ACTA rumbles on – but are we entering the endgame?
Michael Geist comments on the ACTA talks resuming in Washington today. Talking about the apparent disagreement between the US and the EU, he says:
With the U.S. on its home turf and having pushed for an accelerated schedule (there will be another round in Japan early in the fall), the next week could decide the fate of ACTA. If neither side is willing to budge on the core disagreement over scope of the treaty, the prospect of a slimmed down group of countries as part of ACTA becomes greater. If the move to a full round is a sign that movement is likely, there is every reason to believe that ACTA will be concluded this year.
Michael Geist (although you need to log in to read it)
ACTA is a bad, bad thing; and governments that support it are either bad or weak governments. But a few questions have long bothered me:
- Why is the USA so keen on ACTA?
- Why is India so liberal on copyright?
- Why is the EU so concerned about ACTA?
- Why is Britain’s new ‘libertarian’ coalition government not up in arms against ACTA?
ACTA does, of course, cover more than just the film and television industry. But let’s just concentrate there for the moment.
Hollywood is really the world’s biggest and most efficient national propaganda machine. So too American TV. You’ll be able to show me exceptions obviously, but in general, Hollywood proves that:
- America is free
- America is good
- America is the home of truth, freedom and justice
- America saves the world (regularly)
- America is a beacon of light and hope in a darkening world
- America’s enemies are the enemies of freedom and democracy
I’m not saying this is wholly untrue (just as it is not wholly true); but what government will willingly give up this free propaganda?
How about India? Well, India, of course, has Bollywood – increasingly important. If anything weakens Hollywood, then Bollywood is strengthened; which is, I’m sure, purely co-incidental to India’s more liberal position.
The EU? Well, I think the EU is trying to assert its independence of and from the USA. It’s probably not much more. And if it can show independence, I think the majority of European governments rather like the power that ACTA will give them over the internet. Well France and Germany (which means ‘Europe’) certainly will.
But Britain bothers me. We had so much hope when the coalition came to power. They had promised to sweep away the illiberal, draconian, undemocratic, autocratic diktats of the last Labour government. And it’s just not happening; and it certainly ain’t happening where the entertainment industry is concerned. And I can’t really see why. The industry claims to be the engine that drives the economy; but I don’t accept that. Which leaves me with the terribly sad feeling that our nice Mr Cameron is either playing politics with that nice Mr Obama, and is expecting his own back to be scratched later on; or has done a private deal (come to an understanding) with the media moguls who will continue to support his government; or both.
The one thing that is clear and certain is that the best interests of one group of people is being completely ignored by all parties: and that group is you and me.