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Why Google, Bing, Yahoo Should Fear ACTA 290

Posted by kdawson
from the reason-enough-to-keep-it-secret dept.
littlekorea writes "US intellectual property law expert Jonathan Band has warned that Silicon Valley's search engines, hosting companies, and e-commerce giants have much to fear from the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, negotiations for which continued in Switzerland today. The fear for search engines in particular is the erosion of 'fair use' protections and introduction of statutory damages, both of which could lead to more copyright claims from rights holders." The article links a marked-up ACTA draft (PDF) that Band and a coalition of library organizations and rights groups believe is more balanced. Quoting Band: "Our high-level concern is that ACTA does not reflect the balance in US IP law, [which] contains strong protections and strong exceptions. ACTA exports only the strong protections, but not the strong exceptions."
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Why Google, Bing, Yahoo Should Fear ACTA

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  • by elucido (870205) * on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @12:48PM (#32733742)

    The war on filesharing is untimely.(Bad economics)

    Because they'd rather you not listen to their music at all than let you download it.

    This is about information control, and controlling who can and cannot be happy. It's also about profit margins. But the truth is most college students and recent college grads aren't going to spend more than a specific amount of money every year on entertainment no matter what they do. They can pass any laws they want and it's not going to improve the job market. They should be finding a way to make money on ad revenue but instead they want to keep the old models even when the economy doesn't support it.

    Because they'd rather lock you up than hire you or give you a raise.

    If a college student budgets $200 to spend on movies and music for that year thats what he or she is going to spend. He or she can spend it all on one concert or buy albums and movies on itunes but the limit is not going to change no matter what laws they pass. As the economy is getting worse they keep upping the price of the music on itunes so that young people can afford less and less of it, while at the same time complaining that sales are down. They cannot have it both ways, and they have to compromise just like everyone else has been forced to do in this economy.

    If they think passing ACTA is a good idea it's not. It's not going to make someone friendly to your business if you sue them. This goes for corporations like Google or for individuals. And the 3 strikes policy is completely unacceptable, ruin a persons livelihood because they downloaded some music they couldn't afford or didn't want to risk paying for? Find another strategy, not wait until an economic depression to crack down hard on all the poor jobless undergrads and recent grads unless they really want to make the the situation worse and make people desperate.

    If sales figures are down it's because we have less disposable income. If people aren't buying music, movies or art it's because they are paying their bills. Find a way to expand the market, is that even up for debate? And before anyone comments, I own several copyrights and these people backing ACTA do not represent me.

    • by easterberry (1826250) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @01:02PM (#32734000)
      the problem with this sentiment is that I have (many) friends who, because they can, allot 0 dollars for entertainment and download every movie, song and game they want from the torrents. They then use that 100-200 dollars that would otherwise have been entertainment funds to buy more pot, better brands of cigarettes or a better brand of beer/beer at a more expensive bar depending on their preferred method of intoxication.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bsDaemon (87307)

        The other fundamental flaw in the argument is claiming that college students and recent grads are actually capable of making a budget and sticking to it. They're more likely to just start heaping up debt on credit cards, because that's what makes the economy go round and round until the bottom falls out like a kid sitting on a pool drain.

        • I would think a majority can use a spreadsheet and know about http://www.gnucash.org/ [gnucash.org] and I guess if they didn't they know now.

          Those kids who are in debt now are going to be in debt for a long long.. js.

          • I think you're overly optimistic; beyond that, can use a spreadsheet != will use one to keep a monthly budget.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by bsDaemon (87307)

            I'm also pretty sure that the majority of people don't know about GNUCash. Just because people on Slashdot know about it, doesn't mean "normal people" do.

