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Sunil Kumar Lal, of Lucknow, who has designed the Aam Aadmi Party logo claims that he has never transferred the copyright to the party and disillusioned with the developments within the party, has resigned from his membership as well as revoked permissions for the party to use the logo in the future.

Sunil Kumar claims that he, along with other volunteers had supported the party with one ambition - to free India of corruption. He says that the dreams of volunteers are attached to the logo and he cannot bear to see it used as the backdrop of toxic politics.

Read full letter here:

AAP Resignation & Logo Revoke

It is unclear where the law stands on this and I am asking a few people for their opinion. I will update here. Regardless, this is yet another way Aam Aadmi Party volunteers are resisting a hijack of control over their party. I had mentioned earlier that even if there was a conspiracy behind AAP, it would prove difficult to implement because of volunteers.

Update: I asked Apar Gupta, a litigator with experience in areas of intellectual property and technology whether Sunil Kumar can invoke his copyright to refuse Aam Aadmi Party the use of their logo and he says "will need to be litigated. Will depend on the existence and the terms of the transfer deed."

Earlier, another AAP volunteer, Kundan Sharma, who had given the blue Wagon R that Arvind Kejriwal used to use had asked for it to be returned. Outlook reports that Kumar Vishwas had said that it could be returned to him, if he wanted it. Dissenting volunteers had on and off been demanding refunds of donations and more.

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India’s Sovereignty, Security and Freedom at risk-

Is the IB being used by foreign corporations to take over India’s vital seed sector?

The IB report has a special section on GMOs (genetically modified/engineered organisms). It clearly supports the introduction of GM crops into Indian agriculture.

The IB report makes specific mention of the Supreme Court cases which have beenfiled. It curiously also accuses civil society organisations and individuals of influencing 3 Committees that were officially mandated to assess GMOs. The IB report objects to these formal government reports, the Moratorium Orders of Shri Jairam Ramesh, the Parliamentary Standing Committee Report and the Supreme Court-appointed Technical Expert Committee Report (TEC) because they find that on current evidence, GM crops have little to contribute to Indian agriculture, safe food and food security. These findings did not accord with the view of the PMO, when headed by the erstwhile Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh. This report was initiated under the UPA Government.

IB objects to protection of Indian seed and food sovereignty?

In 1998, when Monsanto introduced Bt cotton illegally, without the statutory approvals from the GEAC, we had to file a case in the SC to defend the laws of the land, our Constitution, our Seed Sovereignty and Food Sovereignty. When open field trials were being conducted without appropriate and independent Biosafety assessments, and expertise inthese matters, the current cases in the Supreme Court were initiated in 2003 and 2005 to uphold the law: protect the environment and safety of our seeds and food from irreversible genetic contamination, protect smallholder farming in India, and the health safety of 1 billion citizens. The country faces a major threat from the multinational Seed/chemical industry, seeking control over our seeds, our agriculture and our food. This is the corporate focus. This is their AGENDA. Thousands of organizations and many multiples of thousands of individuals are committed to resisting this unacceptable corporate goal for India.

IB favors the foreign hand in the ‘making of India’s Bt brinjal’:

The IB report quotes a Dr Ronald Herring of Cornell University who promotes GMOs and the monopoly of Monsanto. It is ironic that the IB report relies on the evidence of Dr Herring with his antecedents in Cornell University, a hub of blind GMO promotion. It is the direct foreign hand along with USAID and Monsanto funding, behind the ‘making of India’s Bt brinjal’. Here is a real foreign hand that informs the IB report. Has the IB report been written then with foreign influence, for the benefit and profits of foreign corporations? Thestrategy of the global GMO seed industry with their patents & IPRs (Intellectual Property Rights) is to bend regulation and influence governments and regulators to approve GMOs, by-passing scientific, transparent and independent safety testing.

Outrageous insult to our Parliamentarians and Contempt of Court by the IB:

The PSC recommended a high-level enquiry into how Bt brinjal was approved by the Regulators for commercial release. The self-assessed safety-dossier by Mahyco-Monsanto was a cover-up as evidenced in independent assessments of the raw data by several leading international scientists.  It staggers belief that the IB find it possible to hand out an outrageous insult to the Parliamentary Standing Committee, by suggesting  that they have in effect been led ‘by the nose’ by activists and civil society groups and have no competence to address their official mandate on the subject. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the IB report has been influenced by those who have most to gain by undermining our seed and food sovereignty ie. the foreign corporations.

