Proud Infidel ranting about the ongoing war against democratic and secular values (Don't fool yourselves)! Maybe a voice of sanity in a wide ocean of madness.



The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is a proposed plurilateral trade agreement that would impose strict enforcement of intellectual property rights related to Internet activity and trade in information-based goods. The agreement is being secretly negotiated by the governments of the United States, the European Commission, Japan, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Canada, and Mexico.[1][2] If adopted at the 34th G8 summit in July 2008, the treaty would establish an international coalition against copyright infringement, imposing a strong, top-down enforcement regime of copyright laws in developed nations. The proposed agreement would allow border officials to search laptops, MP3 players, and cellular phones for copyright-infringing content. It would also impose new cooperation requirements upon internet service providers (ISPs), including perfunctory disclosure of customer information, and restrict the use of online privacy tools. The proposal specifies a plan to encourage developing nations to accept the legal regime.

The European Commission, the Office of the United States Trade Representative, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and other government agencies have acknowledged participating in ACTA negotiations, but they have refused to release drafts of the treaty or to discuss specific terms under discussion in the negotiations. Public interest advocates in Canada filed an access to information request but received only a document stating the title of the agreement, with everything else blacked out.[2] On May 22, 2008, a discussion paper about the proposed agreement was uploaded to Wikileaks, and newspaper reports about the secret negotiations quickly followed.[3][4][2][5]

ACTA is part of a broader "forum shifting" strategy employed by the trade representatives of the U.S., E.C., Japan, and other supporters of rigid intellectual property enforcement: similar terms and provisions currently appear in the World Customs Organization draft SECURE treaty.[6]


This sounds like a wet dream for the entertainment buissness lawyers. Very little has leaked out about it. If a citizen requests the paper work, all you get out is 30 pieces of paper where all the "good stuff" have been inked out. Not only does this break the Freedom of information legislation, but what little that has actually leaked out is enough to give every humanbeing beliving in the bill of rights (Fri- och rättigheter) nightmares. Among other things, border controls could be set up checking you for illeagal items such as MP3- players, lap tops, region free DVD/Blue Ray players and people can have their internet connection closed down on the suspision of using it for file charing.

All this is done over the heads of the citizens in said countrys. Democracy in motion, huh? It is time for you to write a letter to your congressman!

Leaked documents are one of the banes of modern western politics. They reveal exercises and actions being proposed that are generally objectionable to the public. Such a leak occurred with the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) which seeks to turn the internet into a virtual police state.

Again, it’s one of the few bastions of anti-corruption, Wikileaks, that has spilled the beans on this unsavory topic. Yesterday the site revealed a document proposing a treaty that will significantly limit the privacy and rights of Internet users, to the benefit of multimillion dollar companies.

“ACTA” is basically an attempt to criminalize the Internet, thus allowing a virtual police state to occur by the selective prosecuting of crimes. In short, it’s an international treaty, or hopes to be, that will greatly increase already draconian copyright measures, in a poor attempt to appease the copyright and patent industries.

The proposal is based on the assumption that ‘intellectual property rights’ (a term used nine times on the first page of the proposal, and 24 times over the entire 3 ½ page document) trump personal privacy, data protection, probable cause, and lots of other important principles in western democracies.

Read more here.

The measure which has received wider publicity is the so-called ‘Pirate Bay killer’. At the end of page two, there is a list of things that should be included in a signee’s legal framework, and in the section about criminal sanctions it states “significant willful infringements without motivation for financial gain to such an extent as to prejudicially affect the copyright holder (e.g., Internet piracy)”. Think non-profit, personal use file-sharing.

Of course, this could go two ways, as the MPAA, for instance, has been guilty of ‘Internet piracy’ in the past, with it’s university toolkit.

Worst of all though, are the following two points speaking of “establishment and imposition of deterrent-level penalties” and “ex-officio authority to take action against infringers”. It is argued that the current level of penalties aren’t harsh enough (“people are still doing it, so they’re no deterrent”), so there should be room for harsher punishments. Combine this with the ability to prosecute without a rights holder complaint, which means that people could be liable for millions, or imprisoned (they are talking about CRIMINAL enforcement) for sharing Steal this Film, or Paulo Coelho’s books. So, these people actively want you to share would have no say in any such prosecution.

There are some other pure gems proposed, such as “ex officio authority for customs authorities to suspend import, export and trans-shipment of suspected IPR infringing goods”. Given that copyright law is so complex and convoluted, and that judges make mistakes in the cases they hear, this is worrying.

Unsurprisingly, the US patent office is backed up beyond belief and dominated by patent trolls that wait until a successful business is established, before pouncing to clean up. This would mean the death for any new and innovative products, or art. If that wasn’t bad enough, there is a further provision for rights holders to prod customs officials into suspension. Thus, a company can make an allegation, forcing a competitors products to be held in limbo until sorted.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you think the Patent Office is backed up, imagine European and US airports while immigration officials search for copyright violations on tens of thousands of laptop computers. Immigration officials who, by the way, wouldn't recognize a copyright violation if it bit them on the ankle.

We have TOO MUCH government.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008 at 02:33:00 CEST


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