          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by maxwell demon (590494)

            GNU Cash? Cash you can legally copy? Yes, that should help with any budget problems. :-)

        • by Artifakt (700173)

          Obviously, not all students or recent grads or young people in general stick to a budget. But isn't it better for society if more of them do, and more people learn to budget younger?
          So long as there are tremendous interest rate differentials, society takes the hits for even a few idiots. One fool who signs a contract for a $4,000 big screen color TV at 36% and defaults, has as much negative impact as 18 wiser heads have positive impact by saving $4,000 each, if their return is only 2%.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Here's my budget, which I followed not only as a student but also as an adult:

            - Don't Spend

            Simple as that and over the years I've watched my bank account grow to almost half-a-million. Pretty soon (age 45 or so) I'll be able to retire and just live off the interest, plus an occasional contract job. Personally I think all Americans should follow my budget, but I know most would rather carry ~$10,000 in credit card debt plus ~$120,000 in mortgage debt, rather than sacrifice and save.

            SIG (from other forum)

            -

      • by elucido (870205) *

        How much do they spend on concerts, going to movies, and buying video games and the like? I don't know many people who don't spend ANY money on entertainment. Potheads might be the one exception.

        • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @01:51PM (#32734720) Journal

          >>>I don't know many people who don't spend ANY money on entertainment.

          That's true. Why just yesterday I decided I would splurge and buy Baltimore Otakon tickets. So that brings my grand total of cash spent on entertainment this year to..... oh, about $60. - POINT: Even if I could not download movies, doesn't mean I would run out and buy the DVD. 1 download == 1 lost sale is a very poor assumption. A lot of us don't spend. And the record/movie companies know thier numbers on "lost sales" are bogus but they don't care so long as they can convince 51% of congressmen that it's true.

          ACTA will pass.

          It will be shoved through the same way NAFTA, DMCA, Pelosicare, and the EU Lisbon Treaty were shoved through even though 60-80% were against all of those bills/treaties. Alex Jones claims it's because governments are being run by a banking elite and megacorporations, but I don't think it's anything so complicated. I believe our leaders in the EU, US, and elsewhere have simply decided they are the new nobility, and they are blessed by god/time/fate/whatever to rule over the serfs (us). i.e. Democracy is dead; the People are ignored.

          ACTA will pass. It might change names (like the EU Constitution was renamed Lisbon Treaty) but eventually it will pass in direct opposition to our wishes.

          L8r.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        What makes it even more confusing...

        Steam Summer Sale [slashdot.org]

        You can get great games for bargin bin prices. TF2? $6. GTA4? $4.99. 25% off, 50% off, 66% off.

        When the price point of a game drops below $5, I don't want to hear any excuses about piracy.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Actually - only the sucky games drop below $5 (new). Greatest Hits games usually hang-around $20. Look at Final Fantasy 7 - been out for fifteen years and yet still sells for $19.99 new.

          I avoid downloadable games. Why? You can't resell them and recover your money, after you finish playing them.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Joce640k (829181)

        Nope. The problem is that they spend the $200 on their iPhones or DVDs.

        DVD sales are up, cinema attendence is continually breaking records, Apple is selling millions of iPhones ... something has to give, and that 'something' is the thing which is easiest to copy/get for free, ie. music.

        I do agree 100% with the sentiment that even if the RIAA gets every law and every copy protection it can possibly dream up it won't make any more money than it's making now. People aren't going to put down their iPods and sto

        • by Artifakt (700173)

          Entertainment can even include switching to local, Non-RIAA bands, or the extra cost to grill at the lake instead of cook at home, the gas to visit a state park, sports equipment, etc.
          Plus, is piracy really free (as in beer)? Monthly long retention Usenet service fees, huge hard drives, stacks of blank DVDs and cases, commercial burning or label-making software, power supply, ram and processor upgrades, a lot of cheap pirates are still spending at least some money somewhere to m

      • I have (many) friends who, because they can, allot 0 dollars for entertainment and download every movie, song and game they want from the torrents

        Replace "download" by "listen on the radio". Do you know of anyone who opted for not buying an album because the songs were available on the radio?

