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Making Sense of ACTA 155

Posted by timothy
from the wholly-geist dept.
Hodejo1 writes "This past week Guadalajara, Mexico hosted the 7th secret meeting of ACTA proponents who continue to ignore demands worldwide to open the debate to the public. Piecing together official and leaked documents from various global sources, Michael Geist has coalesced it all into a five part ACTA Guide that offers structured insight into what these talks might foist upon the populace at large. 'Questions about ACTA typically follow a familiar pattern — what is it (Part One of the ACTA Guide listing the timeline of talks), do you have evidence (Part Two), why is this secret (Part Three), followed by what would ACTA do to my country's laws (Part Four)? Countering the momentum behind ACTA will require many to speak out" (Part Five).'"
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Making Sense of ACTA

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  • Fuck ACTA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by haderytn (1232484) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @02:20PM (#30972542)
    That is all.
    • Re:Fuck ACTA (Score:5, Insightful)

      by couchslug (175151) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @02:37PM (#30972728)

      Meetings like ACTA conspiracy (any such hidden meeting certainly qualifies!) are proof Timothy McVeigh got the wrong building.

      I don't advocate what he did, but as the proponents of secret government become more and more abusive they are going to provoke the fringe...first.

      • Re:Fuck ACTA (Score:5, Insightful)

        by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday January 31, 2010 @02:56PM (#30972938) Journal

        The problem with that theory is how can you kill that which is not alive? And it is pretty obvious to anyone with a brain that We, The People no longer have any say in the government at all (taxation without representation) thanks to bribery being legal and corporations being labeled "really rich people" by the courts, along with speech equaling money, thus insuring your vote and voice is worthless as any corp can simply come along after the election with a checkbook and take over.

        Sadly short of armed revolution (The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants) I just don't see things ever getting any better, and more likely will get far worse. At least China and India have strong nationalistic streaks and tend to put their own people first, whereas our traitors will happily sell us out to foriegn multinationals for 30 pieces of silver. I predict we will continue to be flooded by H1-Bs and illegals even as our unemployment continues to climb past 20% (the numbers the fed uses is a lie, as they no longer count those whose benefits run out or who have given up for lack of work in their area) while special interests will continue to feed like hogs at the government trough. Once the fed can no longer print phoney money and the whole Ponzi scheme collapses we will get to watch as they return to their home countries and leave the corpse of the USA to rot.

        I am only glad my grandfather who fought in WWII isn't alive to see how pathetic and corrupt our government has become. You could probably already power the entire south with the revolutions the man is spinning in his grave at how far his once great country has fallen. Sadly there is simply no way to compete with income tax dodging multinationals who have more money than most third world nations.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by freakinangry (991056)
          It's sad to see the result that is this country after so many have fought for what is truly a dream and nothing else. I'm a foreigner having lived in the US for almost my entire life, and seeing the unfortunate direction on so many different levels that this country is speeding towards has me looking elsewhere for relief, meaning moving out of the US. I hope that people one day wake up and take action to correct the country's course, but it doesn't seem to be likely. All empires come to an end.
        • Re:Fuck ACTA (Score:5, Interesting)

          by martas (1439879) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @06:01PM (#30974868)
          While I agree with the general idea behind your post, I fail to see how immigrants (evil, evil immigrants) fit there. IHMO, the biggest problem with the US gov't today is that it is a "democratic" government where elected officials are more worried about money than their own voters, especially since these days votes are won not through argument and opinion, but through ads and shady campaigns that overwhelm the voter with so much garbage that he no longer thinks about what's best for him, but rather what some cheap slogans that have been crammed in his brain tell him to do. Even language, what is supposed to be a tool for communication, has become tainted and twisted and bent into something that provokes animalistic emotion in the listener, not thought and reason. I bet if you looked at the brain of the average American through an fMRI when he heard words such as Democrat/Republican, liberal/conservative, healthcare, terrorism, etc, the areas you'd see lighting up would imply something very disturbing. Immigrants aren't this country's biggest problem. Nor is it terrorists, oil, healthcare, global warming, etc. The biggest problem is that government is no longer for the people, or by the people (if it ever was, of course).
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by hairyfeet (841228)

