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Europe To Block ACTA Disconnect Provisions 194

Posted by kdawson
from the swing-and-a-miss dept.
superglaze writes "The European Commission is 'not supporting and will not accept' any attempt to have ACTA (the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) force countries to disconnect people for downloading copyrighted material, a spokesman for the new EU trade commissioner has said. All the signs are that the new commission, which took office earlier this month, intends to take a hard-line stance against US proposals for a filesharing-related disconnection system. 'Three strikes' is allowed in EU countries, but not mandated by the European government itself, and it looks like the new administration wants to keep it that way. From trade commission spokesman John Clancy, quoted in ZDNet UK's article: '[Ac ta] has never been about pursuing infringements by an individual who has a couple of pirated songs on their music player. For several years, the debate has been about what is "commercial scale" [piracy]. EU legislation has left it to each country to define what a commercial scale is and this flexibility should be kept in ACTA.'"
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Europe To Block ACTA Disconnect Provisions

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  • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Friday February 26, 2010 @10:50AM (#31284952)
    OK, here you go:

    Big Corporation: Open Source is bad for everyone.
    Open Source Advocate: No, monopolies are bad for everyone.
    BC: Open Source leads to piracy.
    OSA: No, monopolies lead to piracy.
    BC: It's people like you who are what's wrong with the world today.
    OSA: No, it's people like you who are what's wrong with the world today.

    Hopefully that will save us about 50 posts in this thread.
  • by Em Emalb (452530) <ememalb.gmail@com> on Friday February 26, 2010 @10:53AM (#31284974) Homepage Journal

    Big Corporation: We use the best tool for the job, be it a free tool or a pay for use one.
    Open Source Advocate: No, you should always use open source.
    BC: No, sometimes commercial apps are better than the free alternative.
    OSA: No, use OSS all the time, no matter what!
    BC: It's people like you who are what's wrong with the world today.
    OSA: No, it's people like you who are what's wrong with the world today.

    This is more what I see here on slashdot. Somewhere in the middle is the common ground.

  • Follow the money (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rogerborg (306625) on Friday February 26, 2010 @10:57AM (#31285014) Homepage
    Most imaginary piracy is of US imaginary products. The EU has far less to lose in terms of jobs and tax revenue - i.e. swill for the Brussels trough - than the US.
  • by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Friday February 26, 2010 @11:04AM (#31285098) Journal

    No, companies don't really care if they need to pay a few hundred to get the programmer Visual Studio and increase his productivity by 1500% instead of using the free Dev-C++.

    Same thing as most companies working with graphics aren't shy to buy Photoshop instead of frustrating their workers with GIMP.

  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Friday February 26, 2010 @11:18AM (#31285230) Journal

    Big Corporation: Open Source is bad for everyone.
    Open Source Advocate: No, monopolies are bad for everyone.

    Politician: Open source is good for the poor! It's free! Think of the children!

    Big Corporation: Damn.
    Open Source Advocate: Well..... (shrug)..... whatever works. Open source is good for the children! Free Ubuntu or Puppy Linux for everyone! Goto www.freeubuntu.com or www.freepuppy.com for your free computer OS.

  • by shoppa (464619) on Friday February 26, 2010 @11:24AM (#31285314)

    Something is wrong with the way we keep using the phrase "downloading copyrighted material" like it implies something illegal is going on.

    The Linux kernel is copyrighted. Me downloading it is not illegal.

    If I buy a book for my Kindle and download it, that's not illegal either.

    But they are examples of downloading copyrighted material.

    There needs to be a language adjustment such that we use "illegally downloading copyrighted material" instead.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Friday February 26, 2010 @11:28AM (#31285382)

    While you're right, that isn't really the reason in most cases. Else, explain to me the success of SAP, which lowered productivity and increased overhead in most companies it was employed in.

