State Of The Union Address Highlights The Dirty Trick Of Hiding More Draconian IP Rules In 'Trade Agreements'
from the keep-up dept
However, as Harold Feld explains, it's much more likely he's talking about these new international agreements and treaties, like ACTA and (the even worse) TPP agreement that's currently being negotiated (in secrecy, of course). Feld also highlights how these things always "ratchet up." He points to the infamous US-Korea Free Trade Agreement ("KOROUS"). The agreement, which had a lot to do with protectionism for Hollywood, rather than actual free trade, was held up for years as the kind of "good" trade agreement that the US should be negotiating with others. In fact, when complaints about ACTA first came out, the USTR kept saying that ACTA was merely modeled on the "successful" KOROUS agreement. Of course, the impact of that agreement has been pretty bad in Korea -- leading to an extreme increase in secondary liability for internet service providers, making it tougher to do business and causing them to shut off useful features. And all of this despite the fact that the Korean entertainment industry was thriving by adapting to a changing market.
But, as Feld points out, the efforts behind SOPA and PIPA show that the same entertainment industry who insisted that the trade agreement with Korea was so perfect, is now whining that the agreement is "too weak." And, apparently, that's why we need TPP. To make an already bad agreement much worse.
The good news here is that the public is becoming aware of this practice of hiding bad rules in trade agreements and then demanding we change our laws to "meet international obligations." President Obama's message may not have been directly about SOPA/PIPA, but it was an unfortunate signal about the continued use of questionable "trade agreements" to not just force the rest of the world into bad and damaging (for their own economies) IP rules, but to then turn around and use them to ratchet things up back here in the US as well.
One thing that anyone just becoming aware of these fights needs to know: the entertainment industry lobby is very, very good at what they do, and they never put all their eggs in one basket. While they love pushing for ever more draconian federal laws, they're always working multiple angles, including international trade agreements, laws in foreign countries and... state laws around the US, which they can then leverage to get other states to follow suit. If SOPA/PIPA really fails on the federal level, you'll see the same ideas pop up in all of those other places. In fact, we're already hearing stories of such plans in all three things, which we'll be covering in the days and weeks ahead.