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'Son of ACTA' Worse Than Original 288

Posted by Soulskill
from the sequels-are-never-as-good dept.
An anonymous reader writes "TechDirt has the latest on the leaked US proposals for the 'Son of ACTA' treaty and it looks worse than the original. It's practically a checklist for how to kill innovation while making lawyers rich. In particular, they call for expanding what's patentable, blocking people from buying copyrighted goods in other countries and taking them home, expanding liability for ISPs whose users commit acts of infringement, forcing ISPs to identify their users to anyone on demand, and getting rid of third-party patent review while expanding the presumption that they're valid. The only way it could get any worse would be if it were enacted in law."
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'Son of ACTA' Worse Than Original

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  • good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 11, 2011 @06:34PM (#35457914)

    This is where capitalism takes you. By definition, a philosophy based on the rule of the most supremely selfishly rational is going to end up with these people trying to change the law to increase their wealth.

    • by mangu (126918) on Friday March 11, 2011 @06:53PM (#35458088)

      Having the government make laws to give privileges to a selected few is absolutely not what capitalism is about.

      This is FEUDALISM.

      • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968&gmail,com> on Friday March 11, 2011 @08:07PM (#35459006) Journal

        Actually capitalism is nearing its end, whether the 1%ers like it or not, simply because technology kills capitalism dead in the long run, there is simply no escaping that fact. I'm sure some will say "capitalism and tech go great together!" but this ignores a simple truth: The entire premise of capitalism is trading labor for capital but what happens when that labor is no longer valuable?

        I'd say probably half the USA population isn't qualified and will never be for anything that can't be done better by a machine, and each year the musical chairs that is "jobs not able to be done better by machine" will shrink smaller and smaller. So we either come up with "make work" to give an excuse to cut these people a check, have massive unemployment and underemployment which will eventually lead to a tipping point and massive civil unrest, or we find a new way (perhaps resource based) to do things.

        After all who thinks it would be hard to automate a McDonald's? The service industry will be the next to go and for many that is all that is left. So the 1%ers better enjoy their time in the sun, because those peasants won't just go quietly starve to death. Technology makes the worker pointless, and by sticking with capitalism you just make sure that now unemployed worker won't have any way to take care of themselves. Like delivering mail on horseback the capitalist way of trading labor for money is simply a dead end.

        As for TFA it is a perfect example, an attempt for the old money buggy whip manufacturers to hang onto their business model in the face of technology. Whatever idiot thought the USA could survive as an "IP based economy" really should be shot, as you are trying to force scarcity into a medium where none exists. They spend ever more money on ever more draconian laws to prop up a dying business model. Countries like China aren't gonna give a shit about your "IP based economy" when they can keep their money and just make copies, so you get a "giant sucking sound" where all the money goes out and never comes back.

        So until they wake up and smell the fail and start working on new business strategies that take the abundance and ease of propagation into effect they are just wasting their money. More and more of the population simply doesn't play your reindeer games anymore, so what are you gonna do? unplug the planet?

        • by Anthony Mouse (1927662) on Friday March 11, 2011 @08:43PM (#35459392)

          those peasants won't just go quietly starve to death.

          No, but bread is cheap and so are circuses.

          Negative income tax pretty much solves all of capitalism's problems. You set the lowest (negative) tax bracket such that no matter how little money you make, you can afford to eat and pay rent on a very small apartment. Then nobody needs to work to not starve, but you still need to work if you want a car or a house or to send your kids to a decent school.

          And people want those things enough to work for them, but not enough to riot over not having them. So if you can find a job, good for you. And if you can't, enjoy your government cheese.

          • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Saturday March 12, 2011 @03:33AM (#35461768) Journal

            Yeah, bread and circusses are cheap and the oil rich nations of the world can certainly afford to spend plenty. So why exactly are the oil rich Arab nations on fire? Lack of money? Really? Libya should be rolling in it.

            Greed is all consuming. Why settle for a mere 10 billion if you can have a hundred by bleeding the people just a bit more? If Ghadaffi or whatever he is called had spend most of his fortune on buying bread and circusses and maybe an industry or two he would still be filthy rich and far more popular. But he didn't. Squeezed the country to the max until it broke. People are fighting tanks with what they can get hold off. That means bread and circusses completely failed.

            And you are a fool if you think this can't happen in the west. Just see how easily Greece and Ireland fell. See the riots in London by students. Gosh, students rebel in Egypt, the english government applauds. Students rebel in London, shame!

            Do you think that when Antionette said "let them eat cake" she saw the true problems in society? You can't see a revolution brewing until it boils over. If you could, people would do more to stop them.

          • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Saturday March 12, 2011 @05:00AM (#35462138)
            I have no idea what a negative income tax is, but it sounds a bit like a basic income.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_income_guarantee

            The math doesn't really work for extreme levels of unemployment, but it could delay the 'automation apocolypse' for a time and at least keep people out of poverty.
        • by Dachannien (617929) on Friday March 11, 2011 @08:45PM (#35459412)

          The entire premise of capitalism is trading labor for capital but what happens when that labor is no longer valuable?

          The technological singularity [wikipedia.org]?

        • by the Dragonweaver (460267) on Friday March 11, 2011 @11:15PM (#35460490) Homepage

          I know that at least one buggy whip manufacturer saw the writing on the wall and went into another braided-cord technology—high test fishing line. You know, for swordfish and other large sea game. They're still around, and tout this change on their website.

          So technology gets rid of jobs and doesn't replace them? You say this on a website, created by people on software created by people on hardware designed and built by people. You do this with your computer which was designed by people and assembled by robots which were designed by people.

          Heck, my job as a Photoshop manipulator for a photography studio didn't exist ten years ago.

          In other words, you may want to rethink your premise.

        • by roman_mir (125474) on Saturday March 12, 2011 @01:13AM (#35461146) Homepage Journal

          Capitalism is not 'trading capital for labor', this is so silly.

          Capitalism is saving and (re)investing. Exactly what is the money (re)invested into is irrelevant, as long as it's actual savings, and not some government subsidy.

          Capitalism is of-course about organizing tools/labor/possibly land in order to make profit, but those things (tools/labor/land) can be used interchangeably, it doesn't really have to be labor, it doesn't have to be manual labor, it doesn't have to be human labor either.

          As to 'what people will be doing' - I bet there were questions just like this one 200 years ago when first capitalists were organizing tools (steam engines, machines), land (factory floors) and labor (workers, engineers, management, etc.) in a way that allowed producing more machines, which eventually removed the need for 95% of human farmers, and only 5% of farmers were needed to feed 100% of population.

          What would those 95% of people do?

    • Ok (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday March 11, 2011 @07:46PM (#35458708)

      Then let's hear your better system. I don't think anyone except for maybe crazy libertarians claim capitalism is perfect, or the be-all, end-all of economic systems. However so far nobody has come up with anything better. Communism sounds nice on paper but doesn't work in the real world.

      You'll notice that capitalism underlies the economy of all successful, well off, countries in the world. Now that doesn't mean it can or should be implemented without any checks, clearly all capitalist nations have counterbalances to it but the fundamentals of capitalism are what underlie their systems because it works.

      So, let's hear it then. You clearly think capitalism ought to go away right now which implies you have something better. Let's hear what that as, as we'd all be interested in a genuinely better economic system. Do your homework first though, because a lot of them have been tried and failed.

      However I'm going to guess you do not in fact have a good answer since you clearly don't know what you are talking about. The reason is that these things being proposed are actually ANTI-capitalist. In a true free market, there are no artificial restrictions of any kinds. So buying goods over seas and selling them for a profit at home is 100% kosher (it's called arbitrage and is common). As such if you think these are bad, then really you are being pro-capitalist as it stands.

      • Re:Ok (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 11, 2011 @08:16PM (#35459122)

        The reason is that these things being proposed are actually ANTI-capitalist.

        You're thinking too idealistically. The capitalist philosophy inevitably leads to crony capitalism. You need a philosophy centred around something other than rational selfishness and regulated accordingly.

        Social democracy is an obvious answer, and has worked quite well in Europe in the sense that it gives people a good quality of life rather than in the sense of economic summary statistics suggesting that a country is doing well.

        Degrees of socialism - in the sense of worker control of the means of production managed by a sympathetic state - helped much of Europe emerge from WW2 on both sides of the Curtain. Soviet Russia was throroughly successful for most of its life, being America's only equal for most of the last century. The response to resource allocation difficulties which had emerged by the early '80s was to dismantle the socialist framework and waste money on Reagan's arms race - this wasn't the only option. The West has just had a far greater hit to its economy and we didn't respond by entirely abandoning free market principles: we have just temporarily "socialised" elements of banking and industry.

        As for communism in the sense defined by Marx, it's never been reached. There are lots of successful independent worker cooperatives [uk.coop] - the John Lewis Partnership being one of the most famous in the UK - which give some idea of what worker control of the means of production without state management looks like.

        The point being that there are lots of alternatives to a capitalist philosophy, many features of which are currently in use.

      • by cheekyjohnson (1873388) on Friday March 11, 2011 @08:21PM (#35459170)

        Communism sounds nice on paper but doesn't work in the real world.

