Report From The Field: ACTA Negotiations Not Going Well

from the about-time dept

Well, there's a bit of good news coming out concerning ACTA negotiations: apparently, all this public scrutiny is causing some problems for the negotiators. Jamie Love points us to an analysis by David Hammerstein, based on talking to a number of people involved in or close to the negotiations, and came up with some key points, including that "the negotiations are not going that well and many issues are still wide open. It is doubtful they could wrap up soon" and that "there is a significant problem in making US and EU legislation compatible on a number of issues." Apparently, because of the way the US defines fair use and "commercial scale," the EU negotiators are trying to leave in vague language that doesn't sit well with others. He also notes that there's some confusion about what the EU Parliament's recent vote against ACTA means for the negotiation.

Then there are three key points at the end:
They get very uncomfortable when asked about the possible use of the legitimacy of Acta in authoritarian countries.
As well they should. This is a point that we've raised repeatedly, noting not just the similarities between the methods used for censorship in authoritarian countries and ACTA, but also in the way that those countries will almost certainly use ACTA to justify their own censorship.
They have no answer to concrete questions on the "innovation chill" that could be caused in many businesses by introducing criminal sanctions and other enforcement measures.
This is what happens when you craft rules designed to benefit legacy companies within an industry, without understanding the broader impact on the market. That the negotiators "have no answer" to this question only confirms that these rules were not created with the goal of improving the overall welfare of citizens, but to protect certain companies. And that point is only highlighted even more by the final point:
No social or economic impact studies seem to be undertaken in the EU on Acta.
Of course not. That's because, as per usual with intellectual property rules, these ideas are faith-based, rather than evidence based.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Joel (profile), Mar 25th, 2010 @ 9:54am

    ACTA Conversation

    Me: What's wrong ACTA?

    ACTA: I'm not doing well.

    Me: Why??

    ACTA: I don't know what I'm doing here.

    Me: Aren't you supposed to protect the people?

    ACTA: I don't know.

    Me: Oh that is bad.

    ACTA: I know, I feel useless.

    Me: Well you kinda are. Sowwy!!

    ACTA: Don't be I know, hopefully I don't make it.

    Me: I'll be sad to see you go, makes for interesting conversation.

     

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

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2010 @ 10:07am

    So they're having problems with the Anti-Citizen Trade Agreement?

    Shocking.

     

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  3.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Mar 25th, 2010 @ 10:20am

    Weird

    Weird, the light is on, I would have expected more scurrying after the release of the ACTA text.

     

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

  4.  
    icon
    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Mar 25th, 2010 @ 10:26am

    Re: Weird

    I think at this point it's more of a "deer in the headlights" kind of thing. Maybe if they don't move we won't notice them.

     

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

  5.  
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    Trails (profile), Mar 25th, 2010 @ 10:27am

    To quote Princess Leia

    "The harder you squeeze the more [internets] will slip through your fingers"

     

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

  6.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Mar 25th, 2010 @ 10:35am

    Re: Re: Weird

    Any day now I am expecting the line ... "well that is an unfinished draft it means nothing" from the negotiators

     

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

  7.  
    identicon
    Simon, Mar 25th, 2010 @ 10:53am

    They have no answer to concrete questions on the "innovation chill" that could be caused in many businesses by introducing criminal sanctions and other enforcement measures.

    They have the answer, they just don't want to say it: "That's the whole point of this!"

     

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

  8.  
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    crade (profile), Mar 25th, 2010 @ 11:04am

    I would certainly breath easier for a while if ACTA fell apart. In fact just hearing there is dissention makes me feel a little better.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2010 @ 11:25am

    faith-based? Are you saying this is a catholic or jewish conspiracy?

     

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

  10.  
    identicon
    Mike Mixer, Mar 25th, 2010 @ 11:27am

    The shame of ACTA negotiators

    Is there is no shame. Any thoughts that these people are afraid of or chastened by this leak are wishful at best. The only result of this leak will be higher security, more secrecy, and quicker resolution of the task at hand. The good news is that as of it's adoption it will be rendered moot by the same forces that strike fear into it's proponents. It will have the same effect as all the other laws that currently cover the same ground which of course is damn little. Trails is correct, there will always be some way for people to do what they want with what they want legal or not.

