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Adding Up the Explanations For ACTA's "Shameful Secret" 165

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the trying-to-pull-a-fast-one dept.
Several sources are reporting on a Google event this week that attempted to bring some transparency to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) that has so far been treated like a "shameful secret." Unfortunately, not many concrete details were uncovered, so Ars tried to lay out why there has been so much secrecy, especially from an administration that has been preaching transparency. "The reason for that was obvious: there's little of substance that's known about the treaty, and those lawyers in the room and on the panel who had seen one small part of it were under a nondisclosure agreement. In most contexts, the lack of any hard information might lead to a discussion of mind-numbing generality and irrelevance, but this transparency talk was quite fascinating—in large part because one of the most influential copyright lobbyists in Washington was on the panel attempting to make his case. [...] [MPAA/RIAA Champion Steven] Metalitz took on three other panelists and a moderator, all of whom were less than sympathetic to his positions, and he made the lengthiest case for both ACTA and its secrecy that we have ever heard. It was also surprisingly unconvincing."
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Adding Up the Explanations For ACTA's "Shameful Secret"

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  • Like healthcare (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I think we can all agree that this is too important to negotiate the details in public.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Hairy1 (180056)

      It is accepted scientific fact that this is too important to negotiate the details in public.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Step 1: Every hand offered to the Republicans is savagely bitten
      Step 2: Every attempt to negotiate results in the bill being crapped in, and zero or nearly-zero Republican votes
      Step 3: Wake up and realize "why the hell were we trying to include them in a process they've openly claimed they want to poison by any means possible?"
      Step 4: Get things done

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Opportunist (166417)

      Well, when it comes to nationalized healthcare, at least there are countries where you can point to and say "look, that's what it's gonna be like".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 15, 2010 @05:32PM (#30784998)

    Why the hell a trade treaty is secret. From anyone... let alone the people of the countrys involved in the agreement.

    If you can't tell people what's in it. It's most likely not a good thing and we'd like to hang you for it.

    • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Friday January 15, 2010 @06:34PM (#30785686)

      I'm sure at some point the RIAA/MPAA will tell us that it will compromise national security if they tell what's being negotiated. After that, they will claim it's to protect children, because a lot of kiddy porn is exchanged at these secret meetings.

      • You joke, but... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by langelgjm (860756)
        You joke, but the MPAA has actually called for the negotiations to be more transparent, if only to avoid the negative attention garnered by the current total lack of transparency.
    • by DarkOx (621550)

      That is the problem, we won't hang them for doing it. We went back to being sheep the moment Washington succeed in putting down the Whiskey Rebellion. It really is time we organize again, stand together, refuse to comply with their New World Order crap, and violently oppose those who would make us comply.

      Remember the revolution was not fought successfuly because we played by the Brits rules of battle field warfare. We hid in trees and shot first at the officers, we burned their homes and encampments on C

    • There are actually good reasons to keep drafts of a trade treaty secret, or at least to keep Congress from meddling too much in the negotiation of a trade treaty (and one way to accomplish that is secrecy). Often a trade treaty might involve lowering tariffs or other barriers to trade, which result in a net economic benefit to the countries involved as a whole. However, they also hurt specific businesses or industries, which have a strong incentive to mobilize and lobby against lowering tariffs (see, e.g.,

      • I actually even disagree that trade agreements should be negotiated in secrecy. Especially when certain businesses or individuals are going to be disadvantaged by it, they should indeed be heard. Else what you get will be the result of egoistic negotiations that will most likely benefit the trade partners but could do much more damage to the rest of the economy. And that is something I can't see the general benefit of. If two parties negotiate, representing 1% of the businesses affected, and they have a ben

        • by langelgjm (860756)

          Since the negotiators are theoretically supposed to represent the sum of interests in their entire countries, it's (in theory) supposed to be the other way around - they negotiate based on what's best for the 99%, often at the expense of the 1%.

          Also, what sometimes happens is that Congress turns over "trade promotion authority" to the President that allows him to negotiate a trade deal quietly, then present it as a whole to Congress. In this way, those negatively affected by the deal still get a chance to c

  • by b4upoo (166390) on Friday January 15, 2010 @05:33PM (#30785012)

    These creeps are not dead and they will try other approaches to take away freedoms that we should all have and cherish. They have redefined piracy in order to make normal and usual human activity a crime. Unless copying is blatantly commercial in nature it should be permitted. The notion that because it is easier to copy because we use computers is no excuse for the current plague of laws. This is almost as absurd as telling drinkers that they could not use a device to lift a drink to their lips because it makes getting drunk easier.

    • the ACTA removes due process and lets DoS attacks be very easy to do all you need to do is to say that some one is uploading something and you need no evidence to back that up.

