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Censorship Your Rights Online

Secret Copyright Treaty Leaks. It's Bad. Very Bad. 775

Jamie found a Boing Boing story that will probably get your blood to at least a simmer. It says "The internet chapter of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a secret copyright treaty whose text Obama's administration refused to disclose due to 'national security' concerns, has leaked. It's bad." You can read the original leaked document or the summary. If passed, the internet will never be the same. Thank goodness it's hidden from public scrutiny for National Security.
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Secret Copyright Treaty Leaks. It's Bad. Very Bad.

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  • by InsertWittyNameHere ( 1438813 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @10:40AM (#29977942)
    Are people (the decision makers) taking this seriously? It reads like something from The Onion...

    Even if agreed upon as a treaty, will it hold up in any courts?

    Above all, will it even work? So instead of a handful of very popular torrent sites (and video, picture, file, etc sharing) we get millions of small secret for-friends-only sites.... or we go back to CD/DVD trading
  • by Shikaku ( 1129753 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @10:55AM (#29978174)

    Because if they didn't sell the guns to murderers, they wouldn't be able to murder!

  • by Wooky_linuxer ( 685371 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @10:59AM (#29978244)
    at least here. I don't know in the US, but here in Brazil (and I guess in most countries) it is simply impossible to have a "law" or treaty be secret and have any legal value. Of course, given enough money, these laws might be approved anyway, public scrutiny and all, and that is the sad part.
  • by mfh ( 56 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @11:03AM (#29978302) Homepage Journal

    *Everything* about it is hearsay until either someone succeeds in getting an FOI request honoured or the thing gets ratified and it's too late to do anything about it.

    Well you can stop using the Internet, right? I mean we weren't born with it. I guess I'll miss Slashdot and Google, but I'll be able to GO OUTSIDE!

  • by Cyberax ( 705495 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @11:04AM (#29978316)

    "I'm agreeing with most of the intent, and certainly all of the purpose. Supporting copyright is far more importantto me than supporting fair-use, and I'd certainly sacrifice the latter entirely in order to improve the former."

    Sorry. You are a minority. A corporate drone without creativity and/or life. Please, move along. Don't let the door hit you.

    And yes, I'm a corporate owner with intellectual property to protect. No, I do not support neither software patents (even though I hold some), nor this treaty. My software is sold as a service and as a product, I do lose some sales due to pirates (not much, really). But I would rather lose more sales than lose more freedoms.

  • Re:Copyright (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cHALiTO ( 101461 ) <> on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @11:09AM (#29978396) Homepage

    If there's a new way, I'll be the first in line.

    But it better work this time...

  • by oldspewey ( 1303305 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @11:15AM (#29978482)

    I'd say 95% of the population can't be made to listen to a 90-second dinner party discussion of ACTA, IP laws, and internet freedom. How do you expect to whip significant numbers of people into an indignant frenzy?

    The government(s) know they have a yawner on their hands here, and they can operate behind a cloak of indifference. Don't make the mistake of assuming prevailing opinion on a technology discussion board mirrors prevailing opinion in the population at large.

  • by japhering ( 564929 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @11:19AM (#29978558)

    at least here. I don't know in the US, but here in Brazil (and I guess in most countries) it is simply impossible to have a "law" or treaty be secret and have any legal value. Of course, given enough money, these laws might be approved anyway, public scrutiny and all, and that is the sad part.

    Well, the really scary part is that treaties via treaty supersede all national laws... so once approved they are almost impossible to change or nullify

  • Even if this did pass, and comcast was told they had to police their customers... so what? Comcast doesn't go out of their way to fix my service when I am paying for it. Why would they go out of their way to stop my service AND my payment? They would just end up putting together some bullshit task force that would expand to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy.
  • move it or lose it (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Sait-kun ( 922599 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @11:30AM (#29978760)
    Well, it is bad but it doesn't come a shock to me. But we have to look at the bigger picture here because this isn't a law you impose just because you feel like it. The media corporations have money and lots of it and I'm sure they invest quite a bit in networking, making sure current administrations work for you. What these companies don't (want to) realise is that the world is engulfed in an digital (and others but that is a different story) revolution. Companies that don't keep up with current trends usually don't last long and we will arrive at a point that their money will run out and then it will die out, slowly and painfully. They have to move with the changes and what the perfect answer is.. I don't know. But now that they still have money and power they have to make their move and they have to do it quickly. Personally I have absolutely no intention at all to ever pay for a record company again they are an insult to artists around the world.
  • by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @11:30AM (#29978782) Journal
    Well you can stop using the Internet, right? I mean we weren't born with it.

