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Mexico: Telecom and Entertainment Industries Testify on ACTA

As reported earlier on Global Voices, the Mexican Senate is currently holding public hearings with citizens, academics, lobbyists, and Internet service providers on the Anti-Counterfeit Commercial Agreement –widely known as ACTA. On March 2, lobbyists from the creative, telecommunications and entertainment industries in the ACTA Working Group had the opportunity to present their positions to the senators.

The meeting was transmitted live through the Congress’ TV channel. However, the online stream did not work. Fortunately, Antonio Martínez from OpenActa was present and tweeted most of it. You can read his stream of tweets on Storify [es].

The positions of this round of the ACTA Working Group at the Mexican Senate were clear: ISPs, platforms, developers and content creators don’t like ACTA. On the other hand, the entertainment industry urged the Senate to adopt the treaty, as they see many advantages –their main concern is getting paid for the illegal downloads that they consider lost sales.

Roberto Cantoral, the leader of a group called Coalition to Access Legal Culture, asked the Senate to sign ACTA because he considers that there is a lack of laws to protect authors from new technologies. In his opinion [es], the concept of free information has been exploited to steal content.

Señores, ¿quieren dar cultura al pueblo? !Páguenla![.] ¿No dan ustedes educación gratuita a este país?[.] No puede ser posible que utilizen el trabajo de los creadores justificando el libre acceso a la información.

Sirs, do you want to give culture to the people? Pay for it! [.] Don't you give free education in this country? [.] You can't use the work of the creators justifying it with the free access to information

Some of the most relevant arguments against ACTA came from Google and Telmex.

Manuel Támez, Google's Director of Public Policy for Mexico and Latin America said [es]:

Internet habilita la creatividad, lejos de inhibirla. Internet es un democratizador del éxito

Internet enables creativity, it far from inhibits it. Internet democratizes success.

Tamez also said that ACTA must be limited to physical goods, as the name of the treaty indicates.

Marco Galván [es] explained the biggest concern for representatives of Telmex:

Hemos visto con preocupación la forma en que se desarrolló ACTA[.] reconocémos que muchos lineamientos han sido modificados en las últimas versiones pero queremos ratificar que Telmex se opone a cualquier medida que atente en contra de los derechos usuarios de internet, como la preservación de la identidad, presunción de inocencia y debido proceso.

We have seen with concern the way in which ACTA has been developed [.] We recognize that many guidelines have been modified in the last versions but we want to ratify that Telmex opposes any measure that threats the rights of Internet users, such as identity protection, presumption of innocence and due process.

Mario Fromow, also from Telmex, said [es]:

México no se debe dejar presionar por algunos países que quieren que firmen un tratado contrario al interés público [.] y limitar a nuestro país para adherirse a la sociedad de la información.

México should not let itself be pressured by other countries to sign a treaty contrary to the public interest [.] and limit our country's ability to join the information society.

Daniel Barroso from Encicloabierta [es] says the Senate has a big challenge ahead of them as they need to regulate in a way that does not violate any fundamental rights.

Jose Luis Chiquete from the free software industry, said [es]:

Estas sesiones han abierto los ojos acerca de la actual problemática del derecho de autor y el problema de los creadores que se aferran a los viejos modelos, [..] el problema no es la legislación, es la tecnología y como se aprovecha. Los piratas han aprovechado muy bien la tecnología, lo importante es que los propietarios de los derechos de autor hagan lo mismo y puedan competir con el mercado

These sessions have opened our eyes to the current copyright problem and the problem with creators that cling to the old models [.] the problem is not legislation, it is technology and how you take advantage of it. Pirates have taken very good advantage of it, the important thing now is that the copyright holders do the same and compete in the market.

Twitter user @europaenllamas compiled all the audio clips from the meeting [es].

After hearing all the interested parties, Senator Federico Doring (PAN) gave his opinion [es]:

ACTA no es una varita mágica [.] No es mediante un acuerdo internacional como se protege lo que ustedes están buscando [.]Si alguien les dijó que México tendría con ACTA las herramientas necesarias, les mintió.

ACTA is not a magic wand [.] It's not through an international agreement that we can protect what you are looking for [.] If someone told you that with ACTA Mexico will have the tools to do so, they lied to you.

There is clearly no consensus on ACTA yet, but resistance to the treaty is still growing in all sectors. However, some recent news provide a few hints as to what could happen. Newspaper El Universal published an article titled “Businessmen bend Blake's arm” [es] on important lobbyists requesting Secretary of State Francisco Blake to tackle piracy problem urgently.

The next session of the ACTA Working Group will be held on April 6, when government officials and negotiators involved in ACTA will testify in the Senate.

The entertainment industry was represented by lobbyists and lawyers like Jaime Campos (Association for the Protection of Film and Music), Luis Schmidt (Mexican Association to Protect Intellectual Property) and collection societies like Amprofon, Somexfon and the Coalition for the Access of Legal Culture (CALC), and the Society of Mexican Authors and Composers (SACM).

Manuel Támez from Google México, Marco Galván and Mario Fromow from Telmex, José Luis Chiquete from the Mexican Free Software Association (AMESOL), representatives of the Mexican Association of Internet Providers (AMIPCI) and Daniel Barroso from EncicloAbierta [es] were representing the telecommunications and creative industry.

2 comments

  • Daniel estrada

    I’m worried that these comments from Telmex and Doring/Creel are pronounced in order to acquire supporters. Remember just a few months before the ACTA discussions? Everyone hated telmex and their companies such as telcel, why? Because of the poor service they give to their users and the high costs of them. Seems like everyone forgot about it, how can you tweet if you don’t have 3G on your cellphone? Oh but you sure are happy about Telmex’s position on the subject. Just remember you’re still paying 1st world bills for a really poor service.

    Remember Doring and Creel? They’ve already contended for high political positions and lost. We have elections in 2012 so why not secure some followers right now? What will happen when/if they get elected? My guess is people will react just like with anyone in a political position: hate them, no matter what they do. Just don’t forget YOU put them in the place they are. Will they remember their “commitment” once they’re in office? good luck with that.

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