US Chamber Of Commerce Launches Ad Campaign For Son Of SOPA (Techdirt)
Thursday August 30th, 2012
Next to the MPAA, the main lobbying organization that pushed SOPA was the US Chamber of Commerce. The organization and its laughably inept "Global Intellectual Property Center" are infamous for the fact that they have absolutely no shame in using completely bogus numbers to argue for bad laws that their highest spending backers support. Not surprisingly, the USCoC did not take the loss over SOPA lightly, and it appears that they're gearing up for the next version of SOPA in 2013. As pointed out by Gautham Nagesh, the USCoC has kicked off a new ad campaign priming the pump for new legislation to "protect intellectual property."
In other words: get ready for "son of SOPA."
The powerful business lobby, perhaps the biggest supporter of controversial legislation intended to stem online piracy, is at it again. The group is up with a billboard advertisement in Manhattan's Times Square and an online video series urging Congress to "protect America's IP rights." The Chamber is claiming that "this is an awareness campaign.... not political," but no one believes that. They've also set up a "website" at DangerousFakes.com, which includes a silly video and more debunked stats.
World-wide cross border trade in physical counterfeits alone costs the global economy $250 billion a year. This number is so bogus that it's been debunked through and through over and over again through the years. As we have explained, the real number may be closer to about $5 billion (still decently large, but nowhere near $250 billion) and that $250 billion is based on a single unsourced claim in an article in Forbes from 20 years ago. In other words: bogus.
96% of all online pharmacies are operating illegally, many out of compliance with international IP laws that protect the public health and safety. Of course, this depends on how you define "illegally." Many are merely gray market re-importers, helping people get more affordable, and perfectly legitimate drugs. But the big pharma companies (USCoC members, of course) don't like the competition and efforts to drive down their insane margins.
In the United States, the domestic value of counterfeit pharmaceutical seizures in FY 2011 rose by more than $11 million, an increase of almost 200%. And, again, how much of that was gray market, legitimate drugs that were just being re-imported? And how much of it were true "fakes"? Also, if the problem is really $250 billion, doesn't it seem to highlight how small a problem fake drugs are if the US seized just $11 million approximately $17 million worth? (Update: Correcting the number based on $11 million being the "increase" of "almost 200%" to approximate the total). Oh, and note that they said "domestic value," not the actual price. That's because they're taking the fake drugs and then inflating them way up to the price that would have been charged. Meaning the real amount seized was much, much less.
Counterfeits also have the potential to put our military at risk and jeopardize our national security missions, according to two recent reports by the Department of Commerce and the Government Accountability Office. More fear mongering. And of course, if the military is buying counterfeit parts, shouldn't the focus be on the military's procurement process? Why is the military buying from shady equipment dealers in the first place?
The thing is, there is a risk from fake drugs and military equipment, but it's a really, really, really small problem. Barely noticeable. That's why the Chamber likes to lump those in with other things, like copyright infringement, because then they can pretend that the "risk" is really big. But it's not. I'm all for focusing in on stopping those who actually sell truly fake drugs and fake military parts, but there really aren't that many of those out there, and they can be targeted specifically, rather than passing broad legislation with massive consequences for the rest of the internet.
But that's not how the Chamber works.[NOAD]