Obama Still Supporting ACTA

Many sites are covering the Obama administration’s resolve to complete ACTA. Slashdot links to a solid piece at OSNews covering Obama’s remarks at the Export-Import Bank’s annual conference in that vein.

“We’re going to aggressively protect our intellectual property,” Obama said in his speech, “Our single greatest asset is the innovation and the ingenuity and creativity of the American people […] It is essential to our prosperity and it will only become more so in this century. But it’s only a competitive advantage if our companies know that someone else can’t just steal that idea and duplicate it with cheaper inputs and labor.”

This is not surprising given the administration’s record on intellectual monopoly to date. In addition to all of the entertainment industry lawyers that power players in the entertainment industry are lobbying the White House directly. TorrentFreak has some choice quotes from Ari Emanuel, brother of White House Chief of Staff, Rahm.

This is disappointing, seeing Obama trotting out this tired old Internet Threat rhetoric. We have laws on the books for dealing with real threats to industry, i.e. commercial piracy. Normalization on that via ACTA would be acceptable. Oh, and go watch RiP: A Remix Manifesto, in particular the footage with Bruce Lehman. Tell me if you get the impression that he now thinks this IP protectionism is worth it.

To be fair, Obama’s remarks are pretty generic. It is hard to conclude that his support is specifically for the internet chapter of ACTA, at least what we’ve seen in the leaked drafts, versus something less controversial. All the same, that his support is expressed unconditionally makes it fairly reasonable to assume he has no major qualms with potentially kicking Americans off the internet for illegally downloading digital media.

At least the EU Parliament has sent a clear signal that three strikes is unacceptable, a voice for sanity in treating regular citizens more fairly than presumed commercial pirates. Too bad it makes us in the US look unenlightened in comparison.

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