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Unpacking the Secrets of ACTA 169

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the oh-i'm-sure-it'll-be-fine dept.
An anonymous reader writes "As negotiations in the 7th round of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement talks continue this week in Mexico, Michael Geist has been posting a comprehensive guide to the secret copyright treaty. He started with a review of the substance of the treaty, then posted links to all the leaked documentation, and has now unpacked the secrecy associated with the talks, including why governments have made it secret, the public concern, and why this isn't business as usual."
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Unpacking the Secrets of ACTA

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  • by Shakrai (717556) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @12:51PM (#30919152) Journal

    Because from where I sit the new master looks and smells a lot like the old.....

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @12:53PM (#30919182)

    We replaced Halliburton with RIAA. That's change!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @12:55PM (#30919212)

    Same old story, you have a two party system where both parties are being funded by corporations, and God forbid you should suggest some kind of government regulation because that is "socialism" and as every patriotic American knows Socialism = Evil.

  • by Shakrai (717556) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @01:00PM (#30919284) Journal

    Same old story, you have a two party system where both parties are being funded by corporations, and God forbid you should suggest some kind of government regulation because that is "socialism" and as every patriotic American knows Socialism = Evil.

    One of my problems with regulation is that big business actually welcomes it. Why do you suppose that is? Because they know that it's easier to shut out small businesses that might challenge their business model when you put regulatory hurdles in the marketplace. A large company will have no problem complying with whatever regulations are imposed on it. They have legions of lawyers working on compliance and lobbyists in DC working to ensure that the regulations protect their existing business while shutting out competitors. The small start up has neither of those advantages.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @01:03PM (#30919322)

    This is far more of a threat to freedom and democracy than terrorism ever could hope to be.

    Governments negotiating secret treaties with corporations concerning the dispersion of information? That's a stake right through the heart of liberty, far more damaging than suicide bombers or terrorist attacks.

  • indeed (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @01:05PM (#30919358)

    The "make it harder to steal" part is less important to you.

    You, however, are not rich. Therefore, you do not matter.

    The "make it harder to steal" part is very important to a small group of rich people who usually get their way.

  • by Duradin (1261418) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @01:11PM (#30919470)

    Large corporations like regulations that they write. That's pretty obvious.

    Now if regulations were written without all the clauses and loopholes and in a plain enough language for the average entrepreneur to understand without a team of lawyers the large corporations wouldn't like that (which is why they aren't written like that).

    Also, being a small business isn't an excuse to ignore regulations. "Hi, I'm a start up nuclear waste disposal company so I'll need all these regulations waived so I can compete."

  • Same old story, you have a two party system where both parties are being funded by corporations, and God forbid you should suggest some kind of government regulation because that is "socialism" and as every patriotic American knows Socialism = Evil.

    And what is social security? A mild form of socialism. What are taxes (especially those that go to public owned parks, libraries and schools)?

    I believe that we've slowly warmed up to the idea that the best economic system lies somewhere between pure capitalism and pure socialism. And even on a state by state basis you will find a wide array of where each state sits. Take Minnesota versus Texas, in Texas it might be well known to all the patriotic 'wing-nut conservatives' that Socialism is Evil but in Minnesota I can tell you that the patriotic 'bleeding heart liberals' that Socialist programs are necessary to protect the poor and sick. I know that the political winds of politics are different because I grew up in Minnesota under the poverty line on Minnesota Care [state.mn.us] and received college grants based on need. Everyone around me loved it. I now live in Northern Virginia where I leave that out of conversations after listening to a few folks rail on "Communist Minnesota." Fine.

    Decentralization of power back to the states is good. And shows that many models can work for many different people. I speculate that socialism is evil locally to you. Please don't extrapolate it to a national scale.

  • by Shakrai (717556) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @01:25PM (#30919680) Journal

    Also, being a small business isn't an excuse to ignore regulations. "Hi, I'm a start up nuclear waste disposal company so I'll need all these regulations waived so I can compete."

    That's a nice strawman, but where did I say it was an excuse to ignore regulation? All I suggested was that some regulations are put into place with the implied intent of codifying the business model of the big boys and locking smaller players out of the market. Do you disagree with that notion?

  • by BlueParrot (965239) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @01:28PM (#30919724)

    Forget filesharing for a second. Anybody have the latest stats off how many have died as a direct result of us refusing developing countries generic antiretroviral drugs since they are covered by patents?

    If you think the main issue here is about file-sharing and the MPAA, think again. The ACTA negotiations involve representatives from the Pharmaceutical industry but notably absent is the WHO , Amnesty, Doctors without Frontiers , and a number of other human rights organizations.

    Basically if this treaty is allowed to go through it is likely millions will continue to die a morbid death needlessly. Focusing on file-sharing and the RIAA is only going to result in the Pharma industry getting to screw over the citizens of developing countries.

  • who (Score:3, Insightful)

    by anonieuweling (536832) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @01:33PM (#30919792)
    Who has given the EU the right to represent me (EU citizen) with these criminal talks that will rob me from even more freedoms and rights?
    Who in the EU decided the course? What was my part in deciding/controlling?
    In other words: where is the democracy?
  • by jbeaupre (752124) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @01:37PM (#30919882)
    Don't worry, there will still be plenty of dispersion of information about suicide bombers and terrorist attacks.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @01:40PM (#30919912)

    You cannot be a small company in many industries because in order to sell anything, you have to be expensively licensed. For example, there is no "niche market" for fire detectors, so we still have 30-year-old technology as the primary detection device. There is no "niche market" for producing road-legal cars. There is no "niche market" for many things, because the licensing costs millions.

    On the other hand, there is a "niche market" for useless medicines and treatments. Go fig.

