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WSJ Says Pro-ACTA Forces Helped Drive Anti-ACTA Reactions 180

Posted by timothy
from the didn't-properly-market-or-disguise dept.
pbahra writes with commentary from the Wall Street Journal: "Europeans will take to the streets this weekend in protest at the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, an international agreement that has given birth to an ocean full of red herrings. That so many have spawned is, say critics, in no small part down to the way in which this most controversial of international agreements was drawn up. If the negotiating parties had set out to stoke the flames of Internet paranoia they could not have done a better job. Accepted there are two things that should never be seen being made in public—laws and sausages—the ACTA process could be a case study of how not to do it. Conducted in secret, with little information shared except a few leaked documents, the ACTA talks were even decried by those who were involved in them."
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WSJ Says Pro-ACTA Forces Helped Drive Anti-ACTA Reactions

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  • From TFA (Score:5, Informative)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @09:42AM (#38981191)

    Everyone is very keen on sharing until it is their stuff that is being shared.

    I guess he has not heard of these people:

    http://www.fsf.org/ [fsf.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 09, 2012 @09:42AM (#38981193)

    It's no wonder they had to do this in secret, giving companies the right to dictate to goverments is bad no matter which way you look t it

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      I don't get it: Surely laws should be made in public...

      • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @10:12AM (#38981555)
        ah... you think the government has your best interest at heart. The truth is, they don't... and they don't want you finding that out.
        • by offsides (1297547) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @11:02AM (#38982363)

          And that is EXACTLY why people are up in arms about it. The governments got together in secret, decided what was "best" for their populations, and then held the pile of papers close to their chest and said "Here it is, isn't it great!" And when the people who were ratifying it asked to see it, the were told, "You don't need to see it, it's in your best interest."

          Unfortunately, it might have ended there, since the majority tends to accept that these days. Except that some of the people who signed the bloody thing then came out and said "Waitaminute! This is really crap, and I shouldn't have signed it!" And that got EVERYBODY's attention, and thankfully people who should have been paying attention all along started to pay attention, and now it's snowballing.

          For better or worse, this may be the beginning of the end of crappy, business-centric, screw-the-people laws and treaties. I'm not saying that it'll stop them 100% right away, but after the pullback on SOPA and PIPA, and now ACTA, the people are starting to figure out that they can use the Internet to get real reactions from their lawmakers, and not just lip service on the campaign trail. Politicians may not want to lose all their "perks" from the lobbyists, but they want to lose their elected positions even less, and sufficient pressure applied by the people who elect them appears to be making an impact...

        • by mcgrew (92797) * on Thursday February 09, 2012 @12:00PM (#38983313) Homepage Journal

          ah... you think the government has your best interest at heart.

          They do, if you matter. Unfortunately, 99% of us don't.

  • Leaked docs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 09, 2012 @09:42AM (#38981195)

    If anybody has any bad feelings towards Wikileaks, let the ACTA serve as a reminder that the only reason we even know of it is because somebody on the inside provided it and Wikileaks released it.

    • Re:Leaked docs (Score:5, Insightful)

      by g0bshiTe (596213) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @09:47AM (#38981249)
      My thoughts, if someone on the inside thought enough to post it and people for it were so much against it being outed then there must be some bad in it. If you don't want the public to know of a bill being passed then there is something inherently wrong with the bill you are trying to pass.
      • by MightyYar (622222)

        If you don't want the public to know of a bill being passed then there is something inherently wrong with the bill you are trying to pass.

        I think that is probably mostly right when drafting laws, but this is a treaty. Because it is a treaty, you are dealing with diplomacy - not just drafting a bill. Diplomacy makes everything more complicated, including openness.

        Just as a simplified for-instance: Let's say you want to negotiate a trade treaty with Saudi Arabia, and that government - which is closed - insists on closed negotiation sessions. Do you walk away unless they are willing to negotiate openly or do you compromise somehow? Sometimes you

    • Re:Leaked docs (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Tsingi (870990) <graham.rick@gOPENBSDmail.com minus bsd> on Thursday February 09, 2012 @09:55AM (#38981341)

      If anybody has any bad feelings towards Wikileaks, let the ACTA serve as a reminder that the only reason we even know of it is because somebody on the inside provided it and Wikileaks released it.

