Dear USTR: Want Other Countries To Sign Your Trade Agreements? Stop Letting Hollywood Write Them

from the just-saying dept

With more and more countries in the EU backing away from signing ACTA, and even the EU Parliament’s president speaking out against it, it’s raising serious questions about the ability to get the EU signed on to ACTA.

Harold Feld, over at Public Knowledge, has published something of an open letter to the USTR suggesting that, just maybe, if it stopped letting Hollywood lobbyists drive the agenda for their international trade agreements, such agreements wouldn’t be chock full of crazy — and might result in an agreement that countries actually want to sign.

So let me give USTR and the non-Hollywood industries involved right now in negotiating trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) another spot of free advice. (I won’t even try to suggest this to Hollywood, given they are still in denial there was ever anything wrong with SOPA.) Do not let hollywood hijack your trade negotiations to put in even crazier stuff no one in the world likes, wants, or will sign on to. I know Hollywood has probably already been pushing for plenty of crazy stuff and doing crazy things like saying Canada’s not moral enough to join you all on the Group W Bench at the TPPA negotiations. But it is never too late to take them aside and talk some sense into them. You can point out that we now have yet-another-study from academics rather than paid industry flunkies showing that peer-2-peer piracy has little impact on U.S. box office revenue and that Hollywood could do a lot to cut down on international piracy by making content available (for a fee) in a time and manner that customers want rather than insisting on an out-dated, complex “release windows” system developed in the old days when folks either went to theaters or waited ’til it showed up on DVD. So perhaps Hollywood should ratchet back the crazy stuff, or risk getting cut out of the negotiations entirely so every one else can get a trade agreement done?

It’s such sensible advice that it’ll never happen.

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Comments on “Dear USTR: Want Other Countries To Sign Your Trade Agreements? Stop Letting Hollywood Write Them”

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Bennett (profile) says:


Naturally this comes from an AC!

As Jeremy2020 pointed out, the solution has been offered many times. Furthermore the technology required to implement these solutions exists in many forms.

There is of course the super famous ‘reddit’/steam solution:

People obviously want to access content. Perhaps (as has also been mentioned MANY times) Hollywood could actually provide people with access to this content.

silverscarcat says:


Why should we write legislation to benefit any business?

Free Market dictates that if you can’t compete, you die.


Read that. Notice the part about “individual sales” are taking us BACK to the golden age of 70 years ago when you could buy singles for cheap.

Also, notice how he mentions that there are people who put their books on the internet, for FREE, so people would buy them…

If Book authors are willing to change with the times…

Why won’t Hollywood, the MPAA and RIAA change with the times?

Chosen Reject (profile) says:


Given that RedBox is willing to go to court to help Warner Brothers, and given that Hollywood’s overreach with SOPA/PIPA caused protests in Europe over ACTA as well as a call for a boycot for the entire month of March, I’d say Hollywood is not qualified to write legislation for Hollywood. I know that doesn’t offer suggestions for who is the most qualified, but it certainly starts a process of elimination for who is not qualified, and that is sometimes useful.

Anonymous Coward says:


Yeah. Those of us who were remember Napster have watched watched the RIAA sue old ladies and dead people. We’ve watched innocent lives been ruined for nothing more than downloading a few songs. We’ve heard the stories how they fuck their own artists and witnessed their despicable influence peddling in Washington.

And they wonder why younger people hate them and despise the laws they bought.

Anonymous Coward says:


…and I am one of them that will never again buy an American car. I simply want value for the money paid. In the 80’s cars were being sold that the molding was falling off of in 6 months. They couldn’t be repaired, even at the dealership. Nor did they last for 10 years or so.

I bought my last new vehicle in 95. I’m still driving it and having no troubles at all with it. It’s a Nissan Pickup.

Gwiz (profile) says:

…like saying Canada’s not moral enough to join you all on the Group W Bench

+100 interwebz to Harold Feld for the Alice’s Restaurant reference.

The basic message behind that song seems relevant to current events.

….And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in singin a bar of Alice’s Restaurant and walking out. They may think it’s an organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day,I said fifty people a day walking in singin a bar of Alice’s Restaurant and walking out. And friends they may thinks it’s a movement….

Violated (profile) says:

F OFF Hollywood

This does make a good point when we have now established a road block to stop any further bad Hollywood creations passing.

SOPA = Dead and buried.
PIPA = Knocked into a coma.
ACTA = Having its limbs pulled off and soon dead.

So their key aim should not be a list of nasty new surprises but to actually write a trade agreement that the public will accept. Removing Internet attacks would be a good start.

However, if they go and throw another ACTA at us, then we will only blow it out the water. This would then waste all their time and money but we would not shed any tears.

Anonymous Coward says:


WTF? The solution was and has been provided; “Hollywood could do a lot to cut down on international piracy by making content available (for a fee) in a time and manner that customers want.” It’s like you don’t comprehend what you read, or more likely, you don’t even bother mouthing the words you read because you’re too busy trying to breath through your pie hole.

BrandShout (user link) says:

Supporting the protests with free Tshirts

At our company we’ve organized a small campaign against ACTA and we’re willing to offer 50 free Tshirts printed with the best message we

can find and ship them to be used at local protests. If you have an idea of a clever design or text please share it with us, here you can

find more details:

Walks-In-Storms (profile) says:

"Hollywood" (reality according to, that is)

Don’t hold your breath – until Hollywood (and television) stops being American’s version of brains and thought. Have you been watching (I’ve long since worn out the remote – dodging commercials and the latest news on Michael Jackson) the media orgy surrounding Whitney Houston’s suicide?

We live in a reality constructed by Hollywood and made for television, my friend – not the real one out there in the woods where I come from.

“‘Contrariwise,’ said Tweedldee, ‘if it was so, it might be, and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn’t it ain’t. That’s logic.'” (Lewis Carroll).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re “peer-2-peer piracy has little impact on U.S. box office revenue” cited by Mr. Feld at PK in his letter, an author of the paper is already on record stating that the study results are being misrepresented by persons and groups trying to use it to support the view that piracy is not hurtful. The author asserts that the results of the study conducted by he and his co-author did find financial harm.

John Nemesh (profile) says:


Hollywood wouldnt NEED legislation, if they simply adapted to the reality of doing business on the internet! If they offered their PATHETIC DRIVEL at a reasonable price, and made using THEIR websites as intuitive and easy as some “pirate” sites, they would be able to collect a revenue stream instead of trying to criminalize the consumption of their goods!

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