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  1. #1
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    ACTA, the new Danger after SOPA, help defeat it

    New Protests set for 25.02:

    Sign the petition, by now signed over 2.300.000 times:

    Rights groups calling for action against ACTA:

    European Digital Rights:
    Foundation for Free Information Infrastructure:
    France-based La Quadrature Du Net:
    UK-based Open Rights Group:,-not-yet-sealed-now-its-up-to-us
    Germany-based Digitale Gesellschaft:
    More Info on what criticism is being raised in what region and what to do:

    Some Info:

    SOPA Preamble

    As many of you likely know, the media industry tried to push the SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) legislation through in the US, which would have given companies a lot more power towards controlling the contents on the Internet and the power to shut down or block websites without having to go through a rigorous legal process.

    There was a lot of activism about it, along with videos like this explaining the dangers and the foolishness of SOPA a lot better and more concise than I probably could:

    Through a large-scale protest of the tech-industry (among others Google, Wikipedia, Mozilla Foundation etc.): disaster could be averted for now and the bill was stopped and put on ice.

    In the last few days the issue has been brought up a lot more in Europe, along with a few conservative parties regretting that the bill didn't pass like the german CDU/CSU:


    In the meantime the protests against the ACTA grew louder, especially in Poland and Austria a lot of websites went black, and people even took to the streets in the hundreds to protest against the ACTA agreement:
    This is another video regarding the ACTA and trying to explain why it's bad:

    Despite or maybe in face of these protests, the EU decided to sign the ACTA during a ceremony in Tokyo:
    But it's not over yet, as activism against the agreement grows, for instance an European advocacy group released a statement urging people to fight against the upcoming vote in the European Parliament to ratify the agreement by contacting their MEPs personally:

    A few days after the online protests against the anti-sharing bills SOPA and PIPA in the United States, today's signing ceremony of ACTA is the symbol of the circumvention of democracy to impose policies that hurt freedom of communication and innovation worldwide. However, this highly symbolic signature is not the end of the road.

    Every citizen willing to act to defeat ACTA now has an opportunity to participate in having it rejected. They will be able to weigh in at each of the many steps of the ratification procedure, which will lead to a final vote in the EU Parliament no sooner than June. (See below).

    "In the last few days, we have seen encouraging protests by Polish and other EU citizens, who are rightly concerned with the effect of ACTA on freedom of expression, access to medicines, but also access to culture and knowledge. This important movement will further build up. European citizens must reclaim democracy, against the harmful influence of corporate interests over global policy-making. For each of the coming debates and votes in the EU Parliament's committees before the final vote this summer, citizens must engage with their representatives.", said Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesperson for citizen advocacy group La Quadrature du Net.

    ACTA procedure in EU Parliament:
    • The International Trade (INTA) Committee of the European Parliament is the main committee working on ACTA.
    • The Legal Affairs (JURI), Development (DEVE), Civil Liberties (LIBE) and the Industry (ITRE) committees will first vote on their opinions after holding "exchange of views" on draft reports in the coming weeks.
    • Opinions will then be sent to INTA to influence its final report, which will recommend the EU Parliament as a whole to reject or accept ACTA.
    • The final, plenary vote by the EU Parliament on ACTA should be held no sooner than June.
    There is also a campaign page detailing what you (as an European Citizen) can do to prevent the ACTA from being ratified by the EU and who you have to call to prevent it:

    Also maybe some updated/properly researched article by John would help :P
    Last edited by Dexter; 15-02-2012 at 01:26 PM.

  2. #2
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    I want these laws to stop, but the lobbies that push this have a lot of money and control the govern in washington. USA really wants to push these laws, probably so much as kill people that would oppose it.

  3. #3
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    After the ongoing protests in Poland, Polish parliament members of the leftist Palikot's Movement wear Anonymous masks in parliament to protest and show solidarity against ACTA.
    This just in: the European Parliament’s rapporteur of the ACTA agreement, an agreement which is about as bad as SOPA and creates seriously repressive legislation – that rapporteur has just quit in disgust over how the whole process has been designed to keep citizens and lawmakers in the dark.

    Wiki: Rapporteur (derived from French) is used in international and European legal and political contexts to refer to a person appointed by a deliberative body to investigate an issue or a situation.
    What he had to say about it:

    Kader Arif, rapporteur for ACTA in the European Parliament quit his role as rapporteur saying:

    "I want to denounce in the strongest possible manner the entire process that led to the signature of this agreement: no inclusion of civil society organisations, a lack of transparency from the start of the negotiations, repeated postponing of the signature of the text without an explanation being ever given, exclusion of the EU Parliament's demands that were expressed on several occasions in our assembly."

    "As rapporteur of this text, I have faced never-before-seen manoeuvres from the right wing of this Parliament to impose a rushed calendar before public opinion could be alerted, thus depriving the Parliament of its right to expression and of the tools at its disposal to convey citizens' legitimate demands."

    "Everyone knows the ACTA agreement is problematic, whether it is its impact on civil liberties, the way it makes Internet access providers liable, its consequences on generic drugs manufacturing, or how little protection it gives to our geographical indications."

    "This agreement might have major consequences on citizens' lives, and still, everything is being done to prevent the European Parliament from having its say in this matter. That is why today, as I release this report for which I was in charge, I want to send a strong signal and alert the public opinion about this unacceptable situation. I will not take part in this mascarade."
    There's also a petition going at 250.000+ signed right now:
    Last edited by Dexter; 27-01-2012 at 04:23 AM.

  4. #4
    Activated Node ShEsHy's Avatar
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    Wouldn't wanna be the guy in the back right corner of the picture ;D.

    Just a slight update; The petition at currently has over 633k signatures (mine included ;))
    Building, fixing and using PCs since 1999. Only PCs. Always PCs.

