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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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  • Hello? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @12:50PM (#30919134)

    Can somebody please post anything so that I can get an opinion without reading the summary?

    • Re:Hello? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @01:00PM (#30919286) Journal

      Anything? Anything at all?

      Michael Geist is like the skinny short Brunette in all the Slasher flicks from the 90's. He's always shouting "YOU NEED TO WATCH OUT FOR THIS" but everyone else is like the dumb Jock who isn't afraid of a guy with a knife and ends up getting diced into french fries.

      So - the only opinion you really need to form is whether ACTA is metaphorically a serial killer. It hides under the same deceptive mask of Anonymity, so we don't actually know very much about it.

      • by alexo (9335)

        If you are a Canadian, contact your MP [parl.gc.ca] and tell them that if their party does not go all out against ACTA, they can forget about your vote forever.

        Hopefully someone more fluent in English than myself can draft an example letter.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Michael Geist is like the skinny short Brunette in all the Slasher flicks from the 90's. He's always shouting "YOU NEED TO WATCH OUT FOR THIS" but everyone else is like the dumb Jock who isn't afraid of a guy with a knife and ends up getting diced into french fries.

        Interesting analogy, but couldn't you at least come up with one involving cars? Perhaps I should try.

        Michael Geist is like the guy who knows Pintos will shoot fire at you if you so much as bump the front bumper, but everyone else just decides

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

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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.

        • 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.

          I think you're oversimplifying things with that statement. Take for instance a new regulation in healthcare which states that every healthcare provider shall audit their records daily by hand (no machine automation) in order to reduce the number of errors in prescriptions. It's an outrageous regulation but certainly a small highly specialized practice would have less of a problem implementing than a big behemoth county hospital sitting precariously atop an urban population in downtown metropolis.

          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.

          I kind of agree with you. However, if you can provide names and conclusive proof and evidence of this, I urge you to submit a complaint to the FTC [ftccomplai...istant.gov] with said details falling under the Sherman Antitrust Act. They actually do take that stuff very seriously.

          The small start up has neither of those advantages.

          They also don't have that overhead or those complications and so should be able to find a niche in the market where people would like a lower priced product and are not afraid of litigation and licensing headaches.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            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.

            • by s73v3r (963317)
              Really? I would say there definitely is a "niche market" for cars. Electric roadsters? High end luxury vehicles?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Duradin (1261418)

          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."

          • 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?

            • 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?

              I agree that this is definitely the case in U.S., and, to some (albeit lesser) extent, in other Western countries. However, this again points at the fact that it's regulation by and in favor of the corporations that is the problem, not regulation per se.

              If you want a counter-example, look no further than huge fines megacorps (both local and foreign) often get in EU for abusing the marketplace.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by OttoErotic (934909)
          I'm always a little torn on regulation. I can see the virtue in trying to use it to fix a system that's heavily weighted towards corporate interests, but it seems like the law of unintended consequences inevitably causes it to backfire. For instance, I wonder what the real effect of regulating the stock market has been. By making it safer for investors than a total free market, did it artificially create an environment where bloated corporations thrive? It seems to me like people would have been a lot m
        • One of my problems with big business, is they seem to welcome whatever is best for the executives. Take for instance, health care. One would think that most business would LOVE some reform, since its the single greatest increasing cost for any business. (Unless maybe your a shipping company, then its second to diesel prices). They are constantly battling foreign companies that don't have to pay for their employees health, its taken care of by slightly higher taxes (or in many countries, lower taxes, wit
          • (or in many countries, lower taxes, with much less military spending!).

            Note that if the US military budget were zeroed, the budget deficit would drop to about $700 billion per year.