      Yes. At the end of the day, if a law exists that makes a criminal out of the majority, then it does not serve society, rather it serves to subjugate.

      In a free society the primary intent of law is to safeguard the freedom of the people.
      In a totalitarian society laws primarily exist to protect the ruling class from the people.

      It is unlikely that a law will be passed in a free society without the consent of the governed. No such considerations are required in a totalitarian state. Wikileaks is a threat only to governments that have something to hide.

      • And as we all know - If they have noting to hide, then they have nothing to worry about :)
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by NeutronCowboy (896098)

        While in general, I would agree, I'd also say that the devil is in the details. Remember the Bill of Rights, and why it was thought necessary? Even though it made criminals out of large swathes of the American population? Sometimes, people act so barbarically that the law needs to make criminals out of the majority of people - or at least criminalize what a large chunk of the population considers right.

        What this means is that the broadness of a law and who it criminalizes should not enter into consideration

    • Re:Leaked docs (Score:5, Informative)

      by Hentes (2461350) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @10:00AM (#38981417)

      It was also released on Pirate Bay, Wikileaks was not the only reason we know of it.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        How did Pirate Bay know? Were they relaying what they got from Wikileaks or did they have their own sources?

  • FTFA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by g0bshiTe (596213) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @09:45AM (#38981233)

    “The agreement is seeking to address a number of very different issues of which some are serious problems of public health and public safety, for example trade in fake medicine,” Ms. Schaake said. “But that issue doesn’t compare to the alleged cost to society of online piracy

    So human life that is damaged from taking a counterfeit drug is worth less than what rights holders lose due to piracy? Or did I just interpret that wrong?

    • Of course, a human life was calculated at what 5 million or something? While if you have a RIAA lawyer, they can find a way to calculate out each song as worth a few million each.
      • by Tsingi (870990)

        Of course, a human life was calculated at what 5 million or something? While if you have a RIAA lawyer, they can find a way to calculate out each song as worth a few million each.

        Are you suggesting that a song is worth less than a human life? That, sir, is libelous. You will be hearing from MAFIAA lawyers in the near future.

      • 5-10 million. At least, as people value their own lives based on willingness to accept risk and such.

        Dollars earned in a working lifetime from 1-4 million depending on level of education primarily. You would have to pro-rate it based on age, that's for ~40 years working at an average salary.
    • "alleged cost to society of online piracy"? If by "society" they mean "members of the MAFIAA" perhaps. And by "alleged" they mean "grossly exaggerated".

      • Re:FTFA (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Joce640k (829181) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @10:15AM (#38981605) Homepage

        RIAA group: 10,000 employees, profits in the single digit billions.

        Internet: Hundreds of millions of employees, profits in the trillions.

        a) Getting rid of which of them would cause more harm.

        b) If everybody in the USA chipped in $100 bucks they could BUY the RIAA and get free music forever. If you did it at world level it would easily doable.

        c) The RIAA has probably already cost the world than their net worth by wasting everybody's time through their legal/political shenanigans.

    • Re:FTFA (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 09, 2012 @09:57AM (#38981381)

      The whole counterfeit medicine issue is a red herring. Counterfeit drugs are not vetted and approved by the FDA/EMA and hence should be prosecuted based on that basis (whether or not they infringe on any trademarks or patents is irrelevant if you're talking about safety; in fact, one could argue the chance that they are dangerous in case they do infringe on patents may actually be smaller).

      Apart from that there are the generic medicines, which are properly tested and approved. Issues surrounding those are purely related to intellectual property law without any relation to safety. And more often than not, those issues are (legal or not) abuse by rightsholders related to continuation patents, fighting parallel imports, or thwarting transport to countries where those patents are not valid through countries where they do apply.

      • Re:FTFA (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Tsingi (870990) <graham.rick@gOPENBSDmail.com minus bsd> on Thursday February 09, 2012 @10:08AM (#38981511)
        Exactly my thoughts. If you are creating a product that harms people, whether or not you have the legal right to create that product in the first place is a totally separate matter.

