Press Release

Public Knowledge Statement on MPAA Letter Regarding Anti-Counterfeiting Treaty

November 20, 2009 , , ,

Background: The Motion Picture Association Association (MPAA) yesterday
sent a letter to Capitol Hill asking for more transparency for
deliberations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). A copy
of the letter is here: https://www.publicknowledge.org/pdf/mpaa-acta-letter-20091119.pdf

The following statement is attributed to Gigi B. Sohn, president and
co-founder of Public Knowledge:

“We are pleased to join MPAA in asking for more transparency in the
deliberations over the anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). That
request is long overdue. We hope the MPAA sends its message to the U.S.
Trade Representative in addition to its letters to Congress.

“However, we do not agree that the dispute over the backroom
deliberations of this agreement are a ‘distraction.’ The
disagreement about public involvement goes to the heart of an open and
responsible government. Allowing a select few non-industry observers,
including Public Knowledge, to view the contents of the ACTA proposal
under strict non-disclosure terms is not a substitute for full public
participation. An open and transparent government was one of the first
promises made by the Obama Administration.

“We also take issue with the assertion that opponents of the treaty
are ‘indifferent’ or ‘actively hostile,’ to use
MPAA’s terms, to improving worldwide copyright enforcement. Public
Knowledge is not. We endorse a focus on commercial reproduction of DVDs
and other hard goods, which is a more serious problem.

“We do want to make certain, however, that the rights of Internet
users are not trampled by overwhelming government power asserted at the
behest of a single special interest. What PK objects to is imposing
unreasonable burdens on civil liberties and innovation, particular where
these have such limited impact. In particular, it is inappropriate to ask
ISPs and application designers to do what the studios themselves have
found impossible to do, manage security to prevent all illegal copying.

“And while the MPAA may be correct in its statements about the
economic impact of its industry, we also note that despite the constant
threat of ‘piracy,’ the industry has reported that the number
of motion pictures released in 2009 so far (and the figure is incomplete)
is higher than last year, and that the number has grown in the past five
years. Box office receipts, as well, continue on an ever-upward
pace.”

Note: Techdirt has a summary of motion pictures produced, here: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20091101/1818186751.shtml