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Making Sense of ACTA 155

Hodejo1 writes "This past week Guadalajara, Mexico hosted the 7th secret meeting of ACTA proponents who continue to ignore demands worldwide to open the debate to the public. Piecing together official and leaked documents from various global sources, Michael Geist has coalesced it all into a five part ACTA Guide that offers structured insight into what these talks might foist upon the populace at large. 'Questions about ACTA typically follow a familiar pattern — what is it (Part One of the ACTA Guide listing the timeline of talks), do you have evidence (Part Two), why is this secret (Part Three), followed by what would ACTA do to my country's laws (Part Four)? Countering the momentum behind ACTA will require many to speak out" (Part Five).'"
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Making Sense of ACTA

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  • Fuck ACTA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by haderytn ( 1232484 ) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @02:20PM (#30972542)
    That is all.
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @02:24PM (#30972580)

    Let's be level headed here for a moment. Let's assume for a moment ACTA was a "fair" agreement. Designed to give all affected parties a fair share of the cake. Even then, it would be met with incredible resistance once it hits the fan. Why? Because it's kept secret. You design a contract that will affect me but I don't get to read it until after it is signed. How in the world could I not resist it with all the force I could possibly have?

    Also, they will soon notice that all the secrecy around it only makes it more interesting. If ACTA was published and discussed in plain view, it would soon be drowned in the noise of everyday politics. A few activists would care and as usual, nobody would listen to them. Do you think it would be on /.'s frontpage every other day if it was public? This way, it's kept in our minds, fresh and looming, a secret deal that will affect us but we don't get to see it. Can you imagine anything more interesting?

    Of course (please put on your tinfoil hats now), it could all be a gigantic plot to keep our interest on it so we overlook something else. But generally, if ACTA is supposed to become reality some day, the whole secrecy around it will ensure that every government will have to fight an uphill battle to get it ratified and codified and every single step will be monitored closely and reported widely, simply because ACTA got that much limelight. Due to its secrecy.

  • Re:No Jokes Here (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @02:28PM (#30972626)

    Batman is a comic, you know that I hope? Because in reality, someone like Batman would be hunted by the executive worse than any criminal you could imagine. No country on this planet lets a private citizen crack the force monopoly.

    Well, not without a reasonable kickback.

  • by Sique ( 173459 ) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @02:33PM (#30972672) Homepage

    how it would be constitutional to enact laws that were developed behind closed doors by private interests?

    How would it not? There is a parliament, whose members are elected by the public, and whose task is it, to enact laws. That's how it is put down in the Constitution. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that every proposed law has to be published first and being discussed by the public. That's what the debates in the parliament are for.

  • Re:Fuck ACTA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by couchslug ( 175151 ) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @02:37PM (#30972728)

    Meetings like ACTA conspiracy (any such hidden meeting certainly qualifies!) are proof Timothy McVeigh got the wrong building.

    I don't advocate what he did, but as the proponents of secret government become more and more abusive they are going to provoke the fringe...first.

  • Re:Fuck ACTA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968.gmail@com> on Sunday January 31, 2010 @02:56PM (#30972938) Journal

    The problem with that theory is how can you kill that which is not alive? And it is pretty obvious to anyone with a brain that We, The People no longer have any say in the government at all (taxation without representation) thanks to bribery being legal and corporations being labeled "really rich people" by the courts, along with speech equaling money, thus insuring your vote and voice is worthless as any corp can simply come along after the election with a checkbook and take over.

    Sadly short of armed revolution (The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants) I just don't see things ever getting any better, and more likely will get far worse. At least China and India have strong nationalistic streaks and tend to put their own people first, whereas our traitors will happily sell us out to foriegn multinationals for 30 pieces of silver. I predict we will continue to be flooded by H1-Bs and illegals even as our unemployment continues to climb past 20% (the numbers the fed uses is a lie, as they no longer count those whose benefits run out or who have given up for lack of work in their area) while special interests will continue to feed like hogs at the government trough. Once the fed can no longer print phoney money and the whole Ponzi scheme collapses we will get to watch as they return to their home countries and leave the corpse of the USA to rot.

    I am only glad my grandfather who fought in WWII isn't alive to see how pathetic and corrupt our government has become. You could probably already power the entire south with the revolutions the man is spinning in his grave at how far his once great country has fallen. Sadly there is simply no way to compete with income tax dodging multinationals who have more money than most third world nations.

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @02:57PM (#30972958)

    That seems pretty reasonable. So why don't they negotiate the terms out in the open?

    I suspect that there's more to it than just this. Someone is trying to slip some funny language into the agreement. Often, when negotiating contract terms, one can deduce where such language is being injected into the document by observing how dearly one party has become attached to some particular wording or content. And in finding these particular terms, one can guess at what sort of hidden agendas the various parties might have.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 31, 2010 @03:03PM (#30973022)

    You design a contract that will affect me but I don't get to read it until after it is signed.