The IB report has also attacked the government decision made under our Biosafety laws to impose a moratorium on Bt Brinjal. It is thus attacking our Biosafety. This will only suit foreign interests.

The IB is guilty of contempt of court since it attacks the Technical Expert Committee set up by the Supreme Court to look into the issues of GMOs and Biosafety. The case is still being heard.

The IB fails to refer to the important other official report, the ‘Sopory Committee Report’. This report of 2012 commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture itself is a stinging commentary on what is wrong with GMO regulation in India. Ourregulatory institutions and the MoA have been indicted in this report for lies, fraud and lacking GMO expertise. And the truth with regard to massive contamination was revealed in this report.

NGOs saving Indian seed and food sovereignty:

The biggest foreign hand by STEALTH and official COVER-UP will be in GMOs/GM crops if introduced into Indian agriculture. All that stands between a corporate takeover of our seeds and agriculture is the committed and exemplary work by the not-for-profit sector that helped create an informed debate on GMOs and has postponed, even stopped government action from introducing them for over 15 years.  In conspiring with deeply conflicted institutions of regulation, governance and agriculture, of which there is incontrovertible proof, to introduce GM crops into India, the IB will in fact aid the hand-over of the ownership of our seeds and foods to Multi-NationalCorporations. This will represent the largest take-over of any nation’s agriculture and future development by foreign-hands and this time it will be no bogey foreign hand. This will be for real.  China is on record as saying that she will not allow her armed forces to eat any GM food. This not-to-be-imagined future will plunge India into the biggest breach of internal security; of a biosecurity threat and food security crisis from which we will never recover. The fallout of this mere 20 year-old laboratory technology is, that it is irreversible. This is what must give us sober ‘food for thought’ uncontaminated by GMOs, something the IB seems to be supremely oblivious of. GM crops have already demonstrated no yield gain, no ability to engineer for traits of drought, saline resistance etc and have some  serious bio-safety issues which no regulator wishes  to examine.

Indian Cotton in Foreign Hands, Indian farmers’ hard earned money expatriated to foreign lands:

India’s Bt cotton is an outstanding example of the above scenario. It was introduced into India’s hybrids, not varieties so our farmers would be forced to buy seeds each year. This ‘VALUE CAPTURE’ for Monsanto which was contrived and approved by our own government mortgaging the public interest has ensured that in a short 10 years, 95% of cotton seeds in the form of Bt cotton are owned by Monsanto. The damage to India’s organic cotton market and status is significant. India is the largest organic cotton producer/exporter in the world. It is Monsanto now that decides where cotton should be planted and when by our farmers, a role that the MoA has absconded or been eliminated from. The Royalties accruing to Monsanto that have been expatriated are approximately Rs 4800 Crores in 12 years,   (excludingother profit mark-ups). What would this figure be if GMOs and propriety seeds flooded our farms without Biosafety assessment and regulation? This is the arithmetic the IB should have done, instead of throwing an arbitrary figure of 2-3% loss of growth. The IB is thus conspiring with global corporate interests to hemorrhage India’s agricultural economy. More than 284000 Indian farmers have been pushed to suicide because of a debt trap, lack of government investment in smallholder farming and dependence on non-renewable, propriety seeds and chemicals sold by the corporations. We call for an investigation on the foreign influence in writing the GMO section in the IB report.

If India's intelligence agencies become instruments of global corporations working against the public interest and national interest of India, our national security is under threat.

This IB report is deeply anti-national and subversive of constitutional rights of citizens in our country.  It does India nocredit.

Signed:

 Vandana Shiva,               Aruna Rodrigues,                Kavitha Kuruganti

Navdanya

8100 25169                       98263 96033                         9393001550

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I have been following the exploits of Anonymous for a while now, and the question of Intellectual Property is one that keeps coming up, even though the Anons in Operation India categorically deny any support for piracy. Whatever the stand of Operation India is, I find the idea of intellectual property very dysfunctional.

Mankind has evolved on knowledge and innovation. "Intellectual property" is at the fundamentals of everything in life, from the right way to burp a baby to some important patent. It is existing knowledge that forms the foundation for future knowledge. The idea that some kinds of knowledge can be registered so that the effort and expense invested in them forms a kind of permanent hen laying golden eggs is a vast injustice to the abundance of life affirming knowledge all around. For that matter, could the people patenting their intellectual property afford to even sustain their effort, let alone profit from it if they were to pay intellectual property charges for the knowledge that is not registered and made private? From the rights to the recipe of tea served in their canteen to the use of language, numbers, smaller research that is now established practice making their work possible?

