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Google Attorney Slams ACTA Copyright Treaty 157

Posted by timothy
from the you-would-think dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "CNET reports that Daphne Keller, a senior policy counsel at Google, says ACTA has 'metastasized' from a proposal to address border security and counterfeit goods to a sweeping international legal framework for copyright and the Internet that could increase the liability for Internet intermediaries such as, perhaps, search engines. 'You don't want to play Russian roulette with very high statutory damages.' One section of ACTA says that Internet providers 'disabling access' to pirated material and adopting a policy dealing with unauthorized 'transmission of materials protected by copyright' would be immune from lawsuits but if they choose not to do so, they could face legal liability. Both the Obama administration and the Bush administration had rejected requests for the text of ACTA, with the White House last year even indicating that disclosure would do 'damage to the national security.'"
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Google Attorney Slams ACTA Copyright Treaty

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  • by headkase (533448) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @02:38PM (#32140884)
    Why would ACTA have been vital to "national security"? Is this an admission of sorts that the US no longer makes actual things but instead the majority of its GDP is based on intangible products? So, piracy as the issue: what if the world doesn't play ball with the situation the US has worked themselves into? If the world does not recognize ideas as property, where does that leave the future revenue source of the US?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 08, 2010 @02:42PM (#32140904)

      In this case "national security" means the stability and financial success of their supporters and corporate overlords.

      • by dcollins (135727) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @03:52PM (#32141372) Homepage

        In some sense it always has. One book I recently enjoyed was "Dangerous Nation" by Robert Kagan. It maps out the key expansionist cycle of the U.S. in its role as the first modern, liberal, mercantile-driven nation: (1) Free U.S. private merchants enter neighboring or foreign nation. (2) Merchants get in some kind of dispute with local business, people, or government. (3) U.S. military steps in to control or annex area in name of protecting U.S. citizens and property. From the earliest days this cycle was explicitly noted by both U.S. and European politicians.

        • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Saturday May 08, 2010 @05:02PM (#32141928) Homepage Journal

          One book I recently enjoyed was "Dangerous Nation" by Robert Kagan.

          Be careful. Kagan is a neo-con kook at heart. His writings assume a US-Israel hegemony and he represents the worst kind of conventional wisdom that posits the world would be better off if we just let smart people like him make the decisions. He's also tends to be an "ends justify the means" kind of guy when it comes to military entanglements, with the ends usually meaning oil or profits for military contractors. He's an excellent writer, but his books tend to be delicious apples with worms at the core. Basically, an apologist for the military-industrial complex, masquerading as a liberal with "everyone's best interest in mind" as long as their "best interest" involves a huge adventurist US military and support for Israel. He and Bill Kristol were co-authors of the "Project for a New American Century" which was the neo-con blueprint for the Bush Administration's plans to invade Iraq long before 9/11 or even the 2000 election.

          Caveat emptor. I suggest digging for some of the critical reviews of his books before accepting any of his conclusions as gospel.

      • I am glad Google seems to be taking exception to ACTA. They have a big voice, they will be listened to.
        • Pruning Shears [pruningshears.us] has an excellent analysis of ACTA.
        • Re:Google (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @08:34PM (#32143346) Homepage Journal

          I agree, and I disagree.

          The real problem is, there aren't nearly enough voices protesting ACTA. Google will be listened to, but there are to many other big money voices clamoring in favor of ACTA. Google will be bullied and whipped into conformance. Understand that ACTA seems to have the backing of some of the deepest pockets in the United States, and around the world - not to mention the United States government.

          Google may have enough clout to temper some of the most vile clauses of ACTA, but IMHO, ACTA is going through, and it's going to suck galaxies of money through garden hoses.

          • they could lose on this one, but nobody will ever bully Google, not even the Chinese.
    • by Scrameustache (459504) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @02:50PM (#32140964) Homepage Journal

      Why would ACTA have been vital to "national security"?

      Because saying so means they don't have to show it to you.

