Via America’s Lawyer: Hollywood dispatches a team of lobbyists to Washington in an effort to stop lawmakers from waiving COVID vaccine patent rights. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio:             Lobbyists for Hollywood studios are actively working to prevent the COVID vaccine patent from being made public. And as you can figure, that’s, that’s Hollywood saying, we want to put our profits ahead of human lives. That’s what this story is about. Hollywood is saying, oh, we can’t, we can’t run the risk of giving up any of our patent rights and protections, even though 300,000 people might die because of it. This is an ugly story.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah. I mean, what did we have over the weekend? I think on Saturday, about half a million new COVID cases alone, just in India, because they’re starved for the vaccine that we have here in the United States. We could give them the patent for it. We could let them have it. But instead the administration says, we’ll send you 30 or Moderna said, we’re going to send you 34 million doses. So 17 million, it’s not enough. But Hollywood is actively going out there, sent their lobbyists to DC. And they said, listen, if you lift the patent on this vaccine, there’s a chance that through some screwy logic that we have, that’s not even in the bill, by the way.

Mike Papantonio:             No. It’s very specific in the bill. It is excluding.

Farron Cousins:                  Exactly.

Mike Papantonio:             This thing that Hollywood is saying, we’re worried about, it says, no, this won’t happen. But Neil Turkewitz, who’s the talking head for this whole thing, comes up and says, we can’t run any kind of risk like that. Really? We’re running the risk of killing people all over the world because they can’t get information about how to improve the system. If you, if you do this to them, if you don’t allow this free open discussion, more people are gonna die and Hollywood knows it. And they don’t give a because it has to do with, they try to dress it up. You know, I’m waiting for a Gal Gadot maybe to do, get all of her tone deaf friends together and do a, do one of these videos. Maybe they’ll do Money by Pink Floyd. I don’t know.

Farron Cousins:                  Well, you know, a lot of the places that are seeing the rise in COVID cases, you know, maybe this is coincidence, maybe not, but you’re talking about India. And what happens in India? Well, they’ve got their own version of Hollywood. Don’t they? They’ve got their own movie productions. They’ve got their own music productions there. It is a big competitor overseas. So why not just let them die? I think is what Hollywood is thinking right now. I, I guarantee you that is playing a role in this, that people are not thinking about. But that’s a big factor, I think.

Mike Papantonio:             One thing, don’t forget, 2013 Hollywood actually did this another time when they were trying to change the laws so disabled people could have better access. Deaf people wanted to have access and Hollywood fought that too. And now, but they’re saying, gee wiz, we, the only group that seems to have a brain here is the organization, the documentary group. The documentary association says absolutely we don’t care about our patent. We care about human life. World health organization, you know, they’re saying, look, this is, this is a disaster. WTO says, if we don’t do this, millions of people are going to die.

Farron Cousins:                  Well, and it, let’s be clear too. It’s not even just about the vaccines that these people are trying to get. It’s about just basic research. Even news stories coming out of the United States about the real numbers, they don’t have access to that because of our copyright laws here.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah, yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  And again, the law does not say you can open up, you can reproduce Hollywood movies, steal them. It is explicitly prohibited.

Mike Papantonio:             You can’t do that.

Farron Cousins:                  Right. We just want to give them science and a chance at life.

Mike Papantonio:             Farron, thank you for joining me. Okay.

Farron Cousins:                  Thank you.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.