Selective piracy in Cuba

Selective piracy in Cuba

Cuba is cracking down on satellite dishes, citing intellectual property laws:

Cuban authorities announced Wednesday they were intensifying police sweeps to catch satellite television signal pirates, with penalties that include heavy fines and up to three years imprisonment.

Piracy via TV satellite dishes “not only breaks national and international laws, but in the current conditions are the breeding grounds for those who pretend to carry out goals in the Bush administration’s plan to defeat the Cuban revolution,” the government-run Granma newspaper said.

Meanwhile the country actively steals intellectual property for pharmaceuticals:

With 1.3 billion people, China is the largest of these markets — and its potential for EPO sales is huge. Amgen, which invented the drug, shares patent rights with Johnson & Johnson and Kirin Brewery of Japan in the most lucrative markets: the United States, Europe and Japan.

But they have little influence over Cuba, whose well-developed biotechnology program makes EPO for sale to Argentina, Brazil, India and other countries that don’t acknowledge most U.S. and European drug patents.

“We are very careful about intellectual-property laws,” said Blanca Tormo, a Cuban biotechnology executive. She said Cuba sells EPO only in countries where no entity has exclusive patent rights.

U.S. patent holders consider this trade in generic drugs a challenge to their intellectual property. But from Cuba’s perspective, it’s merely good business, and consumers in developing countries are grateful to pay the lower prices.

Thanks to Mickey for this one.

August 11, 2006

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