Hollywood Lobbyist Hasn't Seen The TPP Text, Cannot Read The TPP Text, But Knows What's In The TPP Text?
from the fascinating dept
The Daily Dot’s Kevin Collier has a detailed article about his experience as a journalist at the latest TPP negotiating round. He talks mainly about the various “stakeholder” presentations, which are the only access concerned groups have to the negotiators. As we’ve already noted, the USTR made sure to limit access to the stakeholder presentations, giving them 8 to 10 minutes (reduced from a promised 15) and then scheduling a bunch to run concurrently — and during a time when many negotiators would likely be out to lunch. From Collier’s report, we also learn that the rooms where these presentations were held only had about 20 seats in them — and there are more than 400 negotiators. He attended the EFF’s presentation, but also noted that “Attendees from a nearby presentation exited their conference room and loudly spoke outside the open door to [the EFF’s Carolina] Rossini’s room, drowning out her message.”
But, perhaps more interesting was Collier’s encounter with Michael Schlesinger, a lobbyist for the IIPA (the International Intellectual Property Alliance — a sort of “super group” of lobbying organizations, including both the RIAA and the MPAA, among others). The IIPA presentation immediately followed the EFF presentation, and involved Schlesinger promising to debunk the “myths” being spread by folks like the EFF. Key among them? That TPP would mandate disconnecting people from the internet. Myth, myth and more myth, Schlesigner declared: there are “no mandates to kick legitimate users off the Internet.” Note the weasel word “legitimate.”
However, Collier wasn’t born yesterday. So he went and found the leaked draft of the IP section that was revealed back in February of 2011. And he noted that it does seem to include mandates for kicking people offline, such as saying that “effective action against any act of copyright infringement” would include things like “removing or disabling access… [and] terminating specified accounts.” So, Collier went and found Schlesigner to bring this up, and Schlesinger made a remarkable admission: he claims he hasn’t seen the text:
I asked him whether he stood by his presentation’s claim that “TPP will result in ‘kicking people off the Internet'” was a myth.
“It is,” he said.
I showed him a printed-out copy of the section of the TPP leak that referred to “terminating specified accounts” of copyright infringers.
He visibly stiffened. “I’m not commenting on a leaked draft,” he told me. “From what I know, the TPP framework would not force anyone off the Internet. I don’t know anything about the TPP draft.”
Had Schlesinger actually read the TPP, either the leaked chapter or the current draft? I can’t say for sure. Legally, he can’t have read the latter, because he’s a federally registered lobbyist, which would bar him from seeing the text.
Got that? (1) He’s not allowed to see the text. (2) He gets upset when someone points him to the leaked text. (3) He… also insists he knows, absolutely, what will not be in the text. How is that even remotely credible?