        Music sales have always been like that. People get most of it free, then they buy one particular album because they like it specially much, or to give as a gift. I have a few albums I bought mostly for the enclosed post

    • by harl (84412)

      This is about information control, and controlling who can and cannot be happy.

      Wow that's quite the sentence.

      The first part is the key problem with the copyright conflict. You view it as information. The rights holder, and the people authorized to use force, views it as property.

      As for the second part. What the fuck are you talking about? IP rights holders are incapable of controlling happiness. Can you restate your point please?

      • by langelgjm (860756)

        As for the second part. What the fuck are you talking about? IP rights holders are incapable of controlling happiness. Can you restate your point please?

        Not sure what the OP meant by this exactly, but:

        1. You need to be alive in order to be happy.
        2. IP rights holders (patent holders in particular) in many cases possess the legal right to deny access to a product or process that can keep someone alive, either by the patent right itself, or by the market power conveyed by the patent that allows them to price the item out of the reach of people.
        3. So in some sense, yes, IP rights holders can control happiness :-)
        • by spazdor (902907)

          Simplified your logic for ya:

          You need to have the new Lady Gaga record in order to be happy.

          • You need to have the new Lady Gaga record in order to be happy.

            I'm not sure that this is a true statement, though that's what Interscope/Universal/Vivendi tells me.

          • by langelgjm (860756)
            Lady Gaga records aren't patented, and patents are what I'm talking about. Read my other comment [slashdot.org] for more detail.
        • by harl (84412)

          I'm just going to assume that's a joke based on your use of the emoticon.

          • by langelgjm (860756)

            It's not really a joke. The difference in price between patented medicines and patent-expired medicines, or those that are still under patent but obtained with compulsory licenses is significant.

            Patent rights contribute significantly to the cost of medicines and medical technology. They're not the only cost, nor the most significant in every case, but given that expenditures are always limited, more money spent as a result of the patent means fewer people treated.

            It's not a direct line, but yes, patents can

            • by harl (84412)

              Yes the "logic" you posted is a joke.

              However the follow up has some merit.

              What's the solution? You seem to be saying that people who develop medicine shouldn't be able to charge and/or profit from it?

              It's also relevant to ACTA, because, as most people here seem to continually forget, ACTA implicates patents as well.

              This is the first I've heard of it. More info please.

              • by langelgjm (860756)

                What's the solution? You seem to be saying that people who develop medicine shouldn't be able to charge and/or profit from it?

                No, that's not what I'm saying at all. I'm not an expert in that particular area, but from what I've read there are a number of well known partial solutions, such as:

                1. More effective differential pricing of medicines. There are a lot of stated concerns about reimportation of low-cost medicines into high-income countries, but empirical evidence about the extent to which this is really a problem is needed.
                2. PhRMA and USTR should quit doing everything in its power to oppose the use of compulsory licenses and pric
        • by elucido (870205) *

          As for the second part. What the fuck are you talking about? IP rights holders are incapable of controlling happiness. Can you restate your point please?

          Not sure what the OP meant by this exactly, but:

          1. You need to be alive in order to be happy.
          2. IP rights holders (patent holders in particular) in many cases possess the legal right to deny access to a product or process that can keep someone alive, either by the patent right itself, or by the market power conveyed by the patent that allows them to price the item out of the reach of people.
          3. So in some sense, yes, IP rights holders can control happiness :-)

          Thats not an angle I had considered but it's possible. The angle I considered is the information control angle. Let us assume that profits could be even greater if they relinquished control of information and just put a 10 or 20 second ad before ALL youtube videos and paid directly to the IP holders. This might actually generate more money than they would get from the digital music sales. But this would give control to the user and creator while the IP holder which is usually the record industry has to reli

      • It's not a matter of if they are capable of controlling happiness. Thats their way of expressing dominance. It's not entirely about profits, because if it were they would take profits even at a loss of control which they don't and wont ever do.

