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Stopping Criminals Isn't "Censorship"

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments | August 11, 2015

Tom Giovanetti Gives His Take on First GOP Debate

Posted by Erin Humiston | Comments | August 10, 2015

In an interview with CTV News, IPI's Tom Giovanetti gives his assessment of Thursday night's Fox News Channel Republican debate. 

"It was a fabulous debate," said Giovanetti. "It showed how much energy there is on the Republican side." Read More >>

The Australia-U.S. Free Trade Agreement Did NOT Blow-up Australia's Pharmaceutical Benefits Program

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments | July 31, 2015

Right now, literally as I type this, Australian trade negotiators are reportedly resisting U.S. demands for increased protection of pharmaceutical and biotech innovation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. They are no doubt motivated by the warnings of Australian academics and researchers that Australia’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), which the Australian government uses to control drug prices, will be weakened or undone altogether by extending the period of data protection for biologics, among other provisions.

The sky-is-falling warning from these academic critics of the pharmaceutical industry is that protecting the products of innovation will necessarily result in dramatic price increases, which Australia (and Australians) will no longer be able to afford.

Interestingly, Australian academics made this exact same argument in 2003, warning Australia about the treaty that was then being negotiated, the Australia-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (FTA).  

I have before me a copy of a paper published by The Australia Institute, entitled “A Backdoor to Higher Medicine Prices? Intellectual Property and the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement,” by Dr. Buddhima Lokuge, Dr. Thomas Alured Faunce, and Richard Denniss.

The paper predicted that the Australia-U.S. FTA would result in dramatic increases in the cost of prescription drugs in Australia.

“This paper examines five leading medicines near the end of their patent lives in Australia. Based on PBS expenditures for these drugs in 2003, we estimated the potential cost of likely changes to IP provisions under the FTA to the PBS and Australian taxpayers. The costs accrue over a four-year period from 2006 to 2009. . . . The ‘central case’ estimate is that the additional cost of these five drugs alone, as a result of IP provisions in the FTA, will be more than $1.12 billion with a lower estimate of $850 million and an upper estimate of $1.56 billion.”

But they were wrong then, and they’re likely wrong now. Read More >>

Australia Drug Prices Did NOT Increase After Australia-U.S. FTA

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments | July 30, 2015

A piece in today’s Dominion Post (New Zealand) finds that warnings about higher drug prices as a result of free trade agreements are baseless, as least as far as facts are concerned:

“We can't assume medicine costs will increase if some patents or Intellectual Property protections are extended. Speculation about rising medicine prices under the TPPA mirror concerns Australians voiced over the U.S-Australia FTA. However, since signing the FTA in 2005, Australia's spend on pharmaceuticals has remained stable and the rate of expenditure has decreased. In 2006 Canada's pharmaceutical spend decreased after implementing an eight year data protection period. Similarly, after Japan increased data protection in 2007 to eight years, pharmaceutical spend decreased and health care spend increased by the year 2010.” Read More >>

TPP Critic Quigley Writes Article for Foreign Policy; Coordinates with Anti-IP Activists

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments | July 15, 2015

On Monday, a writer named Fran Quigley had a piece published on the Foreign Affairs website that was highly critical of some of the provisions in drafts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.

We’ll get around to dealing with the arguments in Quigley’s FP article in a separate blog post.

Quigley’s title of “Clinical Professor of Law in the Health and Human Rights Clinic” at Indiana University tells us much of what we need to know. If you merge health and human rights, you have already decided that access to every bit of the latest health care technology available is a human right, and if it’s a human right, it’s your right to have it for free, or for something very close to free.

That makes Quigley an activist more than an analyst of the provisions of the TPP. A look at his cv demonstrates that Fran is a social justice crusader, a proponent of the labor movement, and a neighborhood organizer type. Read More >>

Modernizing the Copyright Office

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments | June 11, 2015

For the past two years, Chairman Goodlatte of the House Judiciary Committee has been conducting a comprehensive review of the copyright system, mostly through a series of topical hearings. Many of us who defend copyright against the barbarians saw this process as a threat--as an opportunity for copyright critics to vent before Congress and demand wholesale changes to copyright law. Fortunately, and rather surprisingly, that’s really not what happened. In the course of the hearings, very few aspects of copyright law were revealed as being out-of-step with today’s marketplace and current technology.

In fact, in a recent letter, the Internet Association itself said that existing U.S. copyright law “has adapted well to Internet era.”

One thing that DID come out of the hearings, however, is the need to modernize the Copyright Office itself. Even though the copyright industries now contribute more than $1 trillion to U.S. GDP and comprise 6.7% of the U.S. economy, the Copyright Office itself is still housed as a subset within the Library of Congress, and is widely recognized to be underfunded. Read More >>

Toward a Free Market Agriculture Policy

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments | June 3, 2015

A few weeks ago Americans for Limited Government Foundation published a paper by Dr. J. Wesley Burnett of the College of Charleston on "Moving to a Free Market Agriculture Policy." It's a great, short survey of U.S. agriculture policy, especially of recent policy changes, and the role of U.S. agriculture in global agriculture markets. If you're looking for an accessible way to get up-to-speed on federal agriculture policies, this paper is a great means of doing so.