            Note further that this year, mandatory spending (SSA, Medicare, Medicaid, interest on the national debt, that sort of thing) is approximately equal to income from ALL taxes.
            So if we were to zero out the entire discretionary federal budget, we might reduce the deficit to zero.
            This year.
            Next year, SSA and Medicare expenses will

          • by cayenne8 (626475)
            "They are constantly battling foreign companies that don't have to pay for their employees health, its taken care of by slightly higher taxes (or in many countries, lower taxes, with much less military spending!). "

            I guess it depends on your definition of "slightly higher" taxes. I already pay easily over 30% of my salary (currently working W2)...with state, federal, SS and medicare taken out right off the top. You add onto that the sales taxes I pay on things, property taxes...etc. My effective tax rate

            • Actually, the "Fair Tax" sounds pretty much exactly like you describe, except for the fact that they mail you a check every month to cover the taxes a family at poverty level would pay. (which does make it slightly progressive, but not nearly so much as we have now)
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by SETIGuy (33768)

              That's exactly why I favor a repeal of the income tax and it's replacement with a wealth based tax. People think what they make is the important thing to tax. I disagree, how much you have is what should be taxed. If all your income goes to living expenses and you are unable to build an asset base you should pay no taxes. Bill Gates, on the other hand, should pay taxes whether he has income or not. In addition, your stake in the country, how much you have to lose if it's not protected, is proportional

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

          by copponex (13876)

          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

          • Wrong, sort of (Score:2, Interesting)

            by justinlee37 (993373)

            You're half right and half wrong. They don't like regulation that costs them huge chunks of their profit margins, sure. However like the parent poster suggested, businesses like regulation that makes it hard for new players to enter the market.

            If regulation makes it hard for new businesses to start but is trivially expensive for big business, then they are going to love that. Like say forcing all of the businesses in a particular sector to pay $10,000 for a license. That's nothing to a big company like Micr

        • by Jawn98685 (687784)
          Bravo, sir! You have just illustrated that the "free market" is a myth in an society where regulatory influence can be bought at rates low enough to make it pay. Which is to say, it is a myth, totally.
          Now, if it were illegal for businesses to spend money in order to influence the government of the people, things would be different. Alas, that horse has left the barn.
        • by hiryuu (125210) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @03:08PM (#30921718)

          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.

          My experience, anecdotal as it is, offers a slightly different take. I work in a large specialty chemical company, one of the three largest globally in a relatively niche-but-widespread industry. We frequently encounter products out in the marketplace, put there by competitors who are 1/10th our size, that are flatly illegal - they may contain banned substances, or are sold without proper or warnings labels or documentation or transport containers, etc. Many times, the cost of using allowed substances (or the cost of maintaining compliance with the appropriate regulations) puts us at a competitive disadvantage.

          The reasons for this include the lack of education in the marketplace as to the law, lack of enforcement on anything but the largest and most visible participants in the market, and sometimes a complete ignorance of the law and regulatory requirements on the part of the small players. (Often, they're violating the law simply because they may not even employ anyone whose responsibilities and/or knowledge include any purview of the regulations.) If the regulations were to mysteriously vanish, we'd crush all the small players because of our purchasing power for raw materials - but with the detrimental effects to the environment, our customers, etc., that occur in the absence of regulation.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by mcgrew (92797) *

          I welcome regulation, as long as they're good regulations in the public interest. Take Monsanto, for instance. When I was a kid, you could not drive past the Monsanto plant in Sauget with your windows rolled down, even though it gets damned hot in the summer and few cars had AC. The pollution was horrible; lung-burning horrible. And you couldn't get to St Louis from Cahokia without driving past it.

          After the Clean Air Act was passed, they were forced to clean it up, and rarely do you smell anything while dri

          • by Shakrai (717556)

            California didn't "deregulate" power companies. If they had deregulated power companies they would have been allowed to enter into long term contracts to purchase electricity and wouldn't have been as vulnerable to Enron'ish manipulations of the spot markets.

      • 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 s73v3r (963317)
          You know, I grew up right next to Minnesota, and while I had plenty of reason to hate your state (a certain professional football team with a propensity to lose important games comes to mind), I've never heard of it referred to as Communist Minnesota.
          • You know, I grew up right next to Minnesota, and while I had plenty of reason to hate your state (a certain professional football team with a propensity to lose important games comes to mind), I've never heard of it referred to as Communist Minnesota.

            Well then you might find your state's history [wikipedia.org] interesting as well as a certain Sconnie Senator from 1947 to 1958 [wikipedia.org] during which it was the fashion at the time to get anyone and everyone on a particular list for being a 'Commie Sympathizer.'

            Despite your idiotic sports elitism complex that runs rampant through your state and trickles into my home state (so annoying), the two are really not that different nowadays.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by dpilot (134227)

          > And what is social security? A mild form of socialism.