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    Some details to protests and rallies/demos planned for different European countries like France, Sweden, Ireland and more:

    There was also a quite fascinating article (kind of a "debrief") about SOPA on Forbes:

    Meanwhile the issue with ACTA is gaining momentum as it hits bigger news portals and awareness grows, especially since Kader Arif stepped back:

    Photos from Protests in France:

    In other countries where ACTA got signed, like Romania and Bulgaria the press is slowly waking up and starts asking questions and pointing fingers how and why it got signed without the public being informed about it:
    Also more and more Protests and Demos are being planned, for instance one on 11.02 in Germany.

    Critics say Obama acted "unconstitutional" by signing ACTA:
    Electronic Frontier Foundation (more in-depth)
    Australian Pirate Party tries to stop ACTA:

    More Info Material:
    Last edited by Dexter; 30-01-2012 at 09:56 AM.

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    Poland changes its tone, apparently ratification "may not happen now", ready for "talks":,Poland-may-not-ratify-ACTA

    Speaking on Polish Radio on Tuesday, Minister Bogdan Zdrojewski said that "it's quite simply very difficult to predict which act and which regulation will spark emotions," referring to the strong protest that the government's signing of the agreement last week in Tokyo has sparked in the country.
    He added that there had been "no sign" that ACTA would prove controversial until government web sites came under attack by Anonymous hackers ten days ago.

    Poland's ambassador to Japan, Joanna Rodowicz-Czechowska signed the international agreement in Tokyo on 26 January, alongside the majority of EU member states.

    However, the legislation must still pass through the Polish parliament.
    "It may so happen that the ratification does not take place," the minister reflected, adding that "it will certainly not take place in a hurry."
    Zdrojewski suggested that although debate had not occurred prior to last week's uproar, "we really do have some time now, and it's worth making use of this time."

    The minister signalled that a final decision may not even be necessary for two years.

    Malta joins in with criticism:
    The Anti-Counterfeit Trading Agreement (ACTA) could not only impinge on the rights of personal internet users but also affect the generic pharmaceutical companies in Malta and Europe, Labour MP and spokesperson on consumer rights Michael Farrugia said today.
    "ACTA was not negotiated at an inclusive multilateral forum, such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO) or the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)," Farrugia said. "ACTA is intended to go beyond former agreements and the signed version of the ACTA contains words which are not clear and could be misconstrued to encompass various things," Farrugia said.

    Farrugia said that the fundamental rights of internet users could be affected, especially privacy and personal expression. "The Labour Party and its MEPS have voiced their reservations about the agreement, and voted in favour of a resolution move by European Parliament political groups - except the European People’s Party (EPP) - to amend the current version being signed which is still very vague," Farrugia said.
    Internet Service Providers could be held liable for illegitimate material hosted and data transferred across their service, according to Farrugia.
    "ISPs will have to monitor all information going through their system which would mean 'bye-bye' to privacy. It is a dangerous practice and we do not believe rights-holders should be given permission to access personal information," Farrugia said.

    Farrugia said that certain provisions should be clarified because innovation could also be affected, as well as generic pharmaceutical companies who could find themselves in trouble even if original patents for medicines have expired.
    "The ACTA could go against the agreements made with the WTO because it would be working outside of the legal frameworks. We already have the TRIPS agreement and the Doha declaration as tools against counterfeit medicines.
    "The tools are all there. ACTA is vague and could place generic pharmaceuticals on the counterfeit list. This could be a threat to companies who provide generic pharmaceuticals which are cheaper than but just as effective as their brand-name counterparts," Farrugia said.
    Referring to
    Finance Minister Tonio Fenech's claims that Labour Party had not objected the agreement when presented to the Malta-EU Steering and Action Committee (MEUSAC), in July, Farrugia said: "The version of the ACTA document put forward to MUESAC was not the final version of the document and we could not debate it properly.
    Farrugia also said that Fenech had basically "cut and pasted the front page of a document presented by the EU commission" agreeing that ACTA should be put forward.

    "There has been a lack of transparency with different versions continuously cropping up since MEUSAC’s meeting on the matter in July. All MEPs within the EU parliament had requested that all changes and progress since the original document should be put down on the table but this was refused," Farrugia said.
    "When the issue was brought forward we had a whole discussion about it but there was no real final document to be discussed since the ACTA was being considered at EU level, not local. MEPs put forward a request that all the different versions of the documents be placed on the table along with the final version of the ACTA.

    "Our MEPs were on the ball the whole time, and wanted to know exactly what was going on but all discussions were conducted behind closed doors and not with the MEPs. They were not included in any of the discussions," Farrugia said.

    MaltaToday asked whether the PL disagreed with ACTA as a concept or whether only its terminology should be clarified.
    "We are in the same position as the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats in the European Parliament. If terms were clarified and all mentioned were protected, from ISPs to personal internet users to generic drug companies, then it could be further considered," Farrugia said.
    Asked whether he believes that file sharing should be decriminalised Farrugia said: "The internet serves many purposes. ISPs are being asked to delve into everyone’s information and be held responsible for any illegal content. It is a dangerous situation because if anyone is harmed personally by any content on the internet which was allowed by an ISP, individuals will be given the facility to go directly to the ISP for information instead of going through the courts meaning data protection would no longer be applicable."

    In Slovakia certain parties are also reacting critical: ect_it_entirely.html
    Even though the co-ruling Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) party supports the concept of protection of intellectual property, it has certain reservations about the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in its current form, said SDKÚ MP Ivan Štefanec to the TASR newswire on January 30.

    "The manner in which this agreement was prepared raises suspicions in how it was submitted to the [EU's] Agriculture [and Fisheries] Council ... We suspect that in the draft there are elements restricting freedom of speech on the internet and elements restricting free competition," Štefanec stated, adding that an amendment to existing Slovak laws would be enough to tackle the perceived lack of protection of intellectual property here.
    The opposition Slovak National Party (SNS) told the media that it has not yet adopted a final stance on the issue.

