Thursday, November 19, 2009

MPAA's Glickman seeks Hill support for ACTA

After weeks of false charges that the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement currently under negotiation would eliminate "DMCA-style safe harbors" or make it "impossible to run a service like Flickr or YouTube or Blogger," copyright owners are finally fighting back. Today MPAA Chairman and CEO Dan Glickman sent a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy and other congressional leaders on copyright issues, asking the lawmakers to to lend their weight to the fight for the agreement:
MPAA letter re ACTA

Glickman also addresses the issue of transparency, acknowledging that the process, which has been opened to select participants from industry and interest groups but not the general public, has "foster[ed] apprehension over the Agreement’s substance" and created a "distraction." Glickman calls for the Administration and Congress "to provide for continued transparency as the negotiation moves forward." I'd go a bit further and suggest that, from now forward, USTR and other participants should do whatever is permissible under the law to explain exactly what ACTA is and would do; secrecy (though sometimes necessary) has the unfortunate effect of allowing the falsehoods and conspiracy theories to spread unchallenged.

Also today on Capitol Hill, the Senate Judiciary Committee today unanimously approved the nomination of Victoria Espinel to be the first White House Intellectual Enforcement Coordinator, better known as the "IP Czar." Here are the Judiciary Committee materials on Espinel, including her responses to the committee's questionnaire.

Update: Here's Public Knowledge's response to the MPAA letter. And make sure to read Nate Anderson's take on the MPAA letter in Ars Technica.


  1. Is this really a pro-copyright blog? It seems to be satirical in nature: "Intellectual Enforcement Coordinator".

    It would be interesting to know more about the critique against transparancy within the copyright lobby. You actually discussed this? It would be interesting to know who opposes transparancy, or maybe that is being too opened about what you really feel? Maybe everyone agrees that secrecy in this case is stupid and should be avoided?

  2. It seems at least both sides of the issue agree higher transparency is needed if ACTA is to have any credibility. I find it an affront to the founding principles of a country like the US to have these sort of talks in secret, as if the general populance was too stupid to understand the matter at hand or should be treated like peasants who should accept anything their governments impose on them. Democracy indeed....

  3. I am a grandma in Sweden and very thankful for your information. The last half year I have tried to wake up my government and asked for transparence. I feel very pleased when I see that the lobby is unpleased :-D

  4. False Claims are on the premis of leaked documents. That's one of the reasons why we need transparentcy of this treaty. Copyright is public policy, and should be treated as such. It effects everything from industry, to consumers, to our economy.

    Considering the lead charge on ACTA is coming from US sources I would have to be highly cautious considering a wide sweeping lobby influance on US law and congress has contributed to a world wide ressession. I think a more open and public debate on this issue is warrented so that we ensure economic stability and access to a free flowing market that everyone has a share in.


Comments here are moderated. I appreciate substantive comments, whether or not they agree with what I've written. Stay on topic, and be civil. Comments that contain name-calling, personal attacks, or the like will be rejected. If you want to rant about how evil the RIAA and MPAA are, and how entertainment companies' employees and attorneys are bad people, there are plenty of other places for you to go.