          The last administration tried to do away with (privatize) social security. One of my pet fears is that the new 2012 administration with same-party Executive and Legislative branches will enact the "Fiscal Responsibility and Recovery Act" that will sunset social security, medicare, medicaid, and who knows, maybe even the FDIC/FSLIC in order to undo the last traces of "Socialist FDR". Of course that *might* correct the deficit problem, if it weren't

        • Exactly. I'm tired of these idiots (and generally they're old too) crying about socialism when we're paying into social security, medicare and medicaid.

          If socialism is such a bad thing then don't be shelfish and just try to stop younger people from getting healthcare, take it away from the old people and stamp it out for good.

          I also don't like that the people most vocal about socialism also typically come from the dead weight states who are taking more from the government than they're paying in. Must
        • I speculate that socialism is evil locally to you. Please don't extrapolate it to a national scale.

          I suspect you missed the mocking/sarcastic tone of the OP's last sentence. Here's a hint, the quote marks around the first, "socialism," tend to imply that.

      • and God forbid you should suggest some kind of government regulation because that is "socialism" and as every patriotic American knows Socialism = Evil.

        There's a difference between a government running corporations and a government regulating corporations. The current Congress and Administration prefer the former. I call that socialism and I don't care if that offends you.

        • And the last preferred the government rune by the corporations. That's Fascism.

        • by Jawn98685 (687784)

          There's a difference between a government running corporations and a government regulating corporations.

          [citation needed]
          ...and no. Fox News and the usual assortment of "reliable tea-bagger sources" doesn't count.
          Ahem...
          [crickets...]

      • 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.

      • by dkleinsc (563838)

        And now thanks to the US Supreme Court, you can now have "this candidacy brought to you by Initech". The dissent by John Paul Stevens is something to behold. Although I'm in agreement with those who think Congresscritters should wear Nascar-style outfits, so everyone knows exactly who their corporate sponsors are.

        • by Shakrai (717556)

          I rather thought that SCOTUS got that ruling right. You do realize that the old law was so broadly written as to infringe on the political advocacy of groups like the NRA, ACLU and EFF, right?

    • by Nerdfest (867930)

      the new master looks and smells a lot like the old

      Too bad we already stepped in it.

    • Yeah right. Because a global treaty clearly is a America-only thing, and even more it is clearly the work of one single person with all-encompassing control over everything.

      I’d call you a retard to your face. But I won’t insult the retards of this planet. That just crosses the line.

  • 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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jbeaupre (752124)
      Don't worry, there will still be plenty of dispersion of information about suicide bombers and terrorist attacks.
    • Well, a real threat about imaginary property is more important, than an imaginary threat about real property?

      Gee. News at 11. Who'dda thunka that?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Large_Hippo (881120)
      Hmmmm... 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. War, health care, income taxes, education, research, crime, terrorism, etc... all trump IP law. So a politician's concern over public negotiations isn't likely to be that it may trigger some vague public discontent. The politician's main concern is tha
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by causality (777677)

        ... 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 w

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by tlhIngan (30335)

          ... 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 t

  • Michael Geist (Score:4, Informative)

    by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot&hackish,org> on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @01:03PM (#30919324)

    For what it's worth, in case you (as I) were wondering who Michael Geist is (I don't want to end up passing on links to some guy who turns out to be a conspiracy theorist or something), he's a University of Ottawa professor, serving as their chair in Internet law.

  • by openfrog (897716) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @01:03PM (#30919326)

    From the European Parliament (quoted in TFA):

    The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) will contain a new international benchmark for legal frameworks on what is termed intellectual property right enforcement. The content as known to the public is clearly legislative in character. Further, the Council confirms that ACTA includes civil enforcement and criminal law measures. Since there can not be secret objectives regarding legislation in a democracy, the principles established in the ECJ Turco case must be upheld

    From TFA:

    The inescapable conclusion is that the ACTA approach is hardly standard. Rather, it represents a major shift toward greater secrecy in the negotiation of international treaties on intellectual property in an obvious attempt to avoid public participation and scrutiny.

    • by debrain (29228) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @01:10PM (#30919454) Journal

      The inescapable conclusion is that the ACTA approach is hardly standard. Rather, it represents a major shift toward greater secrecy in the negotiation of international treaties on intellectual property in an obvious attempt to avoid public participation and scrutiny.

