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FSF Starts Anti-ACTA Campaign 173

judgecorp writes "Free Software Foundation president Richard Stallman has said in a blog post that the ACTA file-sharing proposals punish users unfairly. He wrote, 'Any time there is a proposal to change things for the worse, the obvious way to oppose it is to campaign for the status quo. To campaign for the status quo suggests the approach of singing its praises; thus, praising WIPO is a natural way to highlight how ACTA is a step for the worse. However, where there have been previous changes for the worse, lauding the status quo tends to legitimize them. The past 20 years have seen global waves of harmful changes in copyright law — some promoted by WIPO. To confront a further assault by presenting the status quo as ideal means we stop fighting to reverse them. It means that our adversaries need only propose a further affront to our rights to gain our acceptance of their last affront. Instead of making the status quo our ideal, we should demand positive changes to recover freedoms already lost.' The FSF has launched a petition against the ACTA proposals."
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FSF Starts Anti-ACTA Campaign

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  • Wow, a petition. (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 17, 2010 @12:14PM (#32603376)

    Seriously, what the fuck is a mere petition going to do? Well, it'll get disregarded and thrown out, most likely.

  • by DeadDecoy ( 877617 ) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @12:31PM (#32603570)
    My enthusiasm kinda dwindles when I saw that the article amounted to a simple petition. Petitions, especially internet ones, are just a way for signees to feel good about themselves while making minimal effort. Kinda like complaining on /. will change the world :P. It'd be interesting if there a more concerted effort behind the petition like showing congress critters opposed to ACTA (so we could vote for them) or raising money to actually lobby against it. Corporations have realized that lobbying, or being active in government helps bend the rules to their favor, so why can't free software institutions do so either? I'm just hoping that this petition doesn't lead to a dead end.
  • by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @12:34PM (#32603620)

    Richard, I love ya and everything you've done for the open source community, just want that clear. Now what the sam hell are you doing telling us to "recover" our freedoms? You don't recover freedom -- you fight for it. You disobey, you protest, you drum up support, tear down walls, and throw wrenches in the establishment. Freedom isn't free, and you won't get it by firing off strongly worded letters.

    Look at it from the other side -- the ACTA is about trying to make a global police framework to try and stop file sharinng. Let them pass it. Let the government sink billions upon billions tryinng to solve the problem, while we come up with ever more clever ways to evade detection, and eat away at their bottom lines. The ACTA is about moving the costs from an industry to a global support group of governments. Now is the time to maximize damage -- gut their bank accounts, make free copies pervasive.

    Slip how-to manuals into people's mailboxes, leave CDs on the bus with instructions on how to get stuff for free, build and distribute new tools that are harder to track, use stronger encryption, and frustrate traffic analysis efforts. Bury these fuckers to the point where for every dollar they can recover through this kind of legislation they have to pay five more. Keep the hurt machine running at full power.

    That's how you defeat the ACTA and protect your freedoms -- by going on the offensive. If they have no rules, neither should we. They want to hand this mess over to the government and we should be only too happy to obliege them -- let's make it cost more than the combined budget of all of law enforcement to recover what little cash they're getting back now. Eventually the costs for this will make it a public spectacle and people will question why we're diverting so much money and throwing all these people in jail and ruining their lives and the general public will finally ask the question it should have been asking years ago:

    Is it worth it?

  • let ACTA pass (Score:5, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <> on Thursday June 17, 2010 @12:37PM (#32603654) Homepage Journal

    its a farce

    all of copyright law is based on a dead technological era. well, copyright law as applied to agreements between creators, say: the company that films the adaptation of harry potter and jk rowlings, for example, is still valid, because the parties in the agreement are finite

    but copyright law as applied to end consumers is completely and utterly unenforceable. its not like you need to have a vinyl printing plant or a tape duplicator to spread media anymore. you simply need to be able to point and click. additionally, its completely international, and completely without economics: the cost to send 100,000 copies of lady gaga to johannesburg, novosibirsk, cartagena, etc is exactly the same as sending one copy of lady gaga across town. your agerage 15 year old today has more publishing power worldwide than bertelsmann, time warner, etc., had in 1990. this really means something, and what it means is: copyright law (as applied to end consumers), is dead, and unenforceable

