Entertainment Industry: Yes, Please Keep Negotiating Secret Copyright Treaty To Save Our Asses

from the yeah,-that's-convincing dept

Sherwin Siy (one of the few people who actually was allowed to glance briefly at parts of the proposed ACTA treaty, though under strict NDA) has written about yet another letter sent by the entertainment industry to the government in support of ACTA. This letter includes pretty much everyone who benefits from abusing copyright laws and is afraid of the internet:

Advertising Photographers of America
American Association of Independent Music (A2IM)
American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA)
American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP)
American Society of Media Photographers, Inc. (ASMP)
Association of American Publishers (AAP)
Broadcast Music, Inc (BMI)
Commercial Photographers International
Directors Guild of America (DGA)
Evidence Photographers International Council
Independent Film and Television Alliance (IFTA)
International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE)
Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA)
National Music Publishers Association (NMPA)
NBC Universal
News Corporation
Picture Archive Council of America (PACA)
Professional Photographers of America (PPA)
Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)
Reed Elsevier Inc.
Society of Sport & Event Photographers
Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA)
Stock Artists Alliance
Student Photographic Society
The Advertising Photographers of America
The Walt Disney Company
Time Warner, Inc.
Universal Music Group
Viacom Inc.
Warner Music Group

Funny… isn’t it, that all these companies and industry groups are supporting a deal that no one’s seen yet? Oh wait… that’s because many of them have seen it and actually have had a hand in creating it. But what’s really damning is that no where in the letter do they explain why this is actually needed or how it will do anything valuable. Instead, it’s a pure faith-based letter saying “if you pass this secret treaty, good things will happen.” I don’t know about you, but generally, I prefer there to be actual proof and evidence that restricting consumer rights around the world actually leads to some sort of real benefit.

Tellingly, they don’t respond to any of the points we raised earlier. This is not a treaty to help people or the economy. It’s a deal to try to sneak through a system for propping up an obsolete business model by companies who don’t want to adapt.

Filed Under: , , , , ,
Companies: a2im, aap, aftra, ascap, asmp, bmi, disney, gda, iatse, ifta, mpaa, nbc universal, news corp, nmpa, paca, ppa, reed elsevier, riaa, siia, time warner, viacom, warner music group

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Comments on “Entertainment Industry: Yes, Please Keep Negotiating Secret Copyright Treaty To Save Our Asses”

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43 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

They can use and abuse their power and influence all the want. Until it becomes easier for me to buy and use stuff how I choose, I’ll keep pirating it!
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results!
Attempt to strong-arm me into doing it your way, and I’ll keep doing it my way just because you’re trying to force me to do it your way. Let me have the freedom to make a choice, and ill support you and your product!

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Why do you keep picking on these companies ??

How do we know that this isnt a special interest group using the 30 companies listed above and just sending form letters? You have pointed out how lobbyist do this on many an occasion.

How could you pick on these poor companies? They are just trying to make a living. They are all looking out for our best interests. They love and respect us. They want whats best for the american people and wouldn’t try to manipulate the system.

/sarcasm

Anonymous Coward says:

The letter is little more than milquetoast with no substantive content. It is hard to get lathered up about the letter.

As for the treaty, as Ben Sheffner has explained in detail access to those involved in negotiations includes a wide spectrum of interests. Moreover, no matter what comes out of the negotiations, which at this point are far away from achieving concensus among the negotiating countries, the proposed treaty would still have to be submitted to the Senate for approval. History teaches that treaty approval by the Senate proceeds at a pace approaching “glacial”. Heck, the US finally signed up to the Berne Convention almost 100 years after it was initially promlgated.

This is not exactly a “hot button” matter, so why the preoccupation with “but it’s being done in secret” (precisely how treaties are negotiated) eludes me.

Importantly, and contrary to what many alarmists are promoting, there is nothing to suggest that the eventual treaty provisions will even remotely result in changes to federal law.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“This is not exactly a “hot button” matter, so why the preoccupation with “but it’s being done in secret” (precisely how treaties are negotiated) eludes me.”

Yeah, drastically rewriting international copyright law to suit the interests of industry lobbyists is nothing to worry about.

“Importantly, and contrary to what many alarmists are promoting, there is nothing to suggest that the eventual treaty provisions will even remotely result in changes to federal law.”

Yeah, this treaty, unlike every other treaty ever passed and signed by the US, will do absolutely nothing.