    • I disagree (Score:2, Insightful)

      Unless copying is blatantly commercial in nature it should be permitted.

      Well then you can say goodbye to alot of creative endeavors. Why write a book when it will only sell a single copy before being copied all over the internet? I can't make a living off the time spent writing when sales drop. Can't be a very successful band without some form of digital media, whether you're signed or produce it yourself. That won't turn a profit once its all across the web.

      This is almost as absurd as telling drinkers that they could not use a device to lift a drink to their lips because it makes getting drunk easier.

      No, this is like telling drinkers that they cannot use a device that duplicates the beverage to give to their friends.

      • Re:I disagree (Score:4, Insightful)

        by PitaBred (632671) <(slashdot) (at) (pitabred.dyndns.org)> on Friday January 15, 2010 @05:48PM (#30785190) Homepage

        Man, you know that Shakespeare fellow really didn't do ANYTHING because he didn't have copyright over his work. Nor did Van Gogh, or Chopin, or Beethoven, or...

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          The great thing about those works is that they were DIFFICULT TO DUPLICATE.

          • Just like a live performance. That's how musicians traditionally made money. Bands used to be happy when people freely shared their music. That would mean more people coming out and paying for concerts.

            I guess you're also against Xerox machines since they make books easy to duplicate?

          • Re:I disagree (Score:4, Insightful)

            by PitaBred (632671) <(slashdot) (at) (pitabred.dyndns.org)> on Friday January 15, 2010 @06:07PM (#30785368) Homepage

            But I can send a jpg of a Van Gogh around with no problem whatsoever. It costs nothing! It is totally making the original painting worth nothing!

            Same with music. Same with books. Sell the scarcity. The thing that IS hard to do.

            • Sorry, but if you say that, you've never seen an original painting.

              It's not only the picture that makes a painting interesting. It's the technique used. It's being able to see where the brush touched the canvas, to see how much paint was used where, how he moved it and how he did it. This may not be so much the case with the realistic paintings where the picture itself is the main focus and where the artist did his best to make it look like he didn't really paint it but rather tried to make it look like a "

          • Re:I disagree (Score:4, Interesting)

            by grcumb (781340) on Friday January 15, 2010 @06:20PM (#30785536) Homepage Journal

            The great thing about those works is that they were DIFFICULT TO DUPLICATE.

            You might think so, but you'd be wrong.

            The editor of the Oxford University Press' complete works of Christopher Marlowe (a contemporary of Shakespeare's and author of Doctor Faustus, among other works) once told me that people in Elizabethan times had vastly better verbal recall than we have today. It was not at all unusual, she said, for someone to go and see MacBeth, for example, then to go home and repeat entire speeches verbatim to others.

            The Folios, by the way, were all copies, partly from memory, unauthorised by Shakespeare's estate.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by cpt kangarooski (3773)

            Man, you know that Shakespeare fellow really didn't do ANYTHING because he didn't have copyright over his work. Nor did Van Gogh, or Chopin, or Beethoven, or...

            The great thing about those works is that they were DIFFICULT TO DUPLICATE.

            No, none of their works were difficult to duplicate. For example, there were plenty of pirated copies and unauthorized performances of Shakespeare during his career. And given that Shakespeare based most of his plays on preexisting works (he would've had a hard time if he had

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Btarlinian (922732)

          Man, you know that Shakespeare fellow really didn't do ANYTHING because he didn't have copyright over his work. Nor did Van Gogh, or Chopin, or Beethoven, or...

          Yeah, and because of that Shakespeare, while alive, refused to actually publish his plays. There's a reason that some of his plays are lost for good. A lack of copyright has a lot to do with that. As for classical composers, they were basically paid by the government to do their work, which amounts to the same thing, copyright just makes your subsidy of a public good more direct and lets you (instead of some government official, for those who like to continually complain about anything the government does)

          • Re:I disagree (Score:5, Insightful)

            by cstdenis (1118589) on Friday January 15, 2010 @05:59PM (#30785300)

            At the other extreme we are moving towards, technologies like restrictive DRM will also make literary and artistic works become lost in the future.

            • Right, so because someone might try to use DRM with their works, we should get rid of copyright. If anything, in the modern marketplace that would simply result in the distributors of these works trying to enforce copyright technologically via even more restrictive DRM instead of letting the law do its job.
          • by solferino (100959)

            Yeah, and because of that Shakespeare, while alive, refused to actually publish his plays. There's a reason that some of his plays are lost for good. A lack of copyright has a lot to do with that.

