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Piracy Your Rights Online

Stop Being Poor: U.S. Piracy Watch List Hits a New Low With 2012 Report 310

Posted by Soulskill
from the expectations-met dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The U.S. Trade Representative released its annual Special 301 Report yesterday, unsurprisingly including Canada on the Priority Watch list. While inclusion on the list is designed to generate embarrassment on target countries, Michael Geist explains why this year's report should elicit outrage. Not only is the report lacking in objective analysis, it targets some of the world's poorest countries with no evidence of legal inadequacies and picks fights with any country that dare adopt a contrary view on intellectual property issues."
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Stop Being Poor: U.S. Piracy Watch List Hits a New Low With 2012 Report

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  • by Das Auge (597142) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @02:10PM (#39859681)
    Canada should be embarrassed. I mean, they have some of the best privacy laws of any country.

    On a related note, as an American, could I borrow some?
    • by BagOBones (574735) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @02:14PM (#39859719)

      We are, the only reason we are on the list is to pressure out government to implement a DMCA type law.

      • by mark-t (151149)
        Canada will be implementing said law... before the end of this year... but evidently not enforcing it on matters of private copying.... which makes one wonder if they are not intending to enforce it in such circumstances, why was it is evidently still going to be illegal in such a case, particularly when every other party in parliament was asking for that as a concession to the bill.
        • by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @02:42PM (#39860103)

          They're lying, again. They've lied about every. single. point. they made during the election, and there's strong evidence that even the election results themselves are a lie.

          They want to have it on the books so that if Beardo is at a protest or starts to make trouble, they can see what Beardo's been doing online and put him in jail or bankrupt him or hell, just embarrass him. Ripping a DVD is a $20k fine and 5 years in prison. Unlocking your nook? Same thing. Installing Ubuntu? Yep, prison. (Okay, you deserve that last one.) Any digital lock on any media cannot be bypassed or that's the penalty. That's not fear-mongering, that's what is in the law. If you buy a DVD and rip it to play on your unlocked iPhone, you're looking at 10+ years in jail. If you burned down Parliament with everyone inside, you'd get out on parole sooner than that.

          "We're not going to do this!" means "We don't want you to complain until this is the law."

          • When/How did installing Ubuntu become a crime?
          • by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @02:59PM (#39860295) Homepage

            " If you burned down Parliament with everyone inside, you'd get out on parole sooner than that."

            Sounds like you canadians have a plan in place then to fix the problems?

            Remember, burning down the White house here in the USA did not fix us, Look at the scumbags we have in ours.

            • " If you burned down Parliament with everyone inside, you'd get out on parole sooner than that."

              Sounds like you canadians have a plan in place then to fix the problems?

              Remember, burning down the White house here in the USA did not fix us, Look at the scumbags we have in ours.

              Well, it was proto-Canadians who burned down the White House... maybe the US should return the favour?

              But as you said, it didn't really make things any better, other than allowing some royalists to vent their frustrations.

            • by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @04:37PM (#39861507)

              Not there yet. They're all pretty much a waste of ammo and/or accelerant. We've been using the soap box, and that's been simply ignored. We used the ballot box, and it seems that they took that away from us. The oversight group, Elections Canada, had its budget cut by 7.5 million this year, when they're in the middle of investigating the biggest fraud case in Canadian history. So The Jury box has been stripped of its funding.

              I am concerned that someone's going to move to Box Four, and that's a terrible thing. We've never done that sort of thing up here.

    • Sure, if you don't mind letting the terrorists win.
    • by PPH (736903)

      No. And you will be searched when crossing the border back into the USA to make sure you aren't bringing any of those crazy ideas about privacy and civil rights in with you. We've nearly got them eradicated down here. We can't have you re-infecting the population with such thinking, like what happened in the 18th century.

    • WTO redux (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @02:28PM (#39859937)

      It's not about protecting anything but corporate profits.

      For example, when copyright was 1st conceived, the concept was to protect that individual's right to contract for the legitimate use or the press and distribution in order to ensure that the publisher was paying the actual author. In America, Jefferson argued that copyright should be restricted to 1/2 the average lifespan of a human in order to preserve the incentive to create new works as well as protect future generations from undue power that would otherwise accumulate in the hands of 'owners' of creative works. (Which is exactly what has happened.)