    "This agreement violates human rights and contributes to significant restrictions on the use of the internet ... It deals with counterfeiting only marginally and it calls copies, and not only imitations, counterfeits," said Iveta Adamová, spokesperson for the Ordinary People and Independent Personalities party.
    Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party said that it will not support the proposed ACTA legislation if its suspicions regarding restricting human rights are valid. Even though it is the Economy Ministry that should submit the ACTA legislation for government discussion, it is possible that Economy Minister Juraj Miškov (from SaS) will not support the legislation. The Economy Ministry’s spokesperson, Daniela Piršelová, said the bill must be submitted for ministerial comment first and it is not clear whether the whole process will be concluded before the March 10 election.

    Representatives of the EU and its 22 member countries signed ACTA last week in Tokyo and the international treaty has significant governmental and institutional support across the world. The Slovak signature to the document is missing as the treaty must first be approved by the government and parliament.

    In Bulgaria:
    Even though the co-ruling Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) party supports the concept of protection of intellectual property, it has certain reservations about the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in its current form, said SDKÚ MP Ivan Štefanec to the TASR newswire on January 30.

    "The manner in which this agreement was prepared raises suspicions in how it was submitted to the [EU's] Agriculture [and Fisheries] Council ... We suspect that in the draft there are elements restricting freedom of speech on the internet and elements restricting free competition," Štefanec stated, adding that an amendment to existing Slovak laws would be enough to tackle the perceived lack of protection of intellectual property here.
    The opposition Slovak National Party (SNS) told the media that it has not yet adopted a final stance on the issue.

    "This agreement violates human rights and contributes to significant restrictions on the use of the internet ... It deals with counterfeiting only marginally and it calls copies, and not only imitations, counterfeits," said Iveta Adamová, spokesperson for the Ordinary People and Independent Personalities party.
    Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party said that it will not support the proposed ACTA legislation if its suspicions regarding restricting human rights are valid. Even though it is the Economy Ministry that should submit the ACTA legislation for government discussion, it is possible that Economy Minister Juraj Miškov (from SaS) will not support the legislation. The Economy Ministry’s spokesperson, Daniela Piršelová, said the bill must be submitted for ministerial comment first and it is not clear whether the whole process will be concluded before the March 10 election.

    Representatives of the EU and its 22 member countries signed ACTA last week in Tokyo and the international treaty has significant governmental and institutional support across the world. The Slovak signature to the document is missing as the treaty must first be approved by the government and parliament.
    Slovenian Ambassador publishes an apology for signing the ACTA:
    Ljubljana, 31 January (STA) - Following a public outcry against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), the Slovenian ambassador to Japan, who signed the agreement on Slovenia's behalf last week, published an apology on Tuesday. The hacker group Anonymous has meanwhile announced attacks on the Slovenian government's website.

    Al-Jazeera Online Special:

    Meanwhile as pressure on political parties increases, the protests set for 11.02 all around Europe are increasing rapidly: 7&msa=0

    "Britain Needs Wake-up Call":
    Last edited by Dexter; 31-01-2012 at 08:05 PM.

  9. #9
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Smashbox's Avatar
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    I just want to jump in to say those are Guy Fawkes masks, not Anonymous masks.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smashbox View Post
    I just want to jump in to say those are Guy Fawkes masks, not Anonymous masks.
    They are "Guy Fawkes" masks to a number of (largely British) people, but they've become a symbol for Anonymous some time ago so they are just that in this context, at most maybe "V for Vendetta" masks xD

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    "Acta goes too far" - a Interview with Kader Arif, the parlamentarian that resigned as negotiator over ACTA:
    In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, Kader Arif – a member of the European parliament's international trade group, who was the lead negotiator over Acta – said that despite talks over the agreement having begun in 2007, "the European parliament, which represents the rights of the people, had no access to this mandate, neither had it information of the position defended by the commission or the demands of the other parties to the agreement".
    Asked what he thought European citizens should do, Mr Arif said: "Showing that there is interest and concern about this agreement is the best way of creating a real public debate, which was never possible until now because of the lack of transparency on this dossier. Especially if the timeframe is short, raising awareness of members of parliament will be crucial. And because Acta is a mixed agreement, it will have to be ratified both by the European parliament and by every member state of the union, so there is also an opportunity to organise debates at the national level."
    That means, he says, that "at this stage one can only accept or reject the agreement – no change of the text is possible. If the right wing of the European parliament had not imposed such a tight calendar, the members of the European parliament could have drafted an interim report, which would have put conditionalities to the ratification of the agreement, by giving recommendations to the commission and member states on how to implement it. But this is no longer a feasible option."
    "The title of this agreement is misleading, because it's not only about counterfeiting, it's about the violation of
    intellectual property rights," he told the Guardian. "There is a major difference between these two concepts."
    has triggered public protests in a number of European and other countries, as well as online attacks by the hacking collective Anonymous. The US, EU member states, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan and a number of other countries have signed it, although none has yet ratified it in national legislation.
    The agreement would create an international framework and set of standards for a voluntary legal regime to enforce intellectual property rights across national boundaries.
    Arif said one example illustrates this difference particularly well – the case of generic medicines. "Generic medicines are not counterfeited medicines; they are not the fake version of a drug; they are a generic version of a drug, produced either because the patent on the original drug has expired, or because a country has to put in place public health policies," he said.
    A number of countries such as India and African nations have sought to use generic versions of drugs for infections such as HIV, which has often been resisted by pharmaceutical companies. Under Acta, Arif fears such countries would not have the same freedom to determine their own actions.
    "There are international agreements,
    such as the Trips agreement, which foresees this last possibility," he said. "They're particularly important for developing countries which cannot afford to pay for patented HIV drugs, for example.
    "The problem with Acta is that, by focusing on the fight against violation of intellectual property rights in general, it treats a generic drug just as a counterfeited drug. This means the patent holder can stop the shipping of the drugs to a developing country, seize the cargo and even order the destruction of the drugs as a preventive measure."
    Internet freedoms could also be under threat if Acta is ratified in its present form, he says. "The chapter on internet is particularly worrying as some experts consider it reintroduces the concept of liability of internet providers, which is clearly excluded in the European legislation." That could make ISPs, who provide internet access, liable for users' illicit file-sharing.
    Arif also expressed concern that there could be more intrusive checks at borders to fight counterfeiting.
    "I see a great risk concerning checks at borders, and the agreement foresees criminal sanctions against people using counterfeited products as a commercial activity," he said.
    "This is relevant for the trade of fake shoes or bags for example, but what about data downloaded from the internet? If a customs officer considers that you may set up a commercial activity just by having one movie or one song on your computer, which is true in theory, you could face criminal sanctions.
    "I don't want people to have their laptops or MP3 players searched at borders, there needs to be a clearer distinction between normal citizens and counterfeiters which trade fake products as a commercial activity. Acta goes too far."

