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Censorship Your Rights Online

Secret Copyright Treaty Leaks. It's Bad. Very Bad. 775

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the you-gotta-be-kidding-me dept.
Jamie found a Boing Boing story that will probably get your blood to at least a simmer. It says "The internet chapter of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a secret copyright treaty whose text Obama's administration refused to disclose due to 'national security' concerns, has leaked. It's bad." You can read the original leaked document or the summary. If passed, the internet will never be the same. Thank goodness it's hidden from public scrutiny for National Security.
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Secret Copyright Treaty Leaks. It's Bad. Very Bad.

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  • by Spad (470073) <slashdotNO@SPAMspad.co.uk> on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @10:38AM (#29977906) Homepage

    The whole point is that there are precious few details about any of ACTA because nobody outside of the governments involved, their lawyers and a few high-paying lobby groups have been allowed to see any of its contents.

    *Everything* about it is hearsay until either someone succeeds in getting an FOI request honoured or the thing gets ratified and it's too late to do anything about it.

  • Re:OH NOES (Score:2, Informative)

    by oh-dark-thirty (1648133) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @10:49AM (#29978088)

    And you thought this administration would be different from all the others? Silly you.

    Seriously. As soon as I saw him stacking the deck with the same ol' Clintonistas from 15 years ago (Emmanuel, Panetta, et. al.), I knew our goose was cooked.

  • Re:So what's new? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Gudeldar (705128) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @10:54AM (#29978150)
    Is it surprising that the mainstream media isn't reporting on this considering that their parent corporations are the ones pushing this? NBC News, MSNBC News = NBC Universal Fox News, WSJ, NY Post, etc = News Corp CBS News = CBS Corp/Viacom ABC News = Disney CNN = Time Warner
  • by Absolut187 (816431) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @10:56AM (#29978184) Homepage

    Even if it is all true, it is just a treaty.

    Remember those "3 branches of government"?

    The president can sign all the treaties he wants, but he can't force Congress to enact legislation to enforce it all.

    We've been "signatories" to lots of IP treaties for decades while Congress drug its feet on actually coming into compliance with the treaty.

    So don't worry, the internet will not be destroyed by a treaty.

  • by kilfarsnar (561956) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @11:00AM (#29978252)
    Whenever you hear that something is being withheld or denied for "National Security Interests", you can assume you are being screwed. Pretty much without regard to context. This was true in United States v. Reynolds, and it's true today.
  • Re:So what's new? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Cornelius the Great (555189) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @11:04AM (#29978312)

    The mainstream media only notices it when someone's already being prosecuted for violating it.

    I agreed completely until this statement. Mainstream media isn't that oblivious- they simply don't have YOUR best interests at heart.

    I'm sure most news networks themselves do notice it, but their parent companies are the very entities lobbying/pushing for more legislation. CNN = Time Warner, NBC = Vivendi Universal, FoxNews = News Corp, ABC = Disney, etc... These news companies (either through affiliates or parent corps) own most of our music, movies, TV shows, and other media, so it's only natural for them to protect their interests by trying to distract us from the draconian laws they're currently pushing through the governments of the world.

    Sadly, it seems that blogs and independent news are our only hope.

  • by Zcar (756484) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @11:04AM (#29978324)

    "The president can sign all the treaties he wants, but he can't force Congress to enact legislation to enforce it all."

    Or even force the Senate to ratify it. Until it's ratified by the Senate, by 2/3 vote, a treaty has no legal standing in the United States. Thus, you only need to get 34 Senators to vote against ratification to prevent a treaty from coming into effect.

  • by guruevi (827432) <evi@@@smokingcube...be> on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @11:14AM (#29978466) Homepage

    They want the ISP's (the ones that are giving us the Internet connections) to block the content that we should not be seeing (whether it's for copyright or puritan reasons). Right now the liability lies with the content provider but the problem is that most of the content is hosted outside the jurisdiction of any of the lobbyist companies.

    That's why it's such a bad treaty, because it would basically create an international agreement for copyright infringements and censorship with the RIAA, MPAA and it's friends (or whoever is the highest payer to the ruling class on either side of the pond) as the police, judge and jury. It's even worse than the DMCA because it doesn't allow for exemptions, it would allow surveillance, arrest and extradition for whoever goes against any copyright and 'intellectual' property law in any country signed to the treaty. It would also allow them to block you totally from the Internet if you infringe on their perceived property in any locale.