In my view, the idea that knowledge can be owned by a few and allowed use in return for monetary compensation is an exploitative one. Why should people be allowed to enrich their lives from thousands of years of evolving knowledge, but refuse to return their  contributions to the wild? What does it mean for our evolution as mankind, if the next step is forever private and requires people to keep inventing it or pay? What does it mean to ventures that are not commercially profitable to not have access to knowledge because they can't afford it? What does it mean to the divide between the rich and the poor, if elite discoveries are priced to forever be out of the reach of much of the population? To me, it seems like caging ideas is caging progress.

It is years now that I have  supported open source efforts and promoted them, so that access is not a bar for people. But this isn't about software alone. There are patents for life saving medicines that are priced way beyond the reach of those needing them.

There is art going out of reach. India as a country is special in the music that flows in its veins. Take any random Indian, and they are sure to have absorbed over hundreds of songs from just living - we have songs everywhere. From every film having songs, to children playing antakshari, to ceremonies and festivals being made more enjoyable with them. Our country is one where over 90% of the population lives on under one dollar a day. What does it mean for them to have the intellectual property of songs enforced? To lose legal access to one of the few joys available to them, because someone made that song?

Do a google search for images to put in a blog post, and you run into copyright infringement. Either make your own graphics and click your own photographs, or have a blog without images, because whoever heard of a blogger able to buy images for use?

Intellectual property defends itself as an investment that needs to be recovered. Yet, in reality it serves as a permanent asset often making millions of times the investment made in its creation. Think for example a song created for a film. The song maker got paid. The producer recovered expenses from the film, yet the song is intellectual property, seeking to squeeze money out of music lovers who can't make ends meet already. Who does such a concept serve and what is its purpose beyond creating money for those placed to claim ownership?

At the same time, it is true that many things cannot be created for free. Research investments need recovered. Efforts need compensated. Are there better ways to achieve this than caging creations and refusing free access to those who could gain from them? A few things come to mind.

  • The idea of a default of rights being restricted should be abolished. On the contrary, if there are costs that need recovered, then the registration should be applied for specifically.
  • The idea of forever being compensated should be dropped. Once the investment is recovered, continuing to "recover" it is absurd. Possibly recovering up to twice the investment makes sense as an incentive for investing in endeavors.
  • For life saving inventions governments or corporations should take on the investment in return for development of the country or for corporates, the profits from the fruits of it.
  • Where an investment is made, it makes sense to have an additional charge till it is recovered, which should be reversed when recovery is made.
  • Alternative ways of earning from the creation should be encouraged where possible. For example most open source software coders earn from services related to them - either customizing it or installing/trouble shooting.
  • The idea of having done something in the past being entitlement to earn from it forever without doing anything at all should be stopped.
  • Sure, some things will be exceptions - things that need continuing research and updates, for example.
  • However, this is about the money. Other rights, as to the creation being attributed correctly, for example, are important to uphold. Forever. Because it is that person's contribution to mankind.
  • The main goal should be to not restrict access to knowledge, or if any restrictions are needed for recovering investment, they should be minimal and monitored closely. So you may have a music album releasing for a certain price first, and then again at lower cost in a few months or year (depending on how it sells). Copying of the music itself should be free (remember you already earned from the film?)

A master carpenter works with as much skill as a musician. A sculptor works with as much dedicated attention and skill as a software coder. Yet he sells his chair or statue once. The musician being able to sell duplicates of his creation many times must not mean unequal financial compensation, if we expect tangibles to grow in our world as opposed to easily duplicated things. Why would a person want to earn once from his efforts if he can earn many times by doing something else? Does that mean shoes or grain is less important than a software? Or that life saving drugs should be available to only those who can afford them?

Unless we are able to look at income as a compensation for work as opposed to a payment for past work, we will never be able to overcome the divisive barriers between the haves and have nots. Worse, we will bring thousands of years of evolution to stagnation by narrowing access to further innovation.

In any case, piracy is thriving to extents where curbing it is  impossible without serious erosion of the rights of many innocents. It is time to use piracy and turn it into distribution and find more realistic ways of earning.

Note that these are thoughts, not well evaluated decisions and obviously many considerations will be important. The idea is to trigger thinking not promote one master fix.

I would like to hear your thoughts on this.