Op-Ed About How US Lost The Copyright Fight
Harold Feld is Senior Vice President at Public Knowledge – the Washington, DC group which supports “the openness of the Internet and the public’s access to knowledge.” His article originally appeared on Wetmachine (reported by ArsTechnica).
Last week was full of events, some of the most notable being the denial of ACTA in the EU Parliament, and the beginning of negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in San Diego.
Moreover, another shocking development was the proposal of USTR (US Trade Representative) to include a new provision in the IP (Intellectual Property) chapter, a provision that highlights the importance of “limitations and exceptions” to copyright while also accepting the international 3-part test. However, implementation of the aforementioned principles in the TPP could be a major setback to the existing US law, not to mention the skepticism of the media about their true intentions. Such a dramatic change of view from USTR’s part is not easily digested.
But we could relate this development with the failure of ACTA in the European Parliament – a heavy blow received not only by the industries (read the MPAA and the RIAA), but also by other businesses which were actually hoping that the legislation would pass. It’s most likely that the industries did not think so hard when implementing absurd provisions within ACTA. In other words, they pretty much signed the act’s death sentence.
With that in mind, USTR’s move may be wise as they’ve learned from the mistakes made in the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, not to mention the questions already raised by various Congressmen regarding the TPP.
Also, the provision could be easily synced with the international 3-part test (a rather vague international law) – a step forward for copyright maximalism in Harold’s opinion.
“I have many rules of advocacy. One is: Always make it easy for other people to agree with you. This is doubly true when believe the other side is making the concession grudgingly. So the first response is to thank USTR and acknowledge its significant shift in position. The second step is to help USTR move down the path of wisdom by refining the text — aware that the IP Mafia will do everything in its power to reverse course and shift USTR back to its traditional position,” Harold said in his statement.
More on what he said can be read here.