Whether ACTA was reasonable or not is no longer an issue. The European Parliament yesterday voted to reject it. And the vote was crushing - 478 to 39. As prominent Pirate Party founder Mr. Falkvinge gleefully reports, this kills off the possibility of making ACTA a global legal tool for IP rights holders.
And what to make of it? I think the longer term trend is becoming clear. The fight against piracy is looking more and more like a power grab by Hollywood. What was not questioned (pre SOPA) is now more routinely questioned. I would expect that this questioning will intensify.
Not all would agree that these questions are well aimed. Copyright and Technology, for example, offers a long post arguing that popular acceptance of downloading musical content without paying for it is an attack on its underlying value as a product. He bases this on a case study - and exchange between a musical artist and a music fan. He argues that the question is not whether to fight piracy but how to do it. This is an argument that was taken for granted not too long ago. No longer.
FOLLOW - Bobbie Johnson writes at Giga that not all would agree that ACTA is dead.
2d FOLLOW - And why do I think that questioning will intensify? The perception is growing that Hollywood, using US government resources is going too far in its piracy fight. To get a sense of this, consider the O’Dwyer extradition case. Mathew Ingram tells the story for giga. Should the US government be making such a big deal about this? In the old days, few would have noticed. Now more are. And more are scratching their heads wondering whether the US government should be so aggressive. That is the trend that I see.
3rd FOLLOW - NYT reports on the EU Parliament vote. I find it fascinating that the main complaint from treaty proponents is that their work was misrepresented. From US Trade Representative spokesperson Carol Guthrie
It is unfortunate that there has been so much misrepresentation of ACTA, because its language explicitly preserves free expression and privacy while fighting commercial-scale intellectual property theft. There continues to be a need for international cooperation on these issues, and the ACTA can still serve as a valuable forum through which countries can coordinate to stop counterfeit trade and piracy.
I don’t think that this addresses the real problem that this vote symbolizes - right or wrong, trust has been broken.
4th FOLLOW - Wired comments as well on the vote. An interesting comment there - the Obama Administration has invested a significant amount of political capital in the ACTA process. Hmm … time for a re-think?