  • True in some cases (Score:3, Insightful)

    by copponex (13876) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @01:40PM (#30919916) Homepage

    Big businesses welcome regulation that they lobby for. They despise regulation that comes from any other source. In an nutshell, your problem isn't regulation but lobbyists and corruption.

    When big businesses really ran the show a hundred years ago, you had kids working in sweatshops, factory fires that killed scores of people, and the government literally sending in the marines to break up union strikes. Businesses have been forced to become civilized, not by their own will, but by government regulation and public pressure.

    Americans could change the way business is done, but collectively, we have been hoodwinked into believing that we can't do anything, and that football and famous twats deserve more of our attention than the decisions that really do affect our lives. The real issue now is that so much money is being diverted to the military and away from education and infrastructure that each successive generation is dumber and more apolitical than the last.

  • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @01:42PM (#30919944)

    Same old story, you have a two party system where both parties are being funded by corporations...

    Some of the other parties are also funded by corporations, for instance Lieberman is probably going to get a lot of money from his masters in the health insurance industry, and I guess he's technically not a democrat? Anyway, just wanted to point out that what's keeping corporate funding for the other parties low isn't a magic number greater than 2 or any ideological differences, it's that they haven't been winning and are therefore poor investments. If that were likely to change, corporate interests would invest in 3rd, 4th, or 9th party candidates faster than flies land on poop.

  • Re:Hello? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @02:11PM (#30920372) Journal

    This is bad becuase it will make it harder for me to steal things off the internet.

    This is bad because it violates my right to free speech (due to anti-circumvention clauses).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @02:31PM (#30920774)

    Yeah but a building full of people don't die when you sign a piece of paper so you can't sensationalize that or incite alarm.

  • by Polumna (1141165) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @02:33PM (#30920808)
    You do, of course, have a legitimate point. However, unless you honestly believe that if all the pharmaceutical companies in the world closed their doors, the NIH and other analogous organizations would have no change in funding or purpose, you also have an egregious false dichotomy.
  • Re:Hello? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @03:06PM (#30921668) Homepage Journal

    This doesn't make it harder to steal, it makes it easier to steal -- from us. We are being robbed of our cultural heritage. Copyright is supposed to be so new works will go into te pubic domain. WE own the art; the "content creators" only own a monopoly on its distribution.

    The theift isn't copyright infringement, it's the copyright holders themselves who have stolen from us. Disney should NOT have a monopoly on Steamboat Willie, JRR Tolkien's heirs should not have a monopoly on LOTR. In a sane world all images, music, movies, books produced before 1989 should be in the public domain. They belong to US, and have been stolen from us by the corporatti.

    Nothing produced in your lifetime will reach the public domain. That is the REAL theievery, and it's an abomination.

  • by causality (777677) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @04:08PM (#30923298)

    ... everyone on here seems to think the secrecy must be because the government is worried about "the public" finding out about horrific terms. That seems unlikely--remember, IP law doesn't even make the top ten of most US voters' important issues.

    Does it occur to you that perhaps they are trying to keep it that way?

    The more visible copyright becomes, the more it gets discussed in media, and the more it becomes a well-known "issue" the more likely it is that there will be demand for reform. That's not what the interests behind it want.

  • Re:Hello? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by multisync (218450) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @04:26PM (#30923756) Journal

    when you deprive someone of their exclusive publishing rights, that would be stealing.

    When you deprive the general public of the ability to make fair use of a copyrighted work, that would be stealing. If you prevent the copyrighted work from ever entering the Public Domain, that would be stealing. If you use copyright and the hammer of the DMCA to prevent people from watching movies they purchased on the hardware - or in the geographical location - of their choosing, that would be stealing.

    Hey, this is starting to sound like one of those "you may be a redneck" rants ...

  • by Shakrai (717556) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @04:42PM (#30924082) Journal

    Large corporations work hard to create Fascist states. In the US, they seem to be succeeding, especially in light of the recent SCOTUS decision.

    I actually agree with most of the rest of your post but I wish that people would consider the ramifications of the legislation that SCOTUS just struck down before they condemn the ruling. You do realize that the ban on corporations participating in the political process also extended to organizations like the NRA, ACLU and EFF, right?

    I hope that you can see why such a prohibition is inherently incompatible with the notion of free speech and expression.

  • Binding authority (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gd2shoe (747932) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @07:47PM (#30927462) Journal

    ... it would still be seen as a treaty under international law...

    And other countries don't have access to the US constitution? If he doesn't have the authority to make a binding agreement, then he doesn't have the authority, and they know it.

    I don't mean to belittle. You seem to know more about the subject than I do. I just can't quite wrap my head around this. Is there a congressional mandate involved somehow? How would this become binding under International Law?

    As an aside, I have a bridge in Brooklyn for sale...

  • by SETIGuy (33768) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @10:39PM (#30928988) Homepage

    You do realize that the ban on corporations participating in the political process also extended to organizations like the NRA, ACLU and EFF, right?

    Actually I believe that the EFF is a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization, and as such it has given up many rights to free speech in exchange for privileged tax status. You are correct about the NRA and ACLU, though. But even if the EFF were permitted to fund pollitical ads, I'm sure that the EFF's budget is somewhat more constrained than the RIAA, MPAA, SPA, and the colluding corporations they represent. Ditto, the ACLU. The NRA is different because they have a separate lobbying arm (the NRA-ILA), and because the gun manufacturers, importers and exporters will bankroll whatever ads they need.

  • by Ihmhi (1206036) <i_have_mental_health_issues@yahoo.com> on Thursday January 28, 2010 @01:07AM (#30929806)

    We can kill this fucker in it's crib.

    Just like we killed the DMCA and Patriot Act...

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