I know the economy makes it hard to find a job, but since your shilling is so transparent, you may be better suited to McDonald’s.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Has anyone actually read this thing .....

Dear Chairmen and Ranking Members:

The United States is currently engaged in discussions with many of its major trading partners to negotiate a new secret agreement: the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) — to enhance and strengthen our global government granted monopoly on music, images and film. When concluded, the agreement will hopefully complement the work you have championed in the Congress to build in the U.S. an intellectual property rights system necessary to maintain our monopoly and jobs that will allow us to fund your re-election campains through out the 21st century. ACTA has the potential to: preserve the jobs of high paying attorneys, and create new legal positions; monopolize our countrys leading position in the creation, publishing and distribution of software, videogames, films, music, books, television programs, journals, visual materials and other works protected by copyright; and strengthen the ability of U.S. businesses to crush competition, prevent the distribution of intellectual property, quash competition and innovation worldwide.

We strongly support the Administration’s efforts to negotiate a sound and comprehensive ACTA that codifies best practices for copyright enforcement, imprisonment for copyright infringements, and we urge you to do so as well. The need for this new agreement is clear. The enforcement standards in the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), drawn up nearly 20 years ago, forms an essential foundation for copyright enforcement. But over the past two decades, our inovation has stood still and technology has not, and copyright infringement has expanded on an unprecedented scale, depriving copyright owners and those they employ of the return they deserve they and are entitled to on the crucial investment in legal expertise, lobbying, and copyfraud. Online infringment is a critical challenge for each of the diverse copyright-based sectors represented by the signatories to this letter. In this regard, it is essential that ACTA include an Internet chapter that, among other things, provides legal incentives for cross-industry cooperation to quash all competition.

You in Congress have defined adequate and monopolistis intellectual property protection under U.S. trade law as the extent to which the country provides protection of intellectual property rights consistent with or greater than the protection afforded under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights 19 U.S.C. 2703(b)(5)(B)(ii) (emphasis added). As you have recognized, it is long past time to expand on the foundation that TRIPS provided, and to raise minimum global standards to reflect our inability to change and the lessons learned from lobbying, bribery, and extortion efforts in many countries. That, in essence, is the thrust of the ACTA negotiations: to codify best enforcement practices that add to the framework provided by TRIPS, and monopolize legitimate commerce in copyrighted works that satisfies our shareholders, provides creators with no options to continue creating and distributing original works except through us, and contributes to an overall healthy, global monopoly.

Of course, we know the ACTA negotiations will live up to their potential and produce a world wide draconian copyright system, an agreement that delivers no real benefits to creators or consumers. But we do know it is an effort well worth supporting, as we will continue supporting your re-election campains. We urge you and your Congressional colleagues to continue supporting ACTA.

Respectfully submitted by:
Advertising Photographers of America
American Association of Independent Music (A2IM)
American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA)
American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP)
American Society of Media Photographers, Inc. (ASMP)
Association of American Publishers (AAP)
Broadcast Music, Inc (BMI)
Commercial Photographers International
Directors Guild of America (DGA)
Evidence Photographers International Council
Independent Film and Television Alliance (IFTA)
International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE)
Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA)
National Music Publishers Association (NMPA)
NBC Universal
News Corporation
Picture Archive Council of America (PACA)
Professional Photographers of America (PPA)
Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)
Reed Elsevier Inc.
Society of Sport & Event Photographers
Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA)
Stock Artists Alliance
Student Photographic Society
The Advertising Photographers of America
The Walt Disney Company
Time Warner, Inc.
Universal Music Group
Viacom Inc.
Warner Music Group

Chairman Patrick Leahy, Senate Judiciary Committee
Ranking Member Jeff Sessions, Senate Judiciary Committee
Chairman Max Baucus, Senate Finance Committee
Ranking Member Charles E. Grassley, Senate Finance Committee
Chairman John Conyers, House Committee of the Judiciary
Ranking Member Lamar Smith, House Committee on the Judiciary
Chairman Charles Rangel, House Committee on Ways and Means
Ranking Dave Camp, House Committee on Ways and Means
Chairman Henry Waxman, House Committee on Energy and Commerce
Ranking Member Joe Barton, House Committee on Energy and Commerce
cc. Ambassador Ron Kirk

….. Big Ole GRIN

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Has anyone actually read this thing .....

