More ACTA Details Leak: It's An Entertainment Industry Wishlist
from the no-wonder-they-kept-it-secret dept
The latest round of “negotiations” over the ACTA treaty continue in secret due to as yet unexplained national security reasons (despite the fact that the entertainment industry lobbyists have had full access to the document) are kicking off in Korea. Once again is becoming clear that the claims by US trade reps that ACTA did not represent any kind of major change in copyright law, and thus didn’t require public scrutiny, are nothing more than a myth. Despite ridiculous efforts to keep the document secret (some countries were given only physical, watermarked, copies of the latest drafts), some of the details are leaking out and it’s not pretty at all.
The plan is modeled on the ridiculously misnamed “free trade agreement” between the US and South Korea from a few years back. It’s misnamed because it wasn’t about free trade at all, but massive protectionism for the American entertainment industry. The end results haven’t been pretty. The treaty pushed South Korea to implement new copyright laws that are perhaps the most draconian around, getting the country to be the first to kick people off the internet based on accusations of file sharing, and putting so much liability on third parties that various user-generated content services have had to turn off the ability to upload all sorts of content (no videos on YouTube, no music on blogs) and has resulted in ISPs even banning any kind of advertising that might make them liable for copyright infringement.
It’s Hollywood’s dream. It would require signing countries to implement a more draconian version of the DMCA, including incredibly restrictive anti-circumvention wording that has no exception for fair use. It would put liability on third parties for the actions of their users (in other words, it wouldn’t include current DMCA-style safe harbors). It would create incentives to kick people off of the internet for file sharing. This is not about free trade at all. This is an entertainment industry-written bill designed to recreate the internet in its image — as a broadcasting platform, rather than one used for user-generated content and communication.
This isn’t about free trade. This isn’t about “anti-counterfeiting.” This is the “Protect the American Entertainment Industry” treaty.
And, of course, it’s not even close to necessary. As happy as the entertainment industry is about what’s been happening in South Korea lately, before these laws passed, the industry there (though, not the local subsidiaries of stodgy American entertainment firms) were adapting in amazing and fascinating ways, that didn’t require new laws, but embraced what was actually happening. Yet, because the American record labels and movie studios don’t want to change with the times, they’re pushing through these laws, outside the judiciary process, sneaking it through via a secretive international treaty they had a hand in writing.
There is simply no reason for ACTA, at all. It is nothing but an attempt by the entertainment industry to put massive restrictions on the internet, place liability on lots of third parties, and do nothing to push themselves to adapt to a changing marketplace with new business models.