ACTA Negotiations Back On… White House Shows Small Group Proposed Text Under NDA

from the but-what-about-the-public dept

With the next round of negotiations on the ACTA treaty — which may require the US and other countries to make significant changes to copyright law that favor the entertainment industry — set to get underway, the White House still refuses to release details to the public, but did show the text to 42 Washington “insiders” under NDA. The good news is that the list includes a fair number of folks who recognize the problems with copyright law and the ACTA proposal — including people like Gigi Sohn, William Patry, Sherwin Siy, David Sohn and Michael Petricone. Many of those people will push for the public’s best interests. But, still, it’s a bit troubling that the whole conversation remains secret for “national security” reasons. If we’re talking about changing copyright laws that effect everyone, why not let everyone know? Sherwin Siy, from Public Knowledge, told KEI (in the link above) about his experience viewing the document, which sounded greatly limited, and notes that while the document has been adjusted, “the most troubling aspects” have not been “resolved.”

In the meantime, it’s worth asking why this is necessary again. First of all, in a world where trade agreements are supposed to be about breaking down trade barriers, ACTA seems designed to be putting up protectionist policies. Protectionism doesn’t work and only creates more harm. But, much more importantly, much of the push for ACTA is based on lobbyists’ claims of the “harm” done by counterfeiting. Except both the GAO and the OECD have put out independent reports showing that counterfeiting isn’t that big a problem, and that whatever problems there are seem to be significantly exaggerated by lobbyists. Yes, those same lobbyists who were given much earlier access to the document and, records suggest, had a hand in shaping the document itself. So why do we need ACTA again? And why are we allowing those who the government has already found to have exaggerated the problem drive the negotiations?

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Comments on “ACTA Negotiations Back On… White House Shows Small Group Proposed Text Under NDA”

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17 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

“in a world where trade agreements are supposed to be about breaking down trade barriers, ACTA seems designed to be putting up protectionist policies”

I think you are confusing strong artists rights with protectionism.

Protectionism would be charging a significant tariff for music or movies coming from another country, like adding a 100% tax on Hollywood movies entering (insert country here). Protectionism is where barriers are placed between external producers and a given market, nothing more.

Artists rights are not protectionist (in trade terms), rather, they are there to assure that the people who made the music / movie / program / content and their rightfull distributors are in fact the ones profiting from it, not random local counterfeiter.

As for the size of the counterfeiting problem, the post you link to (rather than linking the story directly) says that the GOA says that the numbers suggest a smaller problem, but they aren’t sure. In fact, their report is as much opinion as fact, as counterfeiters rarely file taxes or have audited financial statements to work from.

Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile) says:

Re: A Shill in the Morning

the GOA says that the numbers suggest a smaller problem, but they aren’t sure

Well nobody can be absolutely sure but at least the numbers are realistic.

Oh, and the protectionist thing. ACTA is a multinational trade agreement most likely highly favoring the ‘rights’ of copyright holders in the nations with the most power/money involved. So your definition holds true and protectionism is happening.

WammerJammer (profile) says:

ACTA Negotiations Back On... White House Shows Small Group Proposed Text Under NDA

So what? There have been Executives from the RIAA on the US Copyright board for years, or did you miss that one. Yea that happened during the Traitor Bush tenure. Him and his buddies sold us out by putting supposedly retired RIAA executives on the Copyright Board. The fix has been in for years to cut out the individual (indie) and let only the big companies manage copyrights. This is what I got for paying the US government money to protect my copyright. I get a board of directors that5 want to control my copyright.
I still state that the money collected from Radio and Television get no lists of the actual content used or sold. There is no invoice and no list sent to any of the collection agencies (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC) that tells them what the money is for. The agencies listed before just collect a flat fee with no bookkeeping required. Talk about obsolete business models.
TechDirt should do a real expose on the abuses in this industry.
Also remember that the agencies mentioned above don’t do indie!!!
Who represents the indie’s when the Radio and Television Stations use their content?
The Radio and Television stations are under the impression that they are paying for the use of indie’s also. But the money is not trickling down.
Of course ASCAP, BMI and SESAC have no idea who they are collecting for. Their response is if you are playing music or video something must belong to them because they represent so many items of content.
They only pay the people that are published by publishing companies they recognize. You cannot start a publishing company and publish a work and just register it with one of the 3. You have to have it published through a recognized publishing house.
When is someone going to step up and manage this business correctly. There are so many little domains here that it is impossible to make anything happen.