            I have NO problem with immigrants, what I have a problem with is slaves. H1-Bs are nothing more than indentured servants brought in to lower the wages for everyone else. You bring in someone from India that paid maybe 12k for a master's degree, pay him peanuts and give him NO recourse or he's on the next boat back home, and we are supposed to compete with THAT? It is like saying "We should just compete with Chinese manufacturing" while ignoring they can use slaves and political prisoners, can poison their w

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by martas (1439879)
              well yes, that much i agree with - american workers are "protected" by many laws (e.g. minimal wage, workplace conditions, etc) that make them much less attractive to an employer than illegals/quasi-slave labor in developing countries. though it's not obvious to me how this problem can be solved. how can you stop outsourcing without severely damaging the competitiveness of american companies? how do you stop illegal immigration without some very disturbing campaigns reminiscent of witch-hunts? i got nothin'
              • by hairyfeet (841228)

                Well on the illegals I would first demand employers have SSNs for ALL workers on file, and make the fines for hiring illegals so damned nasty that no company would dare risk it. When you can walk onto ANY construction site here in the south and see NOTHING but illegals and a single white boss? Well that shit is fucked up and has got to go. Like I said all you have to do is yell "Immigra" and they will scatter like spooked deer, so you know that none of them are legals.

                As for H1-B, we are just gonna have to

              • Outsourcing is a lie (Score:5, Interesting)

                by shmlco (594907) on Monday February 01, 2010 @04:07AM (#30978656) Homepage

                "How can you stop outsourcing without severely damaging the competitiveness of american companies?"

                I'm beginning to think that this is a lie.

                We're told over and over again that American companies have to outsource production to other countries in order for them to remain "competitive".

                Okay, fine. But tell me this: How do Honda and Toyota and Kia and Hyundai BUILD PLANTS HERE IN THE US???

                Are they not competitive? If FOREIGN companies can build plants here and produce products here for sale here AND hire American labor to do so... AND still make a profit...

                THEN WHAT THE FUCK IS OUR PROBLEM??????

        • Re:Fuck ACTA (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Monsuco (998964) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @10:00PM (#30976790) Homepage

          And it is pretty obvious to anyone with a brain that We, The People no longer have any say in the government at all (taxation without representation) thanks to bribery being legal and corporations being labeled "really rich people" by the courts

          The courts did absolutely nothing to legalize bribery. Quid pro quo exchanges of money for votes are still very much illegal, and unless you have been huffing paint thinner, you'd have no way of interpreting what SCOTUS said this way.

          along with speech equaling money, thus insuring your vote and voice is worthless as any corp can simply come along after the election with a checkbook and take over.

          Regardless of your views on the case, money already was a huge player. It always has been, it will continue to grow, the McCain-Feingold "Campaign Finance Reform Act" did absolutely nothing to reduce the influence of money in politics, as is clearly evident in the fact that we saw some of the most expensive elections in history in the campaigns since it passed. The only thing it really has done is made candidates put those awkward "approve this message" lines in their commercials (which is still in place),encouraged increased use of 3-rd party campaigns (still in place but less relevent), and reduced the competativeness of most elections since it is much more of a pain to criticize opponents (hence its critics have dubbed it the "Incumbency Protection Act"). A politician still must earn your vote and the extreme majority of campaign contributions tend to go to candidates that already favored a viewpoint. Suppose you are a gun company. It is a lot easier to promote a candidate who is already pro-gun than to persuade an anti-gun candidate to join you. All the recent court ruling did was make it so companies can more directly contribute to political speech, rather than indirectly contribute via third parties.

