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Australia Censorship

Pirate Party Pillages Private Papers 210

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the information-wants-to-be-free dept.
David Crafti writes "Pirate Party Australia has made the move to host the recently leaked ACTA document in order to highlight the lack of government transparency in the negotiation process. We believe that the document is not under copyright, and we are not party to any NDAs, so there should be no restriction on us posting it. We would like to see what the government (any government) tries to do about it. If it turns out that there is some reason that we have to take it down, then we will, but if this happens, it will only validate the document's authenticity."
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Pirate Party Pillages Private Papers

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  • by Thelasko (1196535) on Monday March 29, 2010 @09:47AM (#31656324) Journal
    Peter Piper picked a pack of pickled peppers.

    That headline is a mouthful.
  • by kabloom (755503) on Monday March 29, 2010 @09:48AM (#31656348) Homepage

    They should read it into the record of any parliament that they have seats in -- legislators (at least in the US, and I assume other countries too) have immunity from arrest for speech made as part of their legislative business. If they desire to declassify this information, then doing it in a way that's clearly part of their legislative business is the best way to keep the information public.

    • by mea37 (1201159) on Monday March 29, 2010 @10:23AM (#31656826)

      I'm not sure what the flaw in your reasoning is, but I can say with reasonable confidence that if it only took a single Congressperson to put any given piece of information in the public eye without repercussion, we'd live in a very different world than we do today.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        I'm not sure what the flaw in your reasoning is, but I can say with reasonable confidence that if it only took a single Congressperson to put any given piece of information in the public eye without repercussion, we'd live in a very different world than we do today.

        Article I, Section 6, Clause 1:

        They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

        As I recall, SCOTUS has interpreted that to mean legislators have immunity from prosecution for legislative acts; that they don't abuse that right is a sign that they are (so

        • To address the grandparent's comment, remember that immunity from prosecution doesn't mean immunity from political repercussions. It will, for example, be likely to significantly reduce the chance that you will find yourself on any of the influential congressional committees, where the power really lives. It may also result in the party deciding not to back you at the next election (less common in the US, I believe, but in the UK it's not unheard of for the party to decide to run a candidate other than th
          • by forkazoo (138186)

            It may also result in the party deciding not to back you at the next election (less common in the US, I believe, but in the UK it's not unheard of for the party to decide to run a candidate other than the sitting member).

            The national party threatening to revoke support during the election is one of the primary ways to keep party members in-line. And, sitting members have been known to lose their primary elections. John McCain is currently a sitting member of the Senate having a remarkably tough time getti

        • If the information was classified, it is a felony under US Federal law to disclose that information to a non-privileged person. That would be why you do not see any Congressman from disclosing stuff for political profit.

          In this case, I doubt that the text of the treaty is under any such classification in the US. In addition several rulings have made it clear that no enforceable law can be kept secrete. A treaty may or may not qualify under those grounds though. Again this would only apply to the United

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Absolut187 (816431)

      At least in the US, the obvious public interest and lack of commercial value would *clearly* trump any potential copyright claim in the document itself in a first amendment analysis.

      No sane judge would order this taken down for copyright reasons.

      "National security grounds" might be a different story.
      My understanding is that our government is attempting to justify the secrecy on these grounds.
      But this is obviously complete bullshit...

    • A MS Word version of (what I believe is) the same ACTA document can be found on my blog: Consolidated ACTA leak as Word document [wordpress.com].

      I don't really think that any parliamentary immunity will be necessary in connection with spreading this document, but as a Member of the European Parliament I can confirm that I have it, in case it turns out to be useful.

      /Christian Engström
      Member of the European Parliament
      Piratpartiet (The Pirate Party), Sweden

  • Well Played (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MonsterTrimble (1205334) <monstertrimble@h ... m ['il.' in gap]> on Monday March 29, 2010 @09:49AM (#31656368)

    We would like to see what the government (any government) tries to do about it. If it turns out that there is some reason that we have to take it down, then we will, but if this happens, it will only validate the document's authenticity.

