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July 15, 2010
"So Transparent It Has To Be Leaked"
I generally love reading Nate Anderson's work on ars technica. He covers many areas of interest to this blog including ongoing IP cases and new business practices in content areas.
He's at his best when he cuts loose with the snark, as he does in a recent post about ACTA, the still-not-really-secret-but-can't-be-openly-discussed copyright revision treaty. If you're still not familiar with the shenanigans around ACTA, Michael Geist's blog is a great place to start.
What Anderson's piece points out is that ACTA is going through this ridiculous cycle of secret negotiation followed immediately by leaked copies of the drafts. The leaked copies draw fire from all quarters and the negotiators hunker down again behind closed doors for another round, as if somehow their latest deliberations would remain behind those doors. It's not always clear who is leaking the drafts or why, but it is clear that both the parties involved in the negotiations as well as the excluded players are unhappy about it. Libertarian and pro-Copyfight bloggers are also screaming mad about the treaty's provisions and process. Cory has been dogging the story at boingboing for months.
So, what's the point here? What is so important that the US has to blackmail other countries in an effort to keep the process secret? I don't get it. The entire thing is degenerating into a farce, as Anderson highlights. So far that farce hasn't really penetrated the mainstream media but if this keeps up I can't see any way for the treaty to get approved. You would think the US had learned something from the backlash that arose against the healthcare reform legislation's secret back-room deals. Apparently not.
(In the spirit of helping out businesses trying new models I should note that ars is offering "ars premier" with "insider access" to its content, live chats with the editors and industry people it interviews, etc. I'm not yet a subscriber myself but if anyone has experience with this or similar subscriptions I'd be interested in hearing from you.)
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