            Sorry, I think you are making that up. Would you like to provide a reference? Details of Shakespeare's life are very scant, so much so that there has been speculation for centuries about his true identity. There is no documentation of his personal views or position on anything. It's arrogant of you to put words i

            • No, it forces me to pay money to the rights holder who more often than not is a bloodless corporation or estate. Letting me decide who's worthy of getting my money is letting me actively volunteer to give them money or pay them for their live performances.

              The arts, as a whole, are a public good. In order for there to be a socially optimal amount of art produced, they need some sort of subsidy. You can either do that by having the government directly fund its creation, or by artificially creating a marketplace for it. With the first option (which is IMO useful as seed money for artists via programs like the NEA, but that's a different discussion), you don't get to decide (directly) where your money goes. By artificially creating a marketplace, you're allowed

          • Re:I disagree (Score:4, Informative)

            by solferino (100959) <<hazchem> <at> <gmail.com>> on Friday January 15, 2010 @06:26PM (#30785600) Homepage

            Yeah, and because of that Shakespeare, while alive, refused to actually publish his plays.

            Direct refutation [wikipedia.org] of this assertion. 18 plays were published (and republished) before the death of William Shakespeare in 1616. Mostly the more popular plays including Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, King Lear, Othello and A Midsummer Night's Dream.

            • And the other 18 plays? Moreover, most published copies of Shakespeare's works were of terrible quality by modern standards. (I'm referring to the printing and numerous textual errors referred to on the very page you linked too.)
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by selven (1556643)

                He published the 18 plays that were the most popular, ie. that made the most money for him. He probably didn't want to publish the other 18 because they were bad and nobody liked them.

          • Yeah, and because of that Shakespeare, while alive, refused to actually publish his plays.

            And yet, with the most expansive copyright protections ever implemented in the history of mankind, other than the occasional compilation, usually in the form of a textbook, most movie scripts go unpublished today too.

            copyright just makes your subsidy of a public good more direct

            It's not a public good if you can't copy it freely. That's kind of by definition.
            They would be public goods if they weren't artificially constrained by copyright.

            • Public good has a specific economic definition. They are goods with positive externalities. IP laws are meant to internalize this externality. As for the movies, you can actually buy the right to watch the movie. You may not be aware of this, but unlike plays, they are actually intended to be seen on a screen. I don't agree with DRM; I think that copyright terms are way too long, but I just don't get why so many people on Slashdot disregard all IP laws as being frivolous and/or useless.
          • by selven (1556643)

            There's a reason that some of his plays are lost for good. A lack of copyright has a lot to do with that.

            Shakespeare did not get his career cut to a stop after the first few plays because all his works were derivatives of things of which some were written a very short time earlier. A lack of copyright saved him.

            • Shakespeare did not get his career cut to a stop after the first few plays because all his works were derivatives of things of which some were written a very short time earlier. A lack of copyright saved him.

              (This is ignoring the fact that I've already agreed to copyright terms being far too long.) Regardless of that, do you have any examples? Let's look at a few of his more famous plays. Romeo and Juliet was based on Tristan and Iseult, a story from centuries before Shakespeare; it wouldn't be a problem even under the current absurd copyright length. Hamlet was also based on a far older story. That's also ignoring that if you accept the Ur-Hamlet origin theory, Shakespeare's company bought the rights to the p

        • I should maybe inform you that during the times of Shakespeare, when copyright was pretty much nonexistant, the lengths people like him went to to keep their plays secret were pretty insane from a modern point of view. Imagine you have your scripts locked away in a safe, and every actor gets his copy from you personally and is under total supervision for as long as he has this copy in his hands (literally, every single one of them had a "copy guard" hovering around them all the time), just to make sure no c

          • by ultranova (717540)

            I should maybe inform you that during the times of Shakespeare, when copyright was pretty much nonexistant, the lengths people like him went to to keep their plays secret were pretty insane from a modern point of view.

            Especially when you remember that it was all a wasted effort since the play was performed before an audience who could simply memorize it. A bit like pre-computer DRM, and just as futile.

            Imagine you have your scripts locked away in a safe, and every actor gets his copy from you personally and

      • by biryokumaru (822262) * <biryokumaru@gmail.com> on Friday January 15, 2010 @05:50PM (#30785210)

        No, this is like telling drinkers that they cannot use a device that duplicates the beverage to give to their friends.

        For most American beers, this process is referred to as "pissing."

      • Re:I disagree (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Friday January 15, 2010 @06:10PM (#30785414)

        Every frikkin page of Questionable Content and Girl Genius is on the web.

        The QC recently bought a house, travels to conventions, and has a pretty damn good life. People buy tons of merchandise which they could make free themselves for a couple bucks less!

        Phil and Kaja seem to be doing okay as well. (For some reason people keep buying the damn books which they could get perfectly free from the Foglio's web site).

