We Need More Sunlight On ACTA: Where Is The Mainstream Press?

from the time-to-wake-up-and-demand-accountability dept

Last week, I wrote about how a little bit of sunlight on the so-called ACTA treaty was bringing out well-deserved anger towards the treaty. But the problem is that there's only been a "little bit" of sunlight -- mostly from Canadian newspapers, despite this treaty being suggested around the world. Copyright expert William Patry is ringing the bell to try to get everyone to demand a lot more sunlight on this awful proposed treaty, noting that the whole thing is being negotiated in secret (with tremendous help from the entertainment industry), and it's being pushed not by Congress (which is supposed to manage copyright law), but by the US Trade Representative who is under the faulty belief that stronger intellectual property rules are always a good thing.
The attitude of USTR toward copyright is a blinkered, one-sided view that copyright is good and therefore as much of it as possible is even better. But a view is just that unless there is political muscle to implement it, and here lies the systemic danger, the fact that USTR is in the driver’s seat in initiating and negotiating agreements that are cast as trade agreements, but which are in fact agreements fundamentally reshaping substantive IP law. No trade official in any country, no matter how well intentioned, should have that authority. In the U.S., the power to make copyright policy vests exclusively in the Congress. We do not want our trade representatives to negotiate on their own agreements that require changes in domestic copyright laws and then present the agreement after signature to the legislature as a fait d’accompli.
And while there were a flurry of articles last week in the Canadian press about this, it's pretty much died out, and the US press hasn't picked up on the story for whatever reason.
The overriding problem is not with any particular proposal (although there is lots wrong with the proposals) but with a secret process, run by trade representatives, trying to rewrite the laws on incredibly contentious substantive issues that were thrashed out in public previously, but are now being rewritten in secret and through the blinkered perspective of trade, not copyright policy. People usually work in the shadows because they are ashamed to work in the sunlight. It is up to us to open the windows, otherwise they will stay shut and we will be shut out from decisions that will seriously impact us, well beyond the search of our laptops and iPods at borders and airports often-cited as an example of how ACTA might work.
Let's bring a lot more sunlight into what's going on here, as it's quite a dangerous proposition that could lead to dire economic results and the stifling of innovation if this "trade agreement" is allowed to move forward. It would effectively hamper nearly everyone, in a misguided effort to prop up one industry's obsolete business model. If it's "trade policy," it's the worst kind of protectionism that will seriously harm our economy. There is no way this discussion should be happening in secret.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Woadan, Jun 4th, 2008 @ 3:27pm

    We need to amend the Constitution

    I'm becoming more and more convinced that the nly way we will see real change in how our government acts is to enact amendments to the constitution.

    It doesn't need to be overly wordy, just enough legalese to state that all parts of the process need to be conudcted in public, and that everything has to have a healthy debate.

    Maybe we also need to go to by name votes as well in both houses.

    Woadan

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 4th, 2008 @ 3:46pm

    Even a better solution would be to require each member of congress to actually READ each bill before they can vote on it. They should be required to initial each section, just as we have to do with rental agreements, leases, etc.
    You can bet that bills would be a lot shorter and less items would "Slip through."

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    eleete.com, Jun 4th, 2008 @ 3:46pm

    RIAA MPAA

    Square at the heart of this mess are two things, 1)the industry execs, and 2)our politicians, who Should be looking out for Our best interests. The problem here is one thing $money$ driving our politicians in the wrong direction. THAT needs to be made illegal.
    eleete

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    eleete, Jun 4th, 2008 @ 3:53pm

    Re:

    Do they even know how to read if it's not a speech begging for votes ?

    eleete

     

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  5.  
    icon
    theskyrider (profile), Jun 4th, 2008 @ 3:53pm

    The Mainstream press...

    Is owned by the companies who are pushing for this law. You think the AP, AFP, or UPI don't want stronger copyright laws?

    Let's not hope for any coverage from CBS, or ABC and especially not NBC or FOX either. We all know the reasons why that is.

    All that remains to spread the word are blogs. Anything that you might see in the mainstream press is some executive praising the treaty for its 'step forward in combating counterfeit goods.'