    We will post this to show what you guys are up to.
    If you try to get it taken down, it shows everything in the documentis true and real.

    That, my friends, is called a checkmate in my book.

    • Re:Well Played (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Culture20 (968837) on Monday March 29, 2010 @10:03AM (#31656550)

      We will post this to show what you guys are up to. If you try to get it taken down, it shows everything in the documentis true and real.

      That, my friends, is called a checkmate in my book.

      Well, your book is wrong. Suppose the Pirate Party posts a paper positing that parliament pokes preteens and are thus purportedly pedophiles? Trying to take down a document says nothing about its veracity.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        >>>purportedly pedophiles? Trying to take down a document says nothing about its veracity.

        No but it does demonstrate that Free Speech is no longer the law of the land.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          a) free speech really isn't the law of the land in australia and never has been.

          b) i don't really know of any country where libelous speech is protected.

          • Re:Well Played (Score:4, Insightful)

            by c-reus (852386) on Monday March 29, 2010 @10:31AM (#31656922) Homepage

            I guess one of the reasons for hosting the ACTA is to see how the government responds to it. If they demand it to be taken down on the basis of copyright infringement or breach of NDA terms, then it's quite clear there's something fishy going on (that hasn't been discovered yet). If the government claims that the document is libelous ("we never wanted those things that are written in the document and have our name next to it"), then they're in denial -- or perhaps the document is faked. This would become clear after the ACTA documents are publicized by those that take part of the negotiations (not a leak but a "proper" publication).

            If the government ignores the whole deal, then they either don't care or don't see anything wrong with it.

      • Re:Well Played (Score:5, Insightful)

        by 1u3hr (530656) on Monday March 29, 2010 @10:27AM (#31656864)
        Well, your book is wrong. Suppose the Pirate Party posts a paper positing that parliament pokes preteens and are thus purportedly pedophiles? Trying to take down a document says nothing about its veracity.

        But the process would: if a court order was obtained on the grounds that it was false, defamatory, etc, then the government has stated it's false. If however they claim it's an official secret, privileged information, etc, that confirms the substance.

        Australia does have courts and laws, the government can't just send the Gestapo around. They need to have some legal justification for their actions.

    • by AndGodSed (968378)

      Well this depends largely of the content of said document and the events surrounding it (context). In this case it will work, in another it might not.

    • by Deadstick (535032)

      OK...I shall post a message that you like to set fire to puppies. If you make me take it down, we'll know you do.

      rj

      • OK...I shall post a message that you like to set fire to puppies. If you make me take it down, we'll know you do.

        You missed the part where the ACTA may have been copyright protected. If, for example, the Australian government claimed that the PPA have violated the government's copyright in the document, then that's a tacit admission that the government own the copyright in said document. In your example, you are the only one who owns copyright in the fire / puppies document, so only you would have the pri

    • Sometimes a checkmate is really a catch-22. Be careful of your footing when you make a sweeping statement like that.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by jmknsd (1184359)

      Well, there is always the option of knocking all of the pieces off the board and throwing a tantrum.

  • Public Domain NOW! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by headkase (533448) on Monday March 29, 2010 @09:51AM (#31656386)
    The one issue that would make me vote for the Pirate Party when they come to my nation is that they platform on restoring an actual PUBLIC DOMAIN. None of this pretend public domain, if it doesn't expire in my lifetime there is no public domain - there is only lip-service. A period of say 20 years or so: imagine if you could go to any bittorrent site and download any movie, music, book, or software from 1990 or before? And that's not even whats important, whats important is derivative works: say a new movie based on Alien with actual alien characters, plot devices, and characters! These new works would then be eligible for their own copyright and with a well so deep to draw from you can imagine the explosion of works that would result from having a public domain! But of course, we have now, the content industry is hoarding every work to themselves in perpetuity stealing works that could have been right out from under our noses.
    • God. Sequels are bad enough as is. Sequels by every hackneyed wanna-be director makes me just want to cringe.

