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Piracy Government United States Your Rights Online

ACTA Signed By 8 of 11 Participating Countries 213

An anonymous reader writes with this news on the ACTA treaty, straight from the EFF's release on the news: "On Saturday October 1st, eight countries (the United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea) signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in Tokyo, Japan. Three of the participating countries (the European Union, Mexico, and Switzerland) have not yet signed the treaty, but have issued a joint statement affirming their intentions to sign it 'as soon as practicable.' ACTA will remain open for signature until May 2013. While the treaty's title might suggest that it deals only with counterfeit physical goods such as medicines, it is in fact far broader in scope. ACTA contains new potential obligations for Internet intermediaries, requiring them to police the Internet and their users, which in turn pose significant concerns for citizens' privacy, freedom of expression, and fair use rights." Update: 10/20 13:24 GMT by T : As several readers have pointed out, the quoted news from the EFF describes the EU as a country; I'm sure they know it's not.
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ACTA Signed By 8 of 11 Participating Countries

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  • Countries? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 20, 2011 @08:54AM (#37773064)

    The EU is not a country.

    • by TechLA ( 2482532 )
      And for that matter putting medicines as "counterfeit" items just because they're generic meds manufactured more cheap elsewhere is just stupid and shows that US is mostly interested in protecting RIAA, MPAA and the big pharma companies.
      • Actually, meds are often counterfeited [who.int].

        From the link:

        1. Products without active ingredients, 32.1%;
        2. Products with incorrect quantities of active ingredients, 20.2%;
        3. Products with wrong ingredients, 21.4%,
        4. Products with correct quantities of active ingredients but with fake packaging, 15.6%;
        5. Copies of an original product, 1%; and
        6. Products with high levels of impurities and contaminants, 8.5%.

        • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

          Define incorrect quantity. I take a drug that has 137ug of active ingredient per pill, since I take the generic they work that out by testing the active ingredient in X amount of pills and averaging. The name brand does this too but they use Y amount of pills and Y is less than X. Their tolerances are also closer, would my generic drug then fall under incorrect quantity of active ingredients?

          • by Reziac ( 43301 ) *

            I dunno, but that sounds like a levothyroxin dosage, and turns out they're all over the map, both namebrand and generic. :(

      • Counterfeit drugs are quite often fake in that they contain more, less, or an entirely different drug than advertised. They have also been known to contain toxic filler material and not practice proper sanitation in manufacturing. Have fun fighting big pharma and taking those cheap foreign drugs. I'd rather pay up and be assured I'm getting the correct medicine from a well regulated facility.
        • "Counterfeit drugs are quite often fake in that they contain more, less, or an entirely different drug than advertised."

          Or so the big pharma propoganda tells us. And yes, anything issued by the FDA or DEA falls under that umbrella.

      • Actually, even when they aren't outright counterfeit, the FDA doesn't have the resources to visit each and every product line on a regular basis. So, even if the line is legitimate there's no oversight guaranteeing that it works as advertised. On top of that generic time release medications often times have to use a different delivery system as the delivery system isn't covered by the same patent and is often times still valid.

        When you cut cost on medication you run the risk of lowering the quality of the m

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      The EU can sign on the behalf of its member countries, though it doesn't exercise that power often.

    • by mmcuh ( 1088773 )
      So, more correctly, it was signed by 8 out of 29 participating countries.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If the US is a country, the EU is a country. Both are collections of states which were once independent nations. The days of dealing seperately with individual European states are numbered. Deal with it.

    • It is 27 countries, that's more than have signed it ... ...and has a combined population larger than the USA ...

      • It's 27 completely independent nations! Now let me just add up all their populations for a comparison as if it were a single place...

    • Oh enough with this nonsense. The EU is no different than the US during the earlier period of the union when the states still retained most of their independent authority.

    • ACTA has no basis in law in the US. Though it is a treaty the Whitehouse is treating it as an executive agreement. It is also a violation of the Constitution to have signed it. It restrains Congress from making laws and treaties, which the Constitution explicitly empowers them to do.

