cj604> WIPO, cyberspace, and stealth feudalism

1996-11-14

Richard Moore

Dear cj,

        As you've noticed, one of the themes emphasized on this list is
that sovereignty is being systematically transferred from nation states to
corporate-controlled global commissions.  Below we have a perfect example
of how and why this process operates.

        WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) is exactly one of
these faceless, unaccountable commissions -- of, by, and for megacorps,
designed explicitly to accelerate the implementation of corporate global
control beyond what can be obtained by subversion of individual nations.

        Despite the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court has been packed by
corporte-approved judges, ever since the days of the Warren court, the
Court still retains sufficient respect for the Constitution and the
democratic process that corporations can't get all they want quickly
enough.  In this case, the Court had the temerity to rule that "facts
cannot be copyrighted."

        Back in the days of national sovereignty this would have been the
end of the matter.  But now that we have the basic structures of a world
government in place, megacorps have a higher supreme court to appeal to, in
this case WIPO.

        Do you have any idea how people are appointed to serve on WIPO?  or
what their qualifications need to be?  or who they are accountable to?
Have you seen TV hearings debating such appointments, as you did in recent
cases of Supreme Court appoinments?  Certainly not, and this is what I mean
by such commissions being "faceless" and "unaccountable" and "beyond the
democratic process".

        The fact is, just as the Militia people claim, that the Consitution
is being sold down the river and power is being transferred to a world
government.  But fantasies about "UN troops occupying the U.S." are just so
much X-Files-style propaganda, designed to confuse thinking about how such
conspiracies actually operate.

        It isn't the UN that is at the center of the new world government.
The UN is entirely too democratic to be trusted with power by the elite.
The UN will certainly be exploited in those cases where it furthers elite
interests, but it is this alphabet soup of commissions (WTO, WIPO, IMF,
etc.) that embody the legislature and judiciary of world government.

        There is such a commission in existence for each domain of
corporate concern, from agricultural policy, to pharmaceuticals, finance
and monetary policy, tarrifs and trade, nuclear materials, communications,
etc.  Each is made up of corporate representatives, and in each case their
goal is to set up systems which implement elite/megacorp control, with no
concern for human welfare nor even for healthy economic operations.
Megacorp monopoly is the economic paradigm, not productive competitiveness.
"Free Trade" is "Big Lie".

        This compartmentalized regime may not look like a government, and
certainly it would never claim to be, since it keeps its profile as low as
possible.  "Stealth" is a term normally associated with warplanes, but it
accurately describes the process by which world government is being
established.

        To return to the case at hand, consider what it means for this kind
of strong copyright to become global policy.  One must keep in mind various
other trends, such as government records and reports being increasingly
distributed by private firms, and the concentration of media/communications
ownership into the hands of a small number of megacorps (Disney,
Time-Warner, etc.).

        What we're heading for is a system where information itself --
scientific results, contents of legislation and congressional studies,
descriptions of news events -- literally all knowledge and facts -- will be
corporate owned, with copyright strictly enforced as information flows over
government-monitorable cyberspace links.

        This is more than simply profit-motivated monopolization of
information distribution -- though that's bad enough.  It is also a
politically-motivated consolidation of the mechanisms of mind-control into
a small number of megacorp hands.  What the megacorps choose not to tell
us, no one else will be allowed to tell us.  Government censorship is the
tool of a bygone age -- welcome to the game of Idea Monopoly.


-rkm

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CYBERLAND
+
David Hipschman
American Reporter Correspondent
Casper, Wyo.
11/12/96
cyberland
700/$7.00

                THE BATTLE FOR NEW MEDIA COPYRIGHTS
                         by David Hipschman
                  American Reporter Correspondent

        CASPER, Wyo. -- "Content providers," as artists, photographers,
writers and editors have come to be known in the more mercantile corners
of the World Wide Web, have long been concerned about intellectual
property rights and copyright as they apply to the Internet.
        In the Net environment theft of other people's work is easier
because of the anonymous nature of the medium.
        More protection, or a limit on the free-flow of information --
depending on which side of the discussion you find yourself upon -- may
come in December, when the World Intellectual Property Organization will
consider the draft of a new treaty that would require countries, including
the United States, to limit the public's right to use pubic domain
materials stored in "databases."
        According to James Love of Consumer Project on Technology
(http://www.essential.org/cpt), some experts say the proposed treaty is
potentially the most anti-competitive ever created.
        The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) is accepting public
comment on the treaty, and a companion digital copyright treaty. Comments
are due by November 22, and may be submitted via email to
•••@••.•••.  Copies of the treaty, commentary, and the PTO
federal register notice are available at http://www.public-domain.org -
the site gives background information on the treaty and the problems it
may present.
        The database treaty, according to Love's posting to a listserv,
came about at the urging of large publishing companies in response to a
1991 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Feist Publications v. Rural Telephone
Service(http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/classics/499_340v.htm). In the
ruling, according to Love, the Court rejected a claim of copyright
protection for a phone directory, saying facts cannot be copyrighted, and
"listing names, addresses, and telephone numbers in alphabetical order,
are not sufficiently creative to qualify for copyright protection."

~--<snip>--~

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    Posted by Richard K. Moore  -  •••@••.•••  -  Wexford, Ireland
     Cyberlib:  www | ftp --> ftp://ftp.iol.ie/users/rkmoore/cyberlib
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