      Of course, I guess it could go the other way too. Some of the cheesy 1990's action films could be redone into really awesome films - Judge Dredd, Demolition Man, and anything with Steven Segall in it.

    • by leuk_he (194174) on Monday March 29, 2010 @10:11AM (#31656688) Homepage Journal

      Countries are bound by an international treaty. shorting copyright is not an option.

      http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Convention_for_the_Protection_of_Literary_and_Artistic_Works/Articles_1_to_21 [wikisource.org]

      article 7:

      (1) The term of protection granted by this Convention shall be the life of the author and fifty years after his death. ....
      (6) The countries of the Union may grant a term of protection in excess of those provided by the preceding paragraph ....
      (7) Those countries of the Union bound by the Rome Act of this Convention which grant, in their national legislation in force at the time of signature of the present Act, shorter terms of protection than those provided for in the preceding paragraphs shall have the right to maintain such terms when ratifying or acceding to the present Act.

      So by international treaty they can shorten the copyright to the length it was when signing the treaty, or lengthen it arbitrary, but no country can shorten it below the length set in the treaty.

      A pirate party is free to discuss this issue, but is almost impossible to make this a law, unless there was a law before the countries signed the Berne convention that limited the length. The only way to do this is a trick: leave Berne convention, set a copyright of 5 years and then join again. I bet this is not a point a minority party can establish.

      • by headkase (533448)
        At least you didn't dash my cynicism totally, there is a way out! And it highlights all the MORE reasons that ACTA as law that will impoverish generations to come must be stopped before everyone signs on to it and are then obligated to each other to uphold the stupidity!
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Dodgy G33za (1669772)
        You gave the answer yourself. All it takes is a government with the bollocks to do it. So we are all doomed...
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jvkjvk (102057)

        There are plenty of international treaties that are ignored, by one or multiple parties.

        There are plenty of cases where nothing is, or even can be realistically done about it.

        If the people of a country wish their government to withdraw from some treaty or other, I'm not sure that "There is nothing that can be done about it" is the proper answer.

        Do you live in sovereign state or not?

        Regards.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by icebraining (1313345)

          Do you live in sovereign state or not?

          Sure, if the population of a country wants to set puppies on fire they can too.

          The thing is, countries sign this conventions because they get something in return from others. If $country wants his copyrighted works to be protected abroad, it has to protect the others' works for the full span of author's life plus 50 years, even if their local copyright laws aren't that restrictive.

          Also, if you want to be a member of the World Trade Organization [wikipedia.org], you have to sign Berne.

          S

      • by Gr8Apes (679165) on Monday March 29, 2010 @11:20AM (#31657668)

        Part (7) says countries can maintain their current length as of the signing date (for US 1987) So there's nothing preventing a roll back to the signing date for each respective country.

        Part (8) In any case, the term shall be governed by the legislation of the country where protection is claimed; however, unless the legislation of that country otherwise provides, the term shall not exceed the term fixed in the country of origin of the work.

        Is interesting as well.

        What's also interesting is that the US adopted the UCC Geneva instead of the Berne in 1955 because the various clauses in the Berne Convention, such as the life of the author clause, were in direct contradiction with US law.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        As I have pointed out many times, any nation can, at any time, withdraw from a treaty they are a part of.

        If any nation decided they wanted shorter limits they simply have to change any applicable national laws, then withdraw from the treaty. A nation could also just ignore the treaty as well. (Very few countries place treaty agreements higher than national laws like the US does. In most nations when a treaty is signed, it has no force of law until the member nation creates a set of national laws cover
    • A period of say 20 years or so: imagine if you could go to any bittorrent site and download any movie, music, book, or software from 1990 or before?

