Skip to comments.Bill Clinton Gets a Taste of His Own Medicine
Posted on 12/08/2004 4:58:39 AM PST by Voice in your head
It's never nice to wish someone a taste of his own medicine, but since it has already happened to Bill Clinton, here's hoping some good will come of it.
The subject is his runaway hit memoir, "My Life," which according to reports in the New York Times has recently become the latest victim of copyright infringement in overseas markets. Despite official distribution of the work in Asia, many of the copies on the street are hastily pirated versions -- sold for a fraction of the price and without any of the royalties due its rightful author.
And the chronic misspellings, cheap materials and smudgy ink that mark the knock-offs commonly found in Asia are the least of the problem. Mr. Clinton's carefully chosen words have been murdered by additions and deletions wholly out of keeping with the original. Copies available in China have Mr. Clinton serially quoting Mao and extolling the feng shui of his hometown in Arkansas.
It would be funny if it weren't so serious -- or so redolent of the policies Mr. Clinton himself has supported in another arena of great demand and Western prices. That is, knockoff drugs to fight AIDS.
Since leaving office, Mr. Clinton's Presidential Foundation has been engaged with a number of international health activists and charity organizations in trying to provide AIDS medicines to the countless suffering from the disease in underdeveloped countries in Africa, Asia and South America.
But while the goal itself is worthy, the Clinton Foundation has been a leading supporter of the use of knock-off pills, produced without permission or supervision by generics manufacturers in countries that do not recognize international patent rights. The companies, most notably Cipla and Ranbaxy in India, have long been favorites of the AIDS activist community because they pilfer technologies developed at huge cost by large Western research-based drugs firms.
The foundation acts as a liaison in brokering deals between drug suppliers and the countries that are fighting AIDS. Working in concert with global health activists, it has made headlines in recent years for securing agreements for rock-bottom prices, which Mr. Clinton hoped would "deliver life-saving medicine to two million people in Africa and the Caribbean in the next five years."
Its work lends the gravitas of a former U.S. president to the agenda of profit-oriented Third World drug companies that see a get-rich-quick opportunity in knocking off Western medicines. And, not unlike the warped version of "My Life" now being sold to the Chinese, many of those drugs have both disrespected the rights of the original producers of the medicine and been proven inferior products. Recently, several of the knock-off medicines were recalled by the WHO's prequalification board because they couldn't be shown to be equivalent of the drugs from which they were copied.
The argument for using the generic approximations of American and European antiretrovirals was always predominately about cost. Bill Haddad, CEO of Biogenerics and a proponent of using U.S. funds to buy generic drugs, described his objective as "having the Bush monies used to help patients and not enrich the multinational pharmaceutical companies."
But the same could be said for nearly any product that comes to market. University professors in less prosperous countries have made the same case regarding textbooks -- part of the same publishing counterfeit market that now threatens Mr. Clinton's book sales. They defend the pirated copies because big Western publishing companies are rich and shouldn't be allowed to keep poor students from learning.
In China, authorities wink at the practice. By a recent poll, more than 90% of students see no problem with buying the grey market versions. But the key difference is that while publishing's counterfeiting woes remain significant, few serious academics or policy makers would suggest we should encourage the practice of making knock-offs as a matter of U.S. government policy -- and principle.
The American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai has called intellectual property rights violations the biggest threat to investor confidence in China. The book piracy is so widespread that U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Zoellick has suggested that publishers should lower their prices abroad to undercut the pirates. American publishers estimate their loss to counterfeit publishing at around $500 million over the last decade, but, at least they are able to fight vigorously to protect the work of their authors.
Supporters of the use of generic drugs regularly point out that AIDS drugs have miraculous life-extending qualities -- that they provide a critical function that should never be denied as a matter of human rights. The industry's protestations that it must profit to survive are met with jeers: but the same research that brought those drugs to market would not have happened otherwise.
Hillary Clinton got it right when she objected to the selective editing in China of her manuscript of "Living History" and Bill Clinton is right to balk at copyright infringements now. Now if only his Presidential Foundation would do the same.
You mean he didn't actually quote Mao? As for the feng shui, yes, that is probably an error. It is actually the kama sutra.
I wonder why the NY Post declined to run Levey's column as it normally would? Is the newspaper trying to curry favor with Sen. Clinton and other Dems? Its puff pieces on Spitzer and anti-Pataki articles and editorials might provide clues.
Do the Chinese know what the meaning of the word "is" means?
the article is predicated on the assumption that BC is the true author, something that there seems to be plenty of reasonable doubt about..
The headline is very misleading. When I saw Bill Clinton gets a taste of his own medicine, I was sure this was a story about someone shoving a Havana cigar up his rectum.
This article isn't about Clinton, it reads like a shill for big Pharma.
So-called AIDs drugs - especially the lethally toxic AZT - have killed thousands upon thousands of people in the US alone. At least 90% of everyone who ever died of "AIDs" in the US in fact died of liver failure - a classic sign of toxin exposure.
I thought the same thing.
They must have found his original draft before it was scrubbed by his handlers to be more palatable to the mainstream...
"The subject is his runaway hit memoir, "My Life," which according to reports in the New York Times has recently become the latest victim of copyright infringement in overseas markets. Despite official distribution of the work in Asia, many of the copies on the street are hastily pirated versions -- sold for a fraction of the price and without any of the royalties due its rightful author."
This is by design. Free duckets for the Chinese people. More fed, more warm. Clinton wins political clout. He is building guanxi, look it up.
He isn't losing anything. The headline is incorrect, the premise is incorrect.
Canadians can sell drugs at a lower cost because they don't do the research - US Pharmaceutical companies do
.but the US Pharmaceutical companies are blamed for gouging
they are simply recovering their costs.
The printed the front page.......BUSH KNEW.....which her heinous brought to the senate floor shortly after 9/11.
WHO is supposed to be the "rightful author" that is supposed to received this money??
The NY Post is owned by Rupert Murdoch, a globalist (and a foreign one, at that) with his own agenda who doesn't have any real concern for what we here at FR think of as conservative principles.
That book means nothing to him. It was only a front to begin with. Does anyone believe that the 20 million that he and hillary robbem told us about was actually for books, and not their cut from the stock market robbery that stole BILLIONS out of old folks 401k programs?? Yeah, and hillary is such a great trader that she turned $1000 into $100,000 in one week, with no help from don tyson.!!??!! Hey, we all KNOW that wasnt a payoff from don to the klintons, for some favor from gov. klinton??