    The reason why commercial software is successful is simply that software is not bought by the people who use it the most. Software, like pretty much anything in a large company, is bought by some sort of "buy crap" department, who does often not have any idea what exactly they're doing. They're responsible for buying car spare parts, printing paper, office furniture, computer hardware, cleaning detergents and of course software. Even assuming they know what they're doing in one area (9 out of 10 times NOT, because their expertise is in business administration, for good reason), they will be out of their league most time when they're tasked with buying something.

    So they will go for brand names. You can't go wrong with Photoshop because everyone uses it and so you can argue the expense if someone comes and complains. Same applies to Windows and VS. It's used in other big companies and while it may not be the "100% right tool", it also won't be the wrong tool. It's not something you will be questioned about.

    Buying "commercial brands" is a way to cover your ass for the "buy crap" department. They don't buy it because it's the right decision, they buy it because it's almost certainly not the wrong one.

  • by ledow (319597) on Friday February 26, 2010 @11:29AM (#31285396) Homepage

    My tax bill disagrees with you, especially with the contributions that my country has to make to aid other countries in the EU. That comes from my tax too. Also, the population figures, employment statistics, governmental administrative costs (multiple governing bodies at country / EU level costs more than a single one would in the US), sales figures and basically any other statistic you would like to look at disagree with any assertion that the US has / invests / commands significantly more money / people than the EU as an entity.

    However, what the EU does have is differing opinions within itself, various "checks" between each countries (when was the last time that the US was told by another country that one of its laws was illegal and must change immediately and it *did* it? In my country that was a few weeks ago. That's how the EU functions - other countries keep each individual country in check to make sure they're all singing from the same hymn sheet), absolutely no incentive to come up with a single-party plan for any political idea (it will be shot down by other countries no matter what, just for political gain, unless it's *truly* regarded as being in everyone's best interests) and an innate ability to fight *anything* that lands on its desk.

    For the record, I'm British and thus, almost naturally, don't like the idea of the EU. But you can't argue that when it came to fining Microsoft and implementing controls, it stood up and did the job (the US DOJ couldn't - and MS are now contributing information that they've been forced to reveal and that the Samba team can actually *USE*, and have to introduce that stupid "browser choice" update, etc.). When it comes to throwing out dodgy laws and software patents, it does the job (on the whole, nothing's perfect). When it comes to uniting many countries into a single entity with common currency, with little hassle, it does the job (UK is an exception because we exercised a "favour", basically, and managed to postpone our conversion to the Euro for the time being).

    Knock the EU as much as you like, but if you think this was in any way something the EU could easily do that the US could not, you're wrong. It's just that the US is inherently more easily corrupted at the moment. The EU stands to lose just as much industry support, potential revenue, etc. as anyone else signing up to the agreement. But the EU stands up and says no and it's rarely based purely on political gain. It's hard to convince countries that haven't ever really got on (Cyprus is in the EU, Turkey is a serious candidate to join, very rare occurrence for the two of them to do anything together) to join forces behind any decision. Different countries of the EU are using Open Source operating systems, office applications, file formats, etc. at a national level. ACTA just works against those ideas. ACTA breaks some of the world's strictest privacy / data protection laws. ACTA gives rights to personal searches for copyright material at international borders. It's a dumb idea. The EU have recognised that, and that the benefits to them are incredibly small in comparison, so they've recommended against it. That's called good sense. The other countries signing up to it (and the US isn't alone here) are on the whole being manipulated by the media industries, or drawn by the scent of money.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Friday February 26, 2010 @11:40AM (#31285522)

    It's not even that.

    I was for while the CTO of a large company. Never again, but that's another story. You often have no choice but to buy their crap. Even if you know that some OSS tool would do the trick better, easier and of course cheaper. Nobody wants change in their office world. They are already used to the previous version of whatever you get to buy. So whatever change you plan to employ will be met with utmost resistance, on all levels, from your CEO to the post office grunt. Even if the change meant they'd have to trade their wash board for a washer/dryer combo that fills itself, they'd complain that there is no wash board so they have no idea how to use it.