          I predict we will continue to be flooded by H1-Bs and illegals even as our unemployment continues to climb past 20% (the numbers the fed uses is a lie, as they no longer count those whose benefits run out or who have given up for lack of work in their area)

          Actually, the rate of illegal immigration appears to be declining due to the poor economy. I also would doubt legal H1-Bs hold too negative an impact on the US economy. What do you assume those workers do with the money they've earned? Do you think they eat it? They turn around and re-spend it here, creating jobs or they ship it overseas which removes currency from the US, thus reducing inflation. (It isn't the presence of dollar bills in the economy that make it worth money, it is the asset value the economy has, money is just a token to represent that value.) Illegal immigrants cause problems largely because of the high crime rates associated with illegal human trafficking not the taking of jobs. Also, the US unemployment rate as calculated by the department of Labor (not the Fed, they are a semi-independant central bank) is based on a survey of about 60,000 households to estimate a national average. It is currently about 10%. Your claim of it being underrepresented is a myth that derives from the fact that a few state and local governments compile their stats that way.

          while special interests will continue to feed like hogs at the government trough.

          Have you ever read history books? Have you ever heard of the Boss Tweed of Tammany Hall, the leader of the 19th century Democrat political machine of New York City? Have you ever read about the Teapot Dome scandal? The current levels of corruption pale in comparison to these.

          Once the fed can no longer print phoney money and the whole Ponzi scheme collapses we will get to watch as they return to their home countries and leave the corpse of the USA to rot.

          Social Security might be something of a Ponzi scheme, but the rest of the federal government really doesn't come close to the defe

          • by Rakarra (112805)

            As someone who lives in California, I would point to our state legislature as an excellent, prime example of why term limits are a terrible idea.

        • by mjwx (966435)

          Sadly short of armed revolution

          The problem with armed revolution is that it's extremely easy for a spin doctor to marginalise and make unpopular. Just imagine someone like Slush Fatbargh, on Box News telling you how these "freedom hating terrorists" want to destroy the good old "US of A" and how they'll eat babies and kittens if they ever succeed.

          Unless you manage to pull off a rapid coup d'etat and also silence or are aligned with the media the spin doctors will rip any such rebellion to shreds in it

      • Re:Fuck ACTA (Score:5, Insightful)

        by dissy (172727) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @04:32PM (#30973986)

        Meetings like ACTA conspiracy (any such hidden meeting certainly qualifies!) are proof Timothy McVeigh got the wrong building.

        I don't advocate what he did, but as the proponents of secret government become more and more abusive they are going to provoke the fringe...first.

        Can't feel too bad for them. If they want people to take their arguments the legal route, they perhaps shouldn't outlaw all the legal routes.

        Close off every possible method of counter except violence, and people will not hesitate to use what you left them.

        • by Ostracus (1354233)

          "Close off every possible method of counter except violence, and people will not hesitate to use what you left them."

          When did apathy get outlawed?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Forget the politicians. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice ... you don't. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own, and control the corporations. They've long since bought, and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the state houses, the city halls, they got the judges in their back pockets and they own all the big media companies, so they control just about all of the news and information
      • by Monsuco (998964)

        Meetings like ACTA conspiracy (any such hidden meeting certainly qualifies!) are proof Timothy McVeigh got the wrong building.

        Umm, is wasn't a copyright treaty that made McVeigh mass murder people.

      • by jonwil (467024)

        Although I do not advocate terrorist attacks as such, maybe the US needs a "government reboot" similar to what happened in the Tom Clancy book "Executive Orders".

    • Follow the money.

      There. There’s your sense.

      Case closed. ^^

      Now where is my giant space ray gun, when I need it?

    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      That's not all.
      Join the Pirate Party.
    • by pydev (1683904) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @03:56PM (#30973572)

      In Soviet Russia, ACTA fucks you. Oh, also in Europe and the US.

    • TRIPS kills people. ACTA will kill vastly more people.

      "ACTA will kill people" is the meme your looking for.

      • "ACTA will kill people" is the meme your looking for.

        But only the sick poor! And US voters in Massachusetts have recently shown what their opinions about them are :-(

  • by MrEricSir (398214) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @02:23PM (#30972578) Homepage

    how it would be constitutional to enact laws that were developed behind closed doors by private interests?

    • by Sique (173459) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @02:33PM (#30972672) Homepage

      how it would be constitutional to enact laws that were developed behind closed doors by private interests?

      How would it not? There is a parliament, whose members are elected by the public, and whose task is it, to enact laws. That's how it is put down in the Constitution. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that every proposed law has to be published first and being discussed by the public. That's what the debates in the parliament are for.

