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[News] Copyright Cartel Tries to Break the Constitution

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Court Rules Part Of Copyright Act Unconstitutional

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| A year and a half ago, we were quite surprised when the 10th Circuit Court of 
| Appeals actually sided with Larry Lessig, concerning how a part of copyright 
| law that pulled foreign works out of the public domain was potentially 
| unconstitutional. This was in the "Golan case," the third of three big 
| copyright cases Lessig had championed.    


Lloyd-Webber calls for clampdown on ISPs

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| Musical theatre impresario Andrew Lloyd-Webber has railed against ISPs in the 
| House of Lords for profiting from internet piracy, and urged the government 
| to clamp down hard.  



Battle over top-secret treaty heats up

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| Next week, the Department of Foreign Affairs will conduct one of the stranger
| consultations in recent memory. Officials have invited roughly 70 stakeholder
| groups to discuss an international intellectual property treaty that the U.S.
| regards as a national security secret and about which the only substantive
| information has come from a series of unofficial leaks.
| Since then-minister David Emerson announced Canada's participation in the
| Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement negotiations in October 2007, the ACTA
| has been dogged by controversy over the near-total lack of transparency.


The ACTA Timeline (or Everything You Need To Know About ACTA But Your
Government Won't Tell You)

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| October 2007 - The United States, European Union, Japan, South Korea, Mexico,
| New Zealand, Switzerland, and Canada announce plans to negotiate ACTA.
| November 2007 - April 2008 - Governments conduct initial consultations on
| ACTA.  Australia consults in November 2007 on whether to participate.  The
| U.S. consults in February 2008.  Canada consults in April 2008.
| The results of the Canadian consultation are not released to the public but
| an Access to Information request uncovers a report on the results that note
| that "individual Canadian citizens were generally critical of Canada’s role
| in the formal negotiation of ACTA." Individual responses cited the lack of
| transparency associated with the process, the absence of evidence that a new
| treaty is needed, the exclusion of developing countries from the
| negotiations, and the concern that ACTA might undermine Canadian law.


US Wrestles With Transparency As Europeans Urge Release Of ACTA Texts

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| The parliaments of Sweden and the European Union are urging the European
| Union to make public all documentation related to a secretive global
| anti-counterfeiting treaty, while the United States has claimed the papers
| are a matter of national security and therefore a state secret. But now the
| US has decided to undertake a review of its transparency.


Obama Administration Claims Copyright Treaty Involves State Secrets?!?

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| When the Obama administration took over, there was a public stance that this
| administration was going to be more transparent -- especially with regards to
| things like Freedom of Information Act requests. The nonprofit group
| Knowledge Ecology International took that to heart and filed an FOIA request
| to get more info on ACTA. The US Trade Representative's Office responded
| denying the request, saying that the information was "classified in the
| interest of national security pursuant to Executive Order 12958." This is a
| treaty about changing copyright law, not sending missiles somewhere. To claim
| that it's a national security matter is just downright scary. As KEI points
| out, the text of the documents requested have been available to tons of
| people, including more than 30 governments around the world and lobbyists
| from the entertainment industry, pharma industry and publishing industry.


ACTA: questions in the European Parliament

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| Whether the European Parliament will be able to scrutinise ACTA -
| Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement -  is the topic of an oral question
| tabled for the March session of the European Parliament.  The question, from
| Swedish MEP Jens Holm , asks whether the final draft of  of any forthcoming
| agreement will be published by the Council before final agreement and whether
| the  European and national Parliaments will be able to scrutinise the text. A
| third question asks that the Council should not agree and rubber stamp the
| ACTA during the Parliament's recess for the elections.


ACTA: An Attack on Common Sense?

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| James Love has published some details about the current ACTA negotiations.
| Copyright ideologues have been (successfully) pushing for extreme legislation
| for several years.  Each time new legislation is passed, it is only a
| stepping stone towards even more extreme legislation.  Any reasonable person
| picked up from the 70s and dropped in the 00s would be stunned by how
| completely copyright ideology has infected the legislative process.   Indeed,
| by germinating in international fora, it subverts the process.  Copyright
| ideologues use international treaties to enforce or extend domestic
| legislation, bypassing local legislatures and then requiring them to enact
| the provisions.  Any time anyone objects about the disparity between the
| ideology and reality, they are slapped down with “International Obligations”.