One commonality between a number of these companies is that they are primarily distributors of content.

Maybe we’re looking at the problem the wrong way. Maybe instead of strengthening their exclusivity rights, these companies should relinquish their copyright/IP back to it’s inventor/artist/writer or to the Public Domain after it’s no longer economically viable.

As an example, newspapers may relinquish their “work made for hire” back to it’s writer after a period of one to two years. Rights for musical work are relinquished back to the artist/writer after a period of five years. Inventions/Patents are re-assigned to it’s inventor after five years of inactivity.

There exists a great deal of content that is “locked up” and isn’t economically viable in it’s current state while it exists under the current system. Strengthening exclusivity doesn’t seem to be the right direction for economic prosperity.

Steve says:

You pass laws, downloading increases with media coverage and continues like nothing even happened. You’d think shutting down The Pirate Bay and it having no effect whatsoever on downloading would send a clear message to them. That message being, you will work with the internet community to find a amicable solution or the internet community will continue on it’s merry way despite what laws are passed. They’ve spent A LOT of money in the past decade in a fruitless pissing contest with the internet. Big business just can’t seem to get the past the there’s nothing that can be done unless they want to play nice.

Anonymous Coward says:

Let me try this a different way. In your post you provide:

“Almost all of the leaked drafts include rules that are plainly beyond what current US law is, and thus would certainly result in the alteration of US law.”

Are you able to provide one or more examples of US law that would be altered as a result of these discussions? Personally, I cannot think of any, but I am always willing to listen to others who may have a different view.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

You guys, this is supposed to be a secret. I wish you would stop talking about it. Weren’t supposed to tell anybody about anything. It was a secret, then you guys had to go and ruin it, thanks alot guys. Do you guys want to tell me what I got for Christmas too?

Shouldn’t tell secrets. Secret secrets that the public’s not supposed to know about.

And it has to be secret. National security is at risk. The lives of millions. Could you live with yourself? All those billions of people.

IT’S A SECRET FOR A REASON! GOD, GUYS, CAN’T YOU GIVE IT A REST! YOU’RE DOOMING US ALL, I HOPE YOU KNOW THAT!

Hephaestus (profile) says:

A little off topic ...but it is history ...

To bring things into context ….

In the mid 1800’s the phonograph was invented. Before that artists only made money when they actually performed. Progress occured and performances could be sold on cylinders and disks. That was the beginning of the recording industry. Most artist of that time wanted to just be heard by a larger audience and sold their souls to do so. This is where the creative accounting record labels use began. Inflated recording studio fees, distribution fees, accounting fees, and advertising fees all added up to a form of indentured servitude for the artist.

100 plus years later the recording industry still scams artists into sell their souls to get a record deal.

alanbleiweiss (profile) says:

ACTA - the media version of NAFTA

Well, okay, not really. But just like NAFTA and CAFTA, the mere concept of ACTA smacks of big business looking for one more way to generate massive sums of revenue on a global scale by screwing us especially by being able to go after off-shore Internet hosted content.

And the list of signers shows a much bigger issue. I have a feeling that this secret document will also cover anything “entertainment” related in print as well. News Corp and Reed Elsevier Inc have both been losing huge amounts due to the dying print publishing industry.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: ACTA - the media version of NAFTA

Thats a great observation. Thinking of ACTA as NAFTA/CAFTA for Entertainment/Media is a radical step, But now that you have mentioned it, it seems to be very rational strategy.

Yes, there are a number of big names in the ACTA treaty, and I doubt they collectively came up with the same idea at the same time. In fact, it seems another, shall we call it a “facilitator” group of people is involved in ACTA authorship. To claify, if the NDA allowed sharing of information that wasn’t “common knowledge”, who required the NDA? It seemed that the solution was looking for a problem. Now, they are actively engaged in selling these companies a map to the land of milk and honey instead of evolving their business for the 22nd century.

It would be interesting if there are any people involved in ACTA, or ACTA facilitation that were involved in NAFTA/CAFTA conversations. NAFTA has been a resounding failure and nearly bankrupted the US auto industry, and the Auto Industry was behind NAFTA.

Taking this further, what industries outside of media and entertainment would stand to benefit if they (like the auto industry in NAFTA) were collateral damage from this legislation ten to fifteen years from now?

Is this the type of “successful” legislation desired and encouraged?

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