      • by Nefarious Wheel (628136) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @04:12PM (#30973768) Journal
        Parliament and Constitution in the same breath? I don't think we're in Kansas any more, Toto...
      • by Ostracus (1354233)

        "That's how it is put down in the Constitution. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that every proposed law has to be published first and being discussed by the public. "

        And the judicial branch is for deciding the constitutionality of said laws. They didn't have the technology we have for information dispersion, but the next best thing. Also a lot of decisions are left up to the states which is usually closer to the populace than say Washington D.C. And last it's the duty (not optional) for the governed

    • ACTA is basically saying "We got the DMCA in the USA, so why don't you write a similar law where you are... or we're going to raise the price of our content to the point we break your economy!"
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by peragrin (659227)

        if true i do hope that everyone calls that bluff. that way American content will finally die the death that it needs to. I don't know about you but all the good stuff is filmed in other countries anyways.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by BadAnalogyGuy (945258)

          American content will finally die the death that it needs to. I don't know about you but all the good stuff is filmed in other countries anyways.

          That's an awfully subjective view of American media. The objective view is that the most popular content worldwide is produced by America.

          Say what you want about the quality of "American content", but you'll find that most people will not agree with you.

          • by peragrin (659227)

            Your right America does the producing but I still refuse to watch prime time tv as It is useless. Yes I do live in new York.

            American prime time, news stations, etc produce more crap than actual news. It is why watch visit the BBC to realy find out what is going on in my own country.

        • by sjames (1099)

          It won't die. They'll kick, scream and threaten to hold their breath until they die. They may even be stupid enough to try it. However, just like the bratty kid, soon enough they'll get dizzy, realize they can't win that way and they'll give in.

          That is, even though they're demanding $10, eventually they'll settle for $5 because it's better than $0.

        • by Nefarious Wheel (628136) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @04:27PM (#30973936) Journal

          if true i do hope that everyone calls that bluff. that way American content will finally die the death that it needs to. I don't know about you but all the good stuff is filmed in other countries anyways.

          You know, I remember a story my Father used to tell me about why there weren't any new brick buildings in Southern California (this was long before the Sylmar earthquake). He drove a concrete mixer, and his attitudes were probably colored by it - he said "There are no more brick houses because the unions priced themselves out of the market."

          Now I'm not trying to bash the unions here, they have their place - but the fact is, raise the price too high for a quality product and buyers will re-define their concept of what they like. And if the interest moves away from the traditional stuff, the quality will too. Fashions will get redefined.

          My point is that the content of media controlled by ACTA and other attempts at legitimatizing RIAA and MPAA enforcers will have the effect of more and more music and video coming from indie sources. Good stuff, too. Put too tight a control on your contributions and the world will pass you by.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Patch86 (1465427)

            The British Motor Corporation (/British Leyland/Rover MG) will back you up on that one. Unions are wonderful, but the overzealous ones have killed off many a healthy local industry.

            In the case above, the union kept making demands, and the incompetent management never managed to balance them out properly, in the end the company was busy producing the fewest, shoddiest, most expensive excuses for automobiles available this side of the iron curtain, before duly going bust for the final time.

            (Car analogy five?)

        • by Neoprofin (871029)
          Then why do all the other countries insist on watching American shoes and movies even though they are frequently in a language they barely understand and conveying topics they frequently can't relate to. Seems like an awful lot of suffering to keep their vastly superior programming off the air, and expensive to boot. I know America is the giant cultural cancer of the world in a lot of people's minds, but apparently the world finds cancer delicious and can't help but themselves with it.
      • by sjames (1099) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @03:11PM (#30973096) Homepage

        That won't work. The 'content' just isn't that critical and the natural retaliation to it being too expensive suggests itself!

        Instead of the stick, I suspect they'll offer the carrot under the table to legislators who agree to betray their country, just like always.

      • by ultranova (717540)

        ACTA is basically saying "We got the DMCA in the USA, so why don't you write a similar law where you are... or we're going to raise the price of our content to the point we break your economy!"

        Empty threat, as anyone who wants the content but doesn't want to pay can already get it for free from isohunt [isohunt.com]. And even if they couldn't, do you really think that people would get themselves bankcrupt over entertainment?

