New Internationalist

Lobbyists lie to avoid copyright treaty scrutiny

I posted last week about ACTA, the staggeringly misguided treaty that the entertainment and pharmaceutical industries are trying to have their government minions pass without any serious public debate.

This week, the entertainment industry is at it again. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is yet another copyright treaty being negotiated in secret by many of the same shadowy corporate éminence grises as ACTA itself.

Now, some civil society groups heard that there was to be a TPP meeting at a swanky Hollywood hotel and decided that they'd rent out a room and run an open briefing event about the TPP. In the same hotel.

But the lobbyists heard about the planned meeting and decided to have the hotel cancel the group’s reservations. Sean Flynn, the Associate Director of the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property (PIJIP) at American University takes up the story on TechDirt.

‘The public interest briefing was booked last week and advertised to all delegations, including the host USTR,’ he said. ‘An hour after the invitation was sent, we received a cancellation of our venue by the hotel.’

The hotel said that they had ‘a confidential group in house’ and wouldn't be allowing other groups in the hotel that day.

It turns out that that was a lie. When the group called to rent a function room for another event the hotel was more than happy to oblige.

Unlike the public interest groups, the film industry got exclusive access to the treaty negotiators. The negotiators even got a ‘multi-hour tour of 20th Century Fox Studios’. Of course that won't have any influence on their objectivity.

Secrecy and corruption appear to be the modus operandi of the corporate interest groups sponsoring the TPP. Their terror at the prospect of any public debate about their control of popular culture only serves to illustrate the fragility of their position. Expect more shenanigans and more attempts at pervasive internet surveillance coming from the direction of our Hollywood overlords.

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