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[News] ACTA Looking Like Crime Against Humanity

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EU Council refuses to release secret ACTA documents

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| Heaven forbid that these consumers turn out to be also citizens that want to 
| have a say in what their buying power is being exchanged for. After all, they 
| might think that criminalising themselves in case they put a home movie of 
| their children dancing to Britney Spears' latest song on Youtube might not be 
| such a good idea. Paying higher subscription fees for Internet access so that 
| Internet Service Providers can install filtering devices resulting in lower 
| speeds and censored web access may not sound very attractive either. And 
| neither does giving patent trolls free reign, with compliments of the various 
| governments.        


People are told they live in a democracy, but this is suppression, not
democracy, and people are taught to love it as it is.

The copyrights cartel sees it as a privilege to have a monopoly and extend it
over to places like ISPs, airports, etc. all at the citizens' expense.


Anti-piracy agreement re-discusses copyright infringement liability

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| The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) has strongly
| criticised the secret negotiations concerning the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade
| Agreement (ACTA) and the package of measures for counteracting infringements
| of the rights to intangible goods considered by the EU Commission. The
| foundation considers it particularly questionable that Brussels intends to
| renegotiate the current liability regulations and exemptions for internet
| providers in the E-Commerce Directive.


ACTA of Hypocrisy

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| Basically, it's a case of the lady protesting too much: earnestly assuring us
| that it doesn't intend to bring in a shopping list of legal nasties -
| criminalisation of infringement, summary injunctions for those suspected of
| infringing, "three strikes and you're out", etc. - but convincing no one.
| [...]
| And yet, strangely, getting rid of monopolies is something that the people
| working so feverishly on ACTA simply cannot contemplate - despite all the
| economic evidence that it is the solution to so many of the the problems they
| claim to be addressing.
| Counterfeiting bad, monopolies good.


Government Keeps ACTA Consultation Results Under Wraps

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| Earlier this year, many Canadians were taken aback by reports of a secret
| trade agreement that conjured up images of iPod-searching border guards and
| tough new penalties for every day activities.  The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade
| Agreement, currently being negotiated by Canada, the United States, Japan,
| the European Union, and a handful other countries, generated sufficient
| public concern such that then-Industry Minister Jim Prentice specifically
| denied any links between the treaty and proposed new legislation.
| While the ACTA debate has largely disappeared from the public radar screen,
| the negotiations continue. Over the summer, I reported about attempts to
| establish a private consultation committee composed of industry groups that
| excluded public interest organizations.  The status of the consultation
| committee remains unknown, but my latest technology law column (Toronto Star
| version, homepage version) reports on newly obtained documents [13 MB] under
| the Access to Information Act that provide additional insights into the
| secretive nature of the negotiations as well as the results of a limited
| public consultation conducted by the Department of Foreign Affairs in the
| spring...


ACTA is a fuel for patent trolls?

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| ACTA, a multi-lateral treaty currently being discussed secretly behind closed
| doors, might export the dangerous IPRED1 directive to the United States,
| which allow patent trolls in Europe to preventively freeze bank accounts of a
| company in case of "suspicion of infringement".


ACTA = ISP liabilities, Criminal sanctions for file sharing, and cheap guns for
Patent Trolls

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| According to a leaked document authored by the European Commission DG Trade,
| the secret ACTA treaty will reopen the debate on the liabilities of Internet
| Service Providers (ISPs) over content, as well as trying to achieve criminal
| sanctions in the EU under the French Presidency Sarkozy. France has already
| criminal sanctions for file sharers, and a law project on file sharing
| and "graduated response" has been recently passed the Senate. ACTA might also
| export the dangerous IPRED1 directive to the United States, which allow
| patent trolls in Europe to preventively freeze bank accounts of a company in
| case of "suspicion of infringement".


FFII opposes stealth legislation, demands ACTA documents

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| The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) has requested 12
| secret Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) documents from the EU
| Council. Behind closed doors, the EU, US, Japan and other countries are
| negotiating ACTA. The negotiating parties plan on making the ACTA text public
| only after the parties have agreed to it.


ACTA and other monsters discussed behind Council closed doors

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| The Council is discussing measures to curb infringements of progress bars and
| others counterfeited shoes. ACTA and other monsters are discussed behind
| Council closed doors.