        Why do these seemingly intelligent people keep giving their work away for free???

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Maxo-Texas (864189)

          www.questionablecontent.net

          www.girlgeniusonline.com/

          ---

          People don't mind paying a reasonable price for content.
          People do have a limited amount of money they CAN spend.

          With absolutely perfect DRM, it will become abundantly clear that people grossing $46k per year are not going to be filling IPODS at $10,000 out of their net salary. They'll just move on to other cheaper forms of entertainment.

          If I *want* to charge $100,000 a song, I don't lose a dime (much less $900,000) if 9 people pirate the song.
          I only re

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by 91degrees (207121)
        Why write a book when it will only sell a single copy before being copied all over the internet?

        Because it won't.

        I can't make a living off the time spent writing when sales drop.

        Alas, those who can't write popular enough books will have to make a living doing something else but that's no different from the current situation.

        The biggest pirates I know are also the biggest consumers of legitimate material. You can make a profit even with rampant piracy. Maybe it's not as easy as it was. Why sh
      • by grcumb (781340)

        This is almost as absurd as telling drinkers that they could not use a device to lift a drink to their lips because it makes getting drunk easier.

        No, this is like telling drinkers that they cannot use a device that duplicates the beverage to give to their friends.

        So you would be against replicators, then? Kindly hand in your geek card to security as you leave.

        Okay. seriously: I know that example is a little absurd, but it's useful inasmuch as it casts the whole debate in a new light. If nourishment were universally replicable, would we not consider this a good thing? Why should intellectual nourishment be any different?

        I say this as a writer, photographer and software developer, by the way. So yes, I do have some skin in this game.

      • by Nadaka (224565)

        I own a few books that are published for free on the internet already. Hell, I found some of them because they were published for free on the internet by the original author.

      • Re:I disagree (Score:5, Interesting)

        by CorporateSuit (1319461) on Friday January 15, 2010 @06:17PM (#30785502)

        Can't be a very successful band without some form of digital media, whether you're signed or produce it yourself.

        Bands earn money by performing and touring.

        99.9% of the world gets by on getting money for continuing to work, not by forcing everyone to pay them for something they did 20 years ago. The entertainment industry will soon realize their draconian "get rich quick!" schemes are dead. Their creativity-killing "sell-a-single-never-work-again" methods are finally dying. It's tragic that if someone actually releases 3 albums in a year, they are viewed as a hack. That's how bad it's gotten, and it can and will change -- soon.

        "But that will kill the creative industry and entertainment industry!" you might say. Hooty tooty. If I ask you to name the most brilliant English writer of all time, and then the greatest, most creative influence on music of all time, and you are over the age of 12, you will name two people who did not operate under a "publish today without having to perform tomorrow, and you will still eat" creed. They will be people who starved if they tried to sit back and watch money roll in for Romeo and Juliet or Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.

        Copyright is ruined. It was ruined by those who thought they could get away by expanding it to infinity. Their greed has turned on them, and when the camel realized he doesn't have the carry the straw anymore, he won't sit and wait for one more to break his back.

        Does this mean that small development houses are going to have to change the way they operate? Most likely. They'll still have many years until the laws change -- but those who change earlier will be the ones who make insane amounts of money on lifeboats while the great ships are all sinking.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by kindbud (90044)

        Well then you can say goodbye to alot of creative endeavors.

        Goodbye American Idol.

        Goodbye John and Kate Plus Eight.

        Goodbye I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.

        Goodbye and good riddance.

      • by Korin43 (881732)

        Well then you can say goodbye to alot of creative endeavors. Why write a book when it will only sell a single copy before being copied all over the internet? I can't make a living off the time spent writing when sales drop. Can't be a very successful band without some form of digital media, whether you're signed or produce it yourself. That won't turn a profit once its all across the web.

        Tell that the open source movement and bands that encourage fans to download their music. Also, the people who make icons, wallpapers and gui themes and then release them for free online. Worried about movies? The only movie I can think of from last year that was worth getting was Ink. Did I mention that the creators are happy about how frequently torrented it is? Maybe we'll lose some Hannah Montana and generic comedy movies but that's what makes it win-win.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Chosen Reject (842143)
        If you can create something that a lot of people want and yet can't figure out a way to get people to pay you money then hire someone who can come up with a decent business model for you. If you can't do it, and no one else can do it, then whatever you created wasn't going to net you any money whether piracy is rampant or not. Lots of people are finding ways to make money with music, movies, books, and other copyrightable things despite their works being freely available. In fact, many of them are also m
      • Unless copying is blatantly commercial in nature it should be permitted.