      Since then, corporations have found it convenient to buy proprietary works, contractually strangle authors and coerce (I mean lobby) legislation to extend the term of copyright to ridiculous lengths (in the U.S. it's life plus 70 years or 120 for anonymous works owned by Inc.) in order to further the monopolistic tendencies of business interests. This places corporate interests above those of the individual or society in general. (Thank Sonny Bono & Mickey Mouse)

      This is but one example of the 'service' so-called anti-piracy laws provide.

      • Re:WTO redux (Score:5, Informative)

        by robot256 (1635039) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @02:58PM (#39860277)

        Nice sentiment, but you go too easy on the concept of copyright. Paraphrased from No Safe Harbor [nosafeharbor.org]:

        Copyright was first conceived by Bloody Mary of England in 1557 as a means of censorship to persecute non-Catholics and political dissenters. It was her idea to give the printing monopoly to the London printers' guild and have anyone else caught with a printing press hanged by the state. After the proletariat took over Parliament, copyright was abolished in 1695. The publishers managed to twist the notion of copyright and get it reinstated in 1701 by saying that authors will "own" their works, even though only guild printers would have the right to print them and so the authors were still at their mercy.

        The notion that copyright could exist for the sake of anything other than publishers' profits did not even exist until the drafting of the United States Constitution, where it was a compromise after a heated debate. Jefferson argued that copyright shouldn't exist at all, and only took that position when a compromise was necessary. As a result, the Constitution states that copyright is to be used for the good of society, conspicuously (but not conspicuously enough, apparently) omitting the interests of *both* authors and publishers. This is the moral equivalent of saying "You are allowed to hit people only if it makes them feel better." Apart from a few masochists out there, by the letter of the law the right may exist but should *never* be exercised. We all know how well that turned out.

        So the entire concept of copyright is a reheated censorship scheme inherited from one of the most infamous dictators in history. Why anyone still thinks it's a good idea is a testament to the power of money, propaganda and groupthink.

  • by tsa (15680)

    Michael Geist explains why this year's report should elicit outrage. Not only is the report lacking in objective analysis, it targets some of the world's poorest countries with no evidence of legal inadequacies and picks fights with any country that dare adopt a contrary view on intellectual property issues.

    So we can easily ignore that report.

    • Re:Ignore it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @02:23PM (#39859853)
      Well, while you're ignoring it, the politicians will be citing it for why we more and tougher IP legislation, both at home and abroad.
      • Well, while you're ignoring it, the politicians will be citing it for why we more and tougher IP legislation, both at home and abroad.

        What motivation does a country have to get off of double secret probation, no trade embargoes will placed on countries listed on the report. This report has less teeth then a UN resolution, it is merely finger wagging in the hopes of pressuring other nations into abiding by foreign rules.

    • Re:Ignore it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by robot256 (1635039) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @02:24PM (#39859871)
      You may ignore it if you wish, but do so at your peril. This report is a window into the minds of the politicians and bureaucrats who run our country and think they run the world. We ought to be using this to our advantage, to stir up pushback from other countries and put the bastards on the defensive. They're trying to bully the rest of the world into paying up--the only way to deal with a bully is to stand up for yourself and fight back.
      • by tsa (15680)

        Unfortunately I live in a country where the leading (Christian) parties still think everything America does is brilliant and fantastic so we will comply without even asking. Luckily the EC seems to change its stance on the US a bit, so there is hope.

        • by Mitsoid (837831)

          I know how you feel.. I live in America...

          If it makes you feel any better, it's only super-rich Americans that are pushing this crap.. and anyone they can pay to convince (e.g. politicians, whom are also, generally, rich)

          The average American (excluding those whom watch Faux news) thinks this whole thing is incredibly stupid.. but those making under $250k/year do not have a political voice... We're just as disapproving as you all are.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @02:16PM (#39859779)

    Yeah, so all of you impoverished nations... your people might be poor and starving, but don't even think for a minute about feeding them. Take that money you would have fed hungry children with and step up your IP policing, because your laws are good, you are just wasting money you could use for more enforcement in all of the wrong places, like feeding your people.