      I think 20 years is a bit too short nowadays with videos and such easily stretching back that far. I would go 30 years, but that's my opinion. Highway to Hell, Who's Next & IV would all be free of copyright restrictions and I can wait a few more years until Appetite for Destruction is loose.

      And that's not even whats important, whats important is derivative works: say a new movie based on Alien with actual alien characters, plot devices, and characters

      Fan fiction based in the universes of Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Porter and the like is great, but obviously the owners of the franchises are not going to go hunting down their own fanbase (leave that to the MAFIAA

      • by headkase (533448)
        Here's where a public domain benefits everyone: derivative works have their own copyright. They also have the legal right - not something that can be pulled out from under them on the whim of an "owner" - to make their own profit. I am absolutely convinced that the total new profits from public domain material would dwarf the profits pulled in by a few in Hollywood right now. The problem Hollywood has with it is that they wouldn't own every single penny. And as Citizens with public domain our culture: w
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by John Hasler (414242)

        > I think 20 years is a bit too short nowadays with videos and such easily
        > stretching back that far.

        The point is to give authors a financial incentive to create works, not to make sure that they are able to extract every conceivable nickle of revenue from every work. Twenty years is quite long enough to make an author glad he wrote the thing.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by KDR_11k (778916)

          I'm always of the opinion that making copyright "use it or lose it" would work best for encouraging the creation of creative works (if making a sequel or such counts as using the IP, the original work will sooner or later run out of sales potential and if they want to keep the IP they've gotta make another work with it) as well as preservation of older works.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by headkase (533448)
            Use it or lose it is an idea that deserves exploration. As long as token measures like "re-issuing a limited edition" and parlor tricks like that didn't count as "using" it I'm actually open to the idea. If you make Terminator 17 and all of them along the way have made enough profit that you'll be making a Terminator 18... It would still accomplish the goal of releasing the majority of works into a public domain where everyone would have a fair deal and shot at the tapestry of culture. What I'm looking
      • by Sir_Lewk (967686)

        People forget that trademarks and copyright are not the same thing. Realistically, if Steamboat Willy fell into public domain (yeah right, like that will ever happen...) you still couldn't go off and start making your own mickey mouse movies because mickey mouse would still be an active trademark of Disney. You would however be free to distribute and modify Steamboat Willy as you saw fit.

        Of course trademarks are vulnerable to other things, such as becoming generic....

        • by Wildclaw (15718)

          People forget that trademarks and copyright are not the same thing. Realistically, if Steamboat Willy fell into public domain (yeah right, like that will ever happen...) you still couldn't go off and start making your own mickey mouse movies because mickey mouse would still be an active trademark of Disney

          Trademark laws are also broken. In a sane world, Disney would be the trademark, and you would know to buy "Disney's mickey mouse movies". If something is used by the intellectual property itself (such as a name or title), it shouldn't be possible to trademark it.

          Trademarks are there to protect buyers from fraud and deception. That they are used by seller's nowadays to lock in their products is plain disgusting.

    • by zobier (585066)

      FUCK THE MAFIAA!

  • Logo (Score:3, Funny)

    by MrTripps (1306469) on Monday March 29, 2010 @10:02AM (#31656536)
    They should replace that flag logo with a kangaroo wearing an eye patch. Maybe have a koala on its shoulder instead of a parrot.
  • by kurt555gs (309278) <kurt555gs@@@ovi...com> on Monday March 29, 2010 @10:04AM (#31656558) Homepage

    In this parallel universe, the Pirates are the good guys!

  • by Tsian (70839) on Monday March 29, 2010 @10:11AM (#31656682) Homepage

    And admire their resolve to make the treaty public -- indeed I am curious to see what it contains.

    However, I wonder if parliamentary decorum doesn't traditionally restrict public discussion of issues currently up for debate...

    Just because it is an unwritten rule does not mean it should be casually ignored... as much as we might disagree with the end results.

