Wednesday, November 04, 2009

I get it. Change is hard. Creative destruction and innovation can destroy your current business.

Tough. Progress is going to happen. Accept it. Embrace it. After 18-months in the music business, I fully understand the pain and fear upheaval brings, but I also saw how really understanding what change is doing to your business opens up new opportunities. Music companies can do a better job today than ever before of connecting artists and fans around the experience of music — and I know they don’t need a huge copyright land grab to it.

Which makes the current leaks from the ACTA negotiations deeply disturbing on two levels. First, willfully blocking your nation from building on inexorable technology trends is an act somewhere between criminal and treasonous. Second, as nations we all face enormous challenges around healthcare, war, displaced peoples, energy, disease, education, poverty and famine. We have a unique moment in history to capitalize on the worldwide excitement about the Obama Administration. So how do we capitalize on the moment? What issue is worth encoding into international law?

Unauthorized camcording. Yes, you read that right. Unauthorized camcording.

Each Party shall provide for criminal procedures and penalties to be applied against any person who, without authorization of the holder of copyright or related rights in a motion picture or other audiovisual work, knowingly uses an audiovisual recording device to transmit or make a copy of or transmits to the public the motion picture or other audiovisual work, or any part thereof, from a performance of the motion picture or other audiovisual work in a motion picture exhibition facility open to the public.

That’s the most important issue facing the world that the Obama Administration wants to expend political capital on?

Even worse, according the EFF discussion:

[T]he US government appears to be pushing for Three Strikes to be part of the new global IP enforcement regime which ACTA is intended to create – despite the fact that it has been categorically rejected by the European Parliament and by national policymakers in several ACTA negotiating countries, and has never been proposed by US legislators.

For those who don’t know, Three Strikes is a potentially due process-free set of penalties for terminating your access to the Internet. The Obama Administration is supporting Three Strikes-style rules due to lobbying by the MPAA and the RIAA, despite opposition from the technology and telecomm industries. As the United States slowly emerges from the recession, are we really comfortable shackling innovation and technology progress because of lobbying efforts?

If you’re not, tell your Senator now.

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