  • Disappointment (Score:5, Interesting)

    by danaris (525051) <danaris AT mac DOT com> on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @02:20PM (#39859829) Homepage

    From where I sit, this has been one of the greatest disappointments even staunch supporters like me have with Obama: his administration's continued support for the content industry at the expense of people in America and around the world.

    Dan Aris

    • Re:Disappointment (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @02:53PM (#39860215) Journal

      Really? Does his IP maximalism really come close to his support for the NDAA? His assassination of US citizens and flagrant violation of the War Powers Act? His crack down on government whistle blowers (more whistle blowers prosecuted than all previous presidents combined)? His crack down on legal medical marijuana dispensaries despite his promise to respect states rights on the issue? His failure to prosecute anyone for the 2008 financial crisis?

      IP maximalism is bad, but it's WAY down on the list of grievences against Barack Obama.

      • Re:Disappointment (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Nixoloco (675549) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @03:50PM (#39860951)

        Really? Does his IP maximalism really come close to his support for the NDAA? His assassination of US citizens and flagrant violation of the War Powers Act? His crack down on government whistle blowers (more whistle blowers prosecuted than all previous presidents combined)? His crack down on legal medical marijuana dispensaries despite his promise to respect states rights on the issue? His failure to prosecute anyone for the 2008 financial crisis?

        IP maximalism is bad, but it's WAY down on the list of grievences against Barack Obama.

        While I agree with some of the things you are faulting him for (although not all are so clear), faulting him for "support for the NDAA" is over generalizing. An NDAA is passed every year. It is what specifies the budget and expenditures for the US DoD. You are probably upset with a single provision in this year's bill being referred to as the "Indefinite Detention" section. The president himself was not happy with this provision and pushed back. Unfortunately, a compromise on the wording didn't improve it much. Also (unfortunate) the law does nothing that the Federal courts have not already recognized as lawful.

        • by Hatta (162192)

          The president himself was not happy with this provision and pushed back.

          No he didn't. He signed the bill. "Pushing back" would mean vetoing.

    • Re:Disappointment (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cpu6502 (1960974) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @03:10PM (#39860441)

      Just one?

      Not his involving Americans in two new wars (Yemen and Libya) without permission of the People in Congress? Not his insistence that Congress add 2 lines to the NDAA to let him imprison americans without a trial? Not his assassination of 3 american citizens (including a 16 year old child) w/o giving them a constitutional a right to trial? Not his raising the national debt at twice the rate of George "duh" Bush? I would be HAPPY if Obama's only flaw was signing ACTA/supporting SOPA.

  • by khipu (2511498) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @02:25PM (#39859883)

    Democrats are concerned with civil liberties and the rights of the individual. We need change! Oh, wait...

  • by alen (225700) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @02:26PM (#39859907)

    we tried to conquer your worthless country twice before, but you finally gave us an excuse for a third time

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I dunno, man, didn't they burn down the White House last time?

    • we tried to conquer your worthless country twice before, but you finally gave us an excuse for a third time

      Yeah, the previous two times were so successful, we figure we'll try it a third time, and in doing so trigger an international military response that'll result in the deaths of tens of millions... because Hollywood tells us to? Not. Likely.

  • Best part ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @02:26PM (#39859915) Homepage

    This is the best part:

    The USTR report also confirms the Canadian government's view that the Special 301 exercise produces little more than a lobbying document on behalf of U.S. industry. The Canadian position, as described to a House of Commons committee in 2007 (and repeated regularly in internal government documents):

    In regard to the watch list, Canada does not recognize the 301 watch list process. It basically lacks reliable and objective analysis. It's driven entirely by U.S. industry. We have repeatedly raised this issue of the lack of objective analysis in the 301 watch list process with our U.S. counterparts.

    Which basically means the people writing this report are well known shills, who are predisposed to write something which is in favor of what the content industry wants.

    Glad to see these guys being told to bugger off if they don't have any facts. Far too much of American policy is dictated by lobbyists.

    Constantly listening to the content industry in the US bleating that Canada is a horrible evil country of people who violate copyrights gets tedious.

