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Hollywood Has Become Lobbying Juggernaut

James Hirsen By Monday, 06 January 2014 08:37 AM EST Current | Bio | Archive

Hollywood is gaining fame for its powerful influence on policy both here in the United States as well as abroad.

Entertainment companies are routinely taking their legislative wish lists to Washington, D.C., and they aren’t tiptoeing around. With hopes of winning legislative and regulatory jackpots, they are lobbying hard right alongside their fellow K streeters.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the industry has spent more than $320 million over the last three years to try and convince politicians to move in their direction.

In a recent example, after all the dust had settled on the negotiations to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff, Hollywood looked to be one of the big winners after industry lobbyists were successful in persuading Congress to extend more than $400 million in tax deductions that would benefit the entertainment industry.

Hollywood content producers tried to get Congress to pass strict anti-piracy measures, including the Stop Online Piracy Act, (SOPA), but Internet companies and consumer groups beat Hollywood at what had previously been considered the entertainment industry’s forte, the PR game. SOPA opponents ended up convincing the public, and ultimately the legislators, that if the measure were passed, free speech, and maybe even the Internet itself could be in jeopardy.

Unable to achieve intended goals through the passage of U.S. laws, entertainment industry lobbyists turned to a massive international trade pact to accomplish the same things, only on a grander scale. Global law on intellectual property enforcement would be rewritten.

The Tinseltown solution is arriving in the form of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), a secretive multi-national trade agreement that seeks to implement restrictive intellectual property laws across the entire globe.

Twelve nations, which include Japan, Australia, Peru, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Chile, Singapore, Canada, Mexico, Brunei Darussalam, and the U.S., are currently negotiating the TPP. Together the countries represent 40 percent of the world’s GDP.

Should the TPP become ratified, all signatory countries would be required to have their domestic laws and policies conform to the provisions of the agreement.

The TPP proposals are so highly secretive that Senate and House members must make special appointments to view the material, and no staffers are allowed to be present. Legislators must also agree not to take any notes or reveal any of the content of what has been read.

Although the draft text of the pact has never been officially released to the public, a chapter of the TPP on intellectual property, which was released by WikiLeaks in November of 2013, contains provisions that would extend copyright protections, create draconian copyright enforcement mechanisms, and lengthen patent monopolies for medicines.

The intellectual property provisions in the TPP are very similar to those contained in the Internet copyright enforcement legislation, which as previously mentioned had failed in Congress due to grassroots opposition (SOPA).

Ironically, Hollywood’s push for stringent intellectual property law at the international level has delayed the planned finalization of the TPP, which had been slated for completion at last year’s end.

Derek Khanna, a former staffer of the House Republican Study Committee, who incidentally was fired last year after writing a memo that advocated an overhaul of copyright laws, posted the following on the Breitbart website: “The Obama Administration, at the behest of Hollywood lobbyists and other special interests, is negotiating to incorporate international and European conceptions on copyright to supersede the U.S. Constitution.”

Sadly, despite the serious issues involving American sovereignty and constitutional integrity, the push continues for what, if successfully brought to fruition, would amount to covert back-door legislation via a global trade agreement.

James Hirsen, J.D., M.A., in media psychology, is a New York Times best-selling author, media analyst, and law professor. Visit Newsmax TV Hollywood. Read more reports from James Hirsen — Click Here Now.

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Entertainment companies are routinely taking their legislative wish lists to Washington, D.C., and they aren’t tiptoeing around.
Monday, 06 January 2014 08:37 AM
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