    If its passed I will simply use every means at my disposal to ignore it.

    Do you think it would be on /.'s frontpage every other day if it was public?

    So what? Its on the front page of a half-dead geek website every other day. How often is it mentioned on the cover of a
    national paper? How often is it mentioned on a news channel on TV? What percentage of the population has even heard of
    ACTA? Maybe 5%? How many care? 1%?

    But generally, if ACTA is supposed to become reality some day, the whole secrecy around it will ensure that every
    government will have to fight an uphill battle to get it ratified and codified and every single step will be monitored
    closely and reported widely, simply because ACTA got that much limelight

    I think you're seriously overestimating the power of the people. Your lobbying dollars will never equal the amount the
    RIAA/MPAA/BSA members and others can generate. The public are mostly weak-willed sheep who gladly swallow every word of
    the crap they're fed by the media. They are easily distracted and change their minds based on the slightest whim or on
    what they believe is popular opinion. The people behind ACTA are totally single-minded in their desire to increase their
    power, influence and profits.

    Dont get me wrong.. I wish you were right but the simple fact is that most people just dont care.

  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @03:11PM (#30973096) Homepage Journal

    That won't work. The 'content' just isn't that critical and the natural retaliation to it being too expensive suggests itself!

    Instead of the stick, I suspect they'll offer the carrot under the table to legislators who agree to betray their country, just like always.

  • by Shadow of Eternity ( 795165 ) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @03:14PM (#30973110)

    Politicians haven't been held responsible for this kind of shit ever since they realised the full extent to which they could abuse redistricting.

  • by Fjandr ( 66656 ) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @03:32PM (#30973286) Homepage Journal
    Quite easily. There is no requirement for public debate or notice in passing legislation or signing treaties. It is assumed that people will vote out politicians who do such things. The fact that there are enough of them currently elected that this is even a possibility shows that US citizens get exactly the government they want and deserve. Otherwise, we wouldn't have as many slimy people in office.

    Actually, the question above is exactly why this is a problem: US citizens have no idea how their government works in practice, let alone how it should work in theory.
  • ignore it

    technology has gotten to the point that piracy is simply the best distribution model around, for creators and consumers (oh, you thought the law was supposed to protect creators? it protects distributors: look at the contracts distributors sign with creators and tell me who really benefits). consumers get bounty, creators get ancillary revenue streams and distributors die. end of story

    let them pass any law they want. no really: what is the value of an unenforceable law? people are getting upset about acta, but i really have to ask everyone: acta may sound diabolical and severe, but its toothless: there's no enforcement of it possible. sure, they may get the occasional grandmother with an unsecured router or a soccer mom who's kids friends take advantage of her hospitality, but that's going to stop technological progress?

    let them fund stables of tens of thousands of lawyers and put behind them far reaching draconian laws. whoop de friggin doo. tens of millions of media hungry, technologically savvy and POOR teenagers has them all beat, and then some. the contest is a joke, the laws mean nothing, the game is over: technological progress wins, distributors die

    we are simply living in a transition period in which we must suffer the bluster of morons from another media era who simply don't get the fundamental changes taking place around them

  • by Nefarious Wheel ( 628136 ) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @04:27PM (#30973936) Journal

    if true i do hope that everyone calls that bluff. that way American content will finally die the death that it needs to. I don't know about you but all the good stuff is filmed in other countries anyways.

    You know, I remember a story my Father used to tell me about why there weren't any new brick buildings in Southern California (this was long before the Sylmar earthquake). He drove a concrete mixer, and his attitudes were probably colored by it - he said "There are no more brick houses because the unions priced themselves out of the market."

    Now I'm not trying to bash the unions here, they have their place - but the fact is, raise the price too high for a quality product and buyers will re-define their concept of what they like. And if the interest moves away from the traditional stuff, the quality will too. Fashions will get redefined.

    My point is that the content of media controlled by ACTA and other attempts at legitimatizing RIAA and MPAA enforcers will have the effect of more and more music and video coming from indie sources. Good stuff, too. Put too tight a control on your contributions and the world will pass you by.

  • Re:Fuck ACTA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dissy ( 172727 ) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @04:32PM (#30973986)

    Meetings like ACTA conspiracy (any such hidden meeting certainly qualifies!) are proof Timothy McVeigh got the wrong building.

    I don't advocate what he did, but as the proponents of secret government become more and more abusive they are going to provoke the fringe...first.

    Can't feel too bad for them. If they want people to take their arguments the legal route, they perhaps shouldn't outlaw all the legal routes.

    Close off every possible method of counter except violence, and people will not hesitate to use what you left them.