ACTA-ion and ReACTA-ion

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| Basically, it is an attempt to bring in yet more punitive measures against
| alleged infringements of intellectual monopolies, with less judicial
| oversight and no pesky European privacy protection.
| But the trouble with these kinds of crude instruments, cooked up in haste
| without much deep consideration of their knock-on effects, is that they can
| backfire.
| Here, for example, is a letter to the US Trade Representative from a bunch of
| big names, including Amazon, eBay and Yahoo. They have noticed a few tiny
| probs with ACTA:
| 'We appreciate your objective of protecting the intellectual property of
| American rightsholders from infringement overseas. However, in light of these
| European decisions, there is a very real possibility that an agreement that
| would require signatories to increase penalties for “counterfeiting”
| and “piracy” could be used to challenge American companies engaging in online
| practices that are entirely legal in the U.S., that bring enormous benefit to
| U.S. consumers, and that increase U.S. Exports.'
| Is this rich, or what? Here we have a trade agreement that is essentially
| trying to export the insanely aggressive US system for dealing with alleged
| infringements to the rest off the world, but when it works the other way –
| with European norms exported to the US – suddenly, that's a problem.


Research firm emails 20,000 addresses in the clear

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| Today's doofus is investor research company Digital Look. It sent a mail
| yesterday morning which revealed 22,129 email addresses.


Stop the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

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| I just heard about the proposed ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement)
| over at Free Software Daily and from the Free Software Foundation. Right now
| the governments of the United States, the European Commission, Japan,
| Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Canada, and Mexico are
| secretly negotiating this new treaty which aims to increase the enforcement
| of intellectual property laws yet again.


ACTA's Unspeakable Acts

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| Since neither the EU nor the UK government has deigned to let us peasants
| know anything about the current ACTA negotations, I was interested to see New
| Zealand's government releasing a statement...


Free Software leader slams NZ copyright

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| “New Zealand’s law does not go as far as the DMCA in the US, but it is unjust
| nonetheless,” he says.
| “DRM is nearly always the result of a conspiracy of companies to restrict the
| technology available to the public. Such conspiracy should be a crime, and
| the executives responsible for it should be sentenced to prison.”
| Stallman’s other mission here is to promote the Free Software Movement. The
| creator of the GPL licence, under which most free software is distributed, is
| at pains to correct misunderstandings of what the term “free software” means
| and to draw a distinction between it and the open source movement.


Act Now on ACTA

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| One of the things that has amazed me recently is the power of the letter –
| or, more specifically, the power of the letter when sent to an MP or MEP.
| Naively, I would have expected a deafening silence from these exalted beings
| in receipt of my ever so 'umble communications, but by and large they are
| astonishingly quick to respond, often with personal replies. From this I draw
| an important lesson: that it is always worth writing to your Mps/MEPs about
| things that matter to you.
| Against that background, over the next few weeks, I aim to present a few
| worthy causes to readers of this blog that they might like to take up with
| representatives. Remember, finding the latter – and sending stuff to them –
| is trivially easy thanks to the wonders of the WriteToThem site, so there's
| no excuse for not joining in.


Sysadmins slam ACMA web filtering study

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| The Guild also expressed concerns about the false positives encountered
| during the ACMA test. The most accurate filter tested incorrectly blocked
| three percent of requests, but when scaled up to the traffic volumes of a
| medium to large ISP this would mean over 3000 requests would be blocked every
| second.


IETF tackling P2P data traffic in Tokyo even though the same content is
available on a server in London.

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| There are a number of possible solutions: The P4P working group at Yale
| University has conducted initial testing in the Verizon and Telefonica
| networks. On the other side of the pond, an EU supported research project is
| working on a solution called Network-Aware P2P TV Application Over Wise
| Networks. In spring, Berlin computer science professor Anja Feldmann
| presented the concept of an "oracle" server, which would deliver a rating
| list of the closest P2P nodes.
| [...]
| Another SIP expert, Henning Schultzrinne of Columbia University, raised the
| possibility of giving end users more control over data traffic costs.
| Currently, users face the disheartening possibility of risking a hefty bill
| for P2P traffic. At his university, it is standard operating procedure to
| block access to users who have exceeded their 252 gigabyte monthly volume.