    so let them make ACTA as draconian as the morons want. who fucking cares? 10,000 lawyers in western countries versus 10 million media hungry, technologically savvy and, most importantly, POOR teenagers, worldwide, is no contest. of course i understand the EFF, they are protesting on the matter of principle. and to this extent, they should protest, and you should join them. but remember who we are dealing with here: the media industry. a bunch of sociopathic assholes. principles don't matter to them, so the EFF won't sway them. so i say: go ahead register your principled objections, to clear your conscience, but do not grow disheartened by a lack of response from the lizards. rejoice in the fact the lizards are at an end game, and are dying out, and that there ridiculous ACTA is a useless folly

    its called disruptive technology for a reason: it disrupts the status quo. the printing press did away with monarchies, the gun did way with the feudal caste system, the automobile created suburbia, the nuclear bomb did away with world wars, etc.: technology changes society and the law. the law and society do not change technology. well, that's never stopped one shortsighted asshole after another from trying, but their efforts are always futile and pointless, just causing a lot of temporary pain for innocent bystanders. in the end, none of their posturing matters: the internet will assimilate the media industry, resistance is futile

    the internet has rendered copyright law as applied to end consumers null and void, despiter all the believers to the contrary, despite all the power they hold. its a fait accompli

    the media industry's job now is to embrace its obsolescence. of course, it goes down kicking and screaming instead. but again, who fucking cares? let them pass the most draconian ACTA anyone can imagine in their worst nightmares. UNENFORCEABLE. END OF STORY

    RIP, vinyl record era copyright law. i'm certain you will exist on the books for a long time to come. but in terms of being an enforceable concept on end consumers in an internet-using society, you're toast

  • Same question... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by garyisabusyguy ( 732330 ) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @12:37PM (#32603660)

    that I asked myself when I read the GPL. why the FUCK doesn't Stallman communicate directly and get away from the obsufcated communication style that he uses.

    People that write code like RMS communicates are widely hated by the poor fools that try to maintain the pile of spaghetti.

  • by cpghost ( 719344 ) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @12:38PM (#32603680) Homepage

    Essentially the US is letting other countries write the laws for us.

    Actually, the US is misusing ACTA to change its own laws. All those draconian steps in ACTA were promoted and forced through by nothing less than the US Government, to protect what is essentially an economy that relies increasingly on immaterial goods after having outsourced manufacturing to China and elsewhere. Other ACTA participants are bearing the pressure of the US here, rather than vice-versa.

  • by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @12:51PM (#32603838)

    They essentially only want copyright to prohibit making money by copying, etc., the works of others.

    That sure sounds reasonable to me.

  • "war on drugs", eh (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 17, 2010 @12:53PM (#32603858)

    Your idea is proved wrong every day in the war on drugs: costs more $ and humanity every day, still there are drugs everywhere you care to look.

    They won't stop no matter the costs.

  • by lalena ( 1221394 ) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @12:55PM (#32603888) Homepage

    requires countries to prohibit software that can break Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), also known as digital handcuffs

    So if someone has a library of DRM protected Flash videos and seeks to convert them to some new HTML5 format, they are not allowed to use a simple conversion tool to convert their entire video library. They are instead required to find the original DRM-free source of each video - if it exists?

  • by Bill_the_Engineer ( 772575 ) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @01:02PM (#32603990)

    Of course, RMS wants all software to be free.

    I don't always agree with his politics but I do share his concerns.

    For example from the TFA:

    “ACTA threatens, in a disguised way, to punish Internet users with disconnection if they are accused of sharing, and requires countries to prohibit software that can break Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), also known as digital handcuffs,” said Stallman.

    I agree that being accused of sharing is not enough to justify disconnection.

    However if they are convicted of file sharing then disconnection can be an acceptable punishment though I think it's silly and unenforceable. I'm also against mandatory sentencing guidelines, because they don't take circumstances into account.