     

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

  11.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Mar 25th, 2010 @ 11:38am

    Re: The shame of ACTA negotiators

    One good thing may come of this ... copyright, patent, and IP reform. When governments over reach like this you tend to start rebellions.

     

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

  12.  
    identicon
    DrE, Mar 25th, 2010 @ 11:41am

    Faith v evidence or something else?

    Is it that the ideas are faith-based instead of evidence-based or is it that most people do not know how (or want) to test ideas with evidence (e.g., they exhibit confirmatory bias: that is they search for "evidence" that supports their position and selectively ignore "evidence" that seems inconsistent with their position). That most people do this shouldn't be surprising. It is a useful way to debate. The problem is that the goal of debate (and influence) is not to seek the truth but to win the argument.

    Legacy businesses are not interested in the truth of the claims that they make. Their goal is maintain the business model even if it means citing "evidence" that is of worst kind.

    If public policy decisions were governed by a reasonable system, the first thing that policy makers would have to agree about is what they will measure to determine if the policy (whatever shape it takes) is successful. Think of the health care bill, crime control, or education reform. How can we know whether a new policy to improve health care or education or to decrease crime actually does improve anything without first agreeing what observable outcomes will actually constitute improvement. In the case of legacy business models, the businesses that support ACTA focus on different outcomes than those who oppose it (e.g., supposed lost income from downloading of music, video, and other content v innovation in technology and content). How can we evaluate a policy if we can't agree what outcomes to measure?

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2010 @ 12:18pm

    After all the "fix is in" wailing about ACTA it is interesting to see, as is the case with every negotiation such as this, that parties have divergent views that at some point will ultimately be reconciled via mutually satisfactory compromise.

    No, the "sky is not falling" as some seem inclined to believe.

     

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

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2010 @ 1:33pm

    Re:

    It's not over until it's over. Besides, why all the secrecy? Why not go through WIPO or the WTO?

    Oh right, because WIPO and the WTO have public representatives representing the public.

    ACTA? Nope.

     

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

  15.  
    identicon
    wallow-T, Mar 25th, 2010 @ 1:50pm

    Re: Re:

    "We had to destroy democracy in order to save it."

     

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

  16.  
    icon
    Seshan (profile), Mar 25th, 2010 @ 2:12pm

    "Governments are really great at getting together and holding meetings and conferences and glad-handing each other, but they never ever seem to accomplish anything."

     

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

  17.  
    identicon
    Adrtian Lopez, Mar 25th, 2010 @ 2:34pm

    That the negotiators "have no answer" to this question only confirms that these rules were not created with the goal of improving the overall welfare of citizens, but to protect certain companies.

    That's exactly right. ACTA caters to special interests at the public's expense, being grounded upon principles of entitlement rather than principles of justice.

     

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

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2010 @ 2:51pm

    Re:

    no it caters to everyone not just what the public wants. there is no expense to the public just that it will be harder to steal all the stuff you want online.

     

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

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2010 @ 5:10pm

    Re: Re:

    Encryption says what?

    It is nice to know that a balance must be struck. Strange way of going about it, you know, without any input from the general public.

     

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

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2010 @ 5:48pm

    I really like the way they spin countries that don't like ACTA as 'authoritarian'

     

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

  21.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 25th, 2010 @ 7:58pm

    Re: Re:

    "no it caters to everyone not just what the public wants"

    Encryption says what? said it, but I'll lay it out.

    If it caters to everyone, why doesn't it cater to anything that the public wants? So it doesn't cater to the public, so therefore it is purely a tool of the big-money players.

    You make it sound as if the only people who will have a problem are infringers, but this is plainly and clearly untrue. This is an agreement that profits major corporations at the public expense.

     

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

  22.  
    icon
    Chargone (profile), Mar 25th, 2010 @ 8:20pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    wait, you had democracy? where on earth did you find that?

     

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

  23.  
    identicon
    fortnightly review, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 7:32pm

    ACTA

    Hi Techdirt. We have Kim Weatherall's incisive comments on ACTA on our site. Would love to hear your comments

     

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


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