        Or at least the ones that had been tried in the past.

      • by Gibbs-Duhem (1058152) on Saturday March 12, 2011 @03:14AM (#35461678)

        I wish I could find the original research done into these alternative systems, but I don't seem to be able to find the articles (and, well, don't care enough to try to find them).

        My favorite concept from these was that as technology causes individual humans to be more efficient, there should be less labor requirement. For instance, if the use of a tractor makes a human 10 times as efficient in harvesting food, then you should need to employ 1/10th as many people. Ignoring the second-order correction from the tractor manufacturer (who is improved by more robots and more robots and so on), as technology makes us more efficient, it is *natural* that we would work less.

        The failure of capitalism here is that if you *don't* work your 40 hours a week, you don't get enough money to eat. However, society doesn't actually *need* people to work that 40 hours a week to accomplish everything that needs doing. So what you end up with is people employed who are doing essentially useless tasks, and who essentially spend their time increasing the complexity of the bureaucratic system without adding efficiency. Quite literally, many of these people consume more resources in getting to work and "working" than they produce. I am sure everyone knows these people.

        Wouldn't society be better off if these people just *stayed the heck home* and did something that they were even remotely passionate about, and might someday even become good at instead of slowing those of us who actually naturally enjoy being productive down? Maybe that's art, or music, or cooking, or caring for kids, or who knows what. But at least they'll be doing *something*.

        So, the proposals to deal with this messy transitional period between an industrial and post-industrial economy was to basically provide enough of a welfare safety net that if people didn't want to work, they didn't need to do so in order to live a satisfying (if frugal) life. Meanwhile, people have a standard economy on top of that for other items -- so people can spend all their time being musicians and actually maybe even become good at it -- without having to worry about starving in the interim. I guess you could say it's sort of half way between socialist and capitalist? It's really neither. It's capitalist in the sense that the free market is clearly there and providing incentives to produce value. On the other hand, the free market is limited to "luxury" items beyond the base necessities that people need.

        Now, I'm not saying I necessarily think this would work -- I, like many, am inclined to believe that people are not as good as I would hope. On the other hand, maybe that's only because we treat them that way? I'd certainly love to believe that if you give people security in their food and shelter, they'll be a lot more likely to adventure in doing more productive things with their time. Or maybe they'll just shoot heroin in the back alley.

        BUT, the big issue remains. Our current system is designed to rapidly increase efficiency, but not give people more free time to balance it out. Certainly most of us feel that we are working as many hours as ever we were, even if the amount of work we can accomplish in a week hasn't really changed much (exceptions exist, of course, especially in computers). If our efficiency is 10 times higher than it was in 1920, then our EMPLOYMENT rate should be only 10%! Yes, 90% unemployment is a perfectly natural state for a post-industrial society! Why else do we have robot maids and trains if not to make it so that we can spend our time doing things we are more passionate about like.........

        Anyway, just wanted to throw that out as food for thought. Capitalism is all well and good, but there seems to need to be some fine tuning at the unproductive bottom of the capitalist food chain if we want to improve the value of our society. After all, as John F. Kennedy said in 1968:

        "Our gross national product ... counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It

      • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Saturday March 12, 2011 @04:09AM (#35461954) Journal

        Once you get a little bit older you might learn the secret of it all. It is that there is no perfect cure all system. The only thing that works long term, as in your life time, is to constantly find a balance while never actually achieving it.

        This is not how people like to think, they want the hero to save the world at the end of the movie. Not spend infinity just avoiding total collapse.

        In running a country, there is no end, no financial year, no last chapter. It is an ongoing concern that needs to readjust as the world changes.

        Should high-tech firms receive a tax deduction to stimulate them? Yes... we need them to stimulate the economy.

        Time passes...

        Should high-tech firms receive a tax deduction to stimulate them? No... we got them, now their taxes can help to stimulate other sectors.

        See what I did there? I changed a policy as the situation changed. How DARING of me!!! This is what most political parties with an ideology never do. Right - Left, it don't matter. Leave it to a republican and taxes for the rich would go to negative infinity. Leave it to Amnesty International and criminals would be out of jail before they commit the crime. Leave it to the green and humanity would be living on a very small isolated rock less it touch any piece of nature. Leave it to the Libertarians and we would have Somalia.

        When you see Thatchet claim that the lady is not for turning, she shows just how bad a politician she was. Ruined the country.

        Compromise? Yes, that is one word for it but really it is the realization that the needs of the country cannot be expressed by the needs of a singular group.

        We need labour, we need high-tech, we need investors, we need rich people, we need poor people, we need unemployed...