    EC Commissioner for Trade Asks European Parliamentarians to Disregard Public Criticism of ACTA:
    In the last few days, some parts of civil society have intensified their campaign against this agreement. As we have seen before, and despite the European Commission's efforts to provide all the relevant facts, the action they take is based on misinformation, or possibly even worse, on willful misinterpretation of the content of the agreement. This is all the more striking given the fact that ACTA does not change existing EU rules in this area.
    In particular, comparisons are being made with draft legislation that was recently discussed, then withdrawn in the US Congress, and which differs very significantly from ACTA both in substance and the actual measures proposed...
    ...Presently, ACTA opponents are trying to press Members of the Parliament to take a position now against it before your Committee and the Parliament has had a chance to debate it and take a considered view of its merits. This is not the time to jump precipitously to a conclusion simply on the basis on the number of emails received or in response to organized attacks to websites, such as your own, notwithstanding the amount of media attention such action attracts.
    More from Malta:

    Czech MEPs regarding ACTA:‘completely-wide-mark’-acta
    Elastic ACTA?
    In the Czech parliament on Monday a number of MPs from the governing coalition parties (ODS, TOP 09 and VV) and the main opposition center-left Social Democrats (ČSSD) severely criticized the ACTA and called upon the government and all MPs not to ratify the agreement. The MPs spoke about the fears of prying on individual Internet users, forced disconnections from it, and the obligation of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to answer for the actions of its users to large corporate owners of intellectual property rights. The provisions of the treaty most widely covered by the media concern powers to search personal computers, MP3 players, mobile phones and other mobile data devices on national borders to check for possession of pirated data and software.
    The fact is that the current version of the agreement is not nearly as clear cut as most media reports would lead one to believe. The Czech website has covered the issue in detail and describes the current draft of the ACTA as "elastic" and cites a number of analyses which recommend that the EU's Court of Justice in Luxembourg should review the draft treaty for compatibility with EU laws.
    As for the provisions for powers which could lead to rights abuses, for the most part they are recommendations, not binding obligations and the words "can" and "may" far outnumber "must" and "obliged."
    Jaroslav Tajbr, a senior associate with the law firm DLA Piper, has a similar opinion: "The actual application of many of the provisions of the ACTA will be at the discretion of the signatory states because many of its clauses are conceived as just recommendations," Tajbr told Czech Position. Thus, the agreement could be understood to be an altogether insignificant document. On the other hand, as concluded, it may well turn out to be a carte blanche for the large corporate holders of patents and copyrights.
    Czech MEPs’ take
    The ACTA will also have to be ratified by the European Parliament that should involve reviews by a number of the parliament's committees followed by debate and a vote at a plenary session. And Czech Position's enquiries indicate the agreement should by no means enjoy a smooth passage through the EU's legislature.
    Czech MEPs say the agreement is nontransparent, dictated by commercial interests, threatens individual rights and freedoms and overall is "well wide of the mark." However, it may be that they say this for the sake of gaining the support of young voters, or even to avoid becoming a target of the Anonymous movement.
    Here's what four Czech MEPs from different political groups have to say about the ACTA:

    The following comments from each MEP are also rather interesting :P

    From Slovenia:
    Ljubljana, 1 February (STA) - The head of the parliamentary EU Affairs Committee, Roman Jakič of Positive Slovenia (PS), will propose on Friday that the committee discuss the consequences of Slovenia's accession to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). Trade unions have meanwhile joined the growing opposition to the agreement.
    Romanian Ministry of Economy to organize public debates on Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement:

    Bulgarian ISPs about ACTA:
    The ACTA agreement will breach users' rights and change the course of internet evolution, argued a branch union of Bulgarian ISPs Wednesday.
    "ACTA aims at obliterating anonymity and entirely transform the structure of the global network," said the Bulgarian Union of Independent Internet Providers.
    In addition, Bulgarian ISPs argue that the agreement will breach privacy of users and will go as far as reverse the presumption of innocence.
    Last Thursday, Bulgaria became one of 21 EU member states who joined countries such as the USA, Japan, Canada, Australia, South Korea and Switzerland as signatories to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.
    The intergovernmental treaty stipulates that downloading content such as music and movies from sites not sanctioned by rights owners, such as torrent trackers, is similar to product counterfeiting.
    further will have such actions be subjected to criminal, and not civil proceedings, as has been up to now.
    The document has been drafted and signed under much secrecy, which has added to the ire of users worldwide.
    "With the introduction of ACTA, ISPs will be obliged to survey their users' traffic and to give to the authorities information about who does what," said Bulgarian Union of Independent Internet Providers representative Strahil Dobrev.
    "At the present moment, only the police, by means of a court decision, can make us do that. This will be totally changed if ACTA is implemented," clarified Dobrev.
    ISPs argued that this could lead not only to breach of privacy rights, but also for random but significant punishments for users for downloading content as harmless as pictures.
    European Parliament Info/Short FAQ on ACTA:

  12. #12
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Rii's Avatar
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    Beyond ACTA: next secret copyright agreement negotiated this week in Hollywood:

    Last year, versions of the TPP's US-written IP chapter leaked; its provisions went well beyond even ACTA, which was already the new high-water mark for IP enforcement. Where do things stand now? Are the other TPP countries on board with the US approach? Who knows! It's all secret.