      • by wiredlogic (135348) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @03:28PM (#32141190)

        More specifically, the "national security" claim is the only way to get an exemption from the disclosure requirements imposed by FOIA. It is undemocratic and insulting that it is abused so often. It is appalling that the Obama administration is working so hard to best Bush II in the scope of this abuse.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Shakrai (717556)

          It is appalling that the Obama administration is working so hard to best Bush II in the scope of this abuse.

          :-| <--- This is my surprised face.

          Seriously. Senator Obama went back on his word and voted for a bill that gave the telecom giants legal immunity for breaking the law and spying on American citizens. Anybody who believed he was any better than the 43 who came before him wasn't paying attention.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 08, 2010 @02:55PM (#32140984)

      Is this an admission of sorts that the US no longer makes actual things but instead the majority of its GDP is based on intangible products?

      Umm, I think ACTA is bullshit, but if you don't think a movie or TV show is an "actual thing" made in the USA, you're fucking batshit crazy.

      Don't believe me? Try writing a screenplay sometime. Done? It sucks. It beyond sucks. It's an unreadable POS that makes no sense to anyone but you. But you think it's awesome, so go ahead and make it. Yeah, you'll need some money and a crew and some actors and some VFX houses. And props, makeup, locations, insurance, transportation, post-production, Foley, sound mixing.

      You get the point. They make "actual things" and employ real people.

      Same goes for video games, computer software, and those other "intangible products" that believe it or not are also "actual things".

      Again, ACTA sucks donkey balls. I'm just saying that it is related to a "real" industry with "real" products, not some ephemeral, intangible anti-product. If you're going to debate this, you can't just dismiss the concerns (or existence) of the "IP" industry out of hand, because you'll lose on the facts before you've even started. There are plenty of rationals for criticizing ACTA. Saying they don't make actual things isn't one of them. Hope you enjoyed Iron Man 2 this weekend.

      • by CRCulver (715279)
        The product is intangible in that it can be infinitely duplicated. There is no longer any scarcity.
        • by cdrguru (88047) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @03:25PM (#32141170) Homepage

          The scarcity is not the product, but the person/creativity/talent behind the product.

          Darwin Reedy [youtube.com] is probably the best known example of how far lack of talent can get you. A bit more scarcity would have been good in this case.

          The problem is, once the product is made today it is worthless. Just because it cost tens of millions to make Iron Man 2 doesn't mean I can't download it for free now. So why should I pay for it if it is being offered? Respect? Bah, there is no respect outside of the streetcorner thugs.

          Until we have a good answer for this there is no possibility of revenue from digital goods. We are training schoolchildren to take whatever is offered without any thought of payment. These children will grow up and utterly destroy whatever revenue model is left for digital stuff.

          Personally, I think the end is coming like a freight train.

          • by nextekcarl (1402899) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @03:32PM (#32141212)

            Right, so that's why Iron Man 2 is going to lose money! /s

          • by metacell (523607)

            The problem is, once the product is made today it is worthless. Just because it cost tens of millions to make Iron Man 2 doesn't mean I can't download it for free now. So why should I pay for it if it is being offered?

            This is a perfectly logical argument. On the face of it, it would seem that NO ONE would pay to see Iron Man 2, when it's so easy and, in many countires, risk-free to download it for free.

            And yet, Iron Man 2 (and other movies) make millions of dollars at the box office, both in countries with tough, and those with lenient, copyright laws. In fact, the movie industry's revenues have continued to increase year after year despite wide-spread filesharing.

            Clearly, something is wrong in our assumptions here. Perh

          • by WNight (23683)

            Bah, there is no respect outside of the streetcorner thugs.

            No, they demand respect, like cops, which is an oxymoron.

            Respect is what you have for people who don't demand you respect them.

            We are training schoolchildren to take whatever is offered without any thought of payment.

            No, they take what is available, not what is offered. If they only took what was offered the studios would be happy.

            And we aren't training them, they're doing what they do for the same reason I do, they choose to. I wasn't conditioned against my will, neither were they.