        Well then you can say goodbye to alot of creative endeavors. Why write a book when it will only sell a single copy before being copied all over the internet? I can't make a living off the time spent writing when sales drop. Can't be a very successful band without some form of digital media, whether you're signed or produce it yourself. That won't turn a profit once its all across the web.

        Tell that to Baen Books. http://www.baen.com/library/ [baen.com]

      • by the_olo (160789)

        No, this is like telling drinkers that they cannot use a device that duplicates the beverage to give to their friends.

        Now that's a basis for an interesting thought experiment. Suppose that "physical property" can be as easily copied as (I hate that term) "intellectual property".

        How would that influence the beer market? Would people still buy beer from those who produce it, who research and develop new varieties? Or would those people just take some present samples from the moment and go on with duplicating

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by bfree (113420)

        Well then you can say goodbye to alot of creative endeavors. Why write a book when it will only sell a single copy before being copied all over the internet?

        I've bought hundreds of books where I could as easily have borrowed them from a friend or a library, I also prefer to read from paper then a screen. Also you can't copy a performance so comedians, musicians and actors would all have their place (as would cinema's).

        Think of it this way, you download and read a book from a current author (films and albums are just the same) and enjoy it, you can just hope they keep producing works or maybe you'll think that you'd like to encourage them so you send then a co

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by RocketRabbit (830691)

        You're full of shit.

        People will just go back to publishing their novels and books in serial format in monthly publications. This is how many of the classic books of the last 300 years were published.

      • Because you want to write a book? A lot of great autors wrote not because they wanted to sell but because they had the drive to write and pour their heart into the lines. A lot of literature we consider classics now were written at a time when they could not have been printed due to censorship laws. Especially in the European literature you have a lot of works that did not become popular until long after the writer's death because they could not be printed earlier. And a lot of the classic plays were writte

      • by ultranova (717540)

        Unless copying is blatantly commercial in nature it should be permitted.

        Well then you can say goodbye to alot of creative endeavors. Why write a book when it will only sell a single copy before being copied all over the internet? I can't make a living off the time spent writing when sales drop. Can't be a very successful band without some form of digital media, whether you're signed or produce it yourself. That won't turn a profit once its all across the web.

        Not only is that untrue - since almost all book

    • they will try other approaches to take away freedoms that we should all have and cherish

      I think you've hit the nail of the head. To see what they really want, 1) download ;-) and print a copy of your nation's Constitution and/or Bill of Rights. Then run it through a paper shredder. That's what they seem to want for starters. 2) Next get a REAAAAALLY BIG jar of petroleum jelly and a telephone pole ... bend waaaay over.... 3) Finally, send the RIAA and MPAA an extra copy of all your credit cards and tell

    • Well, the reason why "commercial" copying is considered so "bad" by those that have IP isn't that someone else is making money off their work. They don't care about that. The reason they consider it bad is that it allows widespread distribution of the counterfeit product, thus seriously impacting their sales. "Old school" private copying worked a bit like this: Someone bought a product and created a copy for their friends (which, btw, is still legal in some countries). Sure, they created a handful of copies

      • by selven (1556643)

        There are some industries that have high operating costs so it's impossible for a non-commercial organization to do them. For example: concerts, movie theaters, selling books in paper format, video game arcades. Making commercial copying illegal but not normal copying still leaves all those industries unaffected. And with Avatar making $1 billion just from movie theaters, I think we can all agree that that's sufficient.

  • Metalitz (Score:4, Funny)

    by royallthefourth (1564389) <royallthefourth@gmail.com> on Friday January 15, 2010 @05:36PM (#30785044)
    Any relation to Metallica??
  • by jwinster (1620555) on Friday January 15, 2010 @05:39PM (#30785088)
    The most disturbing point in this article, for me, is that the US may be the sticking point on allowing the discussions to be more transparent (link contained in TFA) http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/4693/125/ [michaelgeist.ca] I find this to be disgusting as we have yet another example that transparency TRULY being brought to Washington to be a farce.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Well, wtf were *you* thinking, voting a senator from the most famously corrupt state in the union into the office of the President?

      Makes me wish I'd owned land in Utah for that election. I would have made a killing selling "oceanfront property".
  • by NimbleSquirrel (587564) on Friday January 15, 2010 @05:45PM (#30785158)
    This only goes to prove that ACTA is utterly driven by lobbyists for the entertainment inductry (MPAA, RIAA and such). Politicians aren't doing this for the people, just big business, and keeping this secret is really about hiding their shame. If people knew what was really going on, talks would probably break down from public outcry alone.

    ...it's clear that many governments don't actually want their own people to see the proposals being made and to shape their outcome.

    It goes to show that it really pays to be a lobbyist:

    Keeping negotiations secret is how "you get big fees to be a lobbyist," since only the "insiders" have access to the process.

    • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Friday January 15, 2010 @06:06PM (#30785354) Homepage Journal

      This only goes to prove that ACTA is utterly driven by lobbyists for the entertainment inductry (MPAA, RIAA and such).

      It also demonstrates that transnational corporations have been more powerful than any government(s) on earth for some time now.

      Really, it's too late to expect government to help us when it comes to standing up to corporate power, because money trumps votes every single time. Any time someone who might pose a threat to corporatist hegemony even comes close to running for national office, they are immediately painted as being nutty, fringe, dangerous (pick your negative smear of choice).

      It happened to Dennis Kucinich most recently, and Howard Dean a few years back. If you bring up his name, lots of people will immediately start to say that stuff about him, but if you ask them for an example of a fringe or weird policy he has advocated, at most you'll get "his wife is a hippie" or something equally inane. Howard Dean had his candidacy destroyed because he hollered. Remember how that one noise he made was used by every mainstream media outlet to indicate he was crazy?

      There are others: Ralph Nader, even Ross Perot, who, while a businessman himself, had a distinctly populist approach to the balance of government and big business. The press had a field day tearing him up.

      In Europe, the situation is just as bad. If you can't demonstrate that you're going to be very friendly to the transnationals, you'll never get near a national election.

      Any international trade agreement is going to be a disaster, just as NAFTA, CAFTA, and all the others have been. Poor countries will stay poor and the citizens of rich countries will get poorer.

      It almost makes me a little optimistic about the teabagger movement in the US. If you can get these people to come out and express their anger at "big government", all you have to do now is fill them in on who the real enemy is and then you've got something. Once they figure out that nobody in government so much as scratches their ass without the corporate elites giving them the OK, and no amount of partisan politics is going to change their situation until there is a big thick wall put up between corporate power and government. There is something very transgressive about going out into the street with a sign and hollering, and it's a waypoint on a continuum that ends up with lighting a torch and a molotov cocktail. The trick now is to dissuade them from their hatred of educated people and their racism, and you've got a group that could be a great ally in what will ultimately be a fight by the working class against transnational corporations who are the real "New World Order".

      • by khallow (566160)

        It also demonstrates that transnational corporations have been more powerful than any government(s) on earth for some time now.

        Wholly unrealistic. Who controls the process? Who decides who gets to contribute and how much they have to bribe to contribute? The government does. It's like saying the toll payer is more powerful than the toll taker. What is ignored is that the toll payer has to pay, if they want to use whatever the toll taker controls.

        • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

          It's like saying the toll payer is more powerful than the toll taker.

          If the "toll payer" was paying the salary of the "toll taker" then that would be true.

          Nobody can run for the bigger state or any national office without raising huge corporate money. Then there is incredible money thrown at them by corporate lobby, and then they are offered corporate jobs after they leave government.

          Now, who owns government? is the question.

      • It almost makes me a little optimistic about the teabagger movement in the US. If you can get these people to come out and express their anger at "big government", all you have to do now is fill them in on who the real enemy is and then you've got something

        And how do you do that?

        You can't expect Fox News to prop up that idea like they did with the teabaggers. Same with CNN, MSNBC, and all the others. No newspaper would touch it either, as they'd go broke quicker than you can say "I". Probably the only reput

    • If people knew what was really going on, talks would probably break down from public outcry alone.

      I don't know, it's hard for me to imagine something that could be in a draft of ACTA that would penetrate the average citizen's consciousness, let alone outrage them enough to do something about it.

      Killing FOSS? No

      Extradition and jail times for copying, not just sharing music? Maybe, I'm not hopeful it would

      Searching hard drives and MP3 players at the border? Only after ACTA was already ratified once everyone going overseas was getting their MP3 players and computer hard drives destroyed.

      Mandatory minimu

      • Public outcry doesn't mean an entire citizen revolt, but usually enough of a public statement to get media attention. It worked down here in NZ when the government tried to push a three strikes ammendment into law. Organisations like the Creative Freedom Foundation [creativefreedom.org.nz] started up, and the government quickly withdrew the ammendment when it was apparent there was a growing public outcry against it. Many of those very same people down here will not hesitate to do the same thing again for ACTA (if only people knew
    • If people knew what was really going on, talks would probably break down from public outcry alone.

      They might if they weren't too busy making the rent, finding a job, and worrying about how they are going to pay for it all when they get sick. This doesn't make secrecy a good thing for treaty negotiations, but I doubt that there would be much public outcry, even if they did know; sad though it may be.

  • draft on wikileaks (Score:5, Informative)

    by H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) on Friday January 15, 2010 @05:47PM (#30785184) Homepage Journal
    For handy access:

    Of course, this draft is from last year.

