Big Content is clearly starting to lose ground in the US as the country wakes up to the fact that they are all a bit silly.
Writing in his bog, Harold Feld, a senior vice president of Public Knowledge, said that after the SOPA fiasco and the world’s collective protest against ACTA, politicans are waking up to the fact that Big Content needs reigning in.
Feld claims that the US is moving from a copyright maximalist policy to a more limited approach.
He points to changes he has been seeing in the current trade negotiations where the US backed a minimalised approach which it would not have before.
During the recent Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement the US Trade Representative (USTR) said it would include a provision in the intellectual property chapter recognising the importance of “limitations and exceptions” to copyright.
Feld thinks that for the USTR to accept limitations and exceptions as “an important part of the copyright ecosystem” is a bit like the Pope saying in some cases, birth control is a good thing because it allows married couples to have sex without procreation.
He thinks the reason for the change of heart is European Parliament utterly rejecting the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).
Association of the treaty with Big Content really did stuff up the rest of the industry which wanted ACTA to actually fight people making warehouses full of fake Rolex watches.
The problem was that Big Content wanted the law to contain what Feld called “crazy stuff on intellectual property”.
Until recently no one wanted to say no to the MPAA or RIAA and the result was that a real trade agreement to address real counterfeiting was killed off.
If ACTA had not been used by Big Content as its weapon of choice, it might have slipped through without much public notice or discussion.There was the usual Big Content spokespeople raving about how anti-ACTA groups were pirates and profiteers – such as Google. This just hacked more people off.
The US finally twigged that listening to Big Content was really going to cost it internationally and probably at the ballet box.
US politicians were not that happy with the Big Content agenda after the SOPA bill was defeated. Now with ACTA they are saying “why are we listening to these clowns”.
Needless to say the MPAA and RIAA are furious about the way things are going. Feld thinks they blame Wikipedia and Google, despite not having any evidence. The fact that they could be wrong just has not entered their noggins. They just say, without a trace of irony, that the Government has caved in to “Big Knowledge” bullies.