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Government Piracy Your Rights Online

FSF Starts Anti-ACTA Campaign 173

Posted by Soulskill
from the clean-up-your-acta dept.
judgecorp writes "Free Software Foundation president Richard Stallman has said in a blog post that the ACTA file-sharing proposals punish users unfairly. He wrote, 'Any time there is a proposal to change things for the worse, the obvious way to oppose it is to campaign for the status quo. To campaign for the status quo suggests the approach of singing its praises; thus, praising WIPO is a natural way to highlight how ACTA is a step for the worse. However, where there have been previous changes for the worse, lauding the status quo tends to legitimize them. The past 20 years have seen global waves of harmful changes in copyright law — some promoted by WIPO. To confront a further assault by presenting the status quo as ideal means we stop fighting to reverse them. It means that our adversaries need only propose a further affront to our rights to gain our acceptance of their last affront. Instead of making the status quo our ideal, we should demand positive changes to recover freedoms already lost.' The FSF has launched a petition against the ACTA proposals."
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FSF Starts Anti-ACTA Campaign

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  • by Rivalz (1431453) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @11:23AM (#32603488)

    The best way to get a problem like copyright legislation is to use it against those who created it. Follow the trail of greed, find individuals responsible and track what copyrights they violate.

    Make them turn on themselves like a bunch of rabid animals and sit back and laugh as they tear themselves apart.

    Not that it would work because they don't want to fight each other they just want to pick on the little defenseless suckers that get singled out.

    I thought I would just throw out my stupid idea while we are dreaming.

  • by FlorianMueller (801981) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @11:26AM (#32603518) Homepage

    My concern about ACTA is not related to copyright law but to its effect on patents. Copyright law is practically always infringed by intent, while patent infringement in the field of software is in most cases inadvertent (that's the most fundamental problem I have with software patents). It would be desirable to introduce into patent law, at least in connection with software, an independent invention defense. However, ACTA in the version I saw might do quite the opposite, treating a patent infringer as a "pirate" once he is made aware of an infringement (for an example, by a cease-and-desist letter). That's unreasonable and unjust in my view. I blogged about that [blogspot.com].

    Recently I read on Twitter that the US Trade Representative told knowledge rights activist Jamie Love [twitter.com] that the US wouldn't mind throwing patents out of ACTA and instead the US government blames the EU for wanting patents included. Since those negotiations take place behind closed doors, it's not easy to verify that claim. However, it's more likely than not to be accurate. It would be good if EU-based activists could inquire about this (especially with help from Members of the European Parliament). With pressure from inside the EU there may be a chance to get patents thrown out of ACTA altogether. I know a lot of people here are at least equally interested in copyright issues but to many of us patents are the number one concern.

    For those interested in EU processes relevant to free and open source software, here's a link to a blog post [blogspot.com] on a talk I gave on the subject (not discussing ACTA per se in detail, but with a couple of slides on EU patent policy in general) at LinuxTag in Berlin last week. LinuxTag is Germany's and probably Europe's largest open source event. The blog post I just linked to contains links to the presentation.

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @11:26AM (#32603528)
    This isn't a "law" this is an agreement, meaning it basically passes without the consent of the people. Essentially the US is letting other countries write the laws for us. This is exactly what the founding fathers warned us about with "Free Trade With All, Entangling Alliances With None".

    While there is a time and place for some "binding" contracts such as bi-laterally reducing nuclear weapons stockpiles (lets face it, we don't need thousands upon thousands of warheads that could get lost/stolen/etc.), things like the ACTA and also to some degree the UN effectively force the US to give up its own sovereignty, placing lawmaking not in the hands of elected officials, but unelected delegates from not just the US but almost every other country.

    Free trade is easy to accomplish, simply let people purchase goods from foreign countries just like domestic products, only using internationally recognized standards such as gold, silver, platinum, palladium, oil, etc. However, in this day and age, its hard to avoid entangling alliances that infringe on the sovereignty of the USA.
  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @11:35AM (#32603630)
    Because the largest party that promises to do just that, the Libertarian party, is still dwarfed by people who will automatically vote republican/democrat despite their lack of having any coherent ideals. I'm not saying don't get involved, I'm just saying if that third largest political party and one that shares similar ideals on that subject, doesn't have anyone currently in congress the chances of change are slim.
  • by Maury Markowitz (452832) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @12:03PM (#32604014) Homepage

    Essentially the US is letting other countries write the laws for us.

    As someone who lives in another country, let me assure you it's exactly the other way around. Many of the proposals in the leaked document come directly from US law, and are being pushed down everyone else's throat with the threat of being blacklisted if we don't agree to it. For instance, Canada's new law that forbids breaking DRM, lobbied for by US groups, pressured for by the US ambassador, and written up by RIAA.

    Maury

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 17, 2010 @12:41PM (#32604436)

    They can afford to play by the rules, but they probably don't.

    So the tactic may work in the short term. Do you think that music producers or Simon Cowell (or the executives lower down in the pecking order) ever pay for music that they listen to? No, they assume that they can just copy it and that the person copied from should be honoured at the possibility of getting noticed by the aristocracy. Heck, they assume they can put it into a track and sell it and worry about the "clearance" afterwards.

    At the very least we should make sure that their designer living rooms are all cluttered up with multiple DVD players for each locked region so they can get a glimpse of how annoying it is.

    And could you imagine if they pierced the corporate veil and chucked Bill Gates inside for the various times Microsoft has blatently infringed copyrights or patents?

  • Re:Have you ever... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by clang_jangle (975789) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @12:48PM (#32604528) Journal
    It's about precision. Those of us who know how to use emacs understand it. :)

    I certainly don't agree with everything RMS has to say, but I do respect his intelligence and his conviction. Signed the petition, too.
  • by langelgjm (860756) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @01:12PM (#32604784) Journal
    Actually, the reason Morocco is involved in the ACTA negotiations (it is definitely an outlier when you look at the rest of the parties) is likely because the US already has a free trade agreement with them that includes IP enforcement provisions that the USTR points to as a basis for ACTA.
  • by langelgjm (860756) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @01:15PM (#32604810) Journal

    To be fair, it works both ways. The current draft text of ACTA still includes language that permits "graduated response" or "three strikes" laws in a section that was contributed by EU countries. While the original footnote that referred specifically to three strikes was removed, neither is it explicitly forbidden.

    Having gone over the draft text and the leaked version that indicated the various country positions, I'd say the US and EU are equally responsible for some of the nasty things in ACTA - just different nasty things.

  • by Darkman, Walkin Dude (707389) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @06:18PM (#32608082) Homepage

    The current draft text of ACTA still includes language that permits "graduated response" or "three strikes" laws in a section that was contributed by EU countries.

    The European parliament has several times explicitly removed the concept of the "three strikes" rule. Which countries are you referring to?

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