  • by urulokion (597607) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @11:30AM (#29978772)

    Are people (the decision makers) taking this seriously? It reads like something from The Onion...

    Even if agreed upon as a treaty, will it hold up in any courts?

    Ratified treaties are the highest form of governance second only to the Constitution itself. In other words, if a treaty provisions don't violate the Constitution, we are stuck with them. The treaties can't be undone. The Congress and President are force to pass legislation to enable the terms of the treaty.

  • by UltraAyla (828879) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @11:53AM (#29979198) Homepage

    Here, read this: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/ [politifact.com]

    Thanks

  • You laugh.... (Score:2, Informative)

    by CaffeineJedi (643314) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @11:56AM (#29979258)
    but it's already happening... [reason.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @11:58AM (#29979302)

    I was wondering why he didn't just type up the text of the document, but realized they could put unique, subtle word changes in each copy, still tracing it back.

    the good ol' Canary Trap method.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canary_trap

    damn login. >_

  • by INT_QRK (1043164) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @12:10PM (#29979550)
    ...um ratified treaties are laws. See http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_transcript.html [archives.gov], Artivle VI, paragraph 2, "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding."
  • by INT_QRK (1043164) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @12:23PM (#29979788)
    Again, Congress doesn't need to enact implementing legislation, the Senate only needs to ratify the treaty with 2/3's majority, and the treaty *becomes* the law of the land. See Article VI, second paragraph. That's why treaties are no laughing matter.
  • by PhreakOfTime (588141) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @12:24PM (#29979808) Homepage

    Id gladly make a genetic clone of my dog and give you the copy to do whatever you want to do with it.

    Thats YOUR freedom... get it?

  • I don't want my friends to take my songs and mix them. I'm fully aware that it's legal today.

    Look, that makes you a jackass. Worse, you're a profiteering jackass. You care that your friends remix your songs? Some friend you are... Honestly, I'm surprised you have any. With that attitude, I'd be ashamed to know you.

  • by Wolvenhaven (1521217) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @12:48PM (#29980310) Homepage
    That is how Article VI of the Constitution is [mis]interpreted. http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html#Article6 [usconstitution.net]
  • by AndersOSU (873247) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @12:57PM (#29980486)

    Your bullshit debt numbers are just as wrong and useless as they were two days ago [slashdot.org] - so I'm going to just paste in part of my reply from then.

    For starters per household debt numbers are useless because, among other reasons, they don't factor in the business/institutional share of the debt, and it's a stealthy way of bungling the mean/median income disparity. If you're going to talk debt, talk about raw dollars, or better yet or percent GDP. Right now it's at ~90% and headed to somewhere around 100% GDP. National debt is like a mortgage, lower is better, but the ability to take out a second mortgage in dry times is extraordinarily important. One thing you don't ever do (if you're rational) is become hawkish on the deficit during a recession - government spending factors into the GDP, so cutting government spending actually increases the debt/GDP ratio, additionally public spending has a multiplier factor (essentially a way of increasing the velocity of money), removing those multiplying dollars can turn a recession into a depression.

    But I can tell from your sig that you don't let being wrong stop you.

  • by TheLink (130905) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @01:01PM (#29980574) Journal
    > I'll be paying-off Chinese interest for the rest of my life.

    Why would you have to do that? Get your government to create more US dollars out of thin air. After all it only has to pay them back in US dollars right?

    Though you can't print US dollars to pay back your debt, the US Gov can. It may cause some inflation, but hey if they need to they can. It'll make your savings go to crap, but if you have debt it'll make it look smaller assuming you can manage to keep your salary close enough to the inflation rate.

    Now you see why the Chinese are worried about the trillions the US owes them? And why they are now buying up stuff with their US dollars?