    You won't see anything about ISP filtering, P2P squashing, or any other negative aspect of the treaty (negative from my point of view) until it has been ratified by a lame-duck congress - JUST LIKE THE DMCA.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    eleete, Jun 4th, 2008 @ 4:00pm

    ACTA Roll

    Maybe we need a video showing what's going on, and inject it into all the social networking sites as if it's other outrageous content? Worked with Rick Astley, imagine if it was something people/Consumers cared about.

    eleete

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 4th, 2008 @ 4:49pm

    MSM has their collective heads up their ass so far they need a window in their stomach just to see where they are going.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Robin, Jun 4th, 2008 @ 5:16pm

    action

    being disgusted is all good and fun (both of which i'm into), but i decided to do something. to wit, e-mailing a list of links outlining the horrors of the secret treaty to my reps and sens in d.c. demanding they inform the u.s.t.r. how outraged everyone in our state is about this thing.

    yeah, yeah, i know: pissing into the wind, right? so's my vote then, but i still go and vote, so do you probably. same thing: accumulation of voices and details makes a difference.

     

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  9.  
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    Tom, Jun 4th, 2008 @ 5:20pm

    Re: reply to anonymous coward #2 post

    i completely agree with anonymous in this instance. if the bills were actually read, then less "bad bills" would get through.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Melvillain, Jun 4th, 2008 @ 5:41pm

    A low down dirty shame

    Maybe if we make a video with some cleavage in it we can get more attention. The latest I Power video (link provided as reference not endorsement) talks about how the internet will end in 2012 because the ISPs want to go to a channel type internet system. These guys are full of crap and don't provide any information, they just natter on for fifteen minutes abut "sources" and "contact your leaders". This video got over 10000 votes on Digg, yet, I was only the second one to Digg this TechDirt post and only the 83rd to Digg the Ars Technica article referencing the same William Patry blog post. The only explanation that I can think of is TechDirt and Ars don't have any cleavage. Get on it guys.

     

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  11.  
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    NadaGeek, Jun 4th, 2008 @ 7:08pm

    one more for the list

    well the good news is , the further they keep going with this crap the more likely it is that people in general will realize the gov is bought and paid for .
    that is the only upside and it is a slim hope as most of the population cant seem to pull their collective heads out of whatever distraction they prefer . but then again another worthless ignored law only lets ppl know how pointless the gov is..oops got off on a rant

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    NadaGeek, Jun 4th, 2008 @ 7:09pm

    one more for the list

    well the good news is , the further they keep going with this crap the more likely it is that people in general will realize the gov is bought and paid for .
    that is the only upside and it is a slim hope as most of the population cant seem to pull their collective heads out of whatever distraction they prefer . but then again another worthless ignored law only lets ppl know how pointless the gov is..oops got off on a rant

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    R. H., Jun 4th, 2008 @ 7:32pm

    Re: RIAA MPAA

    Umm...the offering and acceptance of bribes is ALREADY illegal. The problem is that sometimes politicians get other types of legal compensation in the form of campaign contributions and such and those are indeed limited in amount by law. I don't know how much further the law can go in fixing this problem. I don't know many people (myself included) who are completely immune to the sub-conscious corruption of, "he did something for me so I should do something for him".

     

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  14.  
    icon
    Matt (profile), Jun 4th, 2008 @ 8:35pm

    mainstream press is busy being censored

    remember all those deals about press silencing themselves for military? You didn't think that corporate interests couldn't trump the media, could ya?

    Sheesh....and people wonder why this isn't kicking and screaming....I'm sure it is, just squelched just as fast.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 4th, 2008 @ 8:37pm

    Some time ago I read a fictional story about what it may be like after the criminalization of letting someone else use your textbook. Good story, but I do not remeber its name or author ..... anyone know of this ?

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Will Smith, Jun 4th, 2008 @ 11:20pm

    $470 billion in exports down the drain without copyright

    OK morons,

    I'm tired of the "innovation" excuse as IP faces annihilation. There are limits to what innovation can achieve in a lawless society. Don't believe me? Go read about the dark ages.

    You can't keep shooting fish in a barrel and expect them to grow legs in order to climb out and avoid the bullets. If you condone stealing, eventually you will shoot all of the fish and the barrel will not continue to house any living fish. In simpler non-metaphoric terms, if creators are constantly assaulted by lawlessness, how do you expect them to carry on making what it is that you're happily stealing?

    How long would the new car market continue if door locks weren't an available option and it wasn't illegal to drive off at will in somebody else's car?

