The Closing of the Net  "original and valuable"  Times Higher Education

Fearful rights-holders switch to an ‘economic stimulus’  message, pulling on the emotional heartstrings of Europe’s flailing economies. But have they got their facts right?

Just days before the European Parliament votes on ACTA (Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement), a rights-holder PR briefing to MEPs claims that ACTA will generate an economic stimulus of €50 billion, plus 960,000 new jobs. But it does not take a very sophisticated understanding of research methodology to see that this is a figure rooted in sand.

 I've been saying for some time that the public anti-ACTA protests have put the wind up the rights-holders. This briefing confirms my view.

 The rights-holders have changed their message from a basic “support the authors” to a much stronger claim  that ACTA will be a magic bullet to bring jobs and economic growth back to Europe. It’s a message that is designed to appeal to MEPs in the Eurozone countries, whose eonomies are in dire trouble.

However, the message  does not stand up to an examination of the research report that produced it. Any MEP who does not see behind the glossy PR posters must be one who has never learned basic maths.

Take the €50 billion stimulus they promise that ACTA will deliver. Even if you believe that ACTA is capable of delivering anything at an economic level, just take a look at the construction of the €50 billion figure.

The source of the  figure is a report sponsored by the rights-holder lobbying group BASCAP, ACTA, in the EU: Assessment of Potential Export, Economic and Employment Gains.   The  €50 billion  is based on an assumption that all of the four BRIC economies – that is, China, Russia, India and Brazil – will all sign and implement ACTA.

The four BRIC economies are currently not ACTA signatories. Anyone who has followed the copyright debate for a while will know that  these countries do not have  any intention of signing ACTA. India is positively opposed to the US domination of IP matters.

 Given that information – which can be fact-checked- on what basis should we believe that there is a €50 billion economic stimulus possible with ACTA?

 Moreover, if the signatories of this lobbying PR were to be asked why all the jobs have gone to China in the first place, maybe they would sing a different tune. It should be blatantly obvious that the lions’ share of European manufacturing has been lost because European firms wanted the cheapness of Chinese labour. And it is not a huge leap from there to suggest that the Chinese are ripping off our IPR because they get such ready access to it – it is willingly passed to them by greedy European firms.

Perhaps this is now the come-uppance for European business that believed outsourcing manufacturing to China would be the panacea for their ills.

One thing it certainly is not, is  a justification for a secretly-negotiated copyright treaty.

 This is an original article from You may re-publish it under a Creative Commons licence, but you should cite my name and provide a link back to  Media and Academics – please cite as Monica Horten,  ACTA facts and rights-holder chicanery, in,  26 June   2012 . Commercial users - please contact me.








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