      • by Ostracus (1354233)

        ACTA is basically saying "We got the DMCA in the USA, so why don't you write a similar law where you are... or we're going to raise the price of our content to the point we break your economy!"

        Then that speaks more to the scarcity of talent than anything else. Or maybe the drug addict relationship people have with American content? We were trying for the sympathy angle, weren't we?

    • by Smallpond (221300)

      Obviously it would not be in a democracy. However many of us live in a representative democracy where our government represents those who speak the loudest [boston.com]

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Fjandr (66656)
      Quite easily. There is no requirement for public debate or notice in passing legislation or signing treaties. It is assumed that people will vote out politicians who do such things. The fact that there are enough of them currently elected that this is even a possibility shows that US citizens get exactly the government they want and deserve. Otherwise, we wouldn't have as many slimy people in office.

      Actually, the question above is exactly why this is a problem: US citizens have no idea how their governmen
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        There is no requirement for public debate or notice in passing legislation or signing treaties.

        And in general, we have no need for more "notice." What "debate" happens is mostly wheeling and dealing behind the scenes before the bill comes to the floor, and any "debate" on the floor is usually for soundbites for the evening news. I'm not sure how one could require an "actual" debate, except through media and individuals being more critical during the process... which they can be.

        Most non-trivial pieces of legislation take months to go through both houses and get to the President's desk for signatu

    • by funkatron (912521)
      It's constitutional because the constitution doesn't include any reference to your gut feelings.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by maxwell demon (590494)

        Maybe there should be an amendment to the constitution:
        "The gut feelings of people posting on Slashdot always overrule the congress."
        Well, maybe we should exclude low-scored postings.

    • by gmuslera (3436)
      Its called "representative democracy", you vote your representants, and then they do what they want. If their misbehave, is not their fault, or constitution fault. Is yours, or if you like, your countriy's citizen fault, even if was just gullibility.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @02:24PM (#30972580)

    Let's be level headed here for a moment. Let's assume for a moment ACTA was a "fair" agreement. Designed to give all affected parties a fair share of the cake. Even then, it would be met with incredible resistance once it hits the fan. Why? Because it's kept secret. You design a contract that will affect me but I don't get to read it until after it is signed. How in the world could I not resist it with all the force I could possibly have?

    Also, they will soon notice that all the secrecy around it only makes it more interesting. If ACTA was published and discussed in plain view, it would soon be drowned in the noise of everyday politics. A few activists would care and as usual, nobody would listen to them. Do you think it would be on /.'s frontpage every other day if it was public? This way, it's kept in our minds, fresh and looming, a secret deal that will affect us but we don't get to see it. Can you imagine anything more interesting?

    Of course (please put on your tinfoil hats now), it could all be a gigantic plot to keep our interest on it so we overlook something else. But generally, if ACTA is supposed to become reality some day, the whole secrecy around it will ensure that every government will have to fight an uphill battle to get it ratified and codified and every single step will be monitored closely and reported widely, simply because ACTA got that much limelight. Due to its secrecy.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You design a contract that will affect me but I don't get to read it until after it is signed.

      If its passed I will simply use every means at my disposal to ignore it.

      Do you think it would be on /.'s frontpage every other day if it was public?

      So what? Its on the front page of a half-dead geek website every other day. How often is it mentioned on the cover of a
      national paper? How often is it mentioned on a news channel on TV? What percentage of the population has even heard of
      ACTA? Maybe 5%? How many ca

      • by mikael_j (106439) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @03:54PM (#30973560)

        So what? Its on the front page of a half-dead geek website every other day. How often is it mentioned on the cover of a national paper? How often is it mentioned on a news channel on TV? What percentage of the population has even heard of ACTA? Maybe 5%? How many care? 1%?

        Well, here in Sweden it's been mentioned in the national media, but then we also have Pirate party representatives in the EU parliament...

        /Mikael

        • by init100 (915886)

          but then we also have Pirate party representatives in the EU parliament...