    While ACTA at least claimed not to exceed US law, Flynn and other professors allege that the leaked TPP IP chapter does go beyond what's in US law, doing things like extending copyright protection even to temporary "buffer" copies so crucial to digital devices.
    These people will be the first against the wall when the revolution comes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rii View Post
    These people will be the first against the wall when the revolution comes.
    Kinda reminded me of this video xD

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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Rii's Avatar
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    That's an awesome video.

    My own fondness for the phrase comes from Douglas Adams:

    The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy defines the marketing division of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation as "a bunch of mindless jerks who'll be the first against the wall when the revolution comes," with a footnote to the effect that the editors would welcome applications from anyone interested in taking over the post of robotics correspondent.

    Curiously enough, an edition of the Encyclopaedia Galactica that had the good fortune to fall through a time warp from a thousand years in the future defined the marketing division of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation as "a bunch of mindless jerks who were the first against the wall when the revolution came."
    Last edited by Rii; 03-02-2012 at 02:01 AM.

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    AccessNow, another site that has a petition against ACTA with over 300.000 signatures, made a campaign site for 11.02:

    A write-up on what's been going on in Europes different countries:

    Czech Republic (First protests):

    Bulgarian Software Companies Slam ACTA Too:
    Bulgaria EconMin to Give Heed to German Stance on ACTA:

    Stanislav Ivanov: ACTA will be ratified only following public debates:

    Bulgaria’s Internet-related legislation will not be amended: MP:

    Ljubljana, 2 February (STA) - The government rejected in a press release following its weekly session on Thursday the criticism mounting in Slovenia against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). ACTA does not limit access to the internet, introduce computer content checks at borders or the "three-strikes" rule, the Economy Ministry stressed.

    On Thursday, 26th January, 2012, I signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) on behalf of the Republic of Slovenia, following the directive and authorisation of the Slovenian government.
    A somewhat longer clarification of the signature can be found on the Media section of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, which explains the role of the Ministry and my role as the Slovenian Ambassador to Japan. This explanation states that I signed the agreement because I was instructed to do so by the government, and because it is a part of my job.
    And yet, why did I sign ACTA. Every day there is a barrage of questions in my inbox and on Facebook from mostly kind and somewhat baffled people, who cannot understand how it occurred to me to sign an agreement so damaging to the state and citizens.
    With this reply, which is of a purely personal nature and expresses only my personal views, I wish to respond to all those people, all my friends and acquaintances who have remained quiet, all Anonymous, and not least also to myself and to my children.
    I signed ACTA out of civic carelessness, because I did not pay enough attention. Quite simply, I did not clearly connect the agreement I had been instructed to sign with the agreement that, according to my own civic conviction, limits and withholds the freedom of engagement on the largest and most significant network in human history, and thus limits particularly the future of our children.
    I allowed myself a period of civic complacency, for a short time I unplugged myself from media reports from Slovenia, I took a break from Avaaz and its inflation of petitions, quite simply I allowed myself a rest. In my defence, I want to add that I very much needed this rest and that I am still having trouble gaining enough energy for the upcoming dragon year. At the same time, I am tackling a workload that increased, not lessened, with the advent of the current year. All in line with a motto that has become familiar to us all, likely not only diplomats: less for more. Less money and fewer people for more work. And then you overlook the significance of what you are signing. And you wake up the following morning with the weight of the unbearable lightness of some signature.
    First I apologised to my children. Then I tried to reply to those acquaintances and strangers who expressed their surprise and horror. Because there are more and more of them, I am responding to them publicly. I want to apologise because I carried out my official duty, but not my civic duty.
    I don’t know how many options I had with regard to not signing, but I could have tried. I did not. I missed an opportunity to fight for the right of conscientious objection on the part of us bureaucrats.
    But there is a second, very important reason why I am writing this. There has been a demonization of "some sneak", that is me, who in far-off Tokyo secretly signed something on her own initiative.
    This was heard in the Slovenian parliament and in the Slovenian media, and it is spreading on the web. It is dangerous particularly because it conceals the responsibility of those who had the power to decide, and did in fact decide, that Slovenia would be a signatory of ACTA. This was decided by the Slovenian government and by the parliamentary committee for EU matters, and before that, Slovenia was for quite some time involved in coordinating the agreement. All this was done with too little transparency, judging by the outraged responses that have appeared following the signing. Back then, the Slovenian media did not demonise this decision to the same extent as they now demonise my signature. This I consider very dangerous for the continuous (non-)development of democracy in Slovenia. At the same time, this means that I was not the only one whose attention slipped, that we, as Slovenian citizens, neglected our civic duty. And that there may be a little known party in the Slovenian political space that missed an excellent opportunity to gain votes in the recently concluded electoral struggle.
    On Saturday, 4th February, a protest is planned in Ljubljana for those who object to the ratification of ACTA.
    The true concern and determination of those Slovenian citizens who feel that the agreement must be stopped will be reflected in the number of people who attend this protest. I would like to ask for somebody to please attend in my name. One of my concerned correspondents asked me what my brother, the late Dr. Janez Drnovsek , would have thought of my signature. The struggle to protect civic freedoms is most certainly in the spirit of his heritage, much more so than the removal or non-removal of some statue. Let my example be a cautionary tale of how swiftly we can make mistakes if we allow ourselves to slip. And if nothing else, we then sleep very badly.