        There are approved medicines killing people all the time. Big Pharma only cares about your money, not your health. In this case the law is not concerned with your health either, only that Big Pharma gets your money and not someone else. It has nothing to do with how dangerous the drug is.

      • by sjames (1099)

        Agreed. In any recent legislation where you see the term 'counterfeit drug', just read it as fairly priced and perfectly legitimate drug personally imported from a country that cares more about it's Citizens than it does big business.

        • by Rich0 (548339)

          The situation is a bit complex with drugs.

          Many counterfeit drugs are in face substandard in quality, but due to price pressure they can work their way into first-world markets. As you say, many are also perfectly safe generics that simply haven't been licensed.

          Both actually create problems with our current system of R&D. Since the way 95% of drug safety trials are funded is from private investment, any threat to private investment is a threat to the development of new drugs. Now, I'm not convinced th

          • by sjames (1099)

            In many cases, those 'counterfeits' are, in fact, the name brand drug that was produced on the very same production line as the overpriced one sold in the U.S. actually bought from the holder of the patent, but in a country that limits them to reasonable profits. Since they willingly sell the drug in those countries, THEY must have deemed it profitable to do so at those prices.

    • Re:FTFA (Score:4, Informative)

      by FalcDot (1224920) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @10:04AM (#38981471)

      At least quote the whole paragraph, if nothing else it makes discussion *here* a whole lot easier.

      “The agreement is seeking to address a number of very different issues of which some are serious problems of public health and public safety, for example trade in fake medicine,” Ms. Schaake said. “But that issue doesn’t compare to the alleged cost to society of online piracy. It seeks to kill 20 birds with one stone. It risks not solving the legitimate concerns but causing incredible collateral damage.”

      I read this as indicating that both issues are simply in different leagues when it comes to importance. The phrasing "alleged cost [...] of online privacy" seems to indicate she sees the fake meds as much much more important and that she's worried that the inclusion of anti-piracy stuff is harming these legitimate concerns.

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      So human life that is damaged from taking a counterfeit drug is worth less than what rights holders lose due to piracy? Or did I just interpret that wrong?

      Of course.

      Corporate profits are the highest form of good. Who cares about a few suckers who bought fake medicine?

      As long as quarterly profits and executive bonuses are at all-time highs, that's all that matters. /end sarcasm

      Yes, clearly these guys do believe that downloaded songs is a bigger societal cost. Mostly because they use their ridiculous number

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        In their mind, the trillions in make-believe money they think they're owed is taken directly out of the economy.

        Do you really think they believe their own bullshit? They know it's a damned lie and they don't care. What else would one think about a bunch of lyijng thieves like the RIAA?

    • Re:FTFA (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dapyx (665882) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @10:23AM (#38981709) Homepage
      Actually, "counterfeit medicine" is a euphemism for "generic drugs", i.e. drugs that have been manufactured and sold without paying the patent owners anything. Some drugs (especially for various types of cancer) cost more than $100,000 per treatment and some third-world countries produce their own local "generic" version of the drug, since they can't afford paying that much for saving just one life. The production costs for a drug sold for a six-figure sum are typically under $100. The "big pharma" try to prevent poor consumers from first-world countries from traveling to third-world countries and buy these drugs, this is all there is to it.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Actually, "counterfeit medicine" is a euphemism for "generic drugs"

        In the West, yes. In third world nations, it is an enormous problem.

        A couple of years ago, I remember a case where an African nation threatened to yank a western pharma company's license, due to apparent lack of efficacy of their antimalarials. Well, it turns out that while the shelves were full of "their" product, the western company barely sold anything in that country at all. The fakes typically contained just enough active ingredient to make you feel better and confuse simple tests. Or sometimes not

      • by gmack (197796)

        Not really, people tend not to buy their cancer drugs online since you would need an expensive doctor to preform expensive tests to tell you what you need. Most of the online pharmacies that I have seen don't have anything other than the things people know by name with leanings to things people would be embarrassed to ask their doctor for such as drugs for erectile dysfunction, depression etc. There have been multiple reports where the counterfeit drug had either low/no active ingredient or in some cases t

      • Re:FTFA (Score:4, Informative)

        by L3370 (1421413) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @11:54AM (#38983217)
        There is counterfeit medicine that is indeed FAKE (as in containing no real medicinal properties) medicine. U.S. Customs has intercepted FAKE, not generic, drugs like insulin, blood pressure meds, and even chemotherapy drugs. Guess where they come from? China; often in the same shipment as the knockoff FILA shoes and Gucci handbags.

