ACTA Proposal Would Criminalize Substantial Non-Commercial Infringement

from the consumers-have-no-seat-at-the-table dept

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. The bad news is that many of the provisions are clearly being submitted with significant "input" from industries who stand to benefit from greater IP protectionism -- and no effort has been made to see what impact the resulting output would have on everyone else.

Even more troubling are the specific details supplied by KEI, who includes some draft text, including a proposal pushed by the US and Japan to use ACTA to make certain forms of personal, non-commercial infringement a criminal offense as a "deterrent." Yes, this would include potential jailtime, even if the infringer had no intent to profit. Notice that this is happening in backrooms among trade representatives, rather than in public among elected officials -- especially as various countries have been increasingly open to the idea of exempting personal, non-commercial infringement from being subject to legal punishment. This "treaty" would force countries to put a halt to that, and then we'd hear all sorts of big-time IP defenders insist that we absolutely had to make these changes to the law to "live up to international treaties" which they helped write.

KEI also points out another downside to all of this being negotiated in secret. It appears that many of the trade representatives are ignorant of certain laws already in place in their own countries, as well as other legislation that is currently under consideration. For example, KEI notes the current debates over copyright laws concerning "orphaned works" which is a big issue in Congressional copyright discussions. Some of what's being pushed in ACTA would mess up those discussions -- but who cares, apparently, trade representatives, pushed on by industry representatives, seem to have no problem determining for themselves what copyright law should be all about.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 6:30pm

    Paper Dragon

    This super secret conspiracy sounds like an agreement that has little chance of being enforced anywhere. In most countries there would need to be new laws put in place designed specifically to support the agreed to items and without these laws, their expensive agreement is a paper dragon.

    The ACTA is beginning to sound like one big circle jerk.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    interval, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 6:56pm

    I cannot believe nor accept that anyone with a brain can believe that a business can at any step criminalize their own customers and thrive. The only way this can possibly continue to be formulated and implemented by labels, acts, promoters, and recording companies is, aside from the obvious fact that most of the constituents of these organizations are unimaginative Luddites whose best contribution to this "industry" (it stopped being art long ago) is the 5 martini lunch, is that their own customers have no clue, understanding, any worthwhile comprehension of the abuse, waste of talen, waste of imagination, and simple greed of these same martini guys and gals who are control, and the utter contempt they hold their own customers in. Perhaps if more music lovers where aware, just simply aware of the abuse they suffer under the hold of these labels and etc, could this in any shape survive. We need to make sure consumers are aware of the blatant contempt their so-called music labels (gangsters in my book) hold for them. I wonder if it would make a difference.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 6:59pm

    Re: Paper Dragon

    True, but there is a fantastic point in the summary about living up to international treaties. Wouldn't be the first time laws have been made because of this.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 8:23pm

    "Substantial, non-commercial infringement"?

    Mr. Geist is getting drunk on his own wine. I never realized that taking a videocam into a movie theater and filming the movie being shown has ever been held by any court of law to be "A-Ok".

     

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  5.  
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    Matt, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 9:14pm

    Re:

    obviously you understand no arguments, as this has nothing to do with a videocam in a movie theatre. Go strawman elsewhere.

    Meanwhile, substantial non-commercial infringement is so vague it could be treated as downloading a single song. Substantial by itself has no guidelines. When will people stop using adjectives in bills to try to sum things up?

     

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  6.  
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    Emilio, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 11:39pm

    So, we have a new administration, and a new Senate... Will they role over and rubber stamp this g-d thing?

     

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  7.  
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    IntoTheForge, Feb 4th, 2009 @ 3:24am

    Re: lock down creativity? YES WE CAN!

    If Obama has shown one thing, it's that he's a man with many faces. He has shown himself to the transmitters of the world the face that everyone wants to see after 8 years of decadent, shameless corruption. His other face is the one that has learned well everything the "good" presidents did right and what the "bad" presidents did profitably. Don't let the flurry of Do Something Now action coming from the White House, nor His clean, deadpan delivery fool you - Bush set the standard so low even a senator from Illinois could get elected!

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    IntoTheForge, Feb 4th, 2009 @ 3:25am

    Re: the 'consumer'

    You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2009 @ 4:00am

    Re:

    Do you remember this?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_Intelligence_Surveillance_Act

    Last January, Obama wanted to filibuster it. I agreed with him (and I'm often on the conservative side of things).

    Somewhere between there and May-July (I can't remember), Obama became the front-runner. Suddenly, a filibuster to stop warrantless wiretaps wasn't in the cards.

    So Obama won't stand up to this as long as it's a small time issue. How do issues get big time? Airtime on commercial media. Who's writing this treaty?

    You see the problem.

     

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  10.  
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    Washington, Feb 4th, 2009 @ 5:49am

    Time for a Tea Party...

    I say we grab a ship full of CD's and DVD's and throw them into the harbor. Why not have another Boston Tea Party to show our displeasure. If it's good enough for our founding fathers, it's good enough for us!

     

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  11.  
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    JSF (profile), Feb 4th, 2009 @ 6:39am

    A Good Use For Spam

    What someone needs to do is put together a nice spam email about this in the same form as all the ones about dangerous product recalls from 10 years ago, new laws that were defeated 10 years ago, etc. and get folks to send them out. Once in the good old 'forward to everyone or the world will end' email loop everyone will eventually hear about this and some people may actually speak up to their elected representatives.

     

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  12.  
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    moelarry, Feb 4th, 2009 @ 7:21am

    fairness

    i agree that criminal penalties where no profit is intended is excessive. Conversely criminal penalties are warranted for commercial use. In fact, let’s extend that to patent protection as firms most often invest far more in patented technologies than others do in copyrighted works. By all means, let’s be even handed and fair.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2009 @ 8:09am

    Re:

    Who's an unimaginative luddite, he-who-cannot-call-modern-music-art?

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2009 @ 9:53am

    Re: Re:

    I take it you did not read Mr. Geist's comments because this is precisely the subject matter to which he referred when he made his comment.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2009 @ 9:58am

    Re: