Now That USTR Has Fast Track, Hollywood Ramps Up Demands While USTR Brushes Off Public Interest Group Concerns

from the because-of-course dept

You had to know this was going to happen. Now that the US Trade Rep (USTR) has fast track authority after Congress caved in and passed the Trade Promotion Authority bill, efforts have ramped up to complete the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement with meetings in Hawaii this week. Of course, with fast track in hand, the USTR doesn't need to concern itself at all with things like the "public interest" anymore and can focus on the real agenda: big corporate interests. Reports from the negotiations include one from the legal policy adviser from Doctors Without Borders, noting that the USTR organized a briefing for "US stakeholders," but only invited industry representatives. Oh, and the US Chamber of Commerce (the main lobbyists for SOPA) was allowed to book a room next to the negotiating room and got a private briefing from the USTR. Meanwhile, James Love from KEI notes that in a USTR briefing, USTR staffers are deliberately ignoring anyone representing the public interest.

You know who they are listening to, however? You guessed it: Hollywood. Politico notes that now that fast track is in hand and the USTR has more or less free rein in completing the negotiations, Hollywood has jumped in with a bunch of demands to expand copyright laws via TPP:
We've seen the Hollywood versus tech copyright fight play out over everything from SOPA to the Library of Congress. Now the major movie studios are pushing for key items on their wish list as negotiators hammer out the final details of an Asia-Pacific trade agreement. The studios hope the 12 countries working on the pact will agree to copyright protections that, in many cases, last longer than what’s currently in place, Pro Trade’s Doug Palmer reports.

The movie studios also want stricter penalties on piracy, especially as Internet access expands throughout the region.
And, because the USTR almost always gives in to Hollywood (it helps that the MPAA hired the top USTR negotiator on IP last year, so the current negotiators recognize that their next jobs are on the line with this agreement), it appears that the US has convinced a bunch of other countries -- who should know better -- to agree to lock in a life + 70-year copyright term, even as the US Copyright Office has suggested that current copyright terms are too long and should be scaled back.

There is no way to explain this as anything but selling out the public interest to appease corporate interests of Hollywood. It's a fairly disgusting display of the kind of "dealmaking" that the USTR has been pushing for more quietly for years, but now that it has fast track, it knows it can play hardball to help its friends in Hollywood. Fuck the public domain, Hollywood wants to keep getting paid for works from decades ago.

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 30 Jul 2015 @ 6:53am

    Revolting? Yes. Surprising? Not in the slightest.

    Reports from the negotiations, include one from the legal policy adviser from Doctors Without Borders, noting that the USTR organized a briefing for "US stakeholders" but only invited industry representatives.

    While disgusting, this is anything but surprising. It's been clear from the very start who the USTR is really interesting in serving and representing, and it has never been the public or their interests. The only difference is that now they no longer have to even pretend to care about the public, and can instead focus on better serving the interests of the ones who've bought them.

    They know that they can be as blatant as they want, as they own enough senators to force the thing through no matter how big the backlash is, so long as there's not mass protests ala SOPA, and even then I wouldn't put it past them to push it through anyway. After all, a protest isn't going to get them kicked out of office, and they've got their long-term 'employment' to think of, courtesy of the ones who own them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2015 @ 3:00pm

      Re: Revolting? Yes. Surprising? Not in the slightest.

      we will protest and we will win! help us fight this!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        tqk (profile), 31 Jul 2015 @ 3:23pm

        Re: Re: Revolting? Yes. Surprising? Not in the slightest.

        we will protest and we will win!

        I hope so, but at the same time I suspect you're delusional. Are Wikipedia and Google going to weigh in on this as they did on SOPA? Are multiple millions all over the world going to understand backroom deal threats like TPP? I doubt it.

        I'd be happy to be proven wrong.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2015 @ 7:51am

    It was always going to be this way

    Does anyone else feel that governments have been choreographed over the past century or so? In true Hollywood fashion, the storylines are reused from successful past episodes (budget crises are a regular, predictable event in the US now, just as an example).

    We see the same old tale each time: an idea which is only good for "campaign" donors is pushed forward, it's successfully opposed, it somehow returns triumphant (via mechanisms operating offstage), and those "donations" are duly earned.

    Apply that to most "crises" within living memory, and you'll find a pretty good fit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Melhor App (profile), 30 Jul 2015 @ 8:00am

    revolting!!

    The government is of any country only works for large companies the rest is just illusion to manipulate the masses, make no mistake about it !!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Guardian, 30 Jul 2015 @ 8:09am

    treason

    time for you all to really start talking about it....what it means and why its happening to every govt...and whose responsible

    it would be so easy to grab 500 of the top ones put em all to death seize there assets and fix 90% of the wealth probelm of earth....

    then it might even serve as a message to the next 500 in line not to even try it

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 30 Jul 2015 @ 8:24am

      Huh, this civil asset forfeiture thing could be interesting.

      How about seizing all proceeds from OEM Windows licensing and give part of it back once Microsoft has positively proven that it
      a) did not engage in any non-legal things to have the OEM deals accepted
      b) executed all due care without feet-dragging regarding the "give back the product for a refund" offer.

      And if they don't come up with enough positive proof that no dirty play has been involved, the U.S. just pockets the billions assumed to be from illegitimate business.

      Do the same song-and-dance for a number of other big business players, and the laws will suddenly get fixed pretty fast.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2015 @ 9:32am

        Re: Huh, this civil asset forfeiture thing could be interesting.

        They are not stupid enough to try their laws on people that can fight back at that level. They know what would happen.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2015 @ 12:56pm

      Re: treason

      That's the only way any political system is ever fixed.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    DigDug, 30 Jul 2015 @ 8:44am

    Time for some class action law-suits

    Sue the companies attempting to change "law" through "treaty".

    Use their own questionable math against them.

    Calculate how many works that should already be in public domain if copyright extensions hadn't been bought by Disney, the monetary value that each company has gained illegally due to the law changes through bribery, and then apply truly reprehensible credit score interest rates on that money from the time they started collecting their ill gotten gains til now, and use that to show the financial damage caused to the citizens of this country by these Rico-Act violators.

    I'd say we'd show that the financial damage done would cover the entire U.S. deficit, but it will be equally devided to the rest of us in the country that are not politicians or employees, board members or stock holders of MPAA/RIAA members.

    The bottom 98% would get the multi-trillion payout, while the MPAA/RIAA would go bankrupt.

    That sounds entirely fair to me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2015 @ 8:46am

    Please quit pointing out Dems are run by corporate interests

    If you keep pointing out that Dems are run by corporate interests just like those dastardly Repubs, people might realized the Dems aren't actually for the little guy. We wouldn't want that would we? It will ruin the narrative.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 30 Jul 2015 @ 8:59am

      In case you missed it, both parties are guilty here, bickering about which is 'more' guilty is just falling for the oldest trick in the political book, 'My tribe vs Your tribe'.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2015 @ 9:37am

        Re:

        I think the difference is that one of the calling cards of the left is that they ARE for the little guy while actually not being that.

        It is ALWAYS fair game to point out hypocrisy and defenging that hypocrisy under the guise that the other side does it too means you are more sheeple than people.

        Both sides blow but at least one is not making false claims about their support for 'The Little Guy'.

        The repukes believe that supporting the corrupt companies would really benefit society. So yea, they are turds too, but they are lying less about it than the Dems.

        Man people are suck fucking tools!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2015 @ 9:54am

          Re: Re:

          You hit the nail on the head. The hypocrisy from the left is infuriating. Unfortunately most of their voter base falls for it and the rest turn a blind eye to it while complaining about the Repubs. This is the same reaction here that I get every time I point it out. When they quit lying about it, I will quit pointing it out.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2015 @ 10:13am

            Re: Re: Re:

            Really, we should just stop trying to pretend the Democratic Party is the left.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2015 @ 12:16pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              They are the most left-wing party in the mainstream in the US, which frankly is a damning indictment of US politics and the American Hate Machine.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2015 @ 1:21pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                The problems in modern politics has little to do with the left right axis, but rather due to all parties drifting towards totalitarianism.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          tqk (profile), 31 Jul 2015 @ 3:45pm

          Re: Re:

          I think the difference is that one of the calling cards of the left is that they ARE for the little guy while actually not being that.

          I mentioned something along this line a few days ago. They both suck, but the Dems actually purport to be in favour of the "little guy." The GOP can't even bother to do that. They're outright beholden to Big Gov't, Bible Thumpers, tough on crime, who do we invade next, etc., yada yada.

          So, GOP? Are you nuts?!?

          Democrats? Fuck, no. They're just lieing bastards too.

          Sounds pretty simple to me. "None of the above."

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2015 @ 7:14pm

        Re:

        It has been said that the Democrats and the Republicans are simply two cheeks of the same ass. Unfortunately they, together, control the entire political fabric of this country, leaving no room for anyone less corrupt. See Washington's Farewell Address for details.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2015 @ 9:15am

      Re: Please quit pointing out Dems are run by corporate interests

      Indeed, we can't have our political theater if people realize both parties are the same!

      (Another reason you should totally vote Bernie: his running is forcing even Clinton to move further to the left and, you know, maybe actually at least pay lip service to standing up for the people against the powers of big money, yunno?)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    lucidrenegade (profile), 30 Jul 2015 @ 9:10am

    Why haven't concerned parties filed a lawsuit regarding Congress giving up it's Constitutional right to oversee treaties? I would thing that would require a Constitutional amendment for that to be legal.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2015 @ 9:21am

      Re:

      I would imagine there's precedent for Congress giving up its own powers. Presidential war powers, et cetera.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Ruben, 30 Jul 2015 @ 9:31am

      Re:

      Because they haven't. They've only capitulated on their right to reject parts of treaties. They still approve or deny treaties on an all or nothing basis.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 30 Jul 2015 @ 10:02am

    Wait a minute!

    Oh, and the US Chamber of Commerce (the main lobbyists for SOPA) was allowed to book a room next to the negotiating room and got a private briefing from the USTR.

    If the USCoC is booked next to the negotiating room, the MPAA will likely insist on the other adjacent room, and then where are they going to move the hookers?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Zonker, 30 Jul 2015 @ 3:08pm

      Re: Wait a minute!

      What are you talking about? As we all know, the MPAA always shares the same room with the USCoC and just the one bed.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2015 @ 10:30am

    Congress didn't need warning, although they were, what was going to happen but they ignored those warnings. i can only think that is was for personal gain of some sort. it is too late to stop it now but what should happen even at this late stage is that the public interests should be taken into account, because they haven't been so far and the new proposals by the entertainment industries should be ignored! everyone knew what was going to happen but as is usual, nothing is more important to politicians than getting personal gratification. nothing is more important to the entertainment industries than being able to stay in the pre-digital ages, while stopping progress for everyone else and everything else! they refuse to accept that they are the least important part of the world today and in order to try to get that back, they are stopping the future from becoming a reality!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Eros, 30 Jul 2015 @ 11:03am

      Re:

      It isn't too late to fight the TPP. If we were to successfully sue congress for violating the constitution by abdicating their responsibilities concerning treaties to the Executive Branch, we could nullify all of the treaties passed in this way.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2015 @ 11:45am

    Their rules are not my rules.

    Whether or not the Trans-Pacific Partnership passes, I'm making it a rule that anything I create for personal projects passes into the global public domain a flat 20 years after creation, waiving the extension the TPPA would grant.
    Should I somehow still have rights, such as in countries where premature PDing isn't allowed (which is stupid, since it's my stuff, and my "decision" who "uses" it), I also ban anyone, such as government appointed defendants, from "protecting" my works/suing others without my say so.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2015 @ 5:32pm

    FTW NFA

    Fuck The World
    Now Forever Always

    Helter Skelter Its Time For A Revolution

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      GEMont, 2 Aug 2015 @ 11:29am

      Re:

      "Helter Skelter Its Time For A Revolution"

      Which might gain you a decade of semi-coherent semi-peace while the same-old-parasites' children reorganize and get their ducks in a row and start the whole game over.

      Sadly, a Revolution would, as always, put you right back where you started, and put the same processes you revolted against, right back in place, as always.

      What is actually needed, is an Evolution.

      This experiment has ended and ended badly.
      But it has taught us an encyclopedia of lessons.

      It is time to sit down and create something new, using what we have learned from this last experiment, and from all the experiments before it, that will hopefully have a far better chance to function as a social formulae, "For and By The People".

      Why revolve back to the same place once again? And Again?

      Discard the old an failed and that which has proven useless or detrimental.

      Revise what worked and add what was learned.

      Adapt.

      Evolve.

      Or Die.

      And it might be wise to add addenda to all future Constitution Documents; that explain in great detail, exactly what is meant by every statement in that document, to prevent exactly the kind of secret revisions that have heralded the new "decline and fall" of the current formulae.

      ---

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    tqk (profile), 31 Jul 2015 @ 3:03pm

    SNAFU!

    ... it appears that the US has convinced a bunch of other countries -- who should know better -- ...

    We do! Sadly, just like you, other countries' citizen voters don't matter here. Our politicians love the smell of cash as much as yours do. This's the Hollywierd MafiAA buying our elected representatives' access to lawmaking against our wishes, just as it has yours. I don't know why they can continue to get away with this, but apparently they can (so far).

    I look forward to seeing them all hanging from meathooks in the town square. I dream about it, even. It would be very educational, I think. I think we should hope to hand that vision down to future generations, so they won't get suckered as we've been (so far).

    This is so, bad, yet it still has legs! Astonishing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2015 @ 6:20pm

    Capt. Ramius:
    "A little revolution now and then is a good thing, don't you think?"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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