    So why are governments making these "NASTY STIFLING LAWS"? They know that if we lose the IP industry, you techno free-love hippies will have contributed to the collapse of the world's economy. So much for "victimless" crime you retards.

    Follow the money, morons...

    www.gao.gov/new.items/d08177t.pdf

    "According to the U.S. Intellectual
    Property Rights Coordinator, industries that relied on IP protection were
    estimated to account for over half of all U.S. exports, represented 40
    percent of U.S. economic growth, and employed about 18 million
    Americans in 2006. However, the economic benefits that copyrights,
    trademarks, and patents bring are threatened by the fact that legal
    protection of IP varies greatly around the world, and several countries are
    havens for the production of counterfeit and pirated goods. The global
    illicit market competes with genuine products and it is difficult to detect
    and take actions against violations. Although the public is often not aware
    of the issues and consequences surrounding IP theft, counterfeit products
    raise serious public health and safety concerns, and the annual losses that
    companies face from IP violations are substantial. The Organization for
    Economic Cooperation and Development recently estimated that
    international trade in counterfeit and pirated products in 2005 could have
    been up to $200 billion."

     

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  17.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jun 5th, 2008 @ 1:34am

    Re: $470 billion in exports down the drain without copyright

    OK morons,

    Nice of you to take this debate seriously. You're much more credible when you start off with a pure insult.

    I'm tired of the "innovation" excuse as IP faces annihilation. There are limits to what innovation can achieve in a lawless society. Don't believe me? Go read about the dark ages.

    Or, maybe, go read actual economic history and research that shows that it's not IP that leads to innovation. Go read Eric Schiff's work or Petra Moser's work. They present actual research about those so-called "dark ages" where countries had no patent laws. And, you know what? Plenty of innovation occurred.

    Then go read Bessen & Meurer's research and look at how patents have actually held back innovation.

    Then you can come back and make a comment where someone might take you seriously.

    You can't keep shooting fish in a barrel and expect them to grow legs in order to climb out and avoid the bullets. If you condone stealing, eventually you will shoot all of the fish and the barrel will not continue to house any living fish. In simpler non-metaphoric terms, if creators are constantly assaulted by lawlessness, how do you expect them to carry on making what it is that you're happily stealing?

    Well, you might have a point if anyone were talking about stealing. But no one is, so your point doesn't exist.

    Would you care to try again?

    How long would the new car market continue if door locks weren't an available option and it wasn't illegal to drive off at will in somebody else's car?

    Again, we're not talking about stealing. Please try again.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2008 @ 12:24pm

    remember this?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2008 @ 4:53am

    Re: $470 billion in exports down the drain without copyright

    I like your quotation from the american copyright office, which is nothing more than a mouthpiece for parties who are campaigning against basic liberties such as freedom of speech, protection from unfair search and seizure, and the right to due process in order to fulfill some perverse desire to control what we see and hear.

    I would love to compel psychological evaluations on the individuals running these companies and lobby groups. They think they somehow profit when I can load a disk into my car and tv but not my computer or when they use the DMCA to dictate the design of products in unrelated economic sectors.

    They campaign for the abolition of the internet, but either through ignorance or intellectual dishonesty engage in this game of cognitive dissonance by claiming otherwise, seeking to eliminate "facilitation of unauthorized information exchange".

    That's what the internet fundamentally is though, a medium designed to allow anyone to exchange any information with a minimum of friction. They may as well climb the pulpit and preach: "I don't want to abolish water, I merely want to dehydrate it"

    There is no such thing as the "information economy" of "selling bits". This idea was yet another dot-bomb business idea which was all glamour and no substance. Instead of ending up on the charter of a late '90's startup with an office stocked with aeron chairs, it was adopted as long term trade policy by people with the economic competence of a pepper shaker.

    It would be really funny to watch their delusional rants on stage on comedy central. Unfortunately these people seem to be embedded so far up the (explative deleted)-holes of certain politicians there is no hope of recovering the person people once elected, and like the citizens of Jonestown, their brains have been washed so clean at this point theyre not only drinking the poisoned cool-aid, theyre forcing it down our collective public throats as well.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    jimmy, Jan 27th, 2009 @ 6:44am

    Re: We need to amend the Constitution

    hey my friend!Find soittoäänet click here!good luck!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    sdf, Feb 13th, 2009 @ 6:14pm

    dsffdfsdf

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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