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Unpacking the Secrets of ACTA 169

An anonymous reader writes "As negotiations in the 7th round of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement talks continue this week in Mexico, Michael Geist has been posting a comprehensive guide to the secret copyright treaty. He started with a review of the substance of the treaty, then posted links to all the leaked documentation, and has now unpacked the secrecy associated with the talks, including why governments have made it secret, the public concern, and why this isn't business as usual."
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Unpacking the Secrets of ACTA

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  • Re:Hello? (Score:4, Informative)

    by biryokumaru ( 822262 ) * <biryokumaru@gmail.com> on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @12:59PM (#30919270)

    No, this is bad because it will make it harder for me to use products and media I have legitimately paid for.

    The making it harder to steal part is less important.

  • Re:Hello? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Monkeedude1212 ( 1560403 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @01:00PM (#30919286) Journal

    Anything? Anything at all?

    Michael Geist is like the skinny short Brunette in all the Slasher flicks from the 90's. He's always shouting "YOU NEED TO WATCH OUT FOR THIS" but everyone else is like the dumb Jock who isn't afraid of a guy with a knife and ends up getting diced into french fries.

    So - the only opinion you really need to form is whether ACTA is metaphorically a serial killer. It hides under the same deceptive mask of Anonymity, so we don't actually know very much about it.

  • Michael Geist (Score:4, Informative)

    by Trepidity ( 597 ) <delirium-slashdot@NOsPam.hackish.org> on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @01:03PM (#30919324)

    For what it's worth, in case you (as I) were wondering who Michael Geist is (I don't want to end up passing on links to some guy who turns out to be a conspiracy theorist or something), he's a University of Ottawa professor, serving as their chair in Internet law.

  • by openfrog ( 897716 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @01:03PM (#30919326)

    From the European Parliament (quoted in TFA):

    The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) will contain a new international benchmark for legal frameworks on what is termed intellectual property right enforcement. The content as known to the public is clearly legislative in character. Further, the Council confirms that ACTA includes civil enforcement and criminal law measures. Since there can not be secret objectives regarding legislation in a democracy, the principles established in the ECJ Turco case must be upheld

    From TFA:

    The inescapable conclusion is that the ACTA approach is hardly standard. Rather, it represents a major shift toward greater secrecy in the negotiation of international treaties on intellectual property in an obvious attempt to avoid public participation and scrutiny.

  • by debrain ( 29228 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @01:10PM (#30919454) Journal

    The inescapable conclusion is that the ACTA approach is hardly standard. Rather, it represents a major shift toward greater secrecy in the negotiation of international treaties on intellectual property in an obvious attempt to avoid public participation and scrutiny.

    Sir —

    As a matter of interest, ACTA represents a greater shift towards secrecy of negotiations of multilateral treaties [wikipedia.org]. Bilateral treaties have traditionally been negotiated in secret, or at least in private.

    I recall that before the 1900's most treaties (bilateral and multilateral) were negotiated -and often held- in secret, and I believe it was the post- World War I discussions that lead to open multilateral discussions. (I'd be much obliged for references on this).

  • by Hermel ( 958089 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @01:13PM (#30919494)

    I went to an ACTA public information meeting that was organized by the Swiss delegation ten days ago. They couldn't openly talk about the positions of the different countries, but from what they said, I concluded that we don't have to fear as much as the internet rumors suggest. For example, they wouldn't sign the treaty if it contained a three-strikes-provision as this would be against Swiss law. They also publish quite some information on their website, including a transparency paper that roughly describes the content of ACTA:
    https://www.ige.ch/en/legal-info/legal-areas/counterfeiting-piracy/acta.html [www.ige.ch]

    Overall, they made a good and competent impression and it also seems to me that they are open to input from the public. I'm quite proud that the Swiss government seems to handle this much more democratically and transparently than others.

  • Re:Hello? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @02:41PM (#30920984)
    Global DMCA means no more uncrippled-yet-DRM-compatible media players, meaning no more DRMed content, meaning piracy (as opposed to violating DMCA in your own home where no one will ever know) becomes the only solution. This means more pirates, more seeds, and therefore easier stealing.
  • by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @03:01PM (#30921502) Homepage Journal

    because you are dim enough not to understand that with this treaty, there are criminal punishments that are being brought by into your country's citizens, including you, WITHOUT going through the legislation process of a democratic country. basically, democracy is being bypassed, and NATIONAL criminal charges and punishment are being brought over your citizens without your parliament's approval.

    its a violation of democracy. and if you are unable to comprehend what this means, you dont deserve democracy. not that you would need it, if you didnt comprehend the meaning of this anyway.

  • by hiryuu ( 125210 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @03:08PM (#30921718)

    One of my problems with regulation is that big business actually welcomes it. Why do you suppose that is? Because they know that it's easier to shut out small businesses that might challenge their business model when you put regulatory hurdles in the marketplace. A large company will have no problem complying with whatever regulations are imposed on it.

    My experience, anecdotal as it is, offers a slightly different take. I work in a large specialty chemical company, one of the three largest globally in a relatively niche-but-widespread industry. We frequently encounter products out in the marketplace, put there by competitors who are 1/10th our size, that are flatly illegal - they may contain banned substances, or are sold without proper or warnings labels or documentation or transport containers, etc. Many times, the cost of using allowed substances (or the cost of maintaining compliance with the appropriate regulations) puts us at a competitive disadvantage.

    The reasons for this include the lack of education in the marketplace as to the law, lack of enforcement on anything but the largest and most visible participants in the market, and sometimes a complete ignorance of the law and regulatory requirements on the part of the small players. (Often, they're violating the law simply because they may not even employ anyone whose responsibilities and/or knowledge include any purview of the regulations.) If the regulations were to mysteriously vanish, we'd crush all the small players because of our purchasing power for raw materials - but with the detrimental effects to the environment, our customers, etc., that occur in the absence of regulation.

  • by Jaysyn ( 203771 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @05:31PM (#30925080) Homepage Journal

    Nice post, other than the fact that this treaty still has to be ratified by the Congress before it becomes the law of the land. And then it can still be found unconstitutional.

    Here is a little info on treaties for you:

    http://www.sweetliberty.org/issues/staterights/treaties.htm [sweetliberty.org]

    All that being said, call / write your congresscritters folks. We can kill this fucker in it's crib.

  • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Thursday January 28, 2010 @09:44AM (#30932440)

    You do realize that the ban on corporations participating in the political process also extended to organizations like the NRA, ACLU and EFF, right?

    It's worth it. The NRA, ACLU, and EFF aren't natural persons either!

Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith. - Paul Tillich, German theologian and historian