      The IP Czar has already been caught with her pants down in collusion with the content industry. One needs to find out if her actions are illegal and/or an impropriety. This forces the other nations to comply with US law, bu

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The core problem here is that we have nation-states regulating the nationless internet.

    The world's people are no longer divided by stupid, arbitrary national borders. And yet we still have these gigantic nation-states serving to limit our freedoms.

    It is downright ironic that as we open up our capabilities, we move closer toward totalitarianism.

    What we need now is to move beyond nation-states by implementing new forms of governance, starting at the community level.

    • by Hentes ( 2461350 )

      Well, one goal of ACTA is to unify the different IP policies of nationstates.

    • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @09:36AM (#37773456)

      The world's people are no longer divided by stupid, arbitrary national borders. And yet we still have these gigantic nation-states serving to limit our freedoms.

      get this into your head: the way the world works and has always works is: the ruling class exists to have a great life and we, the 99%, exist to support them and serve them.

      anything else you learn in life is secondary to THIS golden rule.

      sorry, but its true. this 50 yr old guy has learned this much from his years out in the real world.

      all else they tell you is food coloring. the real deal is to keep the lower and middle classes 'in line' and there is NOT going to be any personal freedom if it interferes with the ruling classes.

      its how humanity is 'wired' and its always, always been this way. internet or not, people are controllers and those in power are NOT going to give in to this new peer-to-peer (person to person) method of bypassing their control.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Fned ( 43219 )

        the ruling class exists to have a great life and we, the 99%, exist to support them and serve them.

        ...and/or invent a special machine to cut their heads off.

    • The core problem is they are too many people, doing illegal and harmful stuff.

      One of the biggest problems that we face is the difficultly for a small business to get a foot hold, while the big corporations take all the goods.
      Part of the problem is those small business often only have the resources to advertise the same way that most of the conmen do. But there is enough of these people selling faulty/damaging goods only to make a quick buck that people shortly learn to ignore and tag these areas of adverti

  • Isn't there the question of whether this is unconstitutional here in America? I mean, didn't Obama sign it without it being passed by Congress?

    Please let it be that Obama is vastly abusing power out of hopes that SCOTUS will get involved.

    • Al Qaeda destroyed your constitution. Not physically, that would have been a regrettable loss of a historical artifact at most, but spiritually, which is much worse.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Al Qaeda destroyed your constitution. Not physically, that would have been a regrettable loss of a historical artifact at most, but spiritually, which is much worse.

        Nope, the americans destroyed their own constitution. They were bamboolzed into thinking that Al Quaeda was the coming on the devil on earth and that every possibile action was justified. What is the proverb is fitting to this historical situation "the road to hell is paved with good intentions " ?

        • I think "Bread and Circuses" is more appropriate. Americans couldn't care less, so long as they get to watch American Idol and don't have to see people laying dead in the street.
      • Don't kid yourself.
        The Constitution has been ignored when convenient for far longer than the last ten years.

        • by delt0r ( 999393 )
          Yea, ask anyone exercising their right to political freedom in the 60s that they like idea of communism or socialism. Good luck with that.
      • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

        GW bush and the Republicans AND Democrats destroyed it. But the destruction started back in the 50's it's just the last 10 years that sealed the deal.

        • The destruction started with the New Deal, but a few Supreme Court justices and World War II got in the way.
          • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

            And the Korean war. Vietnam also slowed it down a bit, all those dirty hippies protesting against freedom for the Vietnam people...

          • A few Supremes back in the New Deal caved, you mean?

            Or did you forget the ruling that said that growing food for your own livestock on your own land came under the Interstate Commerce Clause?

    • When did the constitution start mattering in this country? We do plenty of constitutionally questionable things all the time, so why single this out? I would be more concerned about the fact that we killed an American citizen without any due process.
    • Re:Unconstitutional? (Score:4, Informative)

      by CrimsonAvenger ( 580665 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @09:06AM (#37773182)

      Isn't there the question of whether this is unconstitutional here in America? I mean, didn't Obama sign it without it being passed by Congress?