            Personally, I think the end is coming like a freight train.

            The end of the free ride (tax-payer funded of course) that monopoly grants like patents and copyrights gave to a fe

        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          I think the other AC's point (I am YAAC - Yet Another AC) is that there is consumption of real goods and services required in order to transform idea into movie. It isn't something done super cheaply - at least not in a quality level that people want to watch. Since production costs of the first copy are high (and yes, the marginal cost of subsequent copies extremely low - basically hosting and bandwidth costs), the industry must have a way to make money in order to produce the product. We can argue all day
          • by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @04:39PM (#32141764) Homepage

            it comes down to a simple equation: If people want to watch movies with major actors / actresses, superb visual and audio effects, etc. there will need to be a business model in which the people producing these movies can make money. The actors, set builders, makeup artists, visual effects people, caterers, property managers, etc. all need to be paid.

            If, instead, we want to watch a bunch of home movies on YouTube - we can have that instead by just continuing to eat away at the movie business model by violating copyright.

            Doesn't bother me any. In the end, writing, acting, and directing are important. The rest of it is nice, but not essential. For example, I remember seeing 'Driving Miss Daisy' -- the play, not the movie based on it -- back, oh, over 20 years ago, now. IIRC, the whole thing had only three actors, and the props consisted of two stools, a telephone, and a table to put the telephone on. While lower budgets might change what sorts of movies get made, I think that there will continue to be plenty of good ones. And if audiences are called upon to use their imaginations a little more to fill in details, then I don't think that's a problem either.

            • by jesset77 (759149) on Sunday May 09, 2010 @02:27AM (#32145122)

              Doesn't bother me any. In the end, writing, acting, and directing are important. The rest of it is nice, but not essential.

              I couldn't agree more (mod parent up xP), I've been wanting to say precisely this in other copyright related slashdot threads but JS bugs kept gagging me.

              I am beginning to think I'm only one in 10% of the population not dazzled by Avatar's popcorn factor. And the only one who willfully hasn't seen it yet. (Yeah, can you imagine? I've downloaded it and everything, but can't be arsed to spend the block of time required to watch it!) I'm not that enthused by another rehash of Pocahontas or The Smurfs. 8I

              I've watched 2 movies in "3d" in the theaters. I barely even go to the theaters anymore because the price is so high to begin with, why would I want to pay 50% more for eyestrain and a headache? Is the "future of entertainment" really that objects flying at your head gimmick that was done to death in the 50's with Anaglyph? Does anyone really believe this is the most important improvement to home entertainment since color television? How can a generation of people who couldn't figure out Magic Eye decouple their monocular focus from their binocular so easily without an aneurysm?

              And the funny thing is, I wouldn't give a damn if the rest of the world wanted to waste their money on bullshit, except that I'll be dragged into court should I chose to download ineffable information just to keep track of what everyone else is talking about, or if I produce a video of my own that coincidentally contains four bars from some 1963 crooner off of the ice cream truck passing outside.

              Copyright has absolutely nothing to do with compensation. I'd like one copyright holder to come forward and tell me when they've ever had to sue someone, and then perhaps illustrate how the court costs actually shielded their bottom line without dipping into the unprovable "lost sales" schtick. "Oh, anyone could have gotten my material for free had I not acted quickly!" Of course, anyone CAN get your material for free right now, so that argument is not admissible.

              No. Copyright is only used in today's society — and only by very wealthy interests with the resources to invoke it indiscriminately — for the sole purpose of laying land rights over every permutation of thoughts individuals are allowed to think so that they can charge a toll. Our natural evolution as a society is driving us to communicate in memes. Name dropping, movie quoting, television show referencing, and textbook citing have become the new parable. Today's copyright industry exists solely to force us to pay to participate in this new language [blogspot.com].

              So I back kangarooski in saying, bring on the copyright free world where "no content will ever be created again". Seriously, I'm calling your bluff. Because if none of y'all will create anything without charging per view, then I will and I don't mind being the only one at the mic. There is value in creating beyond tithing your audience. Anyone who doesn't see that can go without and leave more room for people with vision.

