Hollywood Gets To Party With TPP Negotiators; Public Interest Groups Get Thrown Out Of Hotel
from the yeah,-that-doesn't-look-corrupt-at-all dept
We’ve been talking about the ridiculous levels of secrecy around the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) agreement — a trade agreement that is being designed to push through basically everything that Hollywood wants in international copyright law. Last week, we mentioned that various civil society groups were planning to hold an open meeting about TPP in the same hotel where the negotiations were being held (in Hollywood, of course).
However, it appears that once the USTR found out about this, it got the hotel to cancel the group’s reservation at the hotel. According to Sean Flynn, the Associate Director of the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property (PIJIP) at American University:
The public interest briefing was booked last week and advertised to all delegations, including the host USTR. An hour after the invitation was sent, we received a cancellation of our venue by the hotel. The cancellation by by Sophie Jones, Event Sales Manager, Sofitel Los Angeles stated:
“I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news but unfortunately we will not be able to move forward with your luncheon for Tuesday January 31st. It was brought to my attention that we have a confidential group in house and we will not be allowing any other groups in the meeting space that day. Again, my apologies for the late notice. Hopefully we can work together in the near future.”
Okay. I guess if no other groups are allowed in the meeting space that day it’s understandable. Except… oops… someone in the group confirmed that the hotel was lying:
After receiving the cancellation, members of an advocacy organization called the hotel and were able to book a room for a claimed private event not related to the TPP. Apparently only TPP-related events were banned from the hotel at the request of an unidentified party. USTR is serving as the host of this meeting.
Well, at least MPAA execs were similarly blocked from access to the negotiators, too, right? Nope:
The film industry did not have similar problems – they hosted a multi-hour tour of 20th Century Fox Studies last night, led by a representative of the studio’s government relations office.
Yeah. This is what corruption looks, smells and tastes like. And the MPAA still doesn’t get it. They still think that backroom deals like this are fine and that the public won’t notice or care. That’s quite a bet to make, and one they may regret.