Treaties, Copyright and…Phillip Morris ?
The cigarette lobby is using copyright to argue against labeling constraints. The new argument centers on a proposed Pacific Rim trade pack between Australia, the United States, Japan, Chile and eight other nations. Phillip Morris and other industry bigwigs are pushing the U.S. to make it harder for other countries to require plain packaging from cigarette companies. They are arguing this measure is necessary to protect the intellectual property rights embedded in international treaties. The regulations would limit the style of the packaging and the size of brand names. Phillip Morris and others claim there is no clear connection between packaging and health benefits to the public, and insist they will continue to fight laws limiting cigarette companies in such a way.
And their argument seems to be winning. The Obama administration has moved away from insisting on strong provisions protecting tobacco regulations to one that will require health officials discuss the regulations before a challenge under the treaty can be made.
So overall another win for the ongoing war between tobacco and the anti-smoking lobby.