The American entertainment industry has long been a muscular advocate for its interests. The movie business, along with television, music, cable and Internet interests, contributed $20.7 million to President Obama’s reelection campaign in 2012, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, making entertainment the fourth-largest industry sector backing the president. The heads of several major film studios, such as Warner Bros., are among the largest bundlers of Obama’s campaign money.
Entertainment industry officials say their impact on the treaty negotiations has been limited.
“If we had such influence, I wouldn’t be so concerned about the course of this treaty,” Marcich said. “I don’t feel like we’ve had any undo influence or disproportionate weight in the process.”
The advocates for the treaty have their own powerful allies. Singer and songwriter Stevie Wonder sent a YouTube video to delegates promising to visit Marrakech to sing for them if the treaty is approved.
The Hollywood lobbyist cornered the chief U.S. negotiator, Justin Hughes, just as the closed-door talks were breaking up for the day. Hughes appealed for understanding.
“We can’t go any further. You can’t ask for too much,” Hughes urged, according to another delegate who overheard the conversation that took place in Geneva in April.
Hughes reminded Ted Shapiro, a copyright attorney who lobbies for the MPAA, that Hollywood had already gotten what it wanted on movies, videos and similar material, and that additional copyright protections had been added.
But the MPAA still was not satisfied, according to the account provided by David Hammerstein, a Spanish politician and delegate to the negotiations who overheard the exchange.
Hollywood was still strongly objecting to the fair use provision, which is one of the legal principles cited in the United States to make books accessible to the blind.
Shapiro, in an interview, said he did not specifically remember the April encounter with Hughes but added that they have had several conversations.
“I was making interventions. My constant refrain during the interventions on behalf of the Motion Picture Association was that it needed to be consistent with the international copyright system,” said Shapiro, a former general counsel to the MPA in Europe who now serves as an outside legal adviser to the MPAA.