        IP rights holders want control of entertainment. They do not want free or cheap entertainment to exist. You have some of them trying to ban radio because people might record from it. Of course it doesn't work but if the world worked the way their model proposes it sho

        • by harl (84412)

          It's not an easy point to understand because it's about power not profits.

          It's about both. They want power so they can make profits.

          Thats their way of expressing dominance. It's not entirely about profits, because if it were they would take profits even at a loss of control which they don't and wont ever do.

          What's wrong with them expressing dominance over their property? Are you saying no one should own anything?

          They're allowed to take what profits they want and make what business deals they want. I think you're reading way too much into things.

          They want to make money anytime someone watches Transformers 2, for example. That's it. They want legislation and DRM to make it as hard as possible for people to not pay them. They don't care about you. T

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by elucido (870205) *

            It's not an easy point to understand because it's about power not profits.

            It's about both. They want power so they can make profits.

            Thats their way of expressing dominance. It's not entirely about profits, because if it were they would take profits even at a loss of control which they don't and wont ever do.

            What's wrong with them expressing dominance over their property? Are you saying no one should own anything?

            They're allowed to take what profits they want and make what business deals they want. I think you're reading way too much into things.

            They want to make money anytime someone watches Transformers 2, for example. That's it. They want legislation and DRM to make it as hard as possible for people to not pay them. They don't care about you. They don't care about your happiness. The just want cash every time someone watches their movie, listens to their song. It's really just that simple.

            No ones saying they don't own the copyright. They have a right to profit from it. But thats not what they are trying to do. They are trying to control how we consume the product, how we listen to it, how we watch movies. They want to force us to watch movies on discs when we don't ask for or want discs. They want to force us to accept copying restrictions on music we purchased.

            I'm not happy that when I buy music from Itunes that I cannot listen to it in Linux or on another computer. I paid for it so I shoul

          • by Znork (31774)

            What's wrong with them expressing dominance over their property?

            They're not expressing dominance over their own property, they're doing it over other peoples property. IP rights are fundamentally taxation and control rights on copying. Copying is something that people are generally allowed to do with any other property they hold (and which is intrinsic to the fundamental creation of wealth in the economy).

    • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @01:04PM (#32734044) Journal
      I have some questions about your statements.

      As the economy is getting worse they keep upping the price of the music on itunes so that young people can afford less and less of it, while at the same time complaining that sales are down.

      Hey, I really really hate iTMS. I've posted on here about how crappy it is time and time again so I'll spare you that rant. But what on Earth are you talking about? Aren't songs still 99 cents? Several years later even? Are they even adjusting for inflation (I know we had little one year but ...)? Hell, in the past four months I've bought more $5 albums (that's albums) from Amazon's MP3 Service than compact discs. You were kind of right about the budget thing. I would not recommend telling them that they'll lose the poor college student market and use that as logic that their entire revenue will drop out from under them though. As a working professional I'd argue that if the prices dropped more, I'd undoubtedly end up spending more than that.

      If they think passing ACTA is a good idea it's not. It's not going to make someone friendly to your business if you sue them.

      I thought the whole idea of a global ACTA was so that the RIAA and MPAA would feel okay with distributing music and movies digitally on a global level? Because it would require local governments to allow/enforce their terms and conditions for licensing and copyright? And that's why China and India hate it -- it would burden them something fierce with enforcement.

      I mean, every single time there's an article on YouTube or BBC iPlayer or Hulu or <TV Station> making their shows free online the rest of the world cries out that it's only for the US or UK. I thought the purpose of ACTA was to try to satisfy the content owners who have been preventing technology from disseminating their product? Yeah from our angle it really sucks for the end consumer but on the other hand you might be able to watch Hulu in China. These two things are linked.

      Find another strategy ...

      There is no other strategy. Capitalism is great but a nasty side effect are these crazy contracts, men in the middle, managers, labels, exclusivity, distribution contracts, etc that result in this maelstrom of lawsuits when some people just want to listen to music. Bands love their fans. That's the source of their income. But tack on what the music industry has become and suddenly they look like the biggest danger to their fans.

