Will The Failures Of SOPA & ACTA Highlight The End Of The MPAA & RIAA's Disproportionate Influence On Policy?
from the this-isn't-industry-vs.-the-public dept
Following the rejection of ACTA and the surprising USTR recognition of copyright exceptions and limitations, Harold Feld has a really worthwhile postgame analysis that highlights why pretty much every other industry (and the US government) should be pissed off at the MPAA and the RIAA. Basically, he points out that there were aspects of reasonableness in those efforts: some of the parts focused on real counterfeiting. But because the MPAA and RIAA decided to use an incredibly heavy-handed approach to get the US government to include totally unrelated copyright issues among them, both proposals completely flopped. If those efforts had just focused on the issue of real harm — true counterfeit products that are confusing people and even putting lives at risk — no one would be opposed. But due to this ongoing desire to conflate copyright infringement with counterfeit drugs, they overplayed their hand — and all of that effort is now wasted.
Keep in mind that the majority of people working for USTR don’t like to waste effort any more than the rest of us, and the realization that a significant portion of the rest of the world may reject whatever final deal negotiators agree to if it goes too far on copyright is no doubt causing many to rethink their positions. In addition, USTR has many other industries it services besides Hollywood. They need trade agreements — and USTR is required to negotiate these. The Hollywood crazy train on intellectual property enforcement now very visibly threatens the ability to get future trade agreements ratified by Congress or by foreign governments. The manufacturing sector, the retail sector, and others that have until now tolerated Hollywood’s demands in the interest of maintaining a united industry front will not sacrifice their own international trade interests for the Entertainment industry — and will push USTR to negotiate agreements that actually have a chance at ratification.
This, obviously, seems like a good thing. As he notes, the USTR now has a lot of incentives to actually be more open and to listen to those who helped kill off SOPA and ACTA. If they actually want to have their proposals mean something, they might as well start talking to those who have the influence to do something meaningful. And that’s less and less the RIAA and the MPAA.
Of course, this goes even further than that. While Feld talks up the increasing importance of activists in the conversation, I’d argue that it should also lead to most other industries pushing back on the RIAA/MPAA’s crazy demands as well. Perhaps the US Chamber of Commerce will start to reconsider pushing the RIAA/MPAA point of view when it’s clearly harmful to the interests of most other industries.