    You can now either use a lot of effort to overcome that resistance (which sometimes borders on sabotage) and risk being the scapegoat should the tinyest bit go wrong, or just rubberstamp the purchase of the next version of the (maybe even inferior) tool you had for the last 20 years, which will cause at least as many headaches but nobody will complain about that.

    Be honest! Which one will you choose?

  • I'm an American... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26, 2010 @11:41AM (#31285536)

    and all I have to say is "thank god someone is standing up to us".

  • by characterZer0 (138196) on Friday February 26, 2010 @11:43AM (#31285558)

    I would not call Ubuntu "just as good as Windows 7" for the same reason that I would not call a pry bar "just as good as a hammer." They are similar and can both be used for hammering nails in and pulling nails out, but the pry bar is better at prying nails out (and a bunch of other things) but a hammer is still better and hamming nails in.

    If you tell somebody that Ubuntu is just as good as Windows, the person will expect Ubuntu to be just as good as Windows at every single thing he did with Windows, and will end up thinking Ubuntu sucks.

  • by h00manist (800926) on Friday February 26, 2010 @11:56AM (#31285724) Journal

    Something is wrong with the way we keep using the phrase "downloading copyrighted material" like it implies something illegal is going on.

    It illustrates how industry lobby manages to mold what we say and think through repetition of a term or opinion thousands of times. It's not our opinion, but we usually say what we have read somewhere. And indeed, digital information in general has been productized, everything is now interpreted as a priced, owned, sold, market-valued product even if it isn't a commercial product or even a product at all.

  • by gillbates (106458) on Friday February 26, 2010 @12:06PM (#31285842) Homepage Journal

    If a programmers productivity goes up 1500% because you switched editors/IDE's, maybe the company should consider hiring better programmers.

    Only 15 times? Honestly, I'd say there's a good two orders of magnitude between the most productive development environment and the least. Yes, programmer productivity can vary by an order of magnitude, but I've personally seen a team of 7 engineers get more done with Linux than 40+ could do with Windows.

    Look, according to Brooks' Mythical man month, the average programmer can write 1000 lines of code a year. I, however, work in a company where anyone who *can't* write 10k+ per year is at serious risk of getting fired. Here, the difference between editors really can make or break your career. And yes, there is a tremendous difference in the amount of work you can get done with an editor which supports mouse-driven copy/paste, and one that does not. Most people assume editor choice is a matter of preference. Most people don't keep track of their productivity metrics. I, however, do, and I've seen a dramatic difference in the amount of work I'm able to get done. It's not so much that I can't do my job in other editors, but rather, that other editors force an inefficient working paradigm on the user. Consider the difference between someone working in Emacs who has to open a different shell window and grep through header files, vs. an IDE that automatically cross-references the source tree and displays the definitions as the user browses the file. Both coders will get code written, but the second will get it done much faster than the first, all other things being equal.

    Granted, a poor programmer won't be made great by a great IDE, but a good programmer with professional ethics is going to insist on having the tools needed to do the job in the most efficient manner. It's not whining to ask for the proper tools; rather, it's foolish to expect good results when one uses the wrong tool for the job. It's not 1970 anymore, and the days of programmers ruling the roost are long gone. Business now expects *everything* to be faster-cheaper-better, and you can't deliver that writing code with ed.

  • by brit74 (831798) on Friday February 26, 2010 @12:27PM (#31286222)
    Open Source leads to free software for society, which is a public good. It's the equivalent of charity.

    Piracy undermines the ability of software developers to create the software that the public wants to use. The long term consequences is to deprive the public of software by undermining the engines that create it.

