Up Is Down, Night Is Day, US Pretends Protectionist, Anti-Free Trade Agreements Are 'Historic Free Trade' Treaties

from the booooooooogus dept

For some time now, we've been noting that the US keeps trying to force countries around the globe to put in place protectionist policies that protect American monopolies, and hilariously pretending these are "free trade" agreements. And today is no different. The White House is tooting its own horn for signing three new anti-free trade agreements today, with South Korea, Panama and Colombia, pretending that these are free trade agreements. The reality, of course, is that they are protectionist plans that will do more harm than good to US interests.

While the White House leaves this part out of its patting itself on the back, these agreements all export the worst of US copyright law to these other countries, forcing them to put in place laws that are against their own best interests, and which serve only to falsely prop up the entertainment industry's bad business model. This is why the MPAA and the US Chamber of Commerce are cheering it on so strongly.

And, of course, this is just the beginning. The Treasury Department put out its own blog post celebrating the anti-free trade agreements as well, in which they ominously warn that things are going to get worse, as they "build on" these agreements to get the dreadful Trans-Pacific Partnership signed. As you may recall, the TPP has become the way that the US Trade Rep plans to sneak in everything that it failed to get in ACTA... and it's being even more secretive about TPP than it was about ACTA. It's nothing but a government handout to Hollywood. This is not "historic" and it's not about "free trade." It's about protectionist anti-free trade policies that will do long term harm to US innovation and economic interests. What a disaster.

Filed Under: colombia, copyright, free trade, obama administration, panama, south korea, trade agreements, ustr

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  1. identicon
    Rekrul, 21 Oct 2011 @ 4:46pm


    Why is the entertainment industry's business model bad? I haven't ever seen that claimed before.

    Because technology has moved on and they haven't.

    With today's technology, there's no technological reason why a movie studio couldn't digitize its entire catalog of movies and offer the files for sale on the net. You will NEVER see this happen, mostly because copyright has become such a huge mess, it's virtually impossible to offer even half the movies in their vaults for sale in digital formats without lengthy and expensive licensing deals.

    With today's technology, there's no reason that anyone should miss an episode of a TV show ever again. It would be trivial for the cable companies to record each show and offer an on-demand stream for up to a week after the show airs. You'll never see this happen either, due to the same copyright mess. Instead, everyone has to pretend that once a show airs, it can only be watched from a few, select sources, offered to certain locations, with all sorts of restrictions.

    In the past, differing TV standards mostly kept you from watching movies bought from another country, unless you also had a VCR and TV from that country. Today's TV and DVD players should be capable of playing discs from any country, but instead they're saddled with region codes to prevent you from importing your own movies, even if said movies aren't available in your home country.

    The entertainment industry has fought every new technology, tooth and nail. VCRs, Digital Audio Tape, MP3 players, CD burners, P2P file sharing.

    This should be the golden age of entertainment, but instead the entertainment industry wants to pretend that it's still the 1990s, forcing people to buy CDs/DVDs/Blu-Rays, subscribe to cable, etc.

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