    Well, if you're less than 40 [], you were born with it.
  • by hol ( 89786 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @11:31AM (#29978788) Homepage Journal

    This sounds tongue-in-cheek, but is really a serious question. On one hand, you have the notion of ignorance is no excuse although there are precedents now stating if you're famous, that's okay. There are precedents for secret treatises for national security, like the withdrawal of missiles from Turkey at the end of the Cuban Missile Crisis. But how would the mechanics of enforcement work?

    Will the FBI kick in your door, shoot your dog, and haul you off for breaking a secret law?

    Would they need a secret warrant?

    If you ever got your day in court, would that court be secret too, to protect that law?


    Now for Canada: A judge last year tossed out a RIAA style copyright suit because the defendant had made CDs. As everyone knows, Canada has a special tax on blank media to reimburse the copyright holders for piracy that may or may not happen. Kind of like paying a partial speeding ticket before you get into your car each day. Since this implies guilt, the defendant was deemed to have been punished already, and was so exempt from being convicted again.

    How would the secret treaty work in Canada? Change the laws secretly?

  • by noidentity ( 188756 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @11:46AM (#29979074)
    I was wondering why he didn't just type up the text of the document, but realized they could put unique, subtle word changes in each copy, still tracing it back.
  • by Smallpond ( 221300 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @11:49AM (#29979122) Homepage Journal

    The whole point is that there are precious few details about any of ACTA because nobody outside of the governments involved, their lawyers and a few high-paying lobby groups have been allowed to see any of its contents.

    *Everything* about it is hearsay until either someone succeeds in getting an FOI request honoured or the thing gets ratified and it's too late to do anything about it.

    There is a section in the agreement allowing the RIAA or MPAA to confiscate all of your possessions if they find a single infringing item on any PC you own. If you don't believe me, just ask the government to show it to you and prove me wrong. Tell all your friends.

  • by sam_handelman ( 519767 ) <skh2003@columbia. e d u> on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @11:51AM (#29979160) Homepage Journal

    No, this is the same people / same industry lobbyists / same secretive, greed-crazed financial companies who control our health insurance *already*.

      If we had a system of publically accountable, transparent entities running health insurance (as we do with health *care*, thank you very much the hospitals are mostly fine,) then it would be crazy to propose a federal takeover. But the groups presently running the insurance scam in this country are the same financial institutions responsible for all the worst excesses of the commerce department.

  • by Cyberax ( 705495 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @12:03PM (#29979396)

    "I'd certainly say you're supporting software patents by holding some. The alternative is obviously to fight them having not protected yourself."

    That's the theory. But in practice having a defensive patent helps. I'd happily burn my patent when/if software patents become invalid. I also won't use it offensively.

    "I'm worried about someone benefitting from my work, and to a lesser extent, my being liable for what they do with it."

    ??? I'm writing software with the sole purpose that its users will benefit from it.

    Do you mean 'benefit without paying me $$$$$$'?

    Well, that doesn't concern me. Fair use rights are fair. I'm not worried that some professors might distribute my software to their students. I might lose a sale or two that way, but my children won't need to live in the Stallman's 'Right to Read' world.

  • by NeutronCowboy ( 896098 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @12:17PM (#29979674)

    I create intellectual property as well. Every day. Furthermore, I work in a small enough company that copyright is a critical issue. And you know what we found? We can't afford to pay every single idiot who thinks that what they created is so special and unique it cannot be put into the public for 75 years after they die. What do we do? We use stuff licensed under BSD, GPL or CC terms. And we're able to create far more stuff than if we'd have to pay someone like you because it just so happens that what we create might be close to what you created.

    What you're doing is nothing more than locking up existing content and ideas. Because if you think that what you create is unique - you're deluding yourself.

  • by khallow ( 566160 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @12:42PM (#29980182)
    They'd have to completely paraphrase the entire document at the least. Watermarks aren't just physical imprints in the paper any more, but also wording changes in the document. Perhaps even the sequence of various paragraphs and chapters or the inclusion of certain unique but tasty data in the report. I don't know how seriously they would protect such a treaty, but it's possible that the leak has already been identified from the meager data released so far. The more information that is revealed, the more likely the leak is to be identified.
  • by schon ( 31600 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @01:05PM (#29980620)

    There is a section in the agreement allowing the RIAA or MPAA to confiscate all of your possessions if they find a single infringing item on any PC you own.