    Software that break DRM is tool and can be used for legal reasons too. What if I wanted to run a program that I purchased but can't because my netbook doesn't have a CD-ROM drive? I'm not going to share my program so why should I be treated as a criminal?

    Where we differ:

    I believe that someone who knowingly share a copyrighted file(s) without the consent of the creator has committed copyright infringement and is liable for any punishment related to that infraction (US has laws that make it criminal as well as civil) .

    It's still copyright infringement and copyright laws are only as good as the enforcement. I also believe that the current laws are good enough and every attempt "strengthen" them involves taking rights away from the consumer. Take the DRM removal software for example. If I used the software and made the resulting broken DRM file available to others, I am already breaking copyright law. However, if I use it on software that I have a valid EULA for (because I actually paid for it) and keep it to myself then this should remain legal. Also, if I use the DRM to "steal" services by copying files that I did not rightfully purchase then there are already laws against that too.

    The corporations are frustrated that they can't stem the tide of piracy and therefore want to make the tools that make it possible illegal. I say too bad for them. They already proven they can find violators so why go after a tool?

    Well I guess RMS and I don't differ that much.

  • by Eil ( 82413 ) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @01:10PM (#32604098) Homepage Journal

    There's no certainty that all the lobbying and writing campaigns in the world will stop ACTA, but sitting back and just complaining about it on the Internet guarantees the eventual erosion of all your personal rights.

    (Including sitting back and complaining about things on the Internet.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 17, 2010 @01:12PM (#32604136)

    You seem to forget that the money of our government is ours.

    I don't want to sit back and then fight back.

    I'm gonna fight for my freedom before and after they take it away from me.

  • by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @01:24PM (#32604278)

    that I asked myself when I read the GPL. why the FUCK doesn't Stallman communicate directly and get away from the obsufcated communication style that he uses.

    If the GPL causes you so much distress, I suggest you go try to read a typical proprietary EULA. Then maybe that will cause your head to explode and we'll all be better off.

  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @02:02PM (#32604674) Journal

    I've written letters to my elected representatives. They are replied to with a form letter, and probably not even read by anyone other than an intern. If you want them to actually pay attention, then go and speak to them in person.

  • by mandelbr0t ( 1015855 ) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @02:06PM (#32604720) Journal

    The entertainment industry does not have either a) a right to exist or b) a right to make money. Agreements such as ACTA and laws like the DMCA provide those rights. The MAFIAA wants to have it both ways: it's a free market when it comes to pricing, competition and business practices, but it's draconian laws when it comes to finding ways to support it's aging business model, and force people to pay when there are better alternatives available.

    The guilt card about lack of employment for software and media producers is priceless. Not to mention that the business value of "production" versus "creation" is questionable. Never mind how many of those in Mr. Stallman's world have lost their jobs to precisely the unethical business practices he rails against. Like me, they will have to find ways of adapting to a world with changing ideas. Or, like you say, maybe they can just go on welfare. I, for one, won't pity them, for none was shown to me.

  • by hitmark ( 640295 ) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @02:15PM (#32604818) Journal

    i suspect we will see each party blame the other, and if one looked closer, find the same lobbying entities behind them both.

    its the age old problem of the sick leader allowing the soothsayer to run the show from behind the throne.

  • by b4dc0d3r ( 1268512 ) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @02:28PM (#32604982)

    I appreciate your passion, but you're missing one point. These treaties will push the burden of enforcement from the copyright holder more onto the governments. So part of what you're suggesting is to waste government money, taxpayer money. Civil disobedience is necessary in many cases, but we have to be preventative as well, if nothing else so that we can say "we told you so".

    The message to future elections has to be "You wasted our money and we tried to stop you, and we hate you for it." Hurt the machine, but avoid hurting yourself if possible. At some point we will be the machine, but we're not there yet.

  • by marcosdumay ( 620877 ) <> on Thursday June 17, 2010 @03:41PM (#32605872) Homepage Journal
    Was it a rethorical question? That is exactly so. People with DRMed music that they can play on one portable player also can't turn it into music that would play on another player after they buy another device, people that get DRMed government documents that are proof of a crime can't (by that proposal, the constitution of most places will disagree) publish that document in a format that the public or a judge will be able to read, and so on.
  • by Bigjeff5 ( 1143585 ) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @05:06PM (#32606788)

    The real question is, how is the first goddamn post redundant? Idiot mods.