      In my opinion, it's not a new strategy but rather they need a total restructuralization of how the industry functions. Distribution is cheap. The labels are leeches. Isn't this obvious?

      • by elucido (870205) *

        Only we don't need them to distribute for us anymore when we have Youtube and Itunes. They now are basically an information control cartel who profits based on their political connections alone. Most of the new musicians coming out aren't even real artists. They don't write their own music, they don't sing on stage, they can't dance, they can't play an instrument, the only thing they can do is look pretty and pretend to be an artist. This is the current system and it sucks.

        Why don't we get to choose? Becaus

      • Media companies want to have their cake and eat it too. Their all for globalization when it means they can produce cheap junk at the lowest prices, but they'll add region encoding to DVDs and lobby governments to enforce their tiered pricing system so that different parts of the world pay different amounts (or they just won't release it somewhere, for no good reason at all), and you'll get arrested for buying DVDs one place and selling them elsewhere and undercutting them. If you throw them a bone, they'll
      • by eulernet (1132389) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @04:27PM (#32737124)

        Capitalism is great

        Citation needed.

    • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @01:06PM (#32734068)
      You make a very good case, but you miss one very important point. As the record and movie companies have increased their emphasis that downloading unauthorized copies of their products is illegal I have decreased the amount that I do it to the point that I no longer do so at all. At the same time, I have also decreased the amount of their product that I buy, which has also reached zero.
      My failure to buy is not because I cannot afford to. It is not because I don't want to give my money to such jerks. It is because I just can't be bothered to find out whether the product they are selling is good enough to spend my money on.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Andrewkov (140579)

        As you get older you care less and less about the latest movies and music.. That might explain your change of behavior more than anything else.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          I'm not sure if I buy that logic. When I was a younger man (I'm 29 now) I used to go out to bars with my buddies and try to work up the guts to talk to girls. We'd hit the casinos, bars, clubs, basically any place that stayed open past nine. After the alcohol fueled haze that I like to call grad school I've found myself staying in more often. Hell, this past weekend the only thing I did was take a nature hike with my girlfriend before we made dinner and had a DS9 marathon. My movie and TV consumption h
          • by Inda (580031)
            I used to buy music. I used go ravin' from Friday through to Sunday. I lived for the tunes. I spent thousands of pounds over 15 years.

            TV sucks dog's dick, apart from the football. Reading material on the internet doesn't excite me. Gritty books don't shock me. The punishment for beer doesn't fit the crime. I'd rather spend my money on plants for the garden.

            Shit, I'm fucking old too. Now GOMY.
      • by elucido (870205) *

        That is a probable result as well but the reason that isn't happening is because they killed off mp3.com so now it's a lot harder to buy anything else. Once again that in my opinion was a deliberate operation on their behalf to retain control and not about profits. Mp3.com was no threat to their market but it allowed individuals like you and me to sell our music and make money without giving them their cut.

  • so ACTA will kill the internet? so any thing can be claimed to be taking some ones ip?

    I clam the IP rights to the letter E will want a fee of $0.01 per use!

    • I claim the COPYrights to the letter E will take a fee of $0.01 per use!

      • by harl (84412)

        You can't. You didn't create it.

        • by c-reus (852386)

          Sure I can, as long as I have big enough army of lawyers. Would you like to be sued and spend the next 3 years tied up in that lawsuit or just pay the measly 0.01$ per letter "e"?

          • by harl (84412)

            No you can't.

            Pro-se. Motion for Summary judgment. The work in question was created before the platinif was born. It is impossible for them to have created it. They have no documentation to show transfer of the copyright.

            Additionally this is all pointless as the work is old enough that it's in the public domain.