      A Treaty signing is meaningless in the USA. A Treaty is NOT binding until it has been ratified by the Senate.

      So, no, the fact that Congress didn't approve it in advance is meaningless, since they're not supposed to.
      On the other hand, it has no force until the Senate approves it (which it will, almost certainly - there are enough Dems in bed with Hollywood to pass it on their own, even ignoring the Reps who would approve it).

      • Re:Unconstitutional? (Score:4, Informative)

        by NicBenjamin ( 2124018 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @09:51AM (#37773662)

        In general you're right.

        Unfortunately Obama is taking the position that all ACTA's provisions are compatible with existing US Law, so actual ratification is unnecessary.

        Look at it this way:
        If the Obama administration charges somebody with counterfeiting some product using the US Code the Courts are not gonna let the dude off because ACTA isn't ratified. They're gonna try the guy under the US Code. And, according to Obama, they'll convict if he actually violated ACTA because everything illegal under ACTA is illegal under the current US Code.

        The people in charge of judging whether the US is complying with the treaty will have to count the dude's conviction as compliance.

        In other words you shouldn't be worried about ACTA. Yopu should be worried that everything ACTA does is already illegal.

    • by Jawnn ( 445279 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @09:17AM (#37773276)

      Isn't there the question of whether this is unconstitutional here in America?

      You can't be serious. When it comes to corporate greed, The Constitution of the United States of America takes a back seat, pal. Corporations are citizens too (the Supreme Court has said so) and since they have all the money, they are the most important "citizens". Their unique needs outweigh those of you and me. Keep voting for candidates who are paid corporate lackeys, because the "free market" can't survive without government welfare/protection.
      [/sarcasm] It's becoming clearer every day... Obama was a wasted draft pick.

      • Keep voting for candidates who are paid corporate lackeys, because the "free market" can't survive without government welfare/protection.

        Is there a candidate who isn't a paid corporate lackey?

        It's becoming clearer every day... Obama was a wasted draft pick.

        Problem is ... the other weasel wasn't any better.

      • Corps are persons, which basically just means a single legal entity for most laws. They are most certainly not citizens.
      • As long as the GOP can't put forward a competent, qualified and sane candidate it's going to be hard for the Democrats to come up with somebody as dangerously incompetent as the ones that the GOP seeks out.

    • See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_agreement [wikipedia.org] . ACTA walks, talks, and quacks like a treaty, but the President of the US can sign it without Congressional approval.

      • The President doesn't need Congressional Approval to sign a Treaty (see Kyoto, which was signed, but not even submitted for ratification by Clinton).

        And the President can make all the "executive agreements" he likes. Without a controlling law (passed by Congress), they don't mean a hill of beans.

      • That's not a very informative link. Plus, it's President, not president, although the typo is probably more accurate at this point.

        As you might note, they are the equivalent of an executive order and are not permanent in the same way that executive orders are not permanent. It's not a real treaty and it's not something that appears anywhere in the constitution. A real treaty would be durable over successive administrations.

    • by rossdee ( 243626 )

      AFAIK the Senate has to ratify all treaties by a super majority (something like 60 or 67 senators in favour, even if the House passes it.

      (Not that it matters of course I am sure the senators are all bought and paid for by the IP industry.

    • Actually, it is not unconstitutional for Obama to sign it without the Senate ratifying it. However, it does not matter that he signed it until the Senate ratifies it. For example, Bill Clinton signed the Kyoto Protocol while he was President, yet the U.S. was never, technically, a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol because he never submitted it to the Senate for ratification (and when a bill was presented in the U.S. Senate rejecting the Kyoto Protocol the Senate passed that bill 97-0). The fact that Obama "si
  • But of course (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @08:59AM (#37773110) Homepage

    Many major corporations are in favor of ACTA, and no major corporations oppose it, so clearly, signing it is a no-brainer.