          The parliament might be all that stands between us and ACTA being implemented in the EU. Because of the Lisbon Treaty, the EU parliament now has a say in virtually every new law and agreement that is to be ratified by the union. I don't think that they'll take the fact that they have not been allowed to see the draft treaty yet lightly, and might put some heavy grit in the machinery. They are very keen on using the newly acquired powers, and hopefully, they'll use their power to strike down the ACTA.

          I don't

          • I wouldn't count on the EU parlament to do that. It's basically a scapegoat to push unpopular laws because the citizens of the EU still don't see the connection between the EU parlament and their votes.

            Far too often you get to hear statements along the lines of "we wouldn't want to implement these laws, but the EU forces us, so sorry..." from the mouths of our politicians. Yet people don't grasp the idea that they could change something if they voted sensibly in EU elections. Unfortunately those elections a

          • I don't count on the riksdag to do that, they are a bunch of sheep. The FRA law proved it. As you probably know, those who opposed it were coerced by the administration to vote contrary to their own opinion.

            Of course, if those with differing opinions actually had any principles whatsoever they would have stuck to their guns and ignored the party whip and fellow party-members.
            I'm convinced that most politicians that get as far as parliament never really had any principles whatsoever to begin with, they just like the posh job with a great "retirement" scheme, and so don't have any desire to upset those who could endanger their positions (ie. party leaders).
            What we need in Sweden is an expulsion of all current po

  • Get it together, people. We understand the implications and can make the right noises to the right people.

    The public will sleep safer knowing we're out there, doing something.

    Like the Batman.

    • Re:No Jokes Here (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @02:28PM (#30972626)

      Batman is a comic, you know that I hope? Because in reality, someone like Batman would be hunted by the executive worse than any criminal you could imagine. No country on this planet lets a private citizen crack the force monopoly.

      Well, not without a reasonable kickback.

      • Well, as far as I know, they DO hunt Batman in the stories.
        But in a city full of crime, like Gotham, a desperate police force, nearly against its will and nearly against the wall, can absolutely try to get a little help.
        Batman is somewhere between calling the swat teams, and calling the national guard.

        • Trust me. Any other crime would take a back seat. Swat teams and national guard are under the control of the state, he would not be. That alone, and making the police force look bad, which falls back on politicians, is alone to make him the number one on the list.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by lennier (44736)

        Actually.... there have been people rather like Batman in the 1930s era. Private millionaires who bankrolled much of WW2 military R&D.

        Look up Howard Hughes, Alfred Loomis, Floyd Odlum, William Stephenson, 'Wild Bill' Donovan. Those boys got up to interesting stuff, sometimes working for 'the government' and sometimes on their own time (and dime). They weren't all friends of Hoover and FDR.

        And to be honest, that heritage still exists today. Some of the same types of characters surfaced in teams Nixon, Re

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by martas (1439879)
          that's not batman, that's greed. there's a slight difference.
  • It's all about standardizing shipping documents between countries. If you have ever tried to ship something bigger than a letter to the U.S., you'd find yourself spending an inordinate amount of time filling out forms just to get it into the American borders.

    ACTA aims to make this pain equal across the board. In some ways it will protect shippers because the better they describe the contents of the package, the less likely it will be to be targeted for extra search measures. On the other hand, who in their

    • by PPH (736903) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @02:57PM (#30972958)

      That seems pretty reasonable. So why don't they negotiate the terms out in the open?

      I suspect that there's more to it than just this. Someone is trying to slip some funny language into the agreement. Often, when negotiating contract terms, one can deduce where such language is being injected into the document by observing how dearly one party has become attached to some particular wording or content. And in finding these particular terms, one can guess at what sort of hidden agendas the various parties might have.

  • waggers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by epine (68316) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @02:35PM (#30972678)

    USTR head Ron Kirk has reportedly said that countries would walk away from the treaty if the text were made available

    I don't get this. If our elected leaders walk off on the job, we already have a mechanism in place to fix this: a general election. Maybe the next batch is willing to contend with the issue under democratic conditions, such as open consultation.

    Oh, you mean only the tinpots will walk away from the table, which will hurt us more than it hurts them. Why didn't you make yourself clear in the first place? Democracy is good, except when negotiating with tinpots, which necessarily takes place on their terms, in the best interest of all concerned.