        Hijacking a brand name isn't the only problem with counterfeiting. Sometimes the knockoff products pose true safety hazards.
    • Re:FTFA (Score:4, Insightful)

      by SomeKDEUser (1243392) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @10:24AM (#38981719)

      Sadly, you interpret that right. This is coming from the WSJ, where being rich makes you a more worthwhile human. Therefore, as the majority of the pirates have less wealth than the RIAA, they are worth less.

      Also, the thing about wealth? it does not only increase your value as an individual. Once you are rich, it means you deserved it, and you should never be allowed to be poor again. Because that would be unfair.

      So yes, this tripe is exactly what one would expect from the WSJ.

    • by wierd_w (1375923)

      Even more insidious than that even.

      He's saying that the power of rights holders to deny open redistribution of cultural artifacts (songs, images, et al) is in the culture's best interests, and that this interest trumps even the culture's interest in quality healthcare and medicine.

      Basically, he's saying that the artist/publisher's ability to *restrict* cultural heritage is more important than the physical health of the people those art forms are supposed to service.

      Of course, he worded it in such a way as t

    • by rrohbeck (944847)

      Yes you did. It was another level of obfuscation.
      ACTA isn't about fake drugs, it's about trade in drugs that might harm the pharma companies' bottom line, not the health of patients.

  • by at10u8 (179705) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @09:45AM (#38981235)
    'laws and sausages' is attributed to von Bismarck. Is it not the case that every RFC is basically an international trade agreement? The process of making them is very different than ACTA. Which produces the more effective result?
  • by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @09:48AM (#38981255)
    Actually, our local farmers do tend to let people watch their sausages being made (hint: Wessex possibly has the world's best pigs, and most local farmers seem to make foodie sausages ). Laws and sausages should be made in public.
    • by royallthefourth (1564389) <royallthefourth@gmail.com> on Thursday February 09, 2012 @09:54AM (#38981325)

      sausages should be made public.

      There's an alarming quantity of websites where people do exactly that.

      • sausages should be made public.

        There's an alarming quantity of websites where people do exactly that.

        There are other sausages than black pudding...

    • by SomeKDEUser (1243392) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @09:54AM (#38981333)

      This. A million times this. There is never an excuse for not being transparent.

      See, if you don't want me to see the law you are writing, clearly it means you know I won't agree. Now in a democracy, who are you to redact a law which does not have popular support? Bismark was not a democrat, and his laws were acts balancing the public interest, yes, but also all the special interests who supported the empire.

      There is no place for that in a democracy.

      • by Sique (173459)

        There are excuses for not being transparent. One is called "birthday present".

        • Actually, if your "birthday present" was, say "I got a really good job far away, pack your stuff, we are starting a new life", you might find that the recipient of the gift would have appreciated some transparency.

        • Keeping a birthday present secret is vastly different from keeping a law that will impact millions of people secret. In the former, you are maintaining the secrecy in order to surprise the recipient in what is hopefully a pleasant manner. In the latter, you are keeping the secret to prevent anyone from opposing your drive to codify your fondest wishes into law even though it will result in millions of people being negatively impacted. I'll definitely support the former (especially if you're buying me the

      • by MiniMike (234881)

        This. A million times this. There is never an excuse for not being transparent.

        See, if you don't want me to see the law you are writing, clearly it means you know I won't agree. Now in a democracy, who are you to redact a law which does not have popular support? Bismark was not a democrat, and his laws were acts balancing the public interest, yes, but also all the special interests who supported the empire.

        There is no place for that in a democracy.