    • by elucido (870205) *

      They want to make money off the internet in a way that the internet isn't designed for.
      Imagine if you got charged extra on your cable bill for every video you watch on MTV or ever song you listen to on the radio were 99 cent. Now if they wanted to go with micropayments I could accept that. If we pay 10 cent a play or something like that but the point it is should never surpass X amount of money per month. They know how much money we have to spend on entertainment, they know a lot of us don't have big money

      • by bsDaemon (87307) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @01:02PM (#32734012)

        A brief 10-second ad before every time I try and play a song would be worse than paying $1.25 to never hear the ad. That shit would get old really, really quickly.

        • by elucido (870205) *

          A brief 10-second ad before every time I try and play a song would be worse than paying $1.25 to never hear the ad. That shit would get old really, really quickly.

          Not if you don't have a job. If you have a good job then it's worse but the entire world isn't going to agree with you on that. Also a lot of songs suck and aren't worth buying so you wont be listening to it more than a few times anyway.

          • by bsDaemon (87307)

            I already spend a good portion of my day trying to avoid advertising. I pay for cable internet, but not TV. I get my news either from the internet, where I use AdBlock Plus, or from NPR. Actually, I pretty much only listen to NPR on the radio, no commercial stations. Maybe using ABP in conjunction with free registration for the New York Times is against the spirit of things, but whatever. When I want to buy something, I'll go buy it. I don't want to constantly have strangers trying to sell me crap whe

        • by Artifakt (700173)

          How about, you view an ad when you go to the distribution site. At the beginning and end of a full TV episode or film, you see a black screen, with "This show is brought to you without commercial interruption by General Motors. We hope you enjoy our presentation.". That worked for the first few years of TV, and kept working for a lot longer for selected products (Hallmark Hall of Fame, for one, lasted about 40 years on that model).
          Or how about product placement - do you think Burger Ki

      • You download an mp3 for free and each time you play it you hear a brief 10 second ad before it starts?

        I would be ok with this kind of pricing model, like hulu and youtube, but the downside is that I have to listen or watch the same exact ad ten times in a row. I would be more ok with commercials or even more commercials if I only ever had to see the same ad once a day. I don't care if I see multiple ads for the same company as long as they are different each time.

        • by elucido (870205) *

          You download an mp3 for free and each time you play it you hear a brief 10 second ad before it starts?

          I would be ok with this kind of pricing model, like hulu and youtube, but the downside is that I have to listen or watch the same exact ad ten times in a row. I would be more ok with commercials or even more commercials if I only ever had to see the same ad once a day. I don't care if I see multiple ads for the same company as long as they are different each time.

          If you want to listen to the song 10 times in a row maybe you should just buy the song? And of course the ad should be dynamic and targeted. If you listen to Snoop's gin and juice perhaps a liquor ad would make sense.

  • different worlds (Score:4, Insightful)

    by chichilalescu (1647065) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @12:52PM (#32733832) Homepage Journal

    lawmakers and everyday people live in different worlds. what they refuse to understand is that if people can get something for free, they will get it for free. period.

    another important issue is that it's very dangerous to try to forbid something that you can't actually stop. that's when you lose all authority.

    offtopic: http://xkcd.com/137/ [xkcd.com] . we shouldn't be afraid to say the truth about what we want.

    • by elucido (870205) *

      lawmakers and everyday people live in different worlds. what they refuse to understand is that if people can get something for free, they will get it for free. period.

      another important issue is that it's very dangerous to try to forbid something that you can't actually stop. that's when you lose all authority.

      offtopic: http://xkcd.com/137/ [xkcd.com] . we shouldn't be afraid to say the truth about what we want.

      So profit off them getting something for free. Google proves it's possible and really easy.

    • by tbannist (230135)

      I find that while something may be free, if it's inconvenient it's not actually free. Some people are cheap and will pay the price of inconvenience to avoid paying the price in money, but many, many people will gladly pay money for things that they could otherwise get at a lower price.