    Inflation is a way for a Currency Issuer to forcibly tax all who hold the currency (at net positive) - whether they are individuals or countries. So be glad the US isn't on something stupid like the "Gold Standard". And be glad many of the OPEC nations sell their oil in US Dollars only.
  • by bonch (38532) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @01:10PM (#29980732)

    Just think, this is the same government that some people want regulating traffic on the internet under the guise of "net neutrality." There's a backlash against this administration growing quickly anyway, as evidenced by the Republican victories in yesterday's elections. Democrats, if you keep up what you're doing, the pendulum will swing back against you very shortly.

  • by FiloEleven (602040) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @01:27PM (#29981050)

    Interesting that you're voted Offtopic while the post that went offtopic was your parent. You are spreading misinformation, but it ought to be corrected instead of simply modded down.

    The NPR program This American Life recently had two episodes (391 and 392, found here [thisamericanlife.org]) on the health care system, and the problems with it are just not as simple as the Democrats or the Republicans are making them out to be.

    For one thing, the hospitals are most certainly *not* fine. A big part of the insurance problem is that companies who serve a large area population use that influence to negotiate really low service rates with hospitals in their area. The hospitals want that customer base, so rather than standing firm at a reasonably profitable price, they lower prices for the big insurance company and jack up prices for the same procedures when dealing with smaller companies. The example given in the show was of one hospital in CA which charged one company $1600 for a procedure, and charged another $11,000.

    There's a lot more where that came from in the shows. I highly recommend them to everyone who wants to open his mouth to talk about health care. Everyone knows it's broken, but too many people are looking solely at the broken parts their party claims will fix the whole thing.

  • by Jon_S (15368) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @01:37PM (#29981238)

    If you are interested in "that democracy stuff", you'd know that all treaties have to be ratified by Congress before they take effect.

  • by isd.bz (1260658) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @02:06PM (#29981850)
    ACTA Proposal (2007) [wikileaks.org] was leaked by Wikileaks more than a year ago. Granted, this was a rough draft of a rough draft, but the principles are still the same.
  • Not such a loophole. (Score:3, Informative)

    by OmniGeek (72743) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @02:10PM (#29981908)

    IANAL, nor a Constitutional scholar, but "any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding" appears on its face to refer to State constitutions and laws, not to the US Constitution. The law citations I've seen on various sites support this view. According to the Supreme Court in Reid v. Covert, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reid_v._Covert), "this Court has regularly and uniformly recognized the supremacy of the Constitution over a treaty".

    Sooo: No, Virginia, treaties cannot serve as an end-run around the Constitution. If I understand the citations correctly, a treaty has status coequal with Federal laws passed by Congress, so a treaty could, for example, supersede a Federal law such as the DMCA; however, it could not do anything (within the US) that Congress couldn't do by legislative means, like overruling an Amendment to the Constitution.

  • by fritsd (924429) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @02:35PM (#29982458) Journal
    A few selected quotes from Summary of Key Elements Under Discussion (PDF, with label 6/04/2009) [europa.eu]: (PLEASE read it for your self! C'mon!)

    A variety of groups have shown their interest in getting more information on the substance of the negotiations and have requested that the draft text be disclosed. However, it is accepted practice during trade negotiations among sovereign states to not share negotiating texts with the public at large, particularly at earlier stages of the negotiation. This allows delegations to exchange views in confidence facilitating the negotiation and compromise that are necessary in order to reach agreement on complex issues. At this point in time, ACTA delegations are still discussing various proposals for the different elements that may ultimately be included in the agreement. A comprehensive set of proposals for the text of the agreement does not yet exist.

    ...

    ACTA is not intended to interfere with a signatory's ability to respect its citizens' fundamental rights and civil liberties, and will be consistent with the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) and will respect the Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health.

    Great. We must hold our governments to this intent.

    Section 4: Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement in the Digital Environment
    This section of the agreement is intended to address some of the special challenges that new technologies pose for enforcement of intellectual property rights, such as the possible role and responsibilities of internet service providers in deterring copyright and related rights piracy over the Internet. No draft proposal has been tabled yet, as discussions are still focused on gathering information on the different national legal regimes to develop a common understanding on how to deal best with these issues.

    I don't like that "possible role and responsibilities of internet service providers" idea. They pass along bits from A to B. Nowadays in Europe you can get a court order to divulge recent traffic information, it seems. As other people have put it, should telephone operators be sued for their "possible role and responsibilities in deterring (threats and slander) over the (telephone)"?