        I think the quote refers to the process of producing the sausage or law, not the final product. Just like you wouldn't want to see the pieces of pig snout and various orifices going into the grinder and coming out as your lunch, you wouldn't want to see the bickering, infighting, back-stabbing, and other types of anti-social behavior that are combined to make our laws.

        I note that many of our laws have the same level of coherency and uniformity as a poorly ground sausage, without sharing any of the positive

        • Actually, I don't mind seeing how my sausages are made. I think it educative. Also, I have a strong opinion about anyone refusing to know anything.

          Don't. You should try to know as much as you can on every possible topic. It is immensely hypocritical to detach the product from the process which created it.

          I don't think that the back-stabbing and anti-social behaviour add to the quality of the law. Therefore, if the public eye forces the makers of the law to be civil, than that is a _good_ thing.

        • by Nursie (632944) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @11:58AM (#38983275)

          ust like you wouldn't want to see the pieces of pig snout and various orifices going into the grinder and coming out as your lunch, you wouldn't want to see the bickering, infighting, back-stabbing, and other types of anti-social behavior that are combined to make our laws.

          I think that's the point - good quality sausages don't have all that crap going in. Allowing us to see the process tells us whether we want to buy them or not, because we can see what goes in.

          The same goes for laws. If we see our politicians behaving like spoilt children, or obviously working against their own constituents, or just shoving cronyist crap into law, we should know, even at the early stages, so we can get rid of the laws and the assholes,

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by NeutronCowboy (896098)

        You're missing the point that Bismarck was making, and that is very apparent today: very few people LIKE watching sausage being made, and quite a few recoil in horror at the process. Especially when the sausage being made is being made quickly and cheaply. Same goes for laws. Have you noticed how very few people today have any idea who is supposed to do what in our government? The discussion around the debt ceiling alone was worth a few million facepalms, as people were watching sausage being made, and got

        • Bismark was the chancellor of the German Empire. Not a democracy in any way...

          The fact that people do not like to know things is no excuse for anything. In fact one should go by the motto:

          Ignorance Is Not A Valid Point Of View

          If people see things, soon enough, they understand the parts of the process to be either wrong or necessary. Without transparency, you will never get rid of the wrong parts. As for the debt ceiling debate, it was such an act of collective stupidity that I still don't understand

        • by jedidiah (1196)

          "quickly and cheaply"

          People SHOULD object to any law or sausage that is made in this fashion. The fact that people object is not a bad thing. Citizens of a democracy should not accept CRAP. This applies equally to food or the law.

          "quick and cheap" are usually objectionable for a good reason.

          The problem with Bismark's remark is that it doesn't describe Democracy at all.

          In Democracy, a level of participation and oversight is not just tolerated. It should be expected, perhaps even rising to the level of an ind

          • The problem is that people aren't objecting to laws being made quickly and cheaply, it is that they want laws to be made with rainbows and unicorn farts. Bismarck's remark describes the complete lack of understanding that a lot of people have about how laws are made in a parliamentary body. As a result, it does describe Democracy very well - or rather, it is a fitting analogy of the general public's understanding of how a democracy works.

            Yes, in an ideal world, we'd all participate and provide oversight to

    • by X0563511 (793323)

      Indeed. Making sausage isn't even that nasty.

      Throw some meat in a grinder, take what comes out, and knead in some seasonings. Not much far removed from making meatloaf!

      When I was doing this, the most objectionable part of the job was the smell of the vinegar, of all things. "Oh sure, don't worry about the ground up miscellaneous animal parts... but do watch out for that nasty vinegar!"

      • by Nadaka (224565)

        In Bismark's day they were still making sausage with rotten meat and borax to hide the rotten meat flavor. So the comparison to ACTA is apt.

        • by jedidiah (1196)

          ConAgra would love to get away with that kind of thing today.

          That's why transparency is important.

          If you are "producing a product for public consumption" and you are unwilling to let the customer watch the process then it is right for people to be suspicious.

    • Preferably, we should round up all copies of ACTA, make sausages out of those, and then feed them to the folks who pushed ACTA and tried to keep it a secret.