    Anyway, I'll help you out.

    He says normally you resist bad policy by promoting how good things are without it.

    This, however, obviously implies that things are good without it.

    If things are bad and getting worse, promoting the bad in favor of something worse legitimizes the bad. All policy makers need to do to legitimize bad policy then is to simply introduce worse policy, which gets people to accept the bad in favor of something worse.

    He's basically saying "Don't say 'look how good things are now, don't destroy it with new restrictions', say 'you ass-holes have been destroying our freedom for 50 years, cut it the hell out!'". In a nutshell.

    It's worth noting that this is exactly what happens in politics anytime you hear someone say "Well, he's better than the alternative".

    I think the little prick has a really good point here.

  • by CCarrot ( 1562079 ) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @05:24PM (#32606986)

    Eventually the costs for this will make it a public spectacle and people will question why we're diverting so much money and throwing all these people in jail and ruining their lives and the general public will finally ask the question it should have been asking years ago: Is it worth it?

    Yess...because that has worked so very well in the so-called "War on Drugs", no?

    Or, even more on point, the "War on Smoking" which is *actually* legal (really, it is!), but since a minority of people get right stuffed when they see (or hear or smell or visualize) others doing it, smokers have been dehumanized to the point that, in some places, they can't even stand in the middle of an open park to indulge their habit. Exactly how many people have been 'saved' from the 'effects' of second hand smoke as a result? Versus how much has been spent on legislation, lobbying, advertising, warnings, focus groups, junk science studies, enforcement, etc., etc..?

    If it's a cause, then there's no reasoning with people sometimes...especially if there's money to be made by the people seeking the legislation. I'm not talking the artists here, since they'll probably wind up paying more than anyone, unfortunately. I'm talking about the lawyers and snoops who will make a mint poking their noses into people's media on behalf of ACTA. The lawyers *always* get paid.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 17, 2010 @05:35PM (#32607112)

    My guess is that it is actually neither. What's really happening is that highly interested parties with a shitload of money are hiring people in all involved countries (especially the US and the EU, but almost certainly in others as well) to manipulate politicians into doing their bidding.

  • by complacence ( 214847 ) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @08:34PM (#32608584)
    Calling it utopian is calling improvement impossible. Calling improvement impossible makes improvement more unlikely.
  • by Burz ( 138833 ) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @09:37PM (#32608916) Homepage Journal

    I agree with your first paragraph about resistance.

    But extra resistance for an unnecessary conflict is where I draw the line. Once the govt does start sinking billions into the new policies, there will be an investment in them that makes them entrenched. What's more, the govt isn't some distant enemy... they are right here using OUR resources for this shit.

    So the attitude of "who cares what they do, we'll eventually win" I do not agree with. Its encouraging the waste of money, resources, trust and civility.

    The best course is to prevent something like ACTA from being adopted in the first place.

  • Re:let ACTA pass (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Burz ( 138833 ) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @09:49PM (#32608986) Homepage Journal

    Please see my response to girlintraining here: []

    You could make the same 'unenforceable' case about drugs (they can be grown or synthesized easily at home using todays technology), but the reality is that the War On Drugs was a pretext for putting inner cities under a sort of martial law. The result is that in the USA the police have been militarized and the prison system has grown to proportions that are unprecedented in human history.

    So I suggest a more preventative approach to the problem.

  • Um, no (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Burz ( 138833 ) on Friday June 18, 2010 @06:31AM (#32611106) Homepage Journal

    There's is no "drugs are harmless routine" coming from me, that's for sure.

    YOU are the moron if you cannot distinguish between a society that copes with illegal substances as a matter of routine police work, and one that increasingly imposes martial-law style tactics on its own population (you know, the WAR in the "War On Drugs").

    What ACTA represents is a possible "War On Piracy" which could reinforce police state patterns in this and many other countries. That's a road we should just not go down.

Never say you know a man until you have divided an inheritance with him.