              • So I back kangarooski in saying, bring on the copyright free world where "no content will ever be created again".

                Well, you may have gone a little far. I think that the fundamental idea of copyright is a good one. That is, if having copyright increases the net public benefit (number of works created and published + works being in the public domain, or at least restricted as little as possible, as briefly as possible) more than not having copyright, then copyright is a good idea; it leaves us better off. Idea

                • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                  by jesset77 (759149)

                  Well, you may have gone a little far.

                  I was afraid you might have felt that way. Among the greater challenges to reform or political change is when folk have a hard time agreeing on what destination to approach while changing, and when in-fighting undermines solidarity. As an abolitionist I end up in a fair number of arguments against the 7-14'ers, but it sure would be nice if we could somehow pool our efforts so as not to Life-Of-Brian each other.

                  Among 7-14'ers, you sound pretty open minded so I'm happy to let you know my position a little bet

                  • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                    by cpt kangarooski (3773)

                    I was afraid you might have felt that way. Among the greater challenges to reform or political change is when folk have a hard time agreeing on what destination to approach while changing, and when in-fighting undermines solidarity.

                    Well, we at least are agreed on the need for reform, and as I suspect that most if not all of those reforms will involve either reducing the length and scope of copyright, or at least not enlarging it, surely we can at least work together on those parts of our agendas that are co

                    • by WNight (23683)

                      Counterfeiting a work of art and passing it off as an original is merely

                      ... funny?

                      It would be a small shame if a museum bought it and we had a mistaken impression about some historical detail because of it, but it would be hilarious if a collector bought it for a fortune and displayed it for status. Like the emperor's new art.

                      And everyone else not only could make do with a poster, but have to because of scarcity anyways.

                      Some level of copyright might be appropriate [...]

                      Don't go too far there... Why would granting a monopoly for anything ever be appropriate?

                      For too long copyright defenders have phrased the terms of the debate a

                  • by WNight (23683)

                    We stayed at a friend's and watched their movies on DVD. Ugh. Such a hassle to go through the menus, watch all the forced crap (at least 20s on almost all DVDs, into a few minutes for some movies). At least half the time when we stopped it'd fail to restart and we'd have to watch the forced stuff again.

                    It was horrible. Like having to use a VCR and rewind or something.

                    I'll *never* buy a movie until it's at least no harder to use than one I download. And they're so big. A 3.5" HD is about the size of 2 DVDs i

                • Imagine a public library that offered its main service, access to books, 24/7. And which didn't have limited numbers of copies, library cards, returns, late fees, reshelving work, and vast spaces devoted to paper books. No more problems with books being lost or damaged. And far more efficient cataloging and searching-- no more "two step" of finding something in an index, then finding it again in the stacks. No reason for arrest warrants for overdue books [findlaw.com]. Just surf to the library's website and downloa

                  • That's great, with one possible problem.

                    Again, remember the point of copyright:

                    Without copyright, the public benefits greatly (as you imagined) from having the ability to do anything they like with works that they have access to, including making copies, and sharing them freely. Some works are still created and published without copyright, as we know from history.

                    The idea of copyright is that if we grant authors a temporary monopoly over certain actions relating to their work, they will turn around and char

                    • authors that won't create without the economic incentive of copyright will do something else

                      A copyright monopoly is not the only possible way to compensate and encourage authors beyond what no system at all could do. There is patronage. A significant portion of modern symphony orchestras' expenses are covered through various forms of patronage. This system could be expanded. The nice part about copyright is the harnessing of the market to perhaps put as fair a value as possible on a work. Might be more difficult to embed market forces in a modernized, more clearly defined patronage system, bu

                    • A copyright monopoly is not the only possible way to compensate and encourage authors beyond what no system at all could do. There is patronage.

