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Follow the money on ACTA secrecy

Call me an old cynic if you wish, but one of the things I have been told about any scandal is to "follow the money".
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Written by Darren Greenwood on

Call me an old cynic if you wish, but one of the things I have been told about any scandal is to "follow the money".

This just might explain all the secrecy surrounding the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) talks in Wellington this week.

The world and his wife, not to mention the New Zealand Internet Society, has called for openness and transparency surrounding the talks, with thousands signing petitions on the matter.

Yet, these pleas are being ignored. Why? What is being hidden from public view? Who stands to gain from ACTA? And who stands to gain from its machinations being held in secret?

Canadian law professor and ACTA expert Michael Geist has been doing the rounds of the New Zealand media.

He says that behind the scenes the copyright holders, like Hollywood and media companies, hold much power. They also fear the new technological developments, which have hit their revenue streams hard and are flexing their political muscles to do something about it.

I may well have been supping at the well of conspiracy, but how quickly does that Obama Hollywood fundraiser two years ago turn into acts of law once he is US President? How soon does an author's donation to the UK Labour Party become a Digital Economy Bill?

And once the US and the UK have their mind set on something, in all honesty, who are Australia or New Zealand to stand up against them?

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