        Wait, what? We need unemployed? Yes, we do. Where else is a growing company going to get new people from? 0% unemployment is a nightmare for capitalists who know what they are talking about. Can you say salary inflation? Can you say stagnation?

        So you might want to turn off the work stimulation projects BEFORE everyone actually got a job before you run out of people for the jobs. Immigration has proven to be less then an ideal method for solving this and once you got immigration going, it is hard to stop leading to masses of unemployed immigrants.

        In politics you can never win because the game never ends. At best you can try to keep the ball somewhat under control. This means you got to shift back and forth on the same issue over and over. Do we build a nuclear plant? How about now? How about now? How about now? How about now? Yes, now it is a good idea.

        ACTA seeks to create a cure all with no room for changes in the future. That is why it is bad. The patent system might need to be reformed now AND be reformed again in the future. And again. And again. The idea that you can draft a trade law NOW and be done with it forever and ever is just a silly idea that sadly seems ingrained in our conciousness. If only we did X all our problems would be solved forever. Nope.

    • Re:good (Score:4, Interesting)

      by suomynonAyletamitlU (1618513) on Friday March 11, 2011 @08:03PM (#35458944)

      "This is where it takes you" is an apt way to put it. I don't think capitalism was ever meant to be a final solution; it was meant to be a steppingstone, and it was far in advance of pre-capitalist systems in terms of the social change it's allowed.

      Capitalist means the capital--means of production--are privately held and can be used for private profit. The alternative is capital being held by the state, which is amazingly good at keeping the status quo or responding to clear challenges (invasions, keeping up with the Jones, space race, energy race, etc) but is not nearly nimble enough to drive innovation by random, untested entrepreneurs. There's frankly no way that such people could have driven innovation unless they could could convince The Authority Figure with The Money to give it to them. Now, at worst, they have to convince An Authority figure with Money, but it could be one of hundreds (or maybe thousands or millions, depending on the startup costs).

      But it ain't right, because in the end, what do you do when you've beaten the game (to put it in such terms)? If you've ever played a game like Civilization or even one more directly about Just Making Money, you know that eventually you've achieved every achievement and the game just ends. But if that game were your life, what do you do when you no longer have profit to make? Game over don't happen 'til you die.

      If you ask me, the people who are doing this shit are (to extend the metaphor unduly) people who've completed the game and are going after every last achievement, even the ones the designers put in there just to be dicks. "Become the leading producers of entertainment worldwide--check. Pass legislation worldwide so that every poor sod worldwide is under your thumb--working on it. Wait... become a tyrant that's destroying the happiness of billions... why do I have this achievement?"

      Seriously, they've lost their focus and their minds, and they ought to either be shot or stripped of all money and forbidden from ever engaging in capitalist endeavors again.

  • by The Grim Reefer2 (1195989) on Friday March 11, 2011 @06:34PM (#35457918)

    Can we just kill all of the IP lawyers now and be done with it?

    Just say'in.

  • by jcrb (187104) <<moc.oohay> <ta> <brcj>> on Friday March 11, 2011 @06:38PM (#35457942) Homepage

    While I hate all this ACTA and related types of laws (DMCA, etc) the summary for this article is not accurate, for example it says it would forbid third party opposition to patents, which it doesn't say, what it actually says is that it prohibits them prior to the grant of a patent. And as someone with a bunch of patents from little startups, thats a good thing actually, as it would be way to easy for big corporations to make small inventors and startups waste money by filling all sorts of third party opposition during the patent prosecution.

    In any case, don't believe the summary article, if you care about a particular point follow the links to the full text and read it in the original.

    • by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday March 11, 2011 @06:45PM (#35458026)

      No, it will mean that when a big company gets a patent on basically the same damn thing as you, you after to fight it after the fact in court.

      • by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday March 11, 2011 @06:56PM (#35458114)

        Holy shit! That was a fucking mess. English translation follows;

        No, it will mean that when a big company gets a patent on basically the same damn thing as you, you will be forced to fight about it after the fact in court. This is something most small businesses cannot afford.

        • by ortholattice (175065) on Friday March 11, 2011 @09:36PM (#35459878)

          No, it will mean that when a big company gets a patent on basically the same damn thing as you, you will be forced to fight about it after the fact in court. This is something most small businesses cannot afford.

          So an unopposed patent on 1-click shopping is OK as long as the little guy gets it?

          Anyway, the mechanism could be set up so that the patent examiner is the only one involved in evaluating an objection, no courts, prior to patent issue. Require that all objections be limited to 1 page in plain language referencing the claimed prior art, and also allow the examiner to ignore it without comment for whatever reason, such as if the examiner thinks it's harrassment BS from a large company.