                      Well, there are actually plenty of ways to incentivize authors to create and publish their works. (Compensation is a red herring, though. Plenty of authors with copyrights go uncompensated because their works are flops. Copyright doesn't guarantee compensation.) Some authors are incentivized by a desire to create, others are commissioned to create things, others are

          • The actors, set builders, makeup artists, visual effects people, caterers, property managers, etc. all need to be paid.

            Except for a few actors, the other people you mention belong to the "lower middle class" set of professions and can be hired for relatively small costs.

            No, the highest cost in making a movie is not making the props or paying the wages, the biggest cost is in bookkeeping [wikipedia.org]

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by FoolishOwl (1698506)

          Not infinitely. Recording media are physical; pushing bits down a wire takes energy. Strictly speaking, it's not that there's no scarcity, but that scarcity need not be a problem anymore. The costs are not zero, but negligible.

          This is an important distinction. Some people will treat information technology as if there were zero costs, and so it's incommensurable with other commodities. But it's not fundamentally different, just the leading edge of abundance. Take, by comparison, food, which is massively and

      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Don't believe me? Try writing a screenplay sometime. Done? It sucks. It beyond sucks. It's an unreadable POS that makes no sense to anyone but you. But the marketing guys think it's awesome, so go ahead and make it. Yeah, you'll need some money and a crew and some overpriced crap big name actors and some VFX houses. And props, makeup, locations, insurance, transportation, post-production, Foley, sound mixing.

        While I don't disagree with you Hollywood doesn't seem able to get the first part right very much la

      • Sure, movies and TV shows are things; the question is whether someone should be able force others to refrain from forming their own property into the same shape as this thing.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Znork (31774)

      where does that leave the future revenue source of the US?

      Same as if it does; you assume such IPR wouldn't be made and owned by non-US interests as well. In reality there's little reason to expect such production wouldn't follow the pattern of other manufacturing.

      Fundamentally, IPR is equivalent to any other taxation form; stronger protection and enforcement for IPR is equivalent to raising taxes. Depending on where the money goes taxes may or may not serve their purpose well, but they rarely make the econo

    • Blatant corruption (Score:5, Insightful)

      by syousef (465911) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @03:56PM (#32141402) Journal

      Secret laws and laws passed out of the public eye for the sake of corporate interests are nothing but simple corruption. Call it what it is.

    • by erroneus (253617)

      This would seem to be the dark secret of all financial evolution both past and present. The draw of free wealth and thus power with little to no investment is the flame to the moth. Intellectual property as an industry relies on the honor of individuals to respect and follow the rules. And when the honor of individuals cannot be expected, either the intellectual property industry collapses or the intellectual property industry must take up arms to defend itself.

      The intellectual property industry is weak

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I wonder if he is really a Republican undercover...

    • Re:Keep in Mind (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Phrogman (80473) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @03:51PM (#32141362) Homepage

      Just how right-wing the US is generally. Even your left-wing politicians are more rightwing in a lot of cases than the most rightwing politicians in some other countries. Our "Conservative" government up here in Canada gets along just fine with Obama's administration, and the association - like that with previous administrations in the States - continues to move Canadian politics to the right.

      You folks have no idea what a normal political spectrum is I am afraid, the influence of the Republicans over the past 100 years or so seems to have skewed things greatly to me.

      • sure, places like canada and the netherlands are to our left, but far more are to our right: the entire muslim world, for example, plenty of third world countries. we even have better freedom of speech protection than up in canuckistan:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_speech_by_country#North_America [wikipedia.org]

        i consider myself left leaning and greatly admire canada, there's plenty about your country that the usa would be wise to emulate

        but its pretty silly to see you castigate the usa for being so right leaning

      • You folks have no idea what a normal political spectrum is I am afraid, the influence of the Republicans over the past 100 years or so seems to have skewed things greatly to me.

        If Canada is as liberal as you state (where our liberals look like conservatives to you,) maybe it is Canada that is lacking a normal political spectrum.

        Or maybe, different countries have different founding ideologies and the normal political spectrum is based upon those ideologies. In which case, it makes sense that there would be different political spectrum from country to country.

