[Linux-aus] Amendment to the FTA amendment

Leon Brooks leon at cyberknights.com.au
Fri Aug 27 09:28:23 UTC 2004

How about scaling the penalties to the sales of the related non-generic 
drug(s), say 50% of the retail value since Day One of anything in the 
same drug _family_ as the potential generics which got evergreened out 
of the market, or $100,000 whichever is the greater. $10 million is 
pocket change to a big drug company and a showstopper to a small one.

Labor's narrow focus on PBS and generic drugs in relation to the FTA 
ignores the catastrophe awaiting many Australian industries in the form 
of a level playing field - with the traditional "800lb gorilla" at the 
other end of it in the person of the large American software houses.

The benefit to Australian industry of freer access to American markets 
is insignificant compared to the damage which will be done to 
Australian industry by giving large and hard-nosed American businesses 
freer access to Australian markets.

The Australian software industry in particular has a pounding awaiting 
it at the hands of American behemoths, and particularly because of the 
American way of dealing with copyrights, patents and other 
"intellectual property".

Patents and the like are expensive to obtain and even more expensive to 
defend, which makes them ideal weapons for larger companies to employ 
against smaller companies and individual developers. Microsoft alone is 
planning to take out 3000 new patents in the next year, and neither 
Australian software businesses, nor Australian computer users will 
benefit from having such vast tracts of intellectual property fenced 

Smaller Australian businesses such as mine won't even be able to afford 
to check to see if what we're doing has been patented, let alone defend 
ourselves against a maliciously inspired patent claim. Through the 
risks and mechanisms entailed in it, passing the FTA will inevitably 
turn us into a nation of George Jetsons, technicians who know no more 
about computers than how to click "Next" lots of times and then reboot.

Much has been made of the potential benefits of the FTA and purported 
escape clauses, very little investigation has been done into the 
potential risks and the real practicality of reversing it when it turns 
out to be a mistake. Please defer the FTA for a year or two until the 
pitfalls have been truly investigated and serious remedies for its 
deficiencies have been emplaced.

Cheers; Leon

http://cyberknights.com.au/     Modern tools; traditional dedication
http://plug.linux.org.au/       Vice President, Perth Linux User Group
http://slpwa.asn.au/            Committee Member, Linux Professionals WA
http://linux.org.au/            Past Committee Member, Linux Australia
http://osia.net.au/             Member, Open Source Industry Australia

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