    I swear... I'm losing my fight against this forum "software"... it has a will of it's own :/
    Last edited by Dexter; 03-02-2012 at 05:56 AM.

  16. #16
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    In Poland the protests seem to have stopped the ratification process for now:
    Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk halted the ratification process of an international copyright agreement, claiming more analysis was needed to the treaty.
    The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement or Acta was signed by Poland along with other 22 countries despite huge demonstrations in Warsaw street and the hacking of governmental websites in a week of protests. Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk had insisted that his government would not "succumb to blackmail".
    In a partial back-off, Tusk said that internet activists were not represented at government meetings on the deal, which were dominated by copyright owners instead.
    "Consultations on ACTA were incomplete. ... This all needs to be discussed on a higher level than up until now,' Tusk said. It could not be 'ruled out' that Poland would not ultimately pass ACTA, Tusk said.
    POLITICAL UPSTART the UK Pirate Party is supporting nationwide protests against the Anti-Copyright Trade Agreement (ACTA).
    The day of protests is set for 11 February and the party said that its executive commitee had voted in favour of supporting the protests that will take place in the UK and across Europe.
    "We saw what the combination of protest and political pressure achieved with the dropping of SOPA," said UK Pirate Party leader Loz Kaye.
    "But the threats to digital rights and civil liberties aren't over. It's vital that we send a clear message that the people of Europe don't want ACTA."
    Protests will be held in Glasgow, London and Nottingham, and are set to start at around lunchtime. The Pirate Party is hoping that a lot of people will turn up, and the fact that 11 February is a Saturday might help this.
    "I hope to see many of my fellow citizens out next Saturday to demand that free speech and privacy online be eroded no further, and to let the political establishment know that they cannot simply bypass democracy like this without people noticing," added Pirate Party Scotland spokesperson Finlay Archibald.
    Bulgarian MPs Wear Guy Fawkes Mask to Protest ACTA:

    Is this some sort of new PR-gag? xD First in Poland, then the Greens in Austria and now Bulgarian MPs.

    More on what's happened around the EU:

  17. #17
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    Stockholm Demo 04.02

    Also apparently Notch was there, can this finally become a games-related issue enough to bother reporting about it and the upcoming mass protests on the 11th, maybe an interview why he as a games creator is AGAINST it? xD



    EuroNews about the protests:

    Dutch EU-Parlamentarian Marietje Schaake also wrote an article for TorrentFreak titled "We Need Copyright Reform Not ACTA":
    As a Member of the European Parliament, I very much welcome the increased attention the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has received in the past weeks. It has taken a while for massive outcry to emerge, but we are seeing protest voices getting louder and louder.
    The internet is a great tool to alert politicians to all the dangers of this treaty, just as the internet was a tool to mobilize people against the SOPA and PIPA bills in the US. For any lobby to be effective, however, it must be fact based. Misinformed criticism helps those supporting ACTA.
    The dangers and threats of the ACTA treaty are shared by free-speech advocates and access to medicine groups alike. ACTA is seeking to deal with a number of widely differing issues, and hence does not do a good job at any of them. Additionally, there are serious concerns about the collateral damage that ACTA would cause.
    Regrettably, concerns by businesses, NGO’s and politicians have not led to a better result. This is partly due to the intransparant way in which ACTA has been established and negotiated. As a democratically elected representative, I believe it is not the role of government to protect outdated business models, and I do believe it is our job to ensure democratic oversight.
    Besides zooming in on the details of what ACTA will and will not do, taking a step back and looking at the broader picture is also important. As someone who advocates copyright reform, notably the harmonization of copyright laws in Europe, I do not believe stricter enforcement of outdated systems is helpful or relevant. Enforcement is not even possible in many cases, and not without violating people’s fundamental rights.
    Yet there is a big push towards enforcing outdated legal structures of copyright by the entertainment industry. ACTA will lock any signatory country into a system of copyright enforcement, leaving the democratic process disadvantaged to enact necessary reform of our laws to suit the digital age.
    The fast development of the information society and all the innovations we have seen in the last 15 or so years have changed the way we live. People can enforce their fundamental rights of access to information, and free speech with the help of the internet. Human rights violations are documented and shared across the world, and the way we access and share information and culture such as news, music and films has changed forever. Most copyright rules were developed for the printing press and codified internationally before radio had even been invented.
    Some of the most important EU laws regulating the internet were established before social media and peer-to-peer sharing took off. The E-commerce Directive of 2000 and the Copyright Directive of 2001 were enacted without foresight of the new services which were developed over the last 10 years. Time and time again, it has been proven that the Directives and their national implementations do not suit the digital age that followed directly afterwards. The fragmentation of European copyright puts the EU, which is widely known for its wealth in culture, at a competitive disadvantage in comparison to the United States.
    Copyright and E-Commerce need to suit the needs of the advanced information society we now live in. To enable a flourishing Digital Single Market in Europe, we need to analyse case-law of the last 12 years regarding the internet, hear from creators, innovators and consumers. If we want to serve consumers, artists and businesses well, we need to find a new balance in copyright. Every aspect of copyright needs to be discussed: the exclusive rights, limitations and exceptions, collective management, enforcement, etc. Only then should we discuss how to enforce the new found balance on the international arena, such as with ACTA.
    ACTA must not be passed. Let’s focus on reform to allow for the opportunities of the internet to bloom, instead of allowing outdated business models to limit the free market, and to criminalize audiences. Additionally, health threats as a result of counterfeit medicine deserve a better solution than ACTA. Join me in voicing your concern with this treaty, so we can establish flexible copyright rules which are fit for the 21st century
    Last edited by Dexter; 05-02-2012 at 10:08 AM.