  • Re:Fuck ACTA (Score:2, Insightful)

    by freakinangry ( 991056 ) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @05:36PM (#30974654)
    It's sad to see the result that is this country after so many have fought for what is truly a dream and nothing else. I'm a foreigner having lived in the US for almost my entire life, and seeing the unfortunate direction on so many different levels that this country is speeding towards has me looking elsewhere for relief, meaning moving out of the US. I hope that people one day wake up and take action to correct the country's course, but it doesn't seem to be likely. All empires come to an end.
  • by misexistentialist ( 1537887 ) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @05:42PM (#30974694)
    I'd like to think your right, but once people start having their internet connections cut off (maybe even having their "internet passports" revoked) piracy will likely revert to a much more limited community. Hopefully people will read and fuck more, but they will probably just watch more TV.
  • Re:Fuck ACTA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 31, 2010 @05:43PM (#30974700)
    Forget the politicians. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice ... you don't. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own, and control the corporations. They've long since bought, and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the state houses, the city halls, they got the judges in their back pockets and they own all the big media companies, so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear. They got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying ... lobbying, to get what they want ... Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else, but I'll tell you what they don't want ... they don't want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don't want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. They're not interested in that ... that doesn't help them. That's against their interests. That's right. They don't want people who are smart enough to sit around a kitchen table and think about how badly they're getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fucking years ago. They don't want that. You know what they want? They want obedient workers ... Obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork. And just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime and vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it, and now they're coming for your Social Security money. They want your fucking retirement money. They want it back so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street, and you know something? They'll get it ... they'll get it all from you sooner or later cause they own this fucking place. It's a big club and you ain't in it. You and I are not in The big club. By the way, it's the same big club they use to beat you over the head with all day long when they tell you what to believe. All day long beating you over the head with their media telling you what to believe, what to think and what to buy. The table has tilted folks. The game is rigged and nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care. Good honest hard-working people ... white collar, blue collar it doesn't matter what color shirt you have on. Good honest hard-working people continue, these are people of modest means ... continue to elect these rich cocksuckers who don't give a fuck about you. They don't give a fuck about you ... they don't give a fuck about you. They don't care about you at all ... at all ... at all, and nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care. That's what the owners count on. The fact that Americans will probably remain wilfully ignorant of the big red, white and blue dick that's being jammed up their assholes everyday, because the owners of this country know the truth. It's called the American Dream cause you have to be asleep to believe it... -- George Carlin
  • by syousef ( 465911 ) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @05:45PM (#30974726) Journal

    let them pass any law they want. no really: what is the value of an unenforceable law?

    It's not unenforceable. The tech can be turned against it's users. Imagine a closed Internet where every communication, every URL and every download is logged. We're not that far off such a thing. So people stop using the net and start copying files. What do you think "trusted" computing is about. There will be a day when hard drives start dobbing their owners in. Imagine mass round ups of teenagers that are guilty until proven innocent and go to jail for years over copyright infringement. It's all possible if no one stands up to this madness.

  • Re:No Jokes Here (Score:3, Insightful)

    by martas ( 1439879 ) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @06:04PM (#30974888)
    that's not batman, that's greed. there's a slight difference.
  • by martas ( 1439879 ) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @06:05PM (#30974910)
    i agree that the possibility exists, and that in itself scares the shit out of me.
  • by selven ( 1556643 ) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @06:32PM (#30975130)

    Nobody is worried about the future of distributing content. There will always be crackers, and the effort of one is enough to liberate some piece of content for everyone. What we're worried about is that the *AA will destroy the internet trying.

  • by Neoprofin ( 871029 ) <neoprofin@hot[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Sunday January 31, 2010 @06:52PM (#30975328)
    I have the discussion with my German girlfriend (gasp, sorry, "guy I know") when she derides American cultural imperialism and then sits down to watch the Simpsons or True Blood. If you wish America would stop infecting the world stop buying the DVDs!
  • Re:Fuck ACTA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by martas ( 1439879 ) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @08:00PM (#30976006)
    well yes, that much i agree with - american workers are "protected" by many laws (e.g. minimal wage, workplace conditions, etc) that make them much less attractive to an employer than illegals/quasi-slave labor in developing countries. though it's not obvious to me how this problem can be solved. how can you stop outsourcing without severely damaging the competitiveness of american companies? how do you stop illegal immigration without some very disturbing campaigns reminiscent of witch-hunts? i got nothin'.
  • by ldrydenb ( 1316047 ) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @10:44PM (#30977016)

    Yes, just as Disney used the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy to glamorise piracy & promote their pro-sharing, anti-copyright agenda.

    Oh, wait...

  • Re:Fuck ACTA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by IndustrialComplex ( 975015 ) on Monday February 01, 2010 @08:21AM (#30979856)

    The Geneva Convention even specifies the status of non-uniformed combatants; they have no rights and may be executed on the spot. I'd say in light of that, Guantanamo detainees have been treated with far more compassion than they legally deserve. After a thorough no-holds-barred interrogation, when I was certain they were of no more intelligence value, all I'd give them is a blindfold and a cigarette

    It's heartening to know that you hold yourself to such high moral standards.

There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom. -- Robert Millikan, Nobel Prize in Physics, 1923