It is fitting that the corporate and government officials negotiating the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) are holding its latest round in the Pacific region.
A relatively short hop away from New Zealand, in China, they could see a recent example of why much of what will be discussed this week doesn't work in the real world.
Last week Nokia launched its Comes With Music service in China. For the cost of a $187 (£120) handset you can download from a choice of nine million songs from top bands and, here's the kicker, there's no digital rights management software.
It's the kind of service that people around the world would enjoy and, I suspect, use in droves. But it also highlights quite how egregiously we are being taken for fools by the media industry in Europe and North America.
Piracy is endemic in China, with rates running as high as 90 per cent in some areas. The media companies have obviously decided that it's better to receive a little of something than nothing at all. They have struck a deal with Nokia to get a cut of handset sales and subscription revenues, and in exchange they will give their music away free in a form in which it can be easily pirated.
This flies directly in the face of the situation we face in the US and Europe. In one of the last acts of this parliament the UK government rammed through the hugely unpopular Digital Economy Bill, arguing that piracy is so harmful that it justifies cutting off your internet service at just the suspicion of illegal file sharing.
In the US, the RIAA, supported by most of the companies in on the Chinese deal, successfully argued in court that each song that someone shares is worth $80,000 (£52,000). This ludicrous figure was cut on appeal to $2,250 (£1,450) but, in light of the Chinese experience, one has to wonder how they made even that stick.
The answer lies in a long history of such practices. Two decades ago Bell South took a young hacker called Craig Neidorf to court after he was found in possession of documents about the functioning of the 911 emergency call system. In court the company was asked to put a value on the documents, and came up with a figure of $79,449 (£51,500). At that value, Neidorf was looking at 31 years in jail.
Then his lawyers started asking questions, notably how the figure was arrived at. It turns out that Bell South had included in the valuation the cost of a VAX workstation to type it, a copy editor and a host of other charges.
What saved Neidorf was a Bell South engineer who contacted the defence and pointed out that Bell South was actually selling more detailed versions of the documents in question to anyone for just $13 (£8.40). The case ended in farce.
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