www.eZee.se (profile) says:

No matter what happens with ACTA, its gotten to a stage where people are going to ignore any law they deem as unfair or ‘bought’ by the industry and will still download with what their conscience will permit them.

The only difference is, right now they are breaking civil law and in future if the industry gets its way will (probably) be breaking criminal law.

Either way, a big f*ck you very much to the industry, I’ll rather spend 5 euros on a VPN connection a month than 15euros for a CD with 2 good songs and a bunch of fillers or a DVD that has a nice trailer but is in reality a total piece of crap (‘Drag me to hell’ anyone?).

Anonymous Coward says:

A cure for the common NDA

Anyone who believes that governance and lawmaking in 2009 United States of America must require an NDA has something really screwy in their head.

But not all is lost. A few studies from back east have proven that NDA proponents can be liberated and cured from unfounded fears that include 200 years of practical governance is wrong. I believe it’s a procedure called a frontal lobotomy.

Anonymous Coward says:

I can’t understand why an NDA is needed, or why the White House needs to meddle within the free marketplace of ideas.

But maybe it isn’t about the marketplace product, but rather, what is carried within the product, and the market of intent. Meaning- the product could actually be the delivery device.

Under such a tin-foil hat theory, it’s possible that the Government is somehow involved in shaping and/or developing messaging which is carried within entertainment products intended for other countries. The messaging could be constructed for political gain, and the method could be something that was developed in the 1960s or 1970s, on the order of subliminal messaging.

If that happens to be the state secret that needs protection, it’s pretty pathetic, but it could answer a number of questions while providing the straightest point-A to point-B line that can be drawn based on the seemingly silly way they are approaching this. I chuckle, because other attempts to connect the dots of ACTA’s importance involve landing on the moon.

But this also seems to provide explanation of the free marketplace of ideas being seemingly a mile wide and only a few grains of sand deep.

Matthew Cruse (profile) says:

How to Fix the Problem?

So as I see it, the problem is that there is an ACTA under discussion, but the public doesn’t get to see it right? So how do most things in the U.S. with political connections get fixed? By people shouting about it to their Congressional Reps, news media, comments sites, and e-mails to everyone who will listen. SO sign me up. Let me know, where do I go to complain? Who do I talk to, what’s the e-mail addresses of the people on these boards or having these discussions? Tell me where to go and I will send e-mails and letters out the wazoo to get this stoppped.

Rekrul says:

Re: How to Fix the Problem?

So as I see it, the problem is that there is an ACTA under discussion, but the public doesn’t get to see it right? So how do most things in the U.S. with political connections get fixed? By people shouting about it to their Congressional Reps, news media, comments sites, and e-mails to everyone who will listen. SO sign me up. Let me know, where do I go to complain? Who do I talk to, what’s the e-mail addresses of the people on these boards or having these discussions? Tell me where to go and I will send e-mails and letters out the wazoo to get this stoppped.

Do you have a few million to donate to the politicians’ campaign funds? If not, then your opinion doesn’t mean squat to them. They’re bought and paid for by the entertainment coporations and those are the only people they listen to.

Walter says:

Just a guess.

Maybe the MPAA and RIAA are actually tired of doing business in the US, and really desire to pack it up and setup shop in other countries. But they will only do so after the other countries adopt draconian copyright laws in countries where the governance doesn’t have checks and balances. This would be great for them because lack of due process favors their current business model, including blatant buying off of politicians.

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