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Censorship The Internet Politics

Rep. Darrell Issa Requests Public Comments On ACTA 186

Posted by timothy
from the how-do-you-really-feel? dept.
langelgjm writes "After repeated dismissals by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Congressman Darrell Issa has taken matters into his own hands by posting a copy of ACTA online and asking for public comments. ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, is a secretly negotiated multilateral trade treaty with the potential for profoundly affecting the Internet. 'ACTA represents as great a threat to an open Internet as [do] SOPA and PIPA and was drafted with even less transparency and input from digital citizens,' Issa said."
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Rep. Darrell Issa Requests Public Comments On ACTA

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  • by SpzToid (869795) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @10:17AM (#39287199)

    ...and his name is U.S. Congressman Darrell Issa. Darrell Issa is kicking ass and taking names out there 'in the open' and he deserves your support too.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 08, 2012 @10:24AM (#39287281)

    Unless you're a woman, in which case Darrell Issa thinks you don't have an opinion worth sharing.

  • My comment is thus (Score:5, Interesting)

    by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday March 08, 2012 @10:26AM (#39287297)

    This agreement was written by the U.S. entertainment industry. It was written by them with one, and only one, purpose in mind: to advance the interests of their own industry at the expense of the freedoms of every other group and citizen in every country that signs it. It was secured in the U.S. by the open bribery of the U.S. Congress and President. It has been foisted on the rest of the world through the hostile use of U.S. economic might, in illegal secret negotiations that violate the laws of almost every country involved. It only serves to harm the international reputation of the U.S. and its citizenry at the expense of the interests of one industry.

    It should be soundly rejected by all remaining free counties.

  • My comment on ACTA (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 08, 2012 @10:59AM (#39287723)

    Opening Paragraph - "The Parties to this Agreement"
    This chapter establishes the tone of the treaty and from the beginning obfuscates the differences between actual property/trademarks (and their centuries of legal baggage) and the relatively new concept of intellectual property and copyright infringement. it also emphases focus on the digital world and copyright. The treaty itself offers few guidelines in respect to protecting citizens from specifically dangerous counterfeit products, making no differentiations based on physical safety, low quality counterfeits.

    Also introduced here is the concept of balance of the the rights and interests of the relevant right holders, service providers, and users. This is a common talking point of the media lobby, and is used often to justify increasing the rights of IP holders at the expense of the rights of internet operators and citizens fundamental rights to free speech, privacy. The language is crafted to imply a sense of fairness and balance, however, civil liberties and human rights are enshrined at the highest levels in law. Weather the ideology of Intellectual Property should hold equal standing should be an issue of vigorous debate and not an issue to be taken at face value.

    Article 5 part (l)
    Right holder is defined in the treaty as including "includes a federation or an association having the legal standing to assert rights in intellectual property". it's worth mention that this agreement is designed primarily to hold these organisations interests ahead of individuals creative rights holders.

    Article 8: INJUNCTIONS
    "Each Party shall provide that, in civil judicial proceedings concerning the enforcement of intellectual property rights, its judicial authorities have the authority to issue an order against a party to desist from an infringement, and inter alia, an order to that party or, where appropriate, to a third party over whom the relevant judicial authority exercises jurisdiction, to prevent goods that involve the infringement of an intellectual property right from entering into the channels of commerce."

    This definition is vague and very much open to interpretation. What goods are we talking about here? physical goods like VCRs, Cassette recorders, DVD burners, or even computers? Software goods that allow the copying of home videos and music production, Real player, Adobe Premier, etc? or even goods in the form of packages by internet service providers, would providing access to a means of a communications channel to the internet, through which copyright infringement might occur count as providing goods that involve copyright infringement?

    This kind of uncertainty is often passed down while making local law, and opens individuals and small business to the threat of defending themselves from injunctions, involving expensive legal fees.

    Article 9: DAMAGES
    This is a tricky section, paragraphs 1 and 2 are presented as mild suggestions of damages, but paragraph 3 states that these suggestions must be implemented as an alternative at the request of the rights holder (defined earlier as media companies). This to me requires participants of ACTA to sign into effective law, the myth that every single illegal download of a copyrighted work represents a lost sale and that the right holder should be compensated as such. In reality this is not the case, and there are several conflicting studies carried out by interest groups and independent researchers around this topic.
    This topic is important as you will see later, as an individual downloader of a single song can be classified legally as a mass distributor of the same song and charged for tens of thousands of lost sales as a result. This is what happened in the US thousands of times over since the introduction of the DMCA act, on which ACTA is based.

    Article 10: OTHER REMEDIES
    This article has huge impact on on physical copyright infringement liability because of it's vagueness, there is no reference to the suitability of the product or regard of if it's fitness for

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 08, 2012 @11:22AM (#39288097)

    Not that I'm not thoroughly disgusted that he supported this thing... but before we make this one partisan, please note that ACTA was being developed under the prior administration as well (and both were keeping the details secret from the public.)

    In other words, of course a Democrat will rubber-stamp something for Hollywood, but don't trust a Republican to automatically do the right thing on this issue. A ton of them were supporting SOPA too. Make sure they're on record and loudly opposing this stuff like Rep. Issa thankfully is, and keep on them to make sure they aren't just sinking this to bring in their own "save the children" bill to do the same thing.

    Software developers, web designers, and other Internet-connected forces are woefully underrepresented in Congress, whether it's regulations or worker protections, and they don't typically unionize so the Democrats don't seem to have much use for them. A lot go Ron Paul but I'm kind of surprised Republicans don't see this as a group they could reach out to. Especially since it's obsoleting traditional media and Hollywood. I'd rather the Democrats do it, but they seem to think treating Internet users like garbage is the way to go... but then the Republicans will happily screw them over as well by sinking Net Neutrality. No wonder a lot go Ron Paul.

  • by Creepy (93888) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @01:06PM (#39289677) Journal

    If you RTFA, one of the concerns was that the President approved it, bypassing congress by an executive decision. Both Republicans and Democrats have been doing this a lot since Reagan's term in office. If you can't beat congress, Executive Order around it.

    So far I haven't seen as many major of issues as I saw reading PIPA, but there are some vague areas. Only at page 2, though :P

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