  • by thestudio_bob (894258) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @03:06PM (#32141050)

    I really, really hope that everyone remembers everything that BOTH the republicans AND democrats have done to take steps to gradually make our country into a police state in the name of "National Security" over the past few years. In reality, personal freedoms are being controlled and restricted by corporate interest and they have little interest in anything other than making a buck.

    Please, come election time, research independent alternatives for public office. The offerings may be slim, but can you really say that it would be any worse than what's been going on?

    • by thestudio_bob (894258) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @03:14PM (#32141112)

      I started looking for some "independent" websites to help people become more informed. I'm not even sure there is an #1 source for this information, but if you have some independent websites, please list em.

      All I know of are these two:

      • http://www.newamericanindependent.com/
      • http://www.gp.org/

      On a side note, we need a catchy slogan. How about "Vote to Revolt"?

      • On a side note, we need a catchy slogan. How about "Vote to Revolt"?

        Here are a few:
        * Vote Independents, they can't do any worse!
        * Independents, the only party to start with a vowel!
        * Vote for Independents, the true minority
        * Ron Paul can do everything!
        * An Independent would vote for you if you were running for office
        * Vote Independents, we've already spent enough on R & D
        * Independents put the "try" in tripartisan
        * Vote for someone you've never head of
        * Go Independent, it's the new "rogue"
        * Independents for Independence, say that three times fast!

      • by BlueStrat (756137)

        Things like ACTA, DMCA, PATRIOT, etc are what you get with a government that's big enough and powerful enough for a national healthcare system, cradle-to-grave entitlements, etc.

        A) Healthcare, Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, student loans, foodstamps, Cash For Clunkers, Stimulus (aka Money for Mobsters), etc etc etc.

        B) Freedom.

        Choose one.

        Strat

        • by Artifakt (700173) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @04:25PM (#32141658)

          Things like ACTA, DMCA, PATRIOT, etc are what you get with a government that's big enough and powerful enough for five permanent standing armed forces, seventeen different armed civilian agencies. the highest percentage of its citizens in prison of anywhere, ever, and a permanent state of war against a non-political entity (drugs) being fought on over two dozen fronts. You can close down every single one of the programs you listed and there will be exactly as many government employees bearing arms as now.
                Your post is like the case of a man running past with a pack of rabid weasels clinging to his form and his shoelaces untied, and you saying "I know how to fix the whole problem, let's just tie his left shoe!".

          • by BlueStrat (756137)

            You can close down every single one of the programs you listed and there will be exactly as many government employees bearing arms as now.

            It's not the programs themselves but the *powers* the government has either just outright taken from the States and/or the people in clear violation of the plain Constitutional language or given to it by greedy/lazy voters, that it has used to set these things up and run them. These are the same powers used to take away freedom.

            A government powerful enough to give you eve

            • by sznupi (719324)

              ...or given to it by greedy/lazy voters, that it has used to set these things up and run them ... Government is made up of imperfect people...

              ^this; you almost had it this time. Your government is preciselly how your voters, people of your country want it to be (don't look at what they say when determining what they want, look at their actions - who they choose, whether or not they become part of the structure if given the chance); it's a reflection of the society.

              • by BlueStrat (756137)

                Your government is preciselly how your voters, people of your country want it to be (don't look at what they say when determining what they want, look at their actions - who they choose, whether or not they become part of the structure if given the chance); it's a reflection of the society.

                I somewhat agree here, but with caveats. The US has been in a transitional stage for the last 100 years or so where the Progressives in both parties are attempting a large but incrementally-imposed power-grab. We are in t

        • by sznupi (719324) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @10:08PM (#32143790) Homepage

          The countries which, as a group, dominate all the "nice things" stats show you to be quite incorrect. As a matter of fact, those occupying top of that group, the Nordic countries...have way more social mobility than the US (which is at the bottom of "highly developed" countries, together with the UK). Canada is equally good.