Why We Must React to ACTA

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| The name of the “Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement” – ACTA – is indicative
| of the overall approach being taken. First, this is a trade agreement, which
| means that it by-passes many of the more open processes for drawing up
| international agreements. This has allowed it to be discussed in secret,
| amongst a cosy club of interested parties and their chums – notably, those in
| industries based on exploiting intellectual monopolies.
| Moreover, this is an invitation-only club, which has led to the exclusion of
| most developing countries, and hence most of the world in terms of
| population. It is nothing less than cyber-imperialism by the rich countries
| that for so long have imposed their agendas on the rest of the globe, but
| which finally see their traditional hegemony threatened by the rise of new
| powers – and new ideas. ACTA is a last-ditch attempt to lock the world into
| an old and outdated mindset.



Senators Plan To Unveil New IP Bill

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| Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy and ranking member Arlen
| Specter will join Sens. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., and George Voinovich, R-Ohio, on
| Thursday in unveiling new legislation intended to boost government efforts to
| crack down on counterfeiting and piracy.


FSF organizes against Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

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| "At the moment, the campaign's mostly information," Lee says. "What we want
| to do is get more people involved who can help us build public awareness and
| also build up the information on ACTA."
| Other ways that free software users can help the FSF campaign, Lee suggests,
| include local campaigns that contact your elected representatives and
| starting grass root organizations to help create a world-wide action network.
| Lee also stresses the importance of translating information from English to
| help resistance to ACTA in non-English speaking countries.
| "It's early days for the campaign," Lee says. "It's an ongoing battle, but
| ultimately we're going to ride this through and see ACTA defeated. But we
| need people to get involved to help us do this."


ACTA threatens free software

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| 1. It makes it more difficult to distribute free software: Without file
|    sharing and P2P technologies like BitTorrent, distributing large amounts
|    of free software becomes much harder, and more expensive. BitTorrent is a
|    grassroots protocol that allows everyone to contribute to legally
|    distributing free software.
| 2. It will make it harder for users of free operating systems to play
|    media: Consumers will no longer be able to buy media without DRM -- and
|    DRMed media cannot be played with free software.
| 3. It increases the chances of getting your devices taken away: Portable
|    media players that support free formats are less common than devices which
|    support DRM, such as the iPod. Will this make them suspicious to border
|    guards?
| 4. It creates a culture of surveillance and suspicion, in which the
|    freedom that is required to produce free software is seen as dangerous and
|    threatening rather than creative, innovative, and exciting.


The right to peer inside your iPod

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| An agreement on intellectual property rights to be ratified by the G8 heads
| of government highlights conflicts between ownership and privacy


Microsoft could force your mobile into silence

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| Microsoft is developing a new technology that could force mobiles into silent
| mode, or even prevent calls from being made.
| [...]
| Phone jammers, which work in small spaces, are banned in the UK and come with
|| a hefty fine for use.


Digital copyright: it's all wrong

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| The ACTA draft is a scary document. If a treaty based on its provisions were
| adopted, it would enable any border guard, in any treaty country, to check
| any electronic device for any content that they suspect infringes copyright
| laws. They need no proof, only suspicion.
| They would be able to seize any device - laptop, iPod, DVD recorder, mobile
| phone, etc - and confiscate it or destroy anything on it, merely on
| suspicion. On the spot, no lawyers, no right of appeal, no nothing.


Embattled ACTA Negotiations Next Week In Geneva; US Sees Signing This Year

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| Criticism from NGOs
| Canadian law expert David Fewer, staff counsel at the University of Ottawa’s
| Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, told the Ottawa Citizen
| that the discussion paper was very close to a potential Christmas wish-list
| by Hollywood companies.
| Knowledge Ecology International (KEI), in an earlier statement filed to USTR,
| warned against a lack in differentiation and clearness of core terms, like
| counterfeiting, infringement or piracy. “Is Microsoft a “pirate” for
| insisting on the right to continue to infringe the z4 patents in order to use
| an infringing DRM technology to protect Microsoft software itself from
| infringement by unauthorised uses?” KEI asked in its statement.

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