Not Learning From ACTA: IPR Protection And Enforcement Seen As 'Less Difficult Issue' For TAFTA/TTIP

from the what-do-they-know-that-we-don't? dept

Despite increasing calls for the imminent TAFTA/TTIP trade negotiations to be conducted as openly as possible, it seems likely that, as with ACTA and TPP, everything will be decided behind closed doors. That means the rest of us are forced to take our information about what is likely to happen where we can find it. For example, a new survey entitled “The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: Ambitious but Achievable” (pdf), carried out by The Bertelsmann Foundation and Atlantic Council, offers some interesting thoughts on the subject. Here’s the description:

The Bertelsmann Foundation and Atlantic Council surveyed more than 400 potential respondents from business, academia, government, legislatures, and the media; 120 participated in the survey. Potential participants were selected on the basis of their expertise in trade policy and familiarity with the issues at hand in the TTIP negotiations. Respondents hailed from both sides of the Atlantic, with stakeholders from Washington, Brussels and Germany heavily represented.

Even though the subtitle of the survey is “A Stakeholder Survey and Three Scenarios”, that’s not really true: the main stakeholder — the public — is not represented at all. For what it’s worth, 88 per cent of respondents think that the US and EU will manage to come to an agreement, with the majority expecting a “moderate” result, rather than broader or narrower ones. The general view was that such an agreement might come into force at the end of 2016. But the section that will probably be of most interest to Techdirt readers is the following, which ranks areas in order of the likelihood they will be part of the final deal:

Perhaps surprisingly given the recent failure to ratify the Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement (ACTA) in Europe, IPR protection and enforcement on A/V materials and software is seen as a less difficult issue by stakeholders, ranking fourth.

Indeed, that is surprising: the rejection of ACTA’s measures by the European Parliament — to say nothing of the tens of thousands of people who took to the streets of Europe — was overwhelming: why do the “stakeholders” think this time will be different?

As well as “less difficult” issues, the survey also dicusses where respondents think there’s little hope of achieving agreement:

Interestingly, an issue that touches on some similar policy provisions — the alignment of regulations concerning data protection and privacy [–] is considered extremely difficult, ranking 15th out of 17 issues surveyed. Transatlantic regulatory process convergence is particularly challenging, deemed by experts as both one of the most difficult issues (16th out of 17) and the most important overall to the agreement. Alignment in the use of GMOs and hormone-treated agricultural products was deemed most difficult.

The first of these is no surprise: there is currently a fierce battle going on between the US and EU views on data protection, with US lobbyists using rather extreme methods to get some of their ideas adopted in the EU’s Data Protection Regulation that is currently being discussed. Similarly, the gulf between US and EU views on the presence of genetically-modified organisms and hormones in the food chain is well known.

Obviously, not too much can be read into the views of a fairly small and arbitrary group of people selected by The Bertelsmann Foundation and Atlantic Council. The fact that they think re-introducing some of ACTA’s ideas might be one of the “less difficult” issues for TAFTA/TTIP suggests that they are either completely out of touch, or know something that we don’t — which is precisely why it’s worth reading the full document just in case they do.

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Comments on “Not Learning From ACTA: IPR Protection And Enforcement Seen As 'Less Difficult Issue' For TAFTA/TTIP”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The commission is for sale and not for election… Since they are the ones carrying the torch it is irrelevant what “the people” think on this side of the sea.

The process behind ACTA was a disgrace beyond words and it is probably thought by the surveyed that they can avoid taunting the parliament enough to get conservatives to vote it in.

At the moment, most european countries lack a believeable alternative to conservatives. The socialists are basically imploding throughout Europe since they lack visions and answers. The Greens and liberals are insufficienly popular. Basically: There is no actual alternative to the conservatives in most countries and on IP, the conservatives are decisively regressive. A vote on a less controversial process behind an international deal than ACTA is almost already sure of getting a majority for it on account of the absolute majority of conservatives.

Anonymous Coward says:

“Perhaps surprisingly given the recent failure to ratify the Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement (ACTA) in Europe, IPR protection and enforcement on A/V materials and software is seen as a less difficult issue by stakeholders, ranking fourth.”

Indeed, that is surprising: the rejection of ACTA’s measures by the European Parliament — to say nothing of the tens of thousands of people who took to the streets of Europe — was overwhelming: why do the “stakeholders” think this time will be different?

Here’s a newsflash for you numb nuts…. Most of the world is not obsessed with ‘the evil copyright system’. Even the ones mildly concerned have been burned by repeated calls that the sky is falling. Many of the evils that Team Chicken Little warned against, have come to pass and people note that their lives are unchanged. So the anti-copyright voice gets more and more shrill, enforcement measures increase and most honest citizens are seeing no change in their lives. That IPR now appears far down the list of concerns is no surprise to any but the FUDpackers and zealots whose hysterics put it at the top in the first place.