    Nice tail-wags-the-dog justification for subverting democratic transparency.

    Or is there something I missed here? Did I skip an essential chapter in Democracy for Dummies? I feel so stupid. Our politicians are willing to shine their eminent sensibilities on this problem and all they want is a little secrecy to work their magic for the good of humanity? There's just no respect in this world, is there?

    • Re:waggers (Score:4, Interesting)

      by PPH (736903) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @02:48PM (#30972856)
      Perhaps this is the best solution. If the current proposals are so embarrassing (or whatever) to the parties negotiating them that they don't want to do so in the light of day, then drop the whole thing. Step back, take another look at the problem and come back when everyone has some ideas that they're not ashamed to publish.
  • Acronyms... (Score:3, Informative)

    by RocketRocketship (1416283) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @02:48PM (#30972862)
    Not mentioned in the summary or the first two linked articles is what ACTA actually is. It stands for the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Counterfeiting_Trade_Agreement [wikipedia.org]
  • All of this secrecy just feeds the intense interest from the public. Everyone from conspiracy theorists, to fringe lunatics will have ample time to take pot shots at it. That said, they do realize that at some point, they will have to put their 'yay' or 'nay' on this thing? It will be obvious to anyone wanting to read it what it says? If it adversely affects millions of Americans in any significant way, the folks who ratify this thing are history. Brown should be a good reminder of that. Piss enough people

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Politicians haven't been held responsible for this kind of shit ever since they realised the full extent to which they could abuse redistricting.

    • by westlake (615356)

      All of this secrecy just feeds the intense interest from the public


      The story may have the Slashdot's attention. But you have drill down deep elsewhere to have even heard of it.

  • by Ifni (545998) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @03:08PM (#30973062) Homepage

    <tinfoilhat>

    From the article: efforts at the international level to fight counterfeiting and piracy

    I have to wonder at the increase and sudden newsworthiness of Somalian piracy during the private talks around ACTA. When it comes time to present it to the public, talk of counterfeiting and piracy will elicit images of counterfeit currency and Somalian pirates and the average Joe that hasn't read much about the document will assume that those opposing it are a bunch of crazies. Finally, the years of equating unauthorized IP distribution with piracy will come to fruition for our dark masters.

    </tinfoilhat>

    In all seriousness, though, whether planned by some diabolical secret cabal or not, I can see this confusion being purposefully used to sway the view of the common citizen.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by martas (1439879)
      i agree that the possibility exists, and that in itself scares the shit out of me.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Zerth (26112)

      Have you noticed that, with the increased mention of Somalian piracy, that this winter has been a bit chill?

      I think it is a sign from the FSM, but I'm not sure if it is positive of negative.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ldrydenb (1316047)

      Yes, just as Disney used the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy to glamorise piracy & promote their pro-sharing, anti-copyright agenda.

      Oh, wait...

  • ignore it

    technology has gotten to the point that piracy is simply the best distribution model around, for creators and consumers (oh, you thought the law was supposed to protect creators? it protects distributors: look at the contracts distributors sign with creators and tell me who really benefits). consumers get bounty, creators get ancillary revenue streams and distributors die. end of story

    let them pass any law they want. no really: what is the value of an unenforceable law? people are getting upset about acta, but i really have to ask everyone: acta may sound diabolical and severe, but its toothless: there's no enforcement of it possible. sure, they may get the occasional grandmother with an unsecured router or a soccer mom who's kids friends take advantage of her hospitality, but that's going to stop technological progress?

    let them fund stables of tens of thousands of lawyers and put behind them far reaching draconian laws. whoop de friggin doo. tens of millions of media hungry, technologically savvy and POOR teenagers has them all beat, and then some. the contest is a joke, the laws mean nothing, the game is over: technological progress wins, distributors die

    we are simply living in a transition period in which we must suffer the bluster of morons from another media era who simply don't get the fundamental changes taking place around them

    • by misexistentialist (1537887) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @05:42PM (#30974694)
      I'd like to think your right, but once people start having their internet connections cut off (maybe even having their "internet passports" revoked) piracy will likely revert to a much more limited community. Hopefully people will read and fuck more, but they will probably just watch more TV.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by syousef (465911)

      let them pass any law they want. no really: what is the value of an unenforceable law?