    • Agreed. I have little interest in watching sausage being made (I don't view source code either). But if the sausage maker is putting pig poo in their product, it would be nice if SOMEONE was watching them.

  • by captainpanic (1173915) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @09:53AM (#38981301)

    If making a law is so dirty, it's about time it makes the show.

  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @09:53AM (#38981311)
    The old adage is about how you might not want to know how sausages and laws are made; it has nothing to do with making them in public. In fact, that's rather contrary to the premise of the rest of the post.

    As unpleasant as it may be to watch the process, laws and sausages are precisely the kinds of things you DO want to be made in public, so you can see just exactly what goes into them.
    • but they have so convoluted the process that its impossible to follow what they are doing. Worse they now like to pass laws where the actions are decided by groups not yet formed thereby circumventing the action, penalty, and enforcement, parts of many laws.

      • "Worse they now like to pass laws where the actions are decided by groups not yet formed thereby circumventing the action, penalty, and enforcement, parts of many laws."

        Yes, that is one of the many potentially fatal diseases Congress has given itself.

        The Constitution never gave them authority to delegate their law-making (read: "rule-making") ability to anyone else. "Regulations" made by Federal bureaucracies are a Constitutional fraud.

        "The germ of dissolution of our federal government is in ... the federal judiciary; an irresponsible body (for impeachment is scarcely a scare-crow), working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow, and advancing itâ(TM)s noiseless step like a thief, over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall be usurped from the States, and the government of all be consolidated into one. ...when all government... in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the centre of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated." -- Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), US Founding Father, 3rd US President, 1821

  • by FoolishOwl (1698506) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @09:57AM (#38981371) Journal

    There is an underlying problem: our model of intellectual property simply doesn't make sense for the real world, and more importantly, this is obvious to nearly everyone, and is at odds with how we actually use digital information. The deeper issue is that this starts to bring into question models of property. We have always had artificial scarcity layered on actual scarcity, as a sort of exaggeration. That works when the disparity between actual and apparent scarcity is not too great. But it's obvious to most people that scarcity in copying digital media is wholly artificial. Pushing too hard may lead to people asking questions the WSJ would rather they didn't ask.

    • by Tsingi (870990) <graham.rick@gOPENBSDmail.com minus bsd> on Thursday February 09, 2012 @10:45AM (#38982065)

      You sound like an economist, but I agree with you anyway.

      From TFA:

      “If you say copying other people’s copyright is an OK thing to do, then you are saying that theft is OK. Everyone is very keen on sharing until it is their stuff that is being shared.”
      He said that there was a lot of misinformation about the agreement. “It does not alter the underlying law. It is an agreement, not an Act.
      “It is more like a convention of mutual support between signatory countries that they will work to enforce intellectual property rights of individuals or businesses who can prove their rights have been infringed.”

      The problem with copyright is that it is too severe. Copyright originally existed to limit the power of private individuals to own what belonged in the commons. To answer to this, a limit was placed on the amount of time that works that should be considered culture and a benefit to society, could remain private property.
      The problem being that they (The booksellers) owned all culture, and if you could not afford to pay their prices, then that culture, your culture, was not available to you. Under these conditions, culture is restricted from society rather than being a benefit to it.
      Modern lobbying to extend the length and breadth of copyright is taking us back to that very same situation, where all works are owned privately by big media, and public ownership of culture (the commons) is fading away.

      You must pay!

      The response to this by the public has been to ignore copyright altogether. It isn't so much that the concept of copyright is viewed as wrong, it's that it has become too restrictive.
      Any law that would have the majority of society guilty is a bad law. If it doesn't look bad on the surface, then maybe you have to look deeper, but the fact remains that it is a bad law.

      • Copyright is a poison.

        In a limited dose, it may prove to confer great medicinal benefit. Once that dosage is exceeded, however, it causes great harm.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      The trouble with intellectual "property" is there's not supposed to be any such thing, and in fact afaik nobody used the term in the last century. If they did, I never heard or read it.

      Copyright is supposed to encourage authors to write, so their works enter the public domain. An author isn't supposed to own his novel or textbook, he's only supposed to have a limited time monopoly on it.