  18. #18
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    AFAIK (which may be 100% wrong as you know much more about this than me) isn't ACTA mainly aimed at getting countries like china to play ball with existing copyright systems?

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    After Poland, Czech government suspends ACTA too:
    Prague - The Czech government on Monday temporarily suspended its ratification of a controversial anti-piracy internet treaty, following a hacking attack on the governing party.
    Computer hackers earlier stole the details of some 27,000 members of ruling Czech government party Civic Democrat (ODS), in a protest against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

    The cabinet of Prime Minister Petr Necas needs time to give the treaty closer analysis, government spokesman Jan Osuch told dpa.
    'We cannot accept under any circumstances, that civil liberties and free access to information are threatened in any way,' Necas said.

    Earlier, a detailed list, including the phone numbers and private addresses of senior politicians, was distributed to newspaper editors, Czech media reported online Monday.
    Jan Koci, the Civic Democrat's head manager, condemned the data theft. 'These illegal activities prove that the Anonymous collective doesn't want to have a serious discussion,' he said.
    In January, the Czech Republic and 21 other EU member states signed up to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

    Last week Poland also stopped its own ratification of the treaty, following similar protests.
    Members of the Improvised Free Internet Congress, including the Helsinki Foundation, have issued a statement saying: "We appreciate the government's attempt to join in the debate on civil rights and freedoms on the internet […] however, in light of the controversy that has arisen around ACTA, we believe that the conditions necessary to conduct this debate in a fair manner are lacking in complete transparency and openness."

    Katarrzyna Szymelewicz from the Panoptykon Foundation has said that until the government releases "secret" sections of the anti-internet piracy ACTA agreement into the public realm the debate on the puralateral international agreement will be "asymmetric".
    On behalf of Prime Minister Donald Tusk, the Ministry of Administration and Digitalization invited civil rights organisations, NGOs, bloggers, scientists and journalists to the debate at 14.00 CET, Monday afternoon, as part of a public consultation on ACTA, which was signed by Poland and other EU members in Tokyo, late January.

    Street and online protests against ACTA claim that the Polish government signed the agreement without consultation, and argue that the anti-piracy agreement is an attack on basic freedoms of expression.
    The Anonymous hacktivist group took down government web sites in the run up to the signing of the agreement and police are investigating criminal damage to the Prime Minister's Office web site.

    Poland's largest opposition party, Law and Justice (PiS) has called for a referendum on the issue in Poland before MPs vote on whether to ratify ACTA.
    On his party's late-coming to the ACTA debate – PiS had themselves raised no objections to the agreement till recently - Law and Justice MP Adam Hofman admitted to Polish Radio this morning that "PiS MPs did not realise how big a threat [ACTA] was to freedom on the internet".
    His party will now do everything they can to oppose the ratification of the agreement and hope that the European Parliament will block the scheme.
    Another critical article questioning if piracy is really bad for artists:
    During the entire SOPA/PIPA/ACTA ongoing ordeal, all you have heard about were the movie studios in Hollywood feeling butt hurt about people ripping them off and depriving them of untold millions of dollars due to copyright violations. One sect of artists you probably didn't hear too much from (aside: now that I think about it, I honestly can't recall any opinions of artists regarding SOPA – it seems to only be executives making a fuss) on SOPA matters were writers. One writer, however, has some pretty strong opinions concerning the SOPA debate: Paulo Coelho.

    Coelho, the best-selling author of The Alchemist and Brida, has been unwavering with his opposition to SOPA, calling it "a REAL DANGER that will affect the whole planet." Many people, politicians and anti-SOPA advocates alike, have made similar statements but Coelho went one step further in order to prove his point: he wants you to pirate all of his books.
    Seriously. Go download them. He really wants you to.

    In a post on his blog, Coelho opined about the controversial anti-piracy law and argued that the proliferation of artist content, even if it does have a copyright, is never a bad thing. "The more often we hear a song on the radio," he wrote, "the keener we are to buy the CD. It's the same with literature. The more people ‘pirate' a book, the better."

    Coelho makes a solid point that eviscerates the argument that piracy is harming entertainers: anybody who has ever entertained the notion or even been able to call themselves an artist at any point in their life was pursing that interest out of passion, not monetary compensation. Most people, while it does sound pretentious, can understand that. Well, the philistines won't but, then again, the philistines are the ones writing SOPA bills in the first place.

    Still, artists gotta eat, and Coelho is aware that they need some kind of compensation for their works. However, he doesn't believe that piracy is what stands in the way of artists getting paid. He related a personal anecdote in this blog:
    In 1999, when I was first published in Russia ( with a print- run of 3,000), the country was suffering a severe paper shortage. By chance, I discovered a ‘ pirate' edition of The Alchemist and posted it on my web page.
    An year later, when the crisis was resolved, I sold 10,000 copies of the print edition.
    By 2002, I had sold a million copies in Russia, and I have now sold over 12 million.
    When I traveled across Russia by train, I met several people who told me that they had first discovered my work through the ‘ pirated' edition I posted on my website. Nowadays, I run a ‘Pirate Coelho' website, giving links to any books of mine that are available on P2P sites.
    And my sales continue to grow — nearly 140 million copies world wide.
    He uses the anecdote to illustrate how pirating can actually help an artist become successful. "A good idea doesn't need protection," he wrote.