  • by gzearfoss (829360) on Friday January 15, 2010 @05:51PM (#30785228)

    From the summary...

    [MPAA/RIAA Champion Steven] Metalitz took on three other panelists and a moderator, all of whom were less than sympathetic to his positions, and he made the lengthiest case for both ACTA and its secrecy that we have ever heard. It was also surprisingly unconvincing.

    I'd find it more surprising if he could make a convincing argument for all the secrecy.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Take a look at which political party [opensecrets.org] the MAFIAA has bought.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Nadaka (224565)

      Looks like they bought both parties, but the republicans sold out for less.

    • by mjwx (966435)

      Take a look at which political party the MAFIAA has bought.

      Seeing as both parties were for sale, this only proves that one party was far cheaper to buy then the other.

  • by BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) on Friday January 15, 2010 @06:02PM (#30785334) Homepage Journal
    This particular bit made me snicker and reminded me of, "Thank You For Smoking:"

    "Steve's embarrassed by the content of the negotiation or he would be more supportive of transparency," said Love, not one to hold back in his rhetoric. Keeping negotiations secret is how "you get big fees to be a lobbyist," since only the "insiders" have access to the process.

    That came from one of the panel members calling for more transparency to the ACTA negotiations.

    However, I must say that this next part struck me as extremely interesting:

    But he also made the fair point that he's not the one doing the negotiating. The US Trade Representative, which handles ACTA, is ultimately responsible. Though it has repeatedly pledged transparency, none has been forthcoming

    The he referred to is the MPAA/RIAA lobbyist: Steven Metalitz. Now, it's important to remember that he is just a lobbyist, so shifting blame away from those he represents is his job. That being said, I figure we should all still cheerfully hate on the IP MAFIAA's. However, he did bring up the fact that the USTR [wikipedia.org] is the one handling the negotiations. Currently, that position is held by Ron Kirk [wikipedia.org], a fella from Texas. Looking at his Wikipedia article, he doesn't appear to have anything particularly outstanding, good or bad, in his political record. That being said, perhaps he is playing in a league (international politics) that he is not quite up to snuff on yet. I would wager that people could contact his office en masse (if we could find that info, I haven't found a lot with a few simple Google's) and show him just how important an issue this transparency is. In other words, he may still be new enough at these games that he hasn't completely grown callous to the American Public. Then again, this is all just guess work on my part.

    One other thing to keep in mind is that he doesn't seem to have been in the national spotlight all that much, at least not that I can find. Maybe if we put him under the heat lamp of mass public disclosure regarding these meetings he will comply with public demands to avoid a serious burn. /shrug

    • by langelgjm (860756)

      It's true that we can't blame Steve Metalitz for the lack of transparency... he had to sign an NDA just like everyone else. Yes, the real show stopper is Kirk at USTR. The problem, however, is that USTR's job is essentially to funnel corporate interests into US trade policy. This is probably nowhere more evident than in the Special 301 process, in which USTR essentially goes around asking every major industry in the country, "What don't you like about foreign countries' IP policies?", then they cut and past

  • Economic reality (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cdrguru (88047) on Friday January 15, 2010 @06:23PM (#30785572) Homepage

    Such a large part of the US and Western Europe economy is today based on sales of intagible goods that it should be obvious that some sort of international agreement would be nice to limit the economic loss that is occurring based on piracy and other copyright violations.

    The problem is that since around 1980 or so people have grown up with the idea that if you physically can transfer information digitally it ought to be free. Whether it is by trading floppies or using BitTorrent, anyone that has go to school since 1980 or so has had access to free digital stuff that someone else thought you should be paying for. At it height, the BBS movement pretty much doomed Apple ][ games with common knowledge that any game produced would sell two copies - one on the west coast and one on the east. And that was around 1984.

    One huge problem for governments is that if I buy a DVD in a store they get tax revenue on it. If I buy it in Europe, they get tax revenue from it several times over through VAT. However, if it download it nobody get anything. Now you can argue all you want about pirates not ever paying so these aren't really "lost sales", but the government is certainly looking at this as "lost tax revenue". And it is certainly millions, if not billions of dollars in the US today.

    iTunes is maybe 1% of the music download market. If the government was collecting their 10% cut on the remaining 99% of the music download market there might not be such a concern about paying for executive bonuses and shifting union health plan costs.

    So really, can you blame them?

    Of course, from where I sit nobody is ever going to actually be able to enforce any restrictions. Piracy is here to stay and nobody that has gone to school since 1980 or so is exactly in the dark about how to download stuff for free. And they aren't going to be paying anytime in the future. It is free for the taking today and likely to be free forever. Tax consequences or not.

