from coal-fired power plants. Our research finds the opposite: a large majority of Americans overall support the approach. Our models find that a majority of Americans in almost every state support setting strict emission limits on coal-fired power plants.

Please visit our interactive Yale Climate Opinion Maps to explore more public opinion around energy and climate policy including: regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant, requiring utilities to generate at least 20% of their electricity using renewable sources, and other climate change policies and beliefs at the national, state, congressional district, and county levels.

Or you could behave like the average Republican and rely exclusively on what your dearest pundit tells you to think. One of the things I always do in my blog posts is link to the original article. Often in that post you will find a link to the science referenced. In the case of climate change, just wander over to the links listed on the RH side of this blog. I can especially recommend realclimate.com and 350.org as sites specifically chartered to discuss climate science.

My experience tells me that folks who take the time to read the science on any question end up with greater understanding, enhanced reason when it comes to making sensible political decisions.

Remembering absent friends — all wars

I presume these Canadian troops are marching away from a memorial to those who fell during the liberation of Belgium during World War 2. Yes, I remember all of those days. I can’t forget those days.

My best friend died over ten years ago. He was the most decorated soldier from our home state in WW2. He had 16 months in hospital to reflect upon how he got there – not just the German soldier who threw a hand grenade at him at the liberation of a death camp; but, the corporate and political creeps who helped scum like Hitler into power. Both sides of the pond.

We learned a lot together over the years. Both of our fathers’ families came to the US from Canada, btw. His from Montreal and mine from PEI.

This weekend watching football from England the silent tributes pre-match – and more – have started. Tens of thousands of sports fans of all ages in complete silence remembering all they have to remember. I thought I’d repost this tribute.

I salute you, too, Clyde.

Thanks, Mister Justin