    No, that's not true.

    The section you mentioned allows them to confiscate all your possessions if they suspect there might have been a single infringing item on any electronic device you own.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @01:35PM (#29981200)

    Get three copies of the document. For each paragraph that at least two copies agree with, use that. Rephrase the rest using your own words.

  • If Paul had won.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by zogger ( 617870 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @05:31PM (#29986060) Homepage Journal

    ...the wars (US involvement anyway) would be *over*, and the troops home.

      Those ripoff investment banks would have been forced to eat their own capitalist dogfood and would have been allowed to go bankrupt,(no multi trillion dollar bailouts required) and the financial industry would have realized (like warren buffet has said out loud) that 95% of the derivatives market is pure snakeoil crap, they are "weapons of mass financial destruction". As in who cares if they want to play those games, but they should be allowed to fail when they get too greedy and too stupid. That's *real* capitalism, not this "socialism for billionaires, privatize the profits and socialize the risks and failures" nonsense they keep pushing now.

        GM and Chrysler would have gone through normal bankruptcy, as they deserved, and there would be a ton of fresh blood and new ideas running those various factories by now and it would have also nailed Unions with a wakeup call that they need to get real on their economic demands and expectations, along with the stockholders. Something about mules and a club to get their attention comes to mind there.

        We would have gotten a major shakeup with the Fed and their insane never ending boom and bust cycle whacko junk science currency theories, along with a vastly streamlined and more fair IRS federal tax structure, both seriously needed, as anyone who cares to look can plainly see they are "epic fail" right now.

      And he would have repeatedly vetoed Congress's usual bloated, overly complex, pork laden and mostly out to lunch legislation that couldn't be paid for at all, even theoretically, or wasn't legal under the Constitution, stuff that the Federal government is not supposed to have control over. My guess is he would have outright closed down a lot of agencies as well, as not needed and not legal, and turned those aspects back over to the States where they belong.

    And a lot of so ons there, whatever is legally possible at the executive branch level.

    Certainly better than what we have received under both the Bush admin and now the Obama admin. Sure there would have been a rough transition period, to be expected when you are lancing boils and cutting away decades of pure rot and corruption.

    Ron Paul is the one guy in both houses who *really* understands the Constitution, and that if it was REALLY followed, not just mumbled lip service but truly followed for the well thought out document and plan it was and is, things would be a lot better, as in "all your rights, all the time, and no fed gov tax and control freak big brother BS".

  • by flaptrap ( 1038180 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @07:13PM (#29987716)

    The Michael Geist article mentions printed watermarked copies. You don't suppose they'd have individualized identifiers that a government interested in denying the citizens the right to a republican goverment would detect in an internet transmission, do you?

    Search for "ACTA Internet Chapter leak" and some articles appear to have excerpts/quotations.

    You're better off putting heads together to write a sensible proposal sending it to the Senators and every government official who might have some sway and mailbombing them with what might actually benefit the public - although they won't want to read THAT.

    Then change your career plans to include law, or, if you are a techie, forensic data analysis. Growth industries!

  • by Boomerang Fish ( 205215 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @07:56PM (#29988250) Homepage

    I'll second this... my daughter thinks when I talk of BBS's from my past, I'm referring to web sites. I have to remind her constantly that we only had one modem into the BBS at a time (ok, a few may have had as much as 10, but until CompuServer and Prodigy become nationwide, most didn't...)

    She's 15 and can't imagine what she'd do without the internet and vacations where her cell phone doesn't have coverage are a challenge because she can't text her friends... I want her to look at the scenery and she's bitching about not getting a text.

    Almost makes me understand my parents when they didn't think I needed a phone in my room... almost ;-)

    I Drank What?

  • by holophrastic ( 221104 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @08:01PM (#29988316)

    I'm not asking for 75 years. 10 is more than enough.

    You're always welcome to give away your property and open it up to the public if you so choose. No one will ever stop you from doing that.

    What I've done is unique -- I spent two years trying to find it for sale before my client forced me into inventing it myself.

    If you can find it better elsewhere, go ahead and get it elsewhere. If you need to get it from me, then mine is unique to you.