    In a way, Coelho's pro-piracy argument isn't terribly different than the relationship that authors and libraries have enjoyed since, well, since always. They've managed to successfully coexist with no detriment to the artists' well-being; in fact, I'd hazard the guess that libraries have been instrumental in fostering many authors who, without the free and available access to literature, might never have become writers in the first place.
    So what say you of Coelho's argument? Does piracy actually benefit an artist by permitting copyrighted material like books and music to proliferate through the hands of the masses at literally zero cost? Do you think people actually go out and financially support artists after getting their wares for free if they like what they've read/heard/watched/etc.? Comment below with your opinions.
    More Write-ups:
    New York Times:
    And a Comic:

    Some people apparently don't like recent developments...
    MUST READ, especially for UK people
    MPs have demanded that internet service providers do more to clamp down on violent extremist content that is helping to promote a surge in online radicalisation.
    The Home Affairs Select Committee, lead by MP Keith Vaz, found that the internet is the predominant breeding ground for extremist activity, posing more of a risk than prisons or universities.

    MPs demanded that ISPs should be actively engaging in developing codes of practice to help policing content which could be deemed as promoting violent extremist activity. However, the definition is loose: here Parliament describes extremism along with the usual suspects as "vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values".
    "More resources need to be directed to these threats and to preventing radicalisation through the internet and in private spaces," Vaz stated. "These are the fertile breeding grounds for terrorism."
    "We cannot let our vigilance slip."

    The committee did note that in almost all cases, 'extremist activity' would necessitate face to face contact, but the internet played a significant role in allowing that radicalisation to take place.
    With this in mind, Parliament is telling ISPs that more should be done to censore violent content from the web.

    It appears that MPs would like the industry to come up with its own self-regulatory guidelines.
    Tensions are running high over greater powers to censor content, particularly with the ACTA coverage online. MPs are adamant that heightened caution needs to be maintained over the terrorist threat.
    YouTube has also received flak for allowing extremist content to be uploaded and responded with a flagging system. As with YouTube, there are difficulties in policing vast amounts of data that is uploaded each day.

    According to broadband industry commentator Ernest Doku at uSwitch, the reality of implementing stricter controls could prove to be extremely tricky.
    "An ISP is exactly that: a service provider," Doku said to TechEye. "Presently, it is difficult to discern where their role would sit in terms of deeming which content is permissible in accordance with Government guidelines.

    Putting such a large responsibility on ISPs would necessitate a big change in the role of the companies involved, one which may cause controversy in deciding which content is deemed unacceptable.

    Doku thinks it's a "mammoth task" considering the amount of data on the web. "It would also dramatically alter their overall role to one of web invigilators," he said.
    There are arguments about free speech, too, especially with the government's loosely defined notions of extremism: "Inevitably, we then drift into the thorny territory of website blocking, and this is arguably another slippery slope where permission of free speech hangs in the balance.
    "This is a valiant cause and few may argue with the premise on paper, but handling extremism effectively - without compromising personal freedoms - is a delicate issue," Doku said.
    BBC on upcoming and past protests:
    UK Pirate Party joins day of action:
    Last edited by Dexter; 06-02-2012 at 05:30 PM.

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    After Poland and the Czech Republic, now Slovakia is putting the ratifying process on hold :
    Here's a bizarre one. With Poland putting ACTA ratification on hold, and Slovenia apparently regretting its signature, now we've got Romania's Prime Minister, Emil Boc, admitting that he doesn't understand why the country signed ACTA. It appears that opposing politicians are criticizing the government and promising that they will suspend enforcement under ACTA until there are actual public hearings held on the matter. It really is quite amazing that the folks in the entertainment industry, who thought they could ram this through are now discovering how much they've awakened internet users across the globe ever since they shot for the moon with SOPA. ACTA has been on the table for years, and only a few of us "copyright geeks" were paying attention to it. But SOPA really made it clear to huge populations of people just how the entertainment industry seeks to restrict the internet through copyright law... and they're simply not going to take that any more. Update: And... um... just like that, he's no longer Prime Minister, offering up his resignation today.
    Over 70 different groups, including many who were central to the January 18th online protests against SOPA, have put together a letter asking Congress to put a halt to any attempts to further expand intellectual property laws. The key point:
    Now is the time for Congress to take a breath, step back, and approach the issues from a fresh perspective. A wide variety of important concerns have been expressed – including views from technologists, law professors, international human rights groups, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and above all, individual Internet users. The concerns are too fundamental and too numerous to be fully addressed through hasty revisions to these bills. Nor can they be addressed by closed door negotiations among a small set of inside the-beltway stakeholders.
    The letter goes on to point out that Congress cannot and should not continue only taking one industry's point of view into account -- and most certainly should not ignore how existing law is already being abused. Historically, this is exactly the kind of letter that Congress would ignore, but after the events of January 18th, perhaps it'll start paying attention.
    Referring to the necessity of further public consultations on ACTA, the head of the government underlined the fact that it will be participated by various institutions whose activity is related to protection of citizens’ freedom.
    "One of the most important elements of the debate will be a decision on the following proportion: to what extent do we protect property rights and copyrights, and to what extent do we protect the right to free access, as well as freedom and safety of Internet users" - he said.

    "I am beginning to realize that this debate may also verify the traditional concept of property rights, as the Internet has turned this traditional reality upside down" - added the head of the government.
    Donald Tusk announced the intention to carry out the analysis of national regulations related to intellectual property. "Today, in consultation with authors and broadcasters, we have to decide that we need new, more up-to-date regulations taking into account the reality created by the Internet, and, most of all, taking into account the right of citizens - Internet users - to general and free access to culture" - he explained.
    The Prime Minister also announced the beginning of an EU debate on ensuring balance between copyrights and patent rights of holders and the rights of users of these goods.
    "Enough, Already: The SOPA Debate Ignores How Much Copyright Protection We Already Have":

    An article from China about the whole Copyright thing:

    VERY good article on the whole issue of why ACTA is an issue:

    RIAA-Chief about SOPA/PIPA on NY Times:

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