      Bottled water is a perfect example of the failure of cheap, millions of people would rather buy bottled water than drink water from the tap, despite tap water being cheaper and (in most developed countries) safer than bottled

  • Bing and Yahoo? Yes. Google? No. Google has excellent tie-ups with cronies in high-levels.
    • by Nadaka (224565)

      Are you saying that microsoft doesn't have excellent tie-ups with cronies in high-levels?

      • by Jaysyn (203771)

        No, he's showing us that he's just another anti-Google conspiracy nut.

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        Are you saying that microsoft doesn't have excellent tie-ups with cronies in high-levels?

        Surely only the third-rate cronies would want to be stuck lobbying for a company like Microsoft which is becoming increasingly irrelevant?

        Does anyone outside Seattle really care what Microsoft thinks anymore? To me Windows is just some weird legacy system I have to interact with while there's Linux for real work and most of the 'shiny stuff' in the IT world these days is either on mobiles or the web.

  • by langelgjm (860756) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @01:06PM (#32734060) Journal

    Below is the text from a Q&A session with ACTA negotiators held on June 28, 2010 in Lucerne. These were notes taken by hand by the questioner, and the answers were considered "on the record." I have highlighted some important parts, and omitted some irrelevant parts.

    On June 28, 2010, at 7:30pm Swiss time, a group of civil society representatives met with 21 ACTA negotiators. The negotiators included representatives (21 in all) from the Switzerland, France, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Mexico, Japan, U.S., Morocco, Canada and Korea.
    ...

    The questions raised were given to the negotiators in advance and the answers were represented as those of the collective views of the negotiators rather than of an individual negotiator unless otherwise indicated. Unless otherwise indicated, the speaker is the chair of the Swiss Delegation who was appointed to speak for the group.

    There are a couple news items here. First, there is an “emerging consensus” to take patents out of the border measure chapter, but not out of the rest of the agreement. Some parties appear to desire to take patents out of the whole text. The EU appears to be in favor of leaving patents in the civil chapter. The change appears to be a rather direct result of concerns raised by access to medicines advocates.

    There are still major concerns on access to medicines and free flow of goods in the border chapter. Negotiators seem committed to requiring in transit seizure and it is possible (although there seems some division) that it will include common trademark infringements and non-commercial scale copyright infringement, thus reaching far beyond TRIPS standards.

    There was an admission that countries may have to change their laws to comply with ACTA. That may not be real news, but I have not heard it admitted by a delegate before. But the EU continued to press that they will not change their laws.

    There seemed to be little desire to remove or narrow considerably the internet chapter. There was a desire by some delegates to ensure that DMCA-like protections are in the ACTA internet chapter. But several discussed (off line) the desire to combat “file sharing,” even apparently when not done on a commercial scale.

    Meeting with ACTA negotiators, Lucerne, 28.06.2010; Compiled questions from the civil society for the Q&A session

    1. Will negotiators commit to continue releasing the text of the Agreement following completion of this week's negotiating round and subsequently until the completion (or abandonment) of negotiations?

    A: This is a question that the delegation takes up at end of each round. This will be a question to be discussed and agreed by consensus.

    On issue of public comments, this is a plurilateral process and each country will have to take that into account. It is not as if the ACTA group is a formal organization. For a pluralateral agreement, we have promoted a great deal of transparency already – more than in other agreements.

    Q. Wait. In other processes – e.g. anything done at WIPO or the example of the Doha declaration – civil society got access to text before and after each round. That has not been the case here. We received text once, after years of negotiations and close to what you declared to be the end point of the discussions.

    A. Those are multilateral negotiations. This is a plurilateral negotiation. We do not have a secretariat to assist with such matters. This has been an extremely transparent process.

    2. Are negotiators reviewing the text of the Agreement to ensure it is fully consistent with the WTO TRIPS Agreement? Will the WTO or other independent legal experts be asked to review the text of the Agreement to ensure it is legally consistent with WTO rules? Will you provide clear and objective information regarding the evidence base upon which ACTA is purportedly justified, as

  • how bad will the junk patent flood be under ACTA.