    • by tony1343 (910042) on Friday March 11, 2011 @08:06PM (#35458990)

      The America Invents Act which has been passed by the Senate and being considered by the House of Representatives actually introduces a new post-grant opposition procedure to invalidate patents.

      Definitely beware of the summary; it's wholly inaccurate. Unfortunately, that's usually the case when reporters report on legal statutes, bills, treaties, etc. Although, there are some good ones out there.

  • by vrmlguy (120854) <samwyse.gmail@com> on Friday March 11, 2011 @06:38PM (#35457948) Homepage Journal

    blocking people from buying copyrighted goods in other countries and taking them home

    Things that can be copyrighted: Books, nicknacks, travel brochures, the pattern on my boxers... Not only will you have to strip naked for the TSA, you'll have to remain naked while crossing national borders.

    • by Culture20 (968837) on Friday March 11, 2011 @06:52PM (#35458074)

      Things that can be copyrighted: Books, nicknacks, travel brochures, the pattern on my boxers...

      "Sir, this skidmark is clearly derivative."
      "Um, Parody?"

    • by MoonBuggy (611105) on Friday March 11, 2011 @07:01PM (#35458140) Journal

      I'm expecting to see selective enforcement - those running the show won't piss off too many members of the public because it risks backlash (and they're not on such firm 'scare tactic' footing as the TSA are, so they have more to fear from public disapproval), but they'll pull out the clause any time arbitrageurs look to take advantage of an absurd regional price difference in copyrighted goods. End result, of course, is that while the employers take advantage of cheap global labour, any disparity in goods prices can't be taken advantage of by the consumer because the identical, but lower priced foreign goods can't be imported without the permission of the copyright holder. Even without this law, we're seeing exactly that behaviour in Omega v. Costco.

    • they don't check to see if you have a laptop at the us can border. Much less have time to do any kind of scan.

    • by Anthony Mouse (1927662) on Friday March 11, 2011 @07:20PM (#35458310)

      Things that can be copyrighted: Books, nicknacks, travel brochures, the pattern on my boxers... Not only will you have to strip naked for the TSA, you'll have to remain naked while crossing national borders.

      Forget about the logistics. That's just the collateral damage. The real issue is that it enables price discrimination. Which makes the US and other countries with a high standard of living even more uncompetitive by compounding the cost advantage of foreign countries: Foreign students will get our textbooks for 5% of the US price, which means they have even lower costs and can more easily undercut our wages. Corporations license software in foreign countries for 5% of the US price, making it more cost effective to set up shop Anywhere But Here. On and on.

    • by currently_awake (1248758) on Friday March 11, 2011 @08:41PM (#35459376)
      Problems: I go to Europe on business and buy a T-shirt. I go home, but at the airport they stop me for trying to import a copyrighted work without permission. I buy a T-shirt at home and try to go to Europe on business, get stopped at airport because someone else has the exclusive on sales in Europe. In this world it will be impossible to travel without breaking the law. The problem they are trying to stop is mail order shops in china selling dvd's to north america at $1 each or buying Gucci bags in a poor country dirt cheap and re-selling them in america for half price, but this is massive overkill for that end. The only fair course of action is to limit copyright to COMMERCIAL activity. Importing stuff for personal use fine but you can't sell it.
  • by thestudio_bob (894258) on Friday March 11, 2011 @06:40PM (#35457964)
    Well, as long as they try to pass this in secret, have no public input, force poor country to participate and kill anyone that gets in their way, then this treaty really shouldn't affect me.
  • by trollertron3000 (1940942) on Friday March 11, 2011 @06:40PM (#35457966)

    It's important to remember the moral of this story - never try. Good job guys.

  • Any ideas on how to finally stop this mess completely? I bet the MBAs who were trained to control didn't help. Nor does "shareholder value". Any idea on how to finally fix all this?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 11, 2011 @07:08PM (#35458200)

      There is no "final" fix, and there can never be one. The wealthy and powerful *always* have incentives to exploit the majority for their personal gain, and *always* respond to those incentives with measures like this.

      The right response is to forever fight.

  • by Pecisk (688001) on Friday March 11, 2011 @06:45PM (#35458020)

    Well, it can be called ar DDoS or carpet bombing...Whatever. It is the same strategy pro-softpatents lobbyists tried several years ago with software patent "harmonization" in ES. They are still trying to push it, but with much less success than before.

    What can I say - journalists just should do their work, bring these things to the front and then we can hope that they will back off.

    Thanks to everyone - FSF and EFF especially - who tries to stop these efforts.