Wendy Cockcroft (user link) says:

Re: Team Chicken Little

Have websites been shut down in “pre-emptive” strikes and over-broad applications of the law to protect the copyright system? Yes.

Have domestic laws been passed that had ACTA-like conditions in? Yes, see Spain and Ireland for details.

Are the maximalists satisfied yet? No.

Do the “content creators” get directly paid for their content via the copyright system? No. Collection societies get it first, take their share, then give what’s left to the artists, etc.

Now who’s the numb nut? Bear in mind that I’m not afraid to be publicly identified and held to account for the statements I make. The copyright system we have benefits the few. The rest of us content creators get little, if anything, from it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:


If the world wasn’t obsessed with copyright why all the trade agreements and blacklists? How is it that multiple European economies are failing, unemployment is at an all-time high – and yet, the most important thing on the minds of their governments is imprisoning and fining people for alleged copyright infringement?

There’s an obsession, alright.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

But the obsessed cannot be characterized as “the people”. To push through ACTA, the industry engaged people in Belgium to protest for ACTA and they got caught trying to hire students in Germany…

No, these are not “the people”. Copyrights have changed from an economic right granted to creative people to become a confusing money-machine. Many people are caught in some kind of dilemma since they can see how much they would lose if the industry crashed. That dilemma is turned into a “either you support strenghtening copyright or you are killing the industry with its artists and potentially your own livelyhood”. By keeping it black/white, the actual suggestions are hidden in plain sight and everyone critizising the specifics are a destroyers of the world as we know it.

His point is that the world has not exploded because of the strenghtening in the past. Your point should be how relaxing copyright will have the exact same effect. Since no true relaxation is happening anywhere in the world, his argument is impossible to disproove. Shifting the burden of proof and black/white thinking is the name of the game…

special-interesting (profile) says:

Its hard to comment of the various secret trade talks and the several treaties involved. Because their blackout is working. There is no information. All we can do is argue/conjecture about the hints and suggestions a member group personnel slips out every now and then.

This is one of the main reasons that I believe this is unconstitutional. How can there be ANY credible citizen response about what is secret? If we who are directly involved and responsible to these negotiations… (blankity blank blank!) It is our right to oversee, and produce, negotiate changes in it at any stage. There can be no secret nothing about anything that is our responsibility.

Its goes without saying that congress should shut this down immediately. (did I hear an echo in the post?)

The legal redderic and currently rational reasoning mouthed by the congressional comities, (and the entire two houses of congress), might even be ignored considering they have already endorsed such nonsense. Its up to the judicial branch now. Take your bets one side or the other. Ganbaru! (Japanese for good luck.)

More worryingly; The judicial branch has not been democratically inspiring lately. Cross your fingers. It may be one of those PTSS events. (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome) Where we forget that the Supreme Court exists or not.

Hit me on the head! Am I making sense? ?Dazed and confused.? (Rock star quote.)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Does it matter if the process is open or not?
If the final products are up for a long, fair and open debate with some possibilities for changes, I do not care.

The problem as we see it is the lack of the latter more than the open process. Actually USA has screwed it up worse by allowing invited special interests access to write drafts and propose changes during the secrecy phase.

special-interesting (profile) says:

There is not one stage of the creation of law that should be secret. None at all! Its just not done by an open government with nothing to hide. In this respect; What difference does the final product make when the wording and special undisclosed meanings or interpretations are hidden and never published. Exactly how a bill/act/treaty/legislation is the point. The process of which treaties (and the future law delineated within) are created/worded is so very important.

We currently have enough trouble when the various intelligence agencies have already some weird secret policy derived from a hidden interpretation of poorly written legislation. Its a problem already out of control and needs sharp public criticism.

Submitting a ill advised secretly created work of malcontent is no way to operate a democracy. Think thats to harsh? All mysteriously fornicated things are ill advised malformed things!

Its basic human nature to take advantage of any situation. This is not absurd thinking considering who are gathering around the negotiation table; Corporations, special interest groups and diplomats (that are frequently former corporate activists/employees/lawyers/etc) and none of the people/citizens that are liable for such future law or treaties that affect future law.

Further considering how weak and unmotivated the average US voters are it seems they can get away with (almost) anything they want. Its an legislatively unhealthy situation no matter how one looks at it.

The legitimate number of reasons for secrecy are none. The justifications for open negotiations with public input are infinite.

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