  • Enemy #1 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by msobkow (48369) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @02:28PM (#39859945) Homepage Journal

    The US has declared wars on drugs, terrorism, copyright violations, crackers, and a whole host of other things.

    In doing so they've declared "war" on pretty much every nation in the world, including the very ones that they claim are friends and allies.

    So what can we conclude?

    The US is Enemy #1 to the world.

    • Re:Enemy #1 (Score:4, Insightful)

      by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @03:33PM (#39860741) Homepage Journal

      The US government has declared wars on drugs, terrorism, copyright violations, crackers, and a whole host of other things.

      In doing so they've declared "war" on pretty much every nation in the world, including the very ones that they claim are friends and allies.

      So what can we conclude?

      The US government is Enemy #1 to the world.

      FTFY.

      • Re:Enemy #1 (Score:5, Insightful)

        by msobkow (48369) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @05:03PM (#39861791) Homepage Journal

        The government is elected by the people.

        Stop pretending it's not your fault. You, the people, are the ones who put up with their schite.

      • Re:Enemy #1 (Score:4, Interesting)

        by msobkow (48369) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @12:55AM (#39865003) Homepage Journal

        This has been bugging me all day. It really pisses me off when people try to tell me what I mean. I know what I mean. I say what I mean.

        The fact that "patriotic Americans" don't like it is their problem. But watch those of them with mod points mod this psot into oblivion, because they think it's a "disagree" to vote things down. Which only proves my point...

        When I say the US has a navel gazing, we're superior, our law should trump all others attitude, I MEAN IT.

        Your government.
        Your banks.
        Your MPAA/RIAA.
        Your businesses.
        Your pharmacorps.
        And the list goes on...

        Your whole nation's MENTALITY is that you're superior.

        You are the very DEFINITION of a fascist country which engenders and encourages blind, national fervour and faith in the waving flag of the nation above all else.

        There are many in the country who do not feel that way, and understand what it means to cooperate with the world instead of trying to dominate it.

        But apparently there aren't enough of them VOTING.

  • by Sir_Sri (199544) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @02:53PM (#39860213)

    I don't think we (as canadians) should be outraged. That's the wrong approach to this. We should be celebrating the fact that we have better rules than the americans.

    Imagine some politicians came out with a report about how awful it is that blacks can vote in this long list of countries, or how abhorrent is is that women could vote in some places, or how some countries *still* haven't enacted prohibition, or how terrible it must be for people living in those countries that have government healthcare. If you on one of those lists you don't get outraged, you can use it as proof positive that your system is working, and those idiots that wrote the report are living in the wrong century. Which, as with this report, they are.

    There's no point in trying to complain that some of their metrics are wrong or unfairly target the wrong groups. The whole concept is basically inverted, squabbling about the details gives the false impression that it can somehow be corrected with some tweaking of specifics.

  • Spain is caving (Score:4, Interesting)

    by langarto (718855) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @03:13PM (#39860479)
    Actually I'm pissed off because Spain got off the list :-(
  • by Dan667 (564390) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @03:44PM (#39860889)
    if you are not on special report 301 you need to figure out how to get on it. Make sure your citizens are protected from music and movie companies pressuring the US government to prop up their dying business model they refuse to change.
  • by ravyne (858869) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @03:48PM (#39860923)
    That the US government wants the world to adopt their kind of strong policies should not surprise anyone. The facts are that the US doesn't have a wealth of natural resources, nor do we have the kind of cheap labor that attracts manufacturing. In the long game, all we really have is the ability to innovate for which we certainly don't corner the market; therefore, without the rest of the world adopting similar stances on IP, the US cannot hope to retain it's economic advantage over other countries. The same is true of other developed nations with dwindling resources and expensive labor, and will come to be of poorer nations with few resources--though they haven't come to expect the type of lives we lead in the states.

    I think there's a place for protecting intellectual and artistic expressions that exist in a tangible form, but it must reasonable, limited, and well-defined. People should be able to make their living by discovering new things, and by springing something novel and valuable into the world, but at the same time, doing so once should not guarantee lifetimes' of income for you, your children, and so on down the line, nor provide you with the means to prevent others from competing with or building upon your ideas.

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