      The idea of "intellectual property" discourages new works, because everything comes from what came before. Now? hard to cr

  • by tkrotchko (124118) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @10:07AM (#38981505) Homepage

    You can put lipstick on a pig, but its still a pig.

    No matter how you went about pushing ACTA, people would have been upset. It was kept secretly because big content companies were hoping that it would be passed before anybody realized it was happening.

    ACTA could not be passed in most places with a fully informed public & electorate.

  • by Hentes (2461350) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @10:08AM (#38981509)

    is ACTA.

  • by forkfail (228161) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @10:08AM (#38981515)

    I have a hard enough time getting intelligent, driven and aware folks to call their congress folks.

    Good on them for actually taking it to the streets.

  • I think when you parallel the statement in the headline with my headline I think the point is more clear.

  • by sohmc (595388) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @10:40AM (#38981977) Journal

    Don't read this the wrong way: making laws should be transparent. I know at the local level, when bills are debated, there is always some crackpot who likes to take their 2-6 minutes to talk about something completely unrelated to the bill. This takes up valuable time but they really can't be stopped. The local reps don't want to do anything about it because the crackpot is usually homeless or elderly or otherwise infirmed. The point is that the local council will often do closed door meetings to get work done. (Let's move pass the fact that these reps don't have the backbone to actually ban the crackpot from speaking unless relevant to the bill at hand.)

    I know that Congress doesn't work the same way (e.g. there are no public hearings where I can testify) but they do tend to have more closed door meetings than should be allowed. Furthermore, the notes/transcripts from these meetings are usually not made public (or if they are, it's impossible to find).

    There are times when closed door meetings are necessary for progress. It sucks but it happens. But unless directly related to national security, transcripts should always be available to the People.

    Saying it should happen and it actually happening are, at the moment, two totally different things separated by a chasm the size of the Grand Canyon. But one can dream...

    • by Hatta (162192)

      Closed door meetings are always inappropriate. Everything Congress does should be a part of the public record. That includes meetings with lobbyists. Doing Congressional business off the record (by which I mean, unrecorded) should be a criminal offense. Same goes for the police and every other government employee.

      • I do think that there are some times when closed door is appropriate. National defense/security, for example. The problem is that any time they want to go off the record, they'll just claim "national security" whether it is true or not. There has to be some mechanism in place for allowing Congress to go off-the-record when they need to while providing a check that they won't abuse this privilege.

        • by Hatta (162192)

          National defense/security, for example. The problem is that any time they want to go off the record, they'll just claim "national security" whether it is true or not.

          Exactly. Secrecy itself damages our national security. Given that our own government is always a bigger threat than external threats (they're right here among us, and they have all the guns), it doesn't make sense to damage our national security in the name of national security.

        • by sohmc (595388)

          I agree. "National security" is like the Ace in the hole that the government like to use. There are legitimate uses, but I fear that it may be overused.

          The meetings may be classified, but should never be off-the-record. The recordings, like all classified materials, should be made public when they no longer pose a threat.

  • The reaction from people who say this is a bad thing, it is not that ACTA is a bad thing, they are reacting to a notion that what they are doing is wrong.

    "Wrong" by whose standards?

    And apparently anyone who opposes the ACTA is automatically someone who infringes upon copyright themselves. He seems to be a fan of generalizations and irrelevancy.

    If you say copying other people’s copyright is an OK thing to do, then you are saying that theft is OK.

    No, not really. Not the "theft" part at least. Not "theft" as most people likely know it. I guess "theft" means "copying" now. Sure, I feel that kind of "theft" is okay. Kind of redundant to restate that fact, though, isn't it?

  • by blind biker (1066130) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @11:49AM (#38983115) Journal

    We're going to protest on Saturday, in Helsinki, in spite of the cold. I hope that there would be at least about a hundred people, but I might be pleasantly surprised.

    At any rate, I'll be there: one day my son could ask me what did I do while they were trying to silence the internet - and I don't want to have to say that I was just sitting around. Even if it's a lost battle, I owe it to him.

The bogosity meter just pegged.

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