    While it would be nice to believe that open-source would step in to fill the nitch left by piracy-bankrupted companies, I have a hard time believing that open-source, through volunteer effort, would create the variety and quality of software produced by the closed-source software businesses. Can anyone honestly claim that the video game industry would have anywhere near the quality and variety that it does if it was purely an open source effort? Would anything similar to WOW, Starcraft 2, Team Fortress 2, Left for Dead 2, Modern Warfare, etc, etc exist? I strongly doubt it. Yeah, I know open-source advocates are going to hate this post. If you want to disagree with me, then you should first run this mental test: think of the top one hundred closed-source games and compare their quality and depth to the top one hundred open-source games (preferably ones that aren't clones of closed-source ones).
  • by jc42 (318812) on Friday February 26, 2010 @12:28PM (#31286230) Homepage Journal

    It will be nice when the day comes when open source has taken over and all of this will be a moot point.

    Not likely. We should note that, as Bruce Perens and others pointed out the the open-source court decision story the other day, for open-source software to stay open and available requires that it be copyrighted (and/or patented), and accompanied by the right license that's been vetted by knowledgeable lawyers. Corporations like to treat open source as public domain, which permits them to make their own claim for it, sue you for infringement, and bankrupt you with legal expenses.

    Of course, the idea of disconnecting people "for downloading copyrighted material", as the summary puts it, has its own built-in threat to all of us. Note, for example, the slashdot correctly places at the bottom of discussion pages: "All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective owners. Comments are owned by the Poster." This is literally correct in the US, the EU, and most other countries. Everything you're reading here is copyrighted. This message is copyrighted by me, by default, since I didn't explicitly declare it to be public domain.

    You don't have written permission from me or anyone else to download this message or any other message on the page you're reading. So according to the proposed rule, you should be disconnected for unauthorized downloading of copyrighted material. Pretty much everything on every web page is copyrighted, with very few exceptions for quotes of ancient text that's out of copyright. So the proposed rule simply says that anyone using the Internet can legally be disconnected at any time by anyone in power. The charge of downloading copyrighted material will always be trivially true, unless the "copyrighted by default" law is repealed (or "fair use" is radically expanded and enforced).

  • Re:UK experience (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Tynam (1284066) on Friday February 26, 2010 @12:59PM (#31286818)
    It's more complicated than that. Remember, the EU takes it's orders (in principle, at least) from the MEPs we elect. Frequently when the government objects to 'the EU' telling us what to do, they mean "Thank god our party managed to get this useful but unpopular policy passed in Europe, where we can get all the benefits but blame other countries when the voters ask."

    See also: US handling of ACTA. (Oh no, we're not passing any stupid laws without involving the actual legislators. It's those foreigners. It's just a trade treaty.)

  • by Chris Burke (6130) on Friday February 26, 2010 @02:08PM (#31288060) Homepage

    Only 15 times? Honestly, I'd say there's a good two orders of magnitude between the most productive development environment and the least.

    Indeed Visual Studio is orders of magnitude better than edlin, which is orders of magnitude better than flipping dip switches on the front panel.

    These are clearly relevant comparisons.

    Look, according to Brooks' Mythical man month, the average programmer can write 1000 lines of code a year. I, however, work in a company where anyone who *can't* write 10k+ per year is at serious risk of getting fired.

    I think they meant written and fully debugged, like 1000 lines of good code a year. I've also heard 20 lines a day of fully debugged code a day, which sounds more reasonable.

    Personally, I'd run screaming from any job that looked at how many lines of code I've written as a measure of my worth as an employee, rather than how much I get done regardless of the amount of lines of code it took.

    And yes, there is a tremendous difference in the amount of work you can get done with an editor which supports mouse-driven copy/paste, and one that does not.

    LOL, that's a good one.

    Consider the difference between someone working in Emacs who has to open a different shell window and grep through header files

    That's funny, I use emacs, and I just hit ^C-s-g to see definitions. Can't remember the last time I had to grep.

    Business now expects *everything* to be faster-cheaper-better, and you can't deliver that writing code with ed.

    Yeah, I can see how given a choice between Visual Studio and ed you'd go with Visual Studio. That is a decision I agree with 100%.

    But seriously, VC is a fine IDE. The difference between it and other fine IDEs is not an order of magnitude.

Numeric stability is probably not all that important when you're guessing.

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