All-Party Intellectual Property Group announce [sic] new Inquiry
On the surface it looks promising. The All-Party Parliamentary IP Group has started a public consultation into The Role of Government in Protecting and promoting Intellectual Property. Is this an opportunity for the public to voice its opinion on government attitude to intellectual property?
There have been numerous reviews into IP policy in the last ten years but the decision-making framework within which policy is developed and agreed has not been sufficiently examined.
The purpose, says John Whittingdale MP, Chair of the Group, is “so we can feed into developing Government thinking in this area, particularly following its Copyright Consultation.”
But don’t go thinking this is democracy in action. It isn’t. If you want to respond, you’ve got 2 weeks to do so. And if you want to respond, you have to write to Luther Pendragon, which provides secretariat services to the Group – paid for by the Alliance Against IP Theft. Luther Pendragon also provides services to the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), providing “strategic advice to the representative body for the research-based pharmaceutical industry on its relationships with politics, the NHS and patient organisations.” Unbiased it ain’t.
The All-Party Group sounds impressive and official. But it isn’t. “They are essentially run by and for Members of the Commons and Lords, although many groups involve individuals and organisations from outside Parliament in their administration and activities,” says Parliament itself. They are really nothing more than private lobby groups essentially operating inside government, and are the opposite of democracy. The purpose of this short-lived consultation is so that the Group can feed the views of the rightsholders into official government thinking under the guise of public opinion.
I’m afraid we have to accept that the alliance of rightsholders (that includes entertainment, monopolistic software companies, pharmaceuticals, life-sciences and generics companies) already pwns the government.