MPAA Chief Speaks to Congress about ACTA

Michael Geist linked to the testimony of MPAA chair, Dan Glickman, before the Subcommittee on Government Management, Organization, and Procurement Committee on Oversight Reform. Geist quotes the relevant section of this relatively brief document, where Glickman just about demands a three strikes policy without using anything approaching those exact words.

We firmly believe that for the ACTA to address the enforcement challenges our industry confronts today, it MUST include robust protections for intellectual property online. Practical secondary liability regimes for online infringement are essential to motivate stakeholders to cooperate in implementing the reasonable practices that promote legitimate consumer options and make the online marketplace less hospitable for infringers. ACTA parties should refine their secondary liability regimes to reflect current realities and adopt modern, flexible systems where they do not exist.

This is clearly part of a longer trajectory trend, considering Bill Patry’s post on some earlier testimony from Glickman to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Bill’s favorable characterization of Glickman’s work before he came to the MPAA does remind us that these are still people we are dealing with, that it is best to resist the urge to demonize them. However, he puts his finger on exactly the problem with both acts of Glickman as spokesperson for the MPAA, his attempts to create moral panics over the issues for which the trade association is lobbying.

I would definitely consider much of what we are seeing through leaks and statements around ACTA as the worst of this sort of false rhetoric. This very much puts me in mind of Glyn Moody’s excellent post dissecting the bait and switch currently being employed in these discussions more generally.

I know often the goal of compromise is to cut the closest deal possible as it is often the most fair to all parties. This sort of hyperbole seems to have little to do with tough negotiation, rather it feels very much like an effort to simply suppress all objections. It is bad enough that the newest stakeholders, the public interest and technology innovators, are routinely being excluded simply because historically they have been absent from these sorts of discussion. The fervid ranting is all the more infuriating for that frequent lack of anyone even attempting to gainsay it.

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