More ACTA Papers Locked Away

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| In my earlier posting from November last year I had reported on the secrecy
| of the ongoing ACTA negotiations wherein also the EU is involved. Just in
| order to make clear that important issues are at stake but carefully hidden
| from the general public, here is a small compilation of papers dated after
| November 21, 2008, and known to the EU Council but not published up to now...


Leak of Classified ACTA Dox Reveals Dissent

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| If true, these are to the credit of the EU delegation, which is clearly
| trying to limit at least some of the most damaging aspects of ACTA.


Is the EU Acting Duplicitously Over ACTA?

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| It is clear that the scope of this treaty is far reaching: indeed, there is a
| clear attempt to use it to slip in very powerful clauses that would over-ride
| national and international legislation. This is simply unacceptable.
| Moreover, if it turns out that the EU is *not* fighting the above moves, it
| is nothing short of scandalous that it should be acting in such a duplicitous
| fashion over ACTA – in which case, those responsible for following this
| course should be called on to resign.


Draft copyright code disputed by both sides

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| A draft ISP Copyright Code of Practice, aimed at clarifying sanctions against
| illicit downloaders of copyright works, has been released for public comment
| — and internet industry sources are already critical of the effort.
| The 29-page document (with a further four pages of suggested alternative
| wording on procedures for disputing an accusation) was drawn up by the
| Telecommunications Carriers Forum in consultation with internet service
| providers and organisations representing copyright owners.


ACTA Proposal Would Criminalize Substantial Non-Commercial Infringement

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| With various governments still insisting that ACTA negotiations must be done
| in near total secrecy, various folks are working hard to at least shine some
| sunlight on the details. Michael Geist discusses what he's been able to piece
| through, and it's not pretty. The only good news is that everything is still
| in the early stages, and there's some disagreement among the participating
| trade reps concerning how certain things should work. However, that's about
| the only good news.


88% of YouTube is New and Original Content, Professor Says

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| If you can watch it without dropping your litigation against YouTube, Viacom,
| you need to see a doctor right away. Seriously. I hope YouTube lawyers play
| it for the judge if you insist on going to trial.
| Watch the part about the song that ended up being professionally released. It
| made the company some money. Cluestick: there is more than one business
| model, for those who can get with the new. Sooner or later, your shareholders
| will be furious with you if you don't course-correct and modernize. Yes. They
| will. Eventually, your shareholders will be YouTubers, you know. And you'll
| be what media used to be.


Canada's Private ACTA Talking Points

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| While the Canadian government has dutifully followed the U.S. line on ACTA
| with bland releases following each of the four 2008 negotiation sessions,
| newly obtained documents under the Access to Information Act reveal that the
| Canadian delegation may be speaking out on some of the public concerns that
| have been raised around transparency and the exclusion of many countries from
| the negotiation process [download here].  The documents include several
| noteworthy revelations:
| First, the documents confirm that the leaked ACTA document from last year was
| indeed the ACTA Discussion Paper distributed among governments.  At the time,
| there was some question as to whether this was an industry wish-list or a
| government document.  The Canadian documents confirm that this was a
| government document, a suggested intervention notes that "we would like to
| raise the issue of communications.  As you all know by now, the ACTA
| Discussion Paper has been leaked . . . "


Does ACTA Secrecy Violate European Law?

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| One of the most problematic aspects of the negotiations around ACTA, the
| Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, is how the entire process has been
| shrouded in secrecy. Those involved in the process try to brush off this
| complaint by saying something along the lines of "but we always negotiate
| treaties this way!" but that's hardly a good reason to do so -- especially
| when the impact of ACTA could be wide ranging.


ACTA Negotiators Hold Closed Door Meeting To Say They Need To Be More

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| One of our biggest complaints with ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade
| Agreement that was initially written by the entertainment industry, and is
| being used to effectively sneak through new copyright law requirements around
| the world (every time you hear an industry supporter claim that copyright
| laws must be changed to live up to "international obligations" you know
| they're leaving out the part where it was the same industry that wrote those
| international treaties), is that the whole thing is being negotiated in
| secret.


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.


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.

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