The most referenced article thus far by those of us in the business of defending silicon valley from Hollywood is the call made by Y Combinator to “Kill hollywood.”Why the harsh and violent undertone? Well, Hollywood is a beast, or like Goldman Sachs, a vampire squid. It’s tenticles are tightly wrapped around Washington’s throat and strategically, deep in their wallets.
As Y Combinator explains, “The people who run it are so mean and so politically connected that they could do a lot of damage to civil liberties and the world economy on the way down.” And they are trying desperately to do just that. Look at what have we’ve been dealing with these last few months: SOPA, PIPA, ACTA and HR 1981. All of these are designed to do one thing: punish free-thinking, free-writing talent that Hollywood and the Music industry can’t profit from.
A lot of people have asked, “what is ACTA?” or “what is HR 1981?”
ACTA or the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is a treaty proposed by the World Trade Organization drafted first by the United States. It is not a bill being debated in congress. The treaty is a plurilateral agreement, which essentially means that WTO member nations aren’t required to sign it. Protests recently erupted in Poland when the Polish Ambassador to Japan signed the agreement. Hacktivists affiliated with ‘Anonymous’ have been shutting down websites such as MPAA.org, RIAA.org and government websites in protest. ACTA has similar traits to SOPA, in the way that it will eventually lead to censorship online by allowing governments to block websites they deem “dangerous” to intellectual property rights.
You can see how difficult it would be to prevent millions of users from posting images or videos on your page. Sites like YouTube are already complying with requests to remove copyright material. ACTA, like SOPA, may give authorities the ability to simply shut YouTube down completely. At the least, sites like Facebook and YouTube will have to police the content on their sites to remain active. Say goodbye to your favorite ‘Thriller’ video and the website it rode in on.
HR 1981 is also known as the “Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act of 2011.” Yeah, Senator Lamar Smith of Texas actually named it that. The name of the bill was obviously designed to dissuade any opposition. No one wants to be known as the congressman that voted against protecting children from pedophiles. As Death and Taxes put it, “a title rich with pathos and seemingly morally impregnable.” A more appropriate name for the bill might be, “Internet Service Providers Have To Record Everything You Do Online Act of 2011.”
HR 1981 demands that your information will be recorded, so that the government can have access to it. It is McCarthyism at it’s finest. Sen. Lamar wants to record your data, because apparently, pedophiles have taken over the internet and your neighbor is likely one of them. Here’s the problem: the cost of keeping all of this data is going to be enormous. ISP’s will unfortunately have to pass that cost on to their customers. That’s you.
The problem now lies in the fact that ACTA, which embodies the same threat of censorship as SOPA, the Protect IP Act and HR 1981, as I mentioned before, is not a bill being debated before congress. It is a treaty between the United States and the World Trade Organization. And guess what? Your President already authorized the implementation of the ACTA treaty via executive order last October, despite a letter delivered to him signed by over 75 law professors urging him to do just the opposite. Their letter concluded the following:
Negotiators claim ACTA will not interfere with citizens’ fundamental rights and liberties; it will.
They claim ACTA is consistent with the WTO Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS); it is not.
They claim ACTA will not increase border searches or interfere with cross-border transit of legitimate generic medicines; it will.
And they claim that ACTA does not require “graduated response” disconnections of people from the internet; however, the agreement encourages such policies.
ACTA was negotiated in secret and while many people knew about the existence of the treaty, the actual terms were kept classified; except from a few companies, including the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America.
According to both the Bush and Obama administrations, the content of the treaty could not publicly be debated because doing so would… wait for it… “threatened national security.” You can set aside your copy of 1984 and Brave New World. Welcome to the introduction to the prequel of the greatest dystopian story ever told.
Originally posted at Boycott-Hollywood.org