    But given the staggering amounts of money the governments of the world think are being left on the table, can you really blame them for not trying to collect "their fair share"? Just be glad nobody has actually proposed a policeman stationed at every Internet connection just to make sure that the taxes are being paid.

    • But given the staggering amounts of money the governments of the world think are being left on the table, can you really blame them for not trying to collect "their fair share"?

      Taxing something that is created has been the defacto state of affairs for a long time. Taxation is deferred until sale to the consumer, so VAT and sales taxes kick in there, and the government gets their "fair" share from the public while business gets to buy materials VAT free. Online however, nothing is created, there's no value added, there's no value exchanged, therefore taxing each non-commercial BT download is double dipping after the initial sale of media. So... no, it's not the right way to handle

    • by Yaa 101 (664725)

      Hmm... You do realize that it is the monetary exchange that's being taxed, not the goods as such.
      The fact that you take my money (in exchange for good or services mostly) will cost me the VAT rate.
      When in the EU, you as trader must collect it and give it to your tax collectors and they exchange it again in treaties between countries and as far as I know you will not be compensated for the costs that come with collection of taxes.

      Mostly goods from foreign countries with which there is no trade agreement are

  • A lot of the reasoning I am seeing in TFA can be boiled down to this: 'the facts of the treaty are so provocative, we need to keep them from the people'. Reminded me of parents who teach their children the lie of Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy from birth, then resist telling them the truth later because it will 'break their widdoe hearts'. Seriously, I have seen TV shows leave in the raunchiest of jokes, but edit out any reference to Santa not being real.
  • If we're not going to have our say on the law, why should we respect or uphold it?

    I was looking for the true source of a quote I recall from the game Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, but apparently that is the original source:

    free flow of information is the only safeguard against tyranny. The once-chained people whose leaders at last lose their grip on information flow will so burst with freedom and vitality, but the free nation gradually constricting its grip on public discourse has begun its rapid slide into

    • Blah Blah Blah Blah, <massive generalization>all you americans MAKE ME SICK</massive generalization>.

      All this talk about armed bears and defiance of government and Government Of The People, By The People, For The People??? (your entire lifestyle is a fantasy that only lives in your mind)

      Despite you all being full of hot air you are completely unable to get any worthwhile popular groundswell off the ground.

      Seriously folks, this is your government doing its level best to allow corporate fatcat
  • [...] and those lawyers in the room and on the panel who had seen one small part of it were under a nondisclosure agreement.

    First I thought: How is it not illegal to have a non-disclosure about something of national law-making scale.
    And then I remembered, that we’re still living the law of the jungle.
    No change at all, boys. Just a huge illusion wrapped around it.
    Yay.

    P.S.: Get into mass psychology, rhetorics and social engineering, if you want to become the future power behind the puppets.

  • I was at the event (Score:2, Interesting)

    by the_scoots (1595597)

    There are some points that were brought up in the meeting that I thought were pretty important. Someone correct me if I'm mistaken on any points, IANAL or too politically savvy. Many of the people who had seen pieces of the draft kept coming back to several points:

    - Some speculated that this has more to do with future trade agreements with countries NOT involved in ACTA talks than those in it.The idea was that this would be used to strong arm developing countries into agreeing to the terms to enter into f

    • by Dun Malg (230075)

      which will in effect change the law by setting precedence.

      Precedent. Setting precedent. "Precedence" is the state of something being ahead of something else. If the something in question is the very first, there is nothing for it to be ahead of, and subsequently it is called the precedent.

    • by langelgjm (860756)

      I was there too. To clarify the things you bring up:

      - The consequences of ACTA will likely be felt more by any states that join it in the future. The parties negotiating now are fairly like-minded; the real issue will come when a middle-income country wants to join, e.g., the OECD, whose members then say "Reform your IP law to conform to ACTA, and then you can join." The world already has a high bar for IP in the form of TRIPS. The last thing it needs is ever more ratcheting up of IP restrictions.

      - No one i

  • by mykos (1627575) on Friday January 15, 2010 @08:44PM (#30786794)

    Let's start making stuff up about it, saying that it will require that every human being on the planet register on a global network and that it gives copyright protection organizations the right to install kill switches in everyone's brain.

    They will be so afraid of the pitchforks and torches generated from this that they'll be forced to do what they should have done in the first place: tell us what it actually contains.

  • If this was about embarrasment, wouldn't we be embarrased once the rules became law, and are published? Perhaps its an attempt to keep independant experts' eyes off the work in progress until its signed and too late for participants to take back their signatures.

    Quite a bit of the content encryption is aimed at control and segmentation of markets. Most Americans might be blissfully unaware of this, but most of the DVD encryption cracking done around the world isn't for the purpose of piracy. Its to circumv

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