My argument is this. The US arguments for intellectual property law with regards to software, films and other forms of media ring hollow, weak and false in light the United States governments repeated and insistent refusal to enter into any treaty with internationally recognized Protected Geographical Indicators.
For example, Champagne, it took France and then the EU from the Treaty of Madrid onwards in 1891 only 115 years to get the American government to agree to ban all new producers from labelling their sparkling wines as Champagne.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Champag...word_champagneThe United States bans the use from all new U.S.-produced wines. Only those that had approval to use the term on labels before 2006 may continue to use it and only when it is accompanied by the wine's actual origin (e.g., "California").
http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/26/5388.html(iii) The requirement of this clause is met if the person, or its successor in interest, using the semi-generic designation held a Certificate of Label Approval or Certificate of Exemption from Label Approval issued by the Secretary for a wine label bearing such brand name, or brand name and fanciful name, before March 10, 2006, on which such semi-generic designation appeared.
How about Parmigiano-Reggiano or Parmesan to the English speakers?
Then there's the latest deal.... Kobe beef.The name is trademarked, and in Italy, legal exclusive control is exercised over its production and sales by the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese Consorzio, which was created by a governmental decree. Each wheel must meet strict criteria early in the aging process, when the cheese is still soft and creamy, to merit the official seal and be placed in storage for aging. Because it is widely imitated, Parmigiano-Reggiano has become an increasingly regulated product, and in 1955, it became what is known as a certified name (which is not the same as a brand name).
Thus in the European Union, "Parmigiano-Reggiano" is a protected designation of origin (PDO); legally, the name refers exclusively to the Parmigiano-Reggiano PDO cheese manufactured in a limited area in northern Italy. Special seals identify the product as authentic, with the identification number of the dairy, the production month and year, a code identifying the individual wheel and stamps regarding the length of aging.
Outside Europe, most notably in the United States, commercially produced imitation cheeses may be legally sold under the generic name Parmesan, although there are substantial differences in terms of quality, taste and nutritional components. When sold in Europe, such cheese are obliged to use another name, such as Kraft's "pamesello italiano".
Let's talk about some of the work needed to go into making "Kobe beef"
From wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kobe_be..._beef_in_Japan
But... from the USDA website... http://www.aphis.usda.gov/newsroom/c..._beef_vs.shtmlKobe beef in Japan is a registered trademark of the Kobe Beef Marketing & Distribution Promotion Association (?????????? K?beniku Ry?ts? Suishin Ky?gikai?). It must fulfill all the following conditions:
Tajima cattle born in Hy?go Prefecture
Farm feeding in Hy?go Prefecture
Bullock (steer) or castrated bull, to purify the beef
Processed at slaughterhouses in Kobe, Nishinomiya, Sanda, Kakogawa and Himeji in Hy?go Prefecture.
Marbling ratio, called BMS, of level 6 and above.
Meat Quality Score of 4 or 5
Gross weight of beef from one animal is 470 kg or less.
So what about Kobe or Wagyu beef sold in America? Well "Wagyu" means, well it means Japanese cattle, great, except all cattle from Japan is now banned! So we're talking maybe breeds of Japanese cattle grown overseas? Not so much actually, the Wagyu cattle lines for sale to Americans have been bred into American breeds. So it's rather much like your typical Irish or Scottish or Italian or whatever other hyphenated American you can come up with. They're not actually that, they're just plain old American. There is none of the standards required in America like there is for Kobe beef in Japan (quality controls and an ability to track where your piece of Kobe Beef came from the serial number printed on the packaging) There is no specific definition set in American law defining Kobe Beef, nothing.WASHINGTON, May 28, 2010 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) notified the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on April 22, 2010, that effective immediately APHIS veterinary services (VS) has placed temporary restrictions on certain commodities from Japan due to foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), based on notifications from Japan of an outbreak in cattle that is consistent with FMD. As a result, APHIS is drafting an interim rule that would remove Japan from the list of regions recognized as free of FMD. Once published, that rule would indefinitely prohibit the importation of susceptible animals and most products from susceptible animals from Japan.
Ruminant (cattle, sheep, goats, camelids and cervids) meat and meat by-products are currently prohibited from Japan due to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), with the exception of boneless cuts of fresh beef, normally referred to as Kobe beef. Under these new import restrictions, boneless/Kobe beef will now be refused entry, including in passenger baggage.
It annoys me to no end, because what we have here are groups of people who have spent not merely their whole lives but presumably generations working, crafting and moving to a point of excellence that is now widely admitted and internationally acclaimed. Then some thieving bastard from America gets to rip off all that hard work?
Actually I'd say this is even worse because it's not just theft of ephemera like say a cam copy of the latest fucking tweenie movie hunger games but it's also fraudulently passing off someone else's hard work as your own to defraud the consumer.
I mean we regulate these exceptional products so that you can be assured of an excellent product at a set criteria of quality, time and time and time again. Why has the USA refused to sign ANY kind of treaty with regards to Protected Geographical Indicators for almost 120 years? Doesn't that strike you as fundamentally a fraudulent practice, stealing not from just the hard work of the producers but also stealing from you, the American consumer and denying you the opportunity to understand and experience the hard work that has gone into ensuring the quality of the produce that has been guaranteed, not by just a trade organisation but by national and even international agreement?
To say American protestations for recognition of international trademarks and intellectual property in light of all this rings a little false and hollow is a bit of an understatement to say the least, gross hypocrisy and fraudulent behaviour against not just people who have worked their whole lives in maintaining the intergrity and quality of these brands but against the American consumer. Frankly I find such behaviour to be not just unethical but immoral too.