      It's not unenforceable. The tech can be turned against it's users. Imagine a closed Internet where every communication, every URL and every download is logged. We're not that far off such a thing. So people stop using the net and start copying files. What do you think "trusted" computing is about. There will be a day when hard drives start dobbing their owners in. Imagine mass round ups of teenagers that are guilty until

      • by Thing 1 (178996)

        Imagine a closed Internet where every communication, every URL and every download is logged. We're not that far off such a thing.

        Imagine a sneakernet.

      • Won't/Can't happen (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Mathinker (909784)

        > Imagine a closed Internet where every communication, every URL and every download is logged.

        Cannot happen. Well, at least effectively. Because of things called "steganography" [wikipedia.org] and "perfect forward secrecy" [wikipedia.org].

        So, no. The only closed Internet is a a read-only Internet.

        It does lower the bandwidth a lot. But as Thing 1 already replied to you, the high-bandwidth stuff can be done by sneakernet.

        Your fear from Trusted Computing is more real. But even there, we are close to the point where third-world countries

        • by syousef (465911)

          I think you underestimate what the average person is willing to risk. Make steganography and encryption completely illegal with harsh penalties and they all but go away.

      • they have all the legal justification, all the enforcement apparatuses, and a dire existential reason to fight an open internet, and they still can't cope

        so you think a small industrial sector: distribution of media, can do a better job?

        it's a contest: open internet versus a dying economic distribution model. internet wins, easy

        you obfuscate the connection, you encrypt it, you darknet it, you disguise it as ip packets on port 80, you make it look like smtp email, you make it look like put form responses on

    • by martas (1439879)
      there is no law that cannot be enforced, given sufficient resources. and one thing the MAFIAA has is resources.

      you think anti-piracy laws are unenforceable? let me paint you a picture:
      the internet has become a commodity like power or water, not in terms of how widespread it is, but because it is thoroughly regulated. anonymity is dead. MAC addresses are impossible to change, and are registered to a specific individual (perhaps a set of individuals, if it's a machine shared by a, say, family). owning a
      • by ratboy666 (104074) <fred_weigel@NOspam.hotmail.com> on Sunday January 31, 2010 @09:08PM (#30976522) Homepage Journal

        Yes, I can see it coming.

        I still have my old analog modem, and I still control my own network. We hackers will simply retreat to UUCP ("bbs" for the micro-computer generation). With known and trusted peers only.

        About the only thing added will be full crypto on the UUCP links.

        And when they come for that...

        It will go back to physical data exchange.

        Too bad, though. But the level of discourse may become reasonable again, and maybe, just maybe, SPAM will go away. At least on the darknets.

    • by selven (1556643) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @06:32PM (#30975130)

      Nobody is worried about the future of distributing content. There will always be crackers, and the effort of one is enough to liberate some piece of content for everyone. What we're worried about is that the *AA will destroy the internet trying.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by BitZtream (692029)

      The law only works because the majority of the population respect it.

      As you say, once you make a law that the majority don't want to honor and respect, the law is unenforceable.

      As they say, they can't put us ALL in jail.

  • I have just read this article and two layers down in links, and have YET to find what "ACTA" is or means. Please add this information to the article -- not all of us can remember the tons of alphabet soup we are being fed.
  • by T Murphy (1054674) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @08:20PM (#30976174) Journal
    Write to your representatives in the national government. It might not mean much, but it's the best (legal) way to get your voice heard. The same arguments why not voting is a bad idea generally apply here.

    The best thing is, it might only take one country pulling out to put the ACTA into question everywhere.
  • Its difficult to get politicians from different countries to agree on anything. Getting the USA and Europe to agree is hard enough, but expecting Russia and the Far East to agree on a global copyright law, seems incredible to me. I bet these meetings will continue though as the politicians get regular payed for holidays and the expenses of all copyright vested interests.

    ---

    Piracy [feeddistiller.com] Feed @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

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