    I'd have been more surprised if any of the countries in question had had the cajones to stand up to Disney, News Corp, GE, or Time Warner.

  • by mmcuh ( 1088773 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @09:06AM (#37773184)

    They will sign it as soon as practicable? I thought that the European parliament and the Mexican one had explicitly instructed the commission and the Mexican government, respectively, not to sign ACTA in its current form

    I suppose that's just a minor detail.

    • by Hentes ( 2461350 )

      The EP only wanted disclosure of the treaty, their problem was that it was written in secret. And I believe the EU did manage to get the worst parts out of it. Of course, it's still bad.

  • by GameboyRMH ( 1153867 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .hmryobemag.> on Thursday October 20, 2011 @09:14AM (#37773244) Journal

    Alright shit's getting real. I say as a first step we start by moving everyone onto a Tor-like darknet that runs on top of the current infrastructure. Once the uber-geeks are on we can start bringing Average Joes on, the incentive will kick in for them when they can't get their football game streams, replica handbags, Chinese knockoff batteries, cheap viagra and pirated MP3s. Maybe work in an IPv4-IPv6 transition at the same time, but that's just as much work by itself.

    Then once everyone's on the darknet, start forking the infrastructure. Once the Internet becomes impossible to police there might not be a need to use a wireless mesh, everyone can have fiber to their door - not that a wireless mesh isn't also a worthy endeavor.

    See also: my old commu-net concept: http://search.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1634334&cid=32019410 [slashdot.org]

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You may be interested in metagovernment [metagovernment.org], which is developing tools toward the same end, but maybe without the file-sharing rampup.

      Along a similar line, you might also be interested in their concept of the distributed administration network [metagovernment.org], previously discussed at length on slashdot [slashdot.org]. Admittedly, that is still vaporware, but the alternate system of governance is starting up.

    • ...start forking the infrastructure.

      The regulatory powers of government allows control over any physical infrastructure, particularly an infrastructure large enough to replace the entire internet. It's more realistic to do the hard work of changing government to eliminate monstrosities like ACTA. Hint: it takes a lot more than just voting and complaining.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You mean like an Invisible Internet Protocol [i2p2.de]?

      • Something like that could be at least part of the solution. I2P has some interesting advantages over Tor, I think I'll start running some I2P routers...

    • Using technology to solve a societal problem is untidy, but in this case it's really the only option globally. It's politically feasable, but difficult, to win a campaign for internet freedom in the US or Europe.. but what about China, or large parts of the middle east, or much of Africa? Even Russia, while certainly better than it used to be, is hardly a beacon of individualism.

      It's going to take more than Tor though. Setting up a parallel physical infrastructure isn't really practical, so any effective
  • by borfast ( 752138 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @09:17AM (#37773278) Homepage
    One more unfortunate step towards 1984... :(
  • Game over (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MistrX ( 1566617 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @09:28AM (#37773378)

    Well people, the age of your relative freedom is definitely over when this is ratified.

    Welcome to the neo dark age. This time not ruled by the church but by Megacorp & co that is called the western world.

  • I know it says EU and Switzerland, but what about the remaining European countries? Are they bound by some other trade agreement to the ACTA if the EU signs it?
  • For something this big, isn't it supposed to be standard procedure to have a vote? I mean, if I thought the Canadian government was stupid enough to sign it in the first place, I would have protested it. I guess that goes to show that you should never trust your own government.
  • Um, I know the DECLARED purpose of ACTA is to curb piracy and counterfeiting, but really, this is about your rights on-line and corporate rule. Piracy is just incidental.

  • So what are the actual problems remaining with ACTA as it is signed?

  • by Quila ( 201335 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @10:05AM (#37773924)

    Now we know why Obama became a "constitutional scholar," to be able to figure out more ways around it when he came to power.

Philosophy: A route of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing. -- Ambrose Bierce