    The whole "Summary of Key Elements Under Discussion" document seems to focus on "better international enforcement of intellectual property rights". There is no place where the rights of the actual citizens of the countries are mentioned.
    At the moment, without further information, I'd guess ACTA builds on the TRIPS agreement [wikipedia.org] (countries must do what the USA tells them to do / harmonize their intellectual properties laws together) rather than on the South-American Operacion Condor [wikipedia.org] approach to countries giving each other "technical assistance in improved enforcement" :-).
    But it's probably good to be vigilant.

  • Re:What Do We Know? (Score:3, Informative)

    by schon (31600) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @04:44PM (#29985084)

    5. The Obama administration has appointed a number of high ranking RIAA lawyers to the DoJ. I think that they are prohibited from being involved in official court duties related to copyright issues for two years from leaving the industry.

    6. The US started the ACTA talks in 2007, over a year before the "Obama administration" was a glint in the Democrats' eyes.

  • by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @11:25PM (#29990362) Homepage

    But even without publishers, creative people that are producing copyright materials deserve something for their efforts.

    No, they don't.

    Authors aren't entitled to copyrights. Copyrights are intended to serve the public interest; if the public would be best served by not granting them at all, then that would be the appropriate policy. If we do grant copyrights -- with the scope and length of the copyright again based upon what would best serve the public interest -- then it is appropriate to grant them to the authors of works, rather than some third party.

    But even then, a copyright has no intrinsic value whatsoever. All a copyright does, really, is work like a lens; whatever the economic value of the work is, it merely focuses it for the convenience of the copyright holder. If a work has no economic value at all, then the copyright is worthless. Whether a work will have economic value depends on the market. No author can justifiably demand or force anyone to care about his work. This is part of the genius of copyright; rather than dispense money to authors directly, it only lets them take a larger piece of the pie than they otherwise might get, where the size of the pie is determined by the market.

    Sure, hundreds of years ago their compensation was in the form of patronage.

    Well, let's back up.

    The purpose of copyright is to promote the progress of science by 1) encouraging the creation and publication of works, and 2) having no restrictions, or at least restrictions that are minimal in scope and length, as to what the public can do with those works.

    But since copyright didn't exist until 1710 (and even then, only in England), and since many works are known to have been created prior to then, there must be other incentives for authors to create things. Some authors create art for art's sake, or for fame, or to sell copies (as opposed to exploiting a copyright), or incidentally to selling their creative services as labor, etc.

    Some of these involve economic gain, but not all of them. Plenty of people create works without concern for related economic gain. For example, all of us here write posts on Slashdot, but none of us expect to get paid for them.

    Copyright is meant to encourage authors to create and publish works which they otherwise would not. It is one way of making money as an author, but it is not the only way, or the most important way. Even today, many professional authors do not exploit their copyrights, but make a living. I didn't need copyrights when I was working as an artist, and I supported myself comfortably.

    Patronage is perfectly legitimate, and is quite popular even today. There's no need to disparage it. After all, copyright does not guarantee quality. It is solely interested in quantity. As I said, copyright leaves the economic value of a work's copyright up to the market. If a work is popular, it is worth a lot; if it is unpopular, it not worth much. Many popular works are absolute tripe, however. You might not like the works that sprang from patronage, such as Michelangelo's David, but the basis for how they were funded doesn't inherently make them worse than, say, 'Twilight.'

    And just as copyright doesn't eliminate all the other incentives for creation and publication, so too is copyright not indispensible for art. There would be popular art, as opposed to commissioned art, even without copyright. Folk songs are a good example. Copyright might increase the number of songs out there, but there would always be some no matter what, suitable to all sorts of different tastes.

    While some is good, most isn't.

    That is also true of works for which a copyright is sought. Remember Sturgeon's Law: Ninety percent of everything is crap. Expensive production standards don't change this one bit. IMDB tells me that almost 600 movies were made in the US in the year 1977. I remember Star Wars, Close Encounters, Annie Hall, and Sorcerer as being pretty good. Logan's Run wasn't too hot. And most of the rest probably

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