      Sir —

      As a matter of interest, ACTA represents a greater shift towards secrecy of negotiations of multilateral treaties [wikipedia.org]. Bilateral treaties have traditionally been negotiated in secret, or at least in private.

      I recall that before the 1900's most treaties (bilateral and multilateral) were negotiated -and often held- in secret, and I believe it was the post- World War I discussions that lead to open multilateral discussions. (I'd be much obliged for references on this).

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Trepidity (597)

        A particularly large shift for either kind is that ACTA is, in the U.S. at least, not being called a "treaty" at all, although it clearly is. Rather, both the Bush and Obama administrations claim that it can be implemented as an "executive agreement" that does not require Senate ratification.

        On the plus side, an "executive agreement" has only the legal force of an executive order under U.S. domestic law, which is generally subordinate to both statute law and the Constitution (unlike treaties, which have con

        • by mooingyak (720677)

          On the down side, it would still be seen as a treaty under international law, so if a future U.S. administration tried to back out of it, that would be perfectly legal under U.S. domestic law (if it were never properly adopted as a formal treaty), but not under international law, setting up a conflict.

          Yeah, that's always been a show stopper for us.

          • by Trepidity (597)

            Depends on who it benefits. I'd be willing to bet that the copyright lobby will immediately point to, "but you'd be violating international law!" if any future administration tried to amend the way this non-treaty were applied in domestic law.

        • Binding authority (Score:3, Insightful)

          by gd2shoe (747932)

          ... 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...

      • I believe it was the post- World War I discussions that lead to open multilateral discussions. (I'd be much obliged for references on this).

        Post WW2. There were texts of secret treaties captured by the Germans in the fall of France. Made for some great propaganda, I understand.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        I recall that before the 1900's

        Wow, and I thought I was old!

    • by wytcld (179112)

      This is quite plainly a coup against democracies worldwide. Those attempting it should be jailed and prosecuted. If that action proves untenable, President Obama has a clear option for dealing with the US members of such conspiracies [firedoglake.com].

      • Those attempting it should be jailed and prosecuted. If that action proves untenable, President Obama has a clear option for dealing with the US members of such conspiracies.

        Given that he's the President and that ACTA is being treated as an Executive Agreement (a deal between the President and other head of state), it seems pretty clear that he approves of both the process and the eventual outcome.

        In other words, I doubt seriously he'd add his own name to a KoS list....

    • Well. This means that the treaty can not possibly be legal.

      Which means it is not law, no matter what politicians say. Because they are not above the law.

      Which means, we do not have to follow it.

      And, yes: If that means I will go to jail in such a terrorist oppressive state, then so be it! I will walk every single step with pride in every single of my fibers.
      And so should you!

      (Which does not mean, that if I can, I will move to a more free country.)

  • by Hermel (958089) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @01:13PM (#30919494)

    I went to an ACTA public information meeting that was organized by the Swiss delegation ten days ago. They couldn't openly talk about the positions of the different countries, but from what they said, I concluded that we don't have to fear as much as the internet rumors suggest. For example, they wouldn't sign the treaty if it contained a three-strikes-provision as this would be against Swiss law. They also publish quite some information on their website, including a transparency paper that roughly describes the content of ACTA:
    https://www.ige.ch/en/legal-info/legal-areas/counterfeiting-piracy/acta.html [www.ige.ch]

    Overall, they made a good and competent impression and it also seems to me that they are open to input from the public. I'm quite proud that the Swiss government seems to handle this much more democratically and transparently than others.

    • by Nerdfest (867930)
      I see right through their blatant astroturfing. Their reassurance is full of holes.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by noidentity (188756)

      What will be the effects of ACTA on citizens?

      The main goal of ACTA is to combat the large counterfeiting and piracy activities which present big risks for public safety and health. The agreement is not meant to intrude in the private sphere of individual citizens. The consequences of counterfeiting and piracy touch everyone and are daily hazards. Counterfeiting and piracy do not only infringe on intellectual property rights and cause enormous economic losses. They present a direct threat to consumer and p

  • 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.