I was drawn to the paper because it also touches on sugar policy reform, something I've written on a couple of times recently for IPI. The paper endorses a multilateral approach to solving the sugar subsidy problem, as I have also suggested. Read More >>

An Important Supporting Argument for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments | May 31, 2015

An important (though not primary) argument for the importance of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, and thus for the importance of trade promotion authority (TPA):

"The only thing that could stop China from dominating Asia would be if a hostile, sustainable alliance of Pacific Rim nations emerged." Read More >>

The Lie at the Heart of the Denton Fracking Ban

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments | May 31, 2015

I thought we were finally finished with this.

And then, last Wednesday on the Diane Rehm Show, with another of her typical three vs. one panels, it all came back.

Not only did Texas learn from the Denton Disaster and take steps to prevent it from happening again, but so did Oklahoma, passing a clear ban on cities attempting to regulate below-the-surface issues such as drilling techniques and either blatant or de facto bans on fracking.

During Diane’s show, several called from Denton, and at least one of them repeated the lie that is at the core of the Denton fracking ban, or more specifically, the lie they keep repeating.

What is that lie? “We tried to regulate drilling activity, and it didn’t work. The fracking companies just ignored the regulations.”

Extended dance remix version of the lie: “We passed restrictions in Denton on the gas companies, but they still found ways to skirt the regulations and do whatever they wanted to do.” Read More >>

Webcast Tonight: Merrill Matthews Speaks At Cancer Specialist Conference

Posted by Erin Humiston | Comments | May 29, 2015

IPI's Dr. Merrill Matthews joins ASCO, the world's largest conference of cancer specialists, tonight in Chicago to discuss the role research and development plays in fighting cancer and why innovation is critical for patients.  Read More >>

NBC Local DFW Affiliate Features IPI on "Denton Fracking Bill"

Posted by Erin Humiston | Comments | May 8, 2015

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to sign HB 40, a bill passed by the Texas Legislature that would pre-empt cities from banning hydraulic fracturing. IPI president Tom Giovanetti is featured in this NBC Channel 5 news package by Denton County reporter Brian Scott calling the passage of the “Denton fracking bill” a victory, saying it reasserts state law and protects free enterprise as well as the rights of  mineral owners.  Read More >>

Now Is the Time for Republicans to Back TPA (Trade Promotion Authority)

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments | May 2, 2015

Republicans should enthusiastically support Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). Yes, Obama is mostly right on trade. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

This TPA extends past the Obama admin into the next, hopefully Republican, administration. So it's not just for Obama.

"Why not wait until we're sure the next president is a Republican?" some say. Here's the problem: Right now you can peel off a certain number of Dem votes for TPA because it's for a Dem president. If a Republican is president, you'll never get those Dem votes.

Now is the time for TPA. Not just because it's right, but because it's in the strategic interest of the next (hopefully) Republican president as well. Read More >>

IPI on 'Lone Star Politics'

Posted by Erin Humiston | Comments | April 26, 2015

IPI president Tom Giovanetti joins NBC's Kristi Nelson and Todd Robberson of the Dallas Morning News on Lone Star Politics to discuss a bill moving through the Texas Legislature that would halt cities from outright bans on hydraulic fracking, discussing how rule of law should govern local rulemaking, not simply majority rule. Video begins at 10:34.  Read More >>

Something You Probably Don't Know About Electronic Privacy

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments | April 10, 2015

Here's what you probably don't know: A 1986 law, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), governs much of the electronic privacy activities of the government. And here's the weird thing--it provides protections for electronic data that is LESS than 180 days old, but not for data that is OLDER than 180 days.

Why did policy makers think that distinction made sense? I don't know, but it's one example of how a law written 30 years ago is completely out-of-date and incapable of governing the current data storage practices in the Internet Age. And especially in the age of cloud storage. Read More >>

State of Tennessee vs. Federal Communications Commission

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments | April 1, 2015

I've just received a copy of the lawsuit from the State of Tennessee against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for the FCC's order that attempts to overturn laws passed in states regulating municipal broadband networks in those states.

The argument is pretty clear and straightforward, as indeed I think it is. This is a most blatant violation of federalism. There is no constitutional grounds for a federal regulator to think it can overturn laws passed by the duly elected legislatures of the states.

In the Order, the FCC preempts Tennessee law pertaining to the operation of municipal electric plants, including the Electric Power Board of Chattanooga, an instrumentality of the City of Chattanooga, created and controlled by the State of Tennessee. In doing so, the FCC has unlawfully inserted itself between the State of Tennessee and the State's own political subdivisions. The State of Tennessee, as a sovereign and a party to the proceeding below, is aggrieved and seeks relief on the grounds that the Order 1) is contrary to the United States Constitution; 2) is in excess of the Commission's authority; 3) is arbitary, capricious and an abuse of discretion within the meaning of the Administrative Procedures Act; and 4) is otherwise contrary to law. . . . Accordingly, the State of Tennessee respectfully requests that this Court hold unlawful, vacate, enjoin, and set aside the Order, and provide such additional relief as may be appropriate.

Amen. Read More >>

 

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