  • [quote]blocking people from buying copyrighted goods in other countries and taking them home[\quote]

    And just how are they planning to enforce this? I have a goddamn right to buy anything where I want it. If this is enacted, international commerce will fall apart, thanks to the US. A nation, I might add, that already imports more than it exports (1.280 trillion in exports VS 1.948 trillion in imports), and 30.4% of it is in capital goods, such as computers and telecomm equipment, from which areas we get most of our patent infringement suits. One can look at imports as buying abroad, taking home, and selling it again, so this bill would effectively block at the very least 30% of all imports.

    • by White Flame (1074973) on Friday March 11, 2011 @07:06PM (#35458190)

      It doesn't have to be enforced to be "valuable" to the government or media companies. All this means is that everybody, everywhere, even more so if this passes, is always committing a crime, and therefore the .gov and private business have the right to all your info and can smash down on any individual they please, even/especially for unrelated "crimes".

    • by cdrguru (88047) on Friday March 11, 2011 @07:51PM (#35458774) Homepage

      Well, most other countries have very strict laws about importation of goods. If you travel from France to New York City and buy a fake Louis Vutton purse there it may be confiscated when you re-enter France. Certainly if you were a merchant in France and tried to import 1000 fake Louis Vutton purses to sell in France you would be blocked from doing so.

      Let's say you want to import some cheap, unlicensed DVD players into Holland (home of Philips, licensor of DVD players). Good luck with that - Holland has port controls and does block unlicensed merchandise.

      The US has no such importation policy. If you want to import poisonous cat food you can do it. Fake purses? Fine. Lead painted toys for children? Sure. Sometimes they stop pirated movies and software but considering there is something like 1 person to monitor 100 ships with thousands of container loads each it is not exactly a given that anything will be blocked.

      By the way, in most countries you do not have the right to buy anything and bring it home. Try, just try bringing an apple into Australia. In the US if you buy a bucket of rancid, rotting chicken in Mexico you will have no problems bringing it into the US complete with the flies. Small difference there. Could you sell that bucket of rotting chicken to some homeless dude in Texas? Absolutely. There are no controls in the US.

      Unlicensed DVD players? In the US anything selling for under $50 is certainly going to be unlicensed because the manufacturer pays $5 per player in license fees. So you don't really believe that the $30 DVD player that WalMart is making $15 on only cost the manufacturer $10 to make and is paying $5 in license fees? Hardly. Unlike the rest of the planet, the US has no controls whatsoever over its ports.

      In most countries they at least protect their home-grown industries, like Louis Vutton in France and Philips in Holland. Not so in the US. If you build a business out of making computer peripherials you better make sure the firmware never gets out and it is a critical piece of it - because the US will smile happily while your business is defeated by cloners that will reproduce your hardware and sell it as yours right out from under you. Why do you think there are no US peripherial companies anymore? How hard do you think it is to buy a motherboard branded as "Intal" with a sticker on it that says "Intal Inside"? Really not that hard. Bet it would be pretty hard to buy an ASVS motherboard in Taiwan where the brand looked a lot like ASUS.

      Why do you think people periodically get concerned about what could be brought into the US through its "open ports"? Right now, nobody is really worried and really wants cheap stuff no matter where and how it comes in. Did you notice all the controls that were put in place after the poison cat food came in? No, nothing changed. China was encouraged to not ship bad stuff to the US anymore but nothing, absolutely nothing was done to prevent more of the same from coming in.
      Just remember, there is virtually no industry that is safe in this environment except maybe nursing. Anything that involves making something can be defeated because it can be made cheaper and with less quality overseas - and then marked as the original item to fool people and put the "original" manufacturer out of business.

      I can't agree more with closing down US ports to cloned merchandise of one form or another. If they get a law through that also at the same time makes it tougher to walk across the border with Mexico with cloned stuff, well, that's too bad. It isn't like that is where the problem is.

  • Protectionism (Score:4, Informative)

    by HermMunster (972336) on Friday March 11, 2011 @06:50PM (#35458054)

    No true free economy allows laws that protect certain markets and business models. Obama is up to his ears in jobs loss. As a consequence these MPAA/RIAA lobbyists go to him claiming that they are loosing billions and millions of jobs in an industry that "can't" be off-shored--nothing like American movies and music.

    What's wrong is that he thinks that these efforts will result in recovery of lost jobs and income. In reality, when the economy recovers, if it ever does, these industries (with their protected and outdated business models) will be in control beyond what was intended, and it will have set a precedent for other industries to try the same thing, thus leaving America, and the world, with massive abusive businesses controlling ever more of Congress.