    • by denis-The-menace (471988) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @01:42PM (#30919936)

      Face it.
      ACTA will only make 2 groups of people:
      -Those care to get a product that is sold as legit is legit. (eg. Those who want a REAL Rolex watch for $5000 not a FAKE one for $5000)
      -Corps that want to make $ at all cost. (cost=Life, liberty, health, happiness, family, progress, etc.)

      ACTA will hurt EVERYBODY ELSE.

    • by jbeaupre (752124)

      When people start complaining about the high price of patented drugs, I ask them this: are you fine with just the drugs available today? Ok, then eliminate patents. You won't get any new drugs, but we don't need them. If you think new drugs are needed, then you might want to back off eliminating patents for pharmaceuticals.

      Don't think you can rely on governments to pick up the slack. Seen any phase three clinical trials paid for by a government lately? Not to mention that government disease research fu

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Polumna (1141165)
        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.
    • I don’t think the developing countries care much.

      Just like Brasil. They simply took the recipe, produced it themselves, and told the foreign country to go fuck themselves.
      Now that is what I call a (rare exceptional case of) government for the people!

    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      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?

      Ever heard of compulsory licensing?

      Off the top of my head, India, Thailand, Brazil, and South Africa had all told the pharmaceuticals that the prices for retrovirals were too high and that they were going to get paid far less under a compulsory license. I believe Thailand then started importing from India. Big pharma got butthurt and has pulled products from those markets as well as refusing to develop drugs/pills for diseases/conditions specific to those regions.

      Just to get an idea of the prices, Americans

    • by bws111 (1216812)
      I don't know. Do you have the latest stats on how many lives were saved because these drugs were developed in the first place? In most cases, they were developed because the companies can make money on them. Take away patents, they lose that incentive. Is that better?
  • 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 coofercat (719737)

      Statistically, you didn't vote in the last European elections [telegraph.co.uk]. That's where the democracy you speak of has gone.

      The EU Parliament is a gravy-train. Your MEP most likely doesn't even turn up most days of the week [europa.eu], least of all on the days when stuff you care about is being debated.

      If like a lot of people you're about to say "yes, I but don't even want my country to be in the EU", well, again, we all got to vote for our respective governments, and we voted for parties who wanted to join up. For those of us th

    • Nobody did. The EU “government” is in fact not your government. No matter what they tell you.

      The “laws” were just written in everything, without asking anyone, any against the law! In fact those who did it, committed high treason. A crime that is usually punished like murder etc.
      So they legally have to go to a real dirty pound-me-in-the-ass prison. Not one of those nice ones.

      The only reason it’s not happening?
      Because the cattle that call themselves nations, are constantly fed t

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      My understanding was that the ultimate decisionmaking power in the EU was either the European Parliament (which you could have voted for as an EU citizen) or the European Commission (which has representation appointed by your government). So you either need to pay more attention to European elections, or hold your national government responsible for its role.

      The EC is less democratic than the EP, certainly, but that's not to say you have no democratic controls over it.

  • Revolting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by psYchotic87 (1455927) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .ejtnaawztehnafets.> on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @01:37PM (#30919870)

    Frankly, I find this whole business revolting. Several large countries are working on a framework for lawmaking, which would eventually turn into laws all citizens aren't supposed to break.
    The problem with this (and laws in general) is that no single citizen has any idea how not to break the law anymore. Furthermore, I was under the impression that lawmaking within democracies is supposed to be a process where every voting citizen has a say in, directly or indirectly.These ACTA negotiations are essentially about making laws noone but the big shots really want to be enforced.

    To summarize: I believe these negotiations to be utterly and completely undemocratic, unethical and criminal.

  • There are really only a few explanations for the secrecy and ALL of them strongly suggest that the public should oppose any ratification.

    Simplest is that it's secret because they know we won't like it. Perhaps they don't want the people of the world to understand all the tricks and traps they're building in.

    Next up, they don't talk about it openly because they imagine themselves above the opinions and thoughts of the vast unwashed masses. If they let us in on it it might encourage us to give them our annoyi

  • I've written my senator (I wont bother with Burris), and for the heck of it wrote to my congress representative too, but otherwise there is nothing I can do. I would recommend everyone writes their representatives (any country where it makes sense to do so)- it takes 5 to 15 minutes, and at the worst it gives you more right to complain when your government doesn't listen to you.

    At the least, getting more politicians asking questions can be a good thing. If they find that people care, they might even rac

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