    I'm not interested in stopping you from creating something from scratch. I'm interested in stopping your from taking mine and labelling it yours.

    But I don't need your vote.

    And I didn't ask if you created any IP. I asked if you own any IP. Doesn't sound like you do. Sounds like you get paid to create it and give it away.

    So congratulations. You sell all of your IP every day. You get paid for it. I would have thought it'd be worth something to you.

    But don't worry. You don't have to by concerned that you'll get what you want. Because if you actually did, your employer wouldn't so much be interested in paying your for your IP -- since you've devalued it.

  • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @08:28PM (#29988634)

    I'll put it this way: my grandfather was a fairly prolific and successful composer in his day, with several hundred works still under copyright and performed every once in a while, and as a result my family gets about $25 a year of royalty payments.

    Moreover, there's no reason why your family should get that $25/year anyway -- it was your grandfather did that work (and has long since been paid for it), not you!

  • by holophrastic ( 221104 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @08:40PM (#29988782)

    Only if you own that software. If you write it for someone else, then they are actually paying you for that copyright. That means you are selling your intellectual property every day. Unless you earn minimum wage. But let's say you earn $30/hour, and minimum wage in your area is $10/hour. That extra $20/hour goes to cover what you can do that any random human can't do. Chances are, it's something intellectual (unless you arm-wrestle for a living, in which case it's probably danger-pay.).

    The stock you aren't at any risk of losing.

    The customer own the right to use it, not to distribute it. Otherwise the whole economy falls apart. They themselves get to use it, plus or minus family and friends in private proximity.

    But look at the other side. If what you buy from a business is yours, think about what a business buys from you. We've already had many examples of consumer's photographs being used by businesses on billboards, because they business owns that photograph when the consumer uploads it to FaceSpace.

    You're so quick to take property, you've forgotten how much of it you're giving away.

    I'm not asking for anything from you until you want my product. And then, I'm only asking that you pay me for my product in accordance with what it's worth to you. It's worth more to you if you're selling it for profit.

    In the end, what would you have me do? I've spent hundreds of thousands of dollars, two years, thousands of hours, and every friend I can take advantage of, a little bit of blood, a lot of sweat, and quite a few tears. If it's sellable at all -- and nothing's saying it will be -- you'd have me lose it all to someone who rips me off? You won't even make that guy pay me back my expenses? You won't make him share his profits with me until I break even?

    Why would I invent anything ever again? The most difficult part is the motivation and dedication and you're sucking that away.

    Do you have any idea how hard it is to look at a problem and say "yes, I want to solve it" and then see a two-year requirement and $200'000.00 needed to do it, and then say "yes, I still want to do it" and then actually do it?

    In the end, it's not even the profit that I value most. I don't want to see my product everywhere under someone else's name. That's like your child changing their last name and disowning you as their parent.

    Wholly shit, I worked really hard, and you'd give me nothing! Not even a fighting chance! The guy who does sell it doesn't have two years of debt; of course he's going to sell it better than I can, and faster, and cheaper.

  • two things (Score:2, Interesting)

    by zogger ( 617870 ) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @10:20AM (#29994414) Homepage Journal

    Seeing as how this is speculation anyway, I'll have to step into his shoes and say if it was me, I'd use the veto pen and the bully pulpit. Every time they tried to be sneaky about stuff, or unreasonable, I'd just get on the toob and explain what is going on and name names and why the veto pen is coming out. I'd keep hammering home the point that you as an individual/family/business have to balance your books and just relying on credit forever is the surest way to bankruptcy and total collapse. I'd explain that it is impossible to printing press your way to wealth, no matter how many iterations of IOUs they tried to obfuscate and hide that fact, and trying to do it that way just will lead to nasty stuff like stagflation or hyperinflation. I'd tell the people they have been lied to, been manipulated for years and years, and that true government openness and honesty and reform is actually doable, but they had to do their part as well and lean on their congress people to adopt more reasonable and fiscally responsible and true Constiutional behavior.

    In this economy, I think this would be an easy sell and any Congress people who didn't go along with it would get to the point they couldn't even go out in public wihout being surrounded by angry constituents. They'd get the hint after awhile.

"My sense of purpose is gone! I have no idea who I AM!" "Oh, my God... You've.. You've turned him into a DEMOCRAT!" -- Doonesbury