    • by bbqsrc (1441981) on Monday March 29, 2010 @10:29AM (#31656888) Homepage
      It has been in discussion for two years, isn't two years long enough?
    • by Diss Champ (934796) on Monday March 29, 2010 @10:30AM (#31656900)

      What sort of screwed up system would prevent discussion of something because it was amoung "issues currently up for debate"? Isn't the whole point of a debate to supposed to be to discuss something?

      • by Tsian (70839)

        Though I certainly think that the ACTA treaty does not qualify, can you not imagine any instances where it might be necessary for a government to debate something in secret?

        Are there issues where the public at large should trust their elected officials to make the decisions which best suit the needs of a populace as a whole? Are there perhaps situations where the populace as a whole knowing might lead to worse decisions being made? I'm honestly not sure as to the answer to these questions, but I do think th

        • by bbqsrc (1441981)
          I don't think the argument is against governments being able to privately discuss and debate legalities without public scrutiny. The argument is that once the government has had enough time to develop an argument to present to the public, why should that argument remain secret? How will that benefit their constituents?
        • by Jer (18391)

          Are there issues where the public at large should trust their elected officials to make the decisions which best suit the needs of a populace as a whole? Are there perhaps situations where the populace as a whole knowing might lead to worse decisions being made?

          In a perfect system, where politicians have only the best interest of the country at heart I'd agree with you.

          We don't get perfection, unfortunately.

          The handful of areas where better decisions might be reached by keeping things secret from the public are dwarfed by the massive number of areas where worse decisions will ultimately be reached by keeping things secret. Without knowing what's being discussed, we can't know which category it falls into.

          So you're forced into either trusting the politicians to be

        • Though I certainly think that the ACTA treaty does not qualify, can you not imagine any instances where it might be necessary for a government to debate something in secret?

          Good thing ACTA has nothing to do with any nation's military operations or classified military projects, otherwise you might have had a good point.

      • by nedlohs (1335013)

        Because it is up for debate amongst a group trying to reach consensus before they present the agreed upon result to the everyone else.

        Sure you can argue that that is a stupid idea in the first place, but the point of debate is for a group to reach consensus not to convince everyone else/get input from everyone else.

        This makes much more sense in the Australian tradition of voting along party lines than in the US where it isn't the norm for everyone to vote with their party.

        Doesn't make it a good thing of cou

    • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday March 29, 2010 @10:53AM (#31657236) Homepage Journal

      However, I wonder if parliamentary decorum doesn't traditionally restrict public discussion of issues currently up for debate...

      I think I speak for the people when I say fuck decorum if it conflicts with public debate. It is The People who will be suffering the effects of these bad to-be-laws for the foreseeable future if they should be passed, and therefore it is the people who must be able to debate the issues. That which flourishes in the dark and cannot withstand the light of public scrutiny has no place in the institutions of men.

    • by redhog (15207)
      If your country restricts the discussion (free speech) for its citizen of issues currently being discussed by its parliament, it can not have much of a democracy.

      Democracy means holding politicians responsible towards the people for their actions and opinions.
  • by tick-tock-atona (1145909) on Monday March 29, 2010 @10:27AM (#31656870)
    Please, if you're an Australian citizen and are concerned at all about ACTA, the Australian internet filter, ridiculous software patents and Big Media's stranglehold on copyright laws then join the Pirate Party Australia [pirateparty.org.au]!

    They only need a few more members to be able to officially register as a political party and it's now FREE TO JOIN! Just print out the form, sign it, scan/photograph it, email it in and be part of the solution.
    • The Pirate Party isn't fighting for responsible copyright laws, they want to gut the whole thing. It's an extreme overreaction that gives us a system that's *worse* than the current system. I'd support an organization that was more moderate on these issues. The Pirate Party is anything but moderate. Count me as one vote against the the Pirate Party's ridiculous "system".
      • by feepcreature (623518) on Monday March 29, 2010 @12:28PM (#31658634) Homepage

        You're wrong! It's pretty safe to join, without making civilisation collapse.