    • by cdrguru (88047) on Friday March 11, 2011 @08:01PM (#35458922) Homepage

      No economy on the planet is as open as the US is to cheap cloned merchandise marketed as the original expensive stuff. And if you buy the fakes and have a problem you will likely as not complain to the original manufacturer - who, in their desire to have happy customers in the future just might fix things for you.

      This isn't about protecting a market but protecting companies that are based in the US from extremely unfair competition from China and other East Asian countries with very low wages. Sure it is cheaper to make just about everything there and if you ship enough of it to the US it is will undercut anything made in the US. So the answer is to put all US manufacturers out of business and only buy from China? I'm not sure that leads to anything useful.

      Protecting music and movies from pirates and the mass production factories outside the US is probably a losing game because it is all available to the Internet-savvy today for free. I don't know anyone that actually pays for music anymore - why would they? Movies are a little tougher, but the market is pretty much on its way to destruction no matter what and border controls aren't going to make a difference.

      Pretty much every Western country protects their own industries - except the US. Try importing 1000 unlicensed DVD players into Holland - they will be stopped at the port and turned away. In the US they will be on store shelves the next week. Try importing a fake Louis Vutton purse into France or some fake Italian shoes into Italy - you will be blocked at the port. Bringing one in for personal use probably isn't going to cause much of a stir but in the US today it doesn't matter if it is one or 1000, and it doesn't matter what company is being shredded because of the cloners.

      I guess the point is to remove the last vestiges of manufacturing from the US. Want to start a company? Maybe you should first move to Thailand because with enough bribes anything is possible there.

    • by Paul Fernhout (109597) on Friday March 11, 2011 @08:34PM (#35459310) Homepage

      "As a consequence these MPAA/RIAA lobbyists go to him claiming that they are loosing billions and millions of jobs in an industry that "can't" be off-shored--nothing like American movies and music."

      My prediction/satire from 2002 sent to the US DOJ: :-)
          http://www.pdfernhout.net/microslaw.html [pdfernhout.net]
      "My fellow Americans. There has been some recent talk of free law by the General Public Lawyers (the GPL) who we all know hold un-American views. I speak to you today from the Oval Office in the White House to assure you how much better off you are now that all law is proprietary. The value of proprietary law should be obvious. Software is essentially just a form of law governing how computers operate, and all software and media content has long been privatized to great economic success. Economic analysts have proven conclusively that if we hadn't passed laws banning all free software like GNU/Linux and OpenOffice after our economy began its current recession, which started, how many times must I remind everyone, only coincidentally with the shutdown of Napster, that we would be in far worse shape then we are today. RIAA has confidently assured me that if independent artists were allowed to release works without using their compensation system and royalty rates, music CD sales would be even lower than their recent inexplicably low levels. The MPAA has also detailed how historically the movie industry was nearly destroyed in the 1980s by the VCR until that too was banned and all so called fair use exemptions eliminated. So clearly, these successes with software, content, and hardware indicate the value of a similar approach to law. ..."

      Better solutions:
          http://peswiki.com/index.php/OS:Economic_Transformation [peswiki.com]

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Friday March 11, 2011 @07:01PM (#35458142) Homepage Journal

    When you run the world, you craft everything to support your wealth.

  • While india doesnt join the talks. europe is against 75% of the core of the proposed crap. this kinda takes away approx ~5 billion population of the planet.

    this entire piece of shit, is something the rich in usa is trying to push over entire world for their own benefit.

    yet noone cares. yet, they still come yelping louder, after they have been openly refused.
  • by spyfrog (552673) on Friday March 11, 2011 @07:16PM (#35458258) Homepage

    Could you Americans please stop trying to force us other in the world to accept your fascist corporations wishes?
    Please continue to live in your corporate govern country that you believe is the worlds greatest democracy but STOP trying to force us other to obey your corporate overlords.

    Thanks.

    • by misexistentialist (1537887) on Friday March 11, 2011 @07:53PM (#35458804)
      Haven't you bought most of our corporations by now?
    • by dcollins (135727) on Friday March 11, 2011 @07:57PM (#35458860) Homepage

      Effective resistance never comes from within the empire.