    Any one can patent basic stuff and use ACTA to shut and lock down just about anything.

  • by butlerm (3112) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @01:15PM (#32734192)

    ACTA is an end run around the legislative process. Treaties like this should ratify what is already the the consensus of the legislative bodies of the participating countries, not try to legislate entirely new bodies of law by subterfuge, on a take it or be considered an international pariah basis. Unelected international bureaucrats have no business deciding what that consensus should be.

  • by vxice (1690200) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @01:23PM (#32734302)
    Are what secret negotiations over treaties that will obligate us to write laws in concert with the treaty. There was some fuss about something like that once somewhere.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      So then actually do something rather than making empty threats on the Internet while using a pseudonym.

      • So then actually do something rather than making empty threats on the Internet while using a pseudonym.

        Such as? Discussing it on the internet seems about as effective as anything else. If you're suggesting he start a revolutionary war over this, well, I'm not sure why you're trying to get him killed.

        Give some money to EFF or another organization opposed to ACTA would be the best I could think of.

        • Such as?

          Actually doing something rather than making threats of doing something.

          If you're suggesting he start a revolutionary war over this, well, I'm not sure why you're trying to get him killed.

          He was the one making the insinuation not me. But it's good to know he's just another in the line of pussies who will rattle a saber but will do fuck all to back it up.

    • Maybe this comes up every time a copyright treaty is passed, but...

      I'm not a constitutional scholar, but entering into a treaty about copyrights, patents, or trademarks brings up an interesting point:

      Article I, Section 8 gives congress the power "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;"

      Article II, Section 2 gives the president the "Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of

      • by langelgjm (860756)

        ACTA is a sole executive agreement, not a treaty. As such it does not need to be ratified or even examined by Congress, under the assumption that it does not exceed the bounds of current U.S. law. However, just yesterday ACTA negotiators admitted that provisions of ACTA will likely require at least some parties to modify their national laws.

  • The Ratchet Effect (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mpapet (761907) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @01:26PM (#32734340) Homepage

    ACTA highlights the fundamental problem with politics (in the U.S.) today.

    You've got intellectual property interests driving a legislative bonanza for Intellectual Property holders that, on its face is totally offensive to commerce. These vested interests are the lever driving their interests forward. In response, you get a compromise, (from the librarian group) which acts like a pawl, restraining the ACTA juggernaut, but still the ACTA juggernaut scores a a major win. This process is simply repeated. After ACTA will be another more restrictive set of legislation and the moderate political forces will restrain it, but there will be another big win. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

    Every time you think, "It can't get worse than this." Think again. Because that's how the Ratchet Effect works. They have to drive the most extreme legislation forward so they get a compromise that resembles exactly what they wanted. If the issue dies, just try again.

    And few look around and ask, "how did we get here?" Instead, another economic bonanza is in the legislation queue like so many airplanes waiting for Congress' moderation and approval to further constrain economic activity. The proper response is, "ACTA is harmful to the economy. Here is legislation that eliminates restraints on intellectual property/copyright." The fundamental political failure is the lack of an Anti-ACTA, or Anti-DMCA. This is where the voter has gone wrong. Demand an Anti-Acta and Anti-DMCA is just one way to get the process more balanced.

    I didn't make up the term "The Ratchet Effect." This story is an excellent example.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      ACTA highlights the fundamental problem with politics (in the U.S.) today.

      Implying that only the US is the driving force behind ACTA. This would be false. The Japanese and their conglomerates are just as much pushing for ACTA as any corporation in the US.

    • This is where the voter has gone wrong.

      What happens when all candidates are owned by the same corporations? How can the voter go right?

  • It would be interesting to see what would happen if the search engines would respond to overzealous takedowns with "ok, if you don't want to be on the net, we'll remove *all* references to you".

  • both of which could lead to more copyright claims from rights holders."

    Copyright is not an "inalienable right". Therefore, these people aren't "rights holders" unless we, the people, grant them these additional rights.

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