        The Pirate Party isn't fighting for responsible copyright laws, they want to gut the whole thing.

        From the Aussie Pirate Party FAQ:

        What are your main policy areas?

        We aim to protect civil liberties and promote culture and innovation, primarily through... [various free speech, privacy and anti-censorship issues... ], and

                * Reforming the life + 70 years copyright length

                * Decriminalisation of non-commercial copyright infringement

        Do you support abolishing intellectual property entirely?

        No. We believe that the original goals of intellectual property protections, which are to promote creativity and invention, are reasonable. We don't believe that prosecuting non-commercial file sharers for copying a song from the 1940s is reasonable, however.

        Do you think that commercial copyright infringement or patent infringement is ok?

        No. Our position is that companies should pay for the use of copyrighted works and patented designs.

  • It's sad.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ma1wrbu5tr (1066262) on Monday March 29, 2010 @11:11AM (#31657532) Journal
    that world governments can't seem to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, or end the diamond trade related genocides in Africa, but let big business whine about "potentially lost profits" and it's "World Leaders To The Rescue" Da.. Da.. DAAAA! Fucking disgusting. Let's hope ACTA turns out better for the little guy than the US's InuranceCompanyCareReformBill.
  • How about lying? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by brit74 (831798) on Monday March 29, 2010 @11:21AM (#31657680)
    "If it turns out that there is some reason that we have to take it down, then we will, but if this happens, it will only validate the document's authenticity."

    How about if the Pirate Party's version of the ACTA document is completely fabricated? I think lying would be a good reason to take it down, and it wouldn't imply that the document is authentic.
    • Wouldn't be a problem if ACTA wasn't a secret.

    • by redhog (15207)
      Then they'd have to prove that it is a lie.

      Also, several international NGOs have reviewed the document and attested that it seems to be the real thing, given correspondence to previously leaked chapters, the style of writing the stakeholders and other information in the document.
    • Prove it! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Dogbertius (1333565)
      Seeing as those involved with ACTA don't exactly have too much credibility in the eye of the public, how are they to "prove" the document has been doctored without releasing their original copy? Even better is the fact that those involved with ACTA could simply change it and re-release it themselves, claiming that this new "people-friendly" version is the true original. Since there's no effective time stamp as the original document was never released, the only credible source appears to be those that went o
  • by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris.beau@org> on Monday March 29, 2010 @07:19PM (#31663844)

    I'm pondering.... The document says it is "confidential" not "classified" so I'm sitting here reasoning that if the NY Times can publish classified (and weren't some marked Top Secret) war documents then I outta be able to get away with mirroring a copy of this here in the US of A. The fun part is I'd do it on my homepage hosted on a public library's site and equipment. Now the way I see it one of three results are possible.

    1. I get shipped off a federal pen and buggered for the next ten years or more. This outcome would be bad but is it a realistic risk?

    2. I get a take down notice. I comply. :) And then we find out if the EFF is done with insane BDS ravings and ready to actually defend the online world from a real out of control Justice Dept. After all, news of the takedown and the legal wrangling would create far more interest in the document than it would ever get on a crappy homepage that hasn't even been updated for a while. Imagine the public relations nightmare Holder would be walking into! After almost eight years of deranged ravings about Bushitler's Justice Dept wanting to violate all sorts of fundemental rights at libraries, or hell just shutting them down or something because he was such an unhoopy frood and all, to now have them forced to take on the Obama Justice Dept for a real attack on a library would be so much fun to watch. Always good when you can cause chaos in the camp of one's foes AND strike a blow for Freedom at the same time. This scenario has so much potential for an Epic Win I can't imagine it actually happening.

    3. Which leads to the more probable option: Nothing happens. Oh well, try again.

    I really can't see any risk of #1 but before I actually do it I figure it is worth tossing the idea out for comment first.

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