    • by manaway (53637) * on Friday March 11, 2011 @09:31PM (#35459836)
      If you're serious about who's spreading what, then blaming (North?) "Americans" is unfair to many people in the United States and Canada since they too suffer from corporate tyranny (and are making some progress in challenging it). So in addition to Bush and Obama's US government and US corporations, you should include Berlusconi's Italian government, Blair and Cameron's English government, Netanyahu's Israeli government, and the list goes on to many other governments and the multinational corporations which control them. The battle is not between countries, but between a loose group of rich powerful people with similar greedy interests (whom want to, for example, own and charge for public resources, copyright indefinitely, patent and trademark beyond reason) and regular people (the populace, the public, the poor).
    • by KeithIrwin (243301) on Friday March 11, 2011 @10:27PM (#35460218)

      I wish we could. The fact of the matter is that large sections of our government are now out of the control of the citizenry. They do what the corporations tell them to with no regard for what the people say unless you can get truly massive protests mobilized. The problem is money. If a politician does what a corporation wants, he can count on them supporting him rather than his opponent in the next election. If they do what an individual voter wants, that individual might still vote for his opponent because individuals care about a range of issues. Pleasing an individual on one issue does not guarantee support. But each corporation only cares about a very few specific issues which affect their bottom line. So if you do them a favor, you can count on their support (and if they support you, you can count on being asked to do them a favor to continue to get their support). They also can now legally donate substantially more money than most political groups can afford to in order to promote their agenda. Put this together and politicians answer almost exclusively to the needs of the corporations rather than the citizenry, especially when it comes to issues like intellectual property on which most citizens are completely uneducated (see also other complex legal issues like tort reform, environmental regulation, product safety, financial regulation, federal mineral-rights leases, etc.). Then they use the force of the US government to try to ram this down the throats of everyone else.

      I'd gladly vote for someone who claimed that they were going to do something about this (and, in fact, I did when I voted for Obama), but almost no one who's gotten elected in the last several decades has even tried to do anything about this and it certainly hasn't been a campaign issue. If, in twenty or thirty years, we look back and wonder why America no longer has the world's strongest economy, this will be why: because a slow erosion of public control of the government has replaced most effective governance and regulation with a system where the highest bidder and/or the shrewdest power broker gets to craft laws and regulations to their own benefit and everyone else's detriment. An economy where those are the rules is going to become a struggling economy once the existing inertia and capital are no longer sufficient to sustain it.

    • by Bob9113 (14996) on Friday March 11, 2011 @11:09PM (#35460460) Homepage

      > Could you Americans please stop trying to force us other in the world to accept your fascist corporations wishes?

      With every fiber of my being I wish that what you are saying was rational. Unfortunately, we Americans are no longer represented by our government.

      We decried the Bush / Neo-Con oligopoly, and forced its heir-apparent, John McCain, to try a crazy stunt called Sarah Palin as a mad grasp for electability.

      We have used the soap box.

      We voted for Obama, the one who promised change. Who promised net neutrality, the end of Gitmo, withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, public participation in the construction of the health care law, and a shift away from secret government in general.

      We have used the ballot box.

      We have brought lawsuits that have been quashed by secret national security objections. We have brandished the forces of the EFF and Groklaw to fight the courtroom battles, attempting to hold the line, in vain.

      We have used the jury box.

      I have deeply considered what the above statements imply. I have contemplated the LA, the Fruitvale riots, and the current events in Wisconsin. I have lay awake at night stunned at the implication of these things.

      The path forward is a scary one. For me, I cannot accept it as it seems to be. I have chosen to believe that it is a failure to use the first three boxes sufficiently. Given that I cannot see how ballot or jury can overcome their state of decay, I am left with the soap box.

      This post is an example. I have a lot to learn. The barriers ahead look insurmountable. And the only sure way to fail is not to try.

  • Ever notice how a politician will hardly ever take a specific stand on any issue and if they do they'll never follow through (e.g Obama)? It's like politicians don't want to lead anymore and they just let their handlers and lobbyists put laws in front of them to sign and they do it because they don't really give a crap and they've completely run out of ideas. If you get a guy like Ron Paul who actually has ideas and doesn't just talk in meaningless genralities, all you see is non-stop ridicule.

  • by bananaquackmoo (1204116) on Friday March 11, 2011 @08:26PM (#35459228)
    "The only way it could get any worse would be if it were enacted in law." You either have no imagination, or no trust in our overlords ability to screw us...
  • by next_ghost (1868792) on Friday March 11, 2011 @08:31PM (#35459288)
    I really hope that US government is going to implement this back home before they try to impose it on the rest of the world. If they do, I'm pretty sure that US hi-tech industry will collapse long before they manage to push it through here in Europe.
  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Friday March 11, 2011 @10:11PM (#35460104) Journal

    Article 4, paragraph 3:

    Each Party shall provide to authors, performers, and producers of phonograms the right to authorize or prohibit the making available to the public of the original and copies of their works, performances, and phonograms through sale or other transfer of ownership.

    I'm not sure what this means, exactly, but it sounds like they don't want to let you resale things? Correct me if I'm wrong.

Don't sweat it -- it's only ones and zeros. -- P. Skelly

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