          So much for "American dream"; it's just that, a dream that has been sold to you. With "nanny states", as you surely like to call them, actually having more freedom.

          PS. Student loans? Trashing good cars? Ridiculous stimulus packages? What's that?

          PPS. Governments are a reflection of theor society. Don't kid yourself that isn't the case.

        • by FranticPedantic (1787220) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @10:30PM (#32143944)

          This is just 'free market as a panacea' nonsense, and I say this as a registered libertarian. A good public education system propelled America into the 20th century. The money you invest in teaching your children is reaped when they become skilled workers. Health care can have the same benefits - you take care of people, and they get back to work.

          Saying that you can't have health care and freedom is just as absurd as arguing you can't have education and freedom. I'm curious how furious you are at our entitled 8 year olds.

          The free market is usually a good idea. It does not solve every problem. Get over it.

          • by BlueStrat (756137)

            This is just 'free market as a panacea' nonsense

            The US hasn't had a free market for many decades. The problems the US is facing economically & socially are largely due to government fiddling in economics and attempts at social engineering.

            A good public education system propelled America into the 20th century.

            What has this got to do with anything I said? I will note, however, that the public schools that were one factor (but not the only by a large margin) that brought us into the 20th century was mostly

    • by Kjella (173770) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @03:26PM (#32141180) Homepage

      Unfortunately the US system is rigged so that if you vote for the party you like a lot instead of the party you like a little, the party you don't like at all wins. You can substitute the last two with "lesser evil" and "greater evil" if you want but it still holds true. The US will have either the Democrats or Republicans in office until a armed revolt introduces proportional representation. I assume I don't need to tell you why the incumbents won't help...

      • I'd still rather vote for the party I like, that's the point of voting. On minimum if the party you like a little understands people are voting elsewhere BECAUSE of their prior action they might clean up their act. However your attitude will ensure they never face those hard decisions.

        Now I'm not from the US, so what I think does not really matter that much. Where I live we have three big parties and two or three smaller ones that also make a difference. However despite voting for almost 20 years, my candid

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by thestudio_bob (894258)

        Unfortunately the US system is rigged so that if you vote for the party you like a lot instead of the party you like a little, the party you don't like at all wins.

        But that's the problem, I no longer like either party and I'm not alone in this. It's sounds cliche, but in all reality if you don't stop thinking this way, then it will never change... ever. The best thing you can do is vote neither of these parties and start making some change. Start locally, grow nationally.

        Yes, it won't happen over night, but

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Kjella (173770)

          But that's the problem, I no longer like either party and I'm not alone in this.

          I haven't yet run into an American who really likes any of them, actually. But if you start making change it'll get much, much worse before it'll get better. A good example is the UK, which has the same lame system and recently held an election - you can find the results here [wikipedia.org] but I'll quote the most important bits:

          Conservative - 306 seats - 10,706,647 votes - 47.1% of the seats - 36.1% of the votes
          Labour - 258 seats - 8,604,358 votes - 39.7% of the seats - 29.0% of the votes
          Liberal Democrat - 57 seats -

          • I still prefer to vote for the candidate I like the best, whether he be Republican, Democrat, or other. Usually this means "other" lately. Because at the end of the day it's a winner take all system and my vote will not affect the end result. The most significant impact i can have is to be part of the statistic of people who are ready to take some other candidates seriously. Too many people follow the logic that they don't get votes so they won't win so you shouldn't give them your vote.

            That said most of th

        • by sznupi (719324)

          What makes you think that, by the time they get big & important enough, the "independents" won't just revert to the usual state of affairs?...

          BTW, Gestapo is a better example here than SS.

      • however i am far more against armed revolt. plus, it won't happen unless people are hungry

        the point is: don't romanticize revolution. it is ugly and brutal and full of more suffering and cruelty than the worst corporatistic abuses of our democracy. peaceful change is the way to change things. armed revolt is for idiots who don't even understand the problem and will only make things far worse

        finally, you have no control over the outcome, when you write about "an armed revolt introduces proportional represent

        • by sznupi (719324)

          Something close to revolution is sensible though if those on top of oligarchy start to get too "ugly and brutal", not much choise really at this point (and probably only at this point)

          There's of course the problem that too many idiots might believe that they are treated in "ugly and brutal" manner, even if its far from the truth...

