US to Costa Rica: you want sugar markets? We want maximal copyright

Michael Geist sez, "Reports from Costa Rica indicate that final approval of the Central American Free Trade Agreement with the United States is languishing in the Legislative Assembly due to concerns over the copyright provisions. The CAFTA copyright provisions are similar to those found in the other major U.S. trade agreements concluded in recent years: DMCA-style protections, ISP liability, and copyright term extension are all part of the package. In this case, it is the responses that are most noteworthy. Within Costa Rica, the article reports that the copyright provisions in the trade treaty have set off a wave of student protests over what it means for education. Meanwhile, health officials are concerned that the provisions on pharmaceutical products "would bankrupt the public health system." The response from the U.S. is important as well. It is delaying market access to sugar from the developing country until the copyright reforms are in place. Until that time, Costa Rican sugar producers will not be able to sell their product in the U.S."

U.S. To Costa Rica: No Sugar Access Without Copyright Reform (Thanks, Michael!)

(Image: No to CAFTA, a Creative Commons Attribution photo from wonderjunkie's photostream)


  1. AAAAaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!! I just get so fed up. I can’t understand how hamfisted and clearly lobbyist-controlled our foreign policy is. Just to pick one of many ridiculous points: ISP liability? Why?? Do we even have that here? Not as far as I know. It would be a nightmare to enforce and would cause a lot of upheaval in the market. Well, apparently we don’t need to worry about what’s good for the countries we foist these BS requirements upon.

  2. @DC, et al…
    if you ever get a chance to visit south Florida (I lived there for a number of years), I challenge you to take Southern Boulevard west in Palm Beach County. Southern is Florida Highway 80 and connects, eventually, to Ft. Myers. About 35 kilometers into your journey, you’ll enter a vast flatland, reminiscent of the Great Plains, in what had one time been the northern reaches of the Everglades. All of the “grass” you’re seeing is sugar cane, as far as the eye can see. They routinely burn sections of this down, putting clouds of sugary smoke into the air, with little regard to where the smoke travels. They have destroyed a very sensitve eco-system as well, and yet continue to do so unabated. They are relying on America’s sweettooth; everything they do is predicated on the fact that sugar makes its way into quite a bit of our diet.
    As a result, they have criminally deep pockets that they are going to do everything to keep. Costa Rica is a threat (hell, probably one of the many reasons for the embargo on Cuba). At least they aren’t big corn… oh, wait, nevermind…

  3. Why would the copyright provisions bankrupt the Costa Rican public health system? Because some medicines would suddenly become too expensive? This would surprise me since I can get cheap alternatives to most drugs at Walmart, or from friends in Mexico.

    The only pharmaceuticals that I can’t get for cheap are the drugs whose patent has not yet expired, and generics haven’t been made — but that’s just a bunch of male impotency treatments. Are the drug provisos in this CAFTA bill saying something like, “You can’t use generics for _anything_.” or what? That would be crazy, but other than that, I can’t think of any reason for the Costa Rican government to not go ahead with the copyright agreements unless Costa Rica just doesn’t want to harm their emergence into the piracy industry or something weird like that.

    Don’t get me wrong, I hate US copyright law as much as anybody, but it seems a little odd that the main reason the Costa Rican government has for hating US copyright laws is the resulting high pharmaceutical prices of a handful of cutting edge drugs.

    1. Maybe you should read the entire article before using it as reference. The law in Costa Rica is sufficiently equipped to handle the piracy cases described, as long as the affected party bothers to put a complain:

      “There are no complaints by the distributors or producers for the offenses, so the police can’t perform an official act,”

      This wouldn’t be such a big issue, except for the small fact that it will trump costarican laws, you know the ones that were created democratically.

      Anyways, around here a cease and desist notice from most (if not any) source will get your internet service removed; mainly because the only ISP is the one set up by the government.

    2. You can bet your rear end that there is a good reason for worry when it comes to pharmaceuticals. A handful of cutting edge drugs? Think again. The pharmaceutical giants got Obama to agree to extend bio-pharmaceutical patents in exchange for a promise too cut their profits by UP TO $80 billion (not $80 billion) over 10 years. Also in exchange, the feds are cutting off access to overseas drugs. The result for my family is an increase in cost for ONE drug that my wife needs just to stay functioning from $75/mo to $601/mo for a drug that is an OTC drug elsewhere in the world. The maker paid #200 million to stop generics from being made when it’s patent expired. The health officials there seem to actually care about someone other than themselves.

    3. @Anonymous#4, I don’t think it’s the copyright provisions that are the issue with generic drugs – it’s more the patent and test data provisions. And with DR-CAFTA, it’s not quite “”You can’t use generics for _anything_.”, more like “you can’t use generics for anything the drug companies make big profits from.”

      Under CAFTA, Costa Rican (and other Central American) authorities will be obliged to prevent the registration and marketing of a generic pharmaceutical or agrochemical when a patent that covers the product exists. Also, patent terms will be extended, and the use of test data for the registration of generic drugs will be restricted.

      In other words, less generics, more cost, worse health, more and earlier deaths. But more money for the owners of pharma IP.

    4. the CCSS(caja costarricense del seguro social)give medicines for free, so they need generic medicaments.

  4. Our (corrupt) president is heavenly involved with sugar production. He has some big (dumb) interest in ethanol too. I suppose that if in next elections this Febraury the puppet from his political party gets elected they will go on with this stronger copyright nonsense.

    The major (and public) internet provider here has bulling us more recently over the use of P2P

  5. Since Costa Rica has no armed forces, the USA has less influence there than it would like to have (or in fact would otherwise have had if CR did have armed forces): compare and contrast every single other country in Central America.

  6. This kind of behavior is the main reason why the other 95% of the world hate America and (most) Americans.

    One act of bullying at a time, we end up spreading poverty and despair and we end up with a country like Haiti, completely unprepared for a disaster like a major earthquake, and then when sh-t happens we just click on a link and send them $5 and we pat ourselves in the back without ever thinking it was us who caused it in the first place.

    Yes, I know, we did not cause the earthquake but if Haiti wasn’t the poorest country in the hemisphere the number of casualties would have been substantially lower.

  7. Count me with those who are at least curious if this has less to do with copyright and more to do with corn farmers.

    < sigh > and at least two months until Passover Coca Cola shows up.

  8. Are abusive copyright sanctions imposed on dependent markets America’s new ‘open door’ policy for overseas ‘free’ trade?

  9. Replaced all sugar with local honey.No slavery involved (except for the little critters), health benefits, diversity in flavour.

    Happy ever since.

  10. Well vacant if you want the best health care system in the world you personally have to pay for it.
    So says the private insurance companies, anyway.

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