      • Yes, the voting system in the US only works fairly if there are only two opposing parties. A vote for one is effectively a vote against the other. The moment you introduce a third party, the whole vote gets out of whack. An underhanded way to win is to generously fund a new "grassroots" party that is very close to your opposition's position. It will siphon off some of the voters from the opposition party making it easier to win the election.

        People have very little choice in an election; just a cho
      • The US will have either the Democrats or Republicans in office until a armed revolt introduces proportional representation.

        I live in Brazil where the representatives are elected according to a system where votes in the whole state are considered for each candidate and party. I wish we had district voting like the USA.

        The problem with proportional voting is that representatives are elected by special interests. This means that each church has its representative, each labor union, even soccer teams have elect

        • by metacell (523607)

          We have a proportional system here in Sweden, and I think it works relatively well. It means we have seven(!) different parties in the parlament who have to compromise with each other, but yet they manage to get things done.

          I'm not sure the same system is optimal for different cultures and countries, though. For example, Swedes tend to be compromising and moderate to a fault.

    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      I thought I would never say that seriously on /. but : Won't someone think of the children ? What kind of world do you want them to grow into ? The read-only culture is not how our civilization was done. I'd like to raise kids that will become a bit more than consumers.
    • I no longer see any distinction between the Republicrats and Democans. Under this political cartel, we've seen our social security go broke, our government bankroll the financial industry, and juice the mortgage market. Foreign policy is a disaster, supporting evil regimes, and standing by while NK gets nukes. There is no more debate on the idea of limited government. Political dissent may now get you tracked and arrested. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2011780363_spysettle05m.html

  • 'damage to the national security.'
    Dumb schmucks.

    bjd
  • by opus_magnum (1688810) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @03:55PM (#32141394)
    ...how can you abide to a secret law?
    • ...how can you abide to a secret law?

      Once it is no longer secret, it is a law.

    • by selven (1556643)

      Laws are made to be broken.

      ie. Many laws are made to trip you up and give the government an excuse to punish whoever they feel like.

    • by Spad (470073)

      The *treaty* is secret, the laws that will be "required" by the treaty once it's ratified will be public, because you won't be able to do anything to stop them being enacted by that point.

  • by quantaman (517394) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @03:59PM (#32141428)

    "You don't want to play Russian roulette with very high statutory damages."

    I've always preferred to refer to things like the RIAA lawsuits as lawsuit lotteries. It bears a lot in common with lotteries, although millions are eligible to be selected only a handful ever are, however in the unlikely event you are one of the few the amount of money involved is extreme.

  • One section of ACTA says that Internet providers 'disabling access' to pirated material and adopting a policy dealing with unauthorized 'transmission of materials protected by copyright' would be immune from lawsuits

    Just immune from lawsuits for aiding piracy, or immune from any lawsuit, including those from users who were affected or copyright holders who felt their material was wrongly blocked?

  • by jvillain (546827) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @06:34PM (#32142586)

    Just a few stories down from here on /. is a story that they just charged a bunch of people with selling counterfeit Cisco gear. They even confiscated it. Yet the powers that be (big buisness) would have us believe that is completely impossible with the current laws. It is just like when the US came up to Canada and threatened a trade war if we didn't put in an anti cam-cordering law. Well we did. And some one was convicted of recording a movie in a movie theater. Only they didn't use the spanky new law that was put in just for that purpose, they didn't need it. So what was the point of the US interfering in the laws of a sovereign country again?

    If the US wants to make themselves completely incapable of competing in the global economy because they give only a few companies the right to produce any thing, and those companies no longer feel a need to compete then fine. That is their business. But leave us the hell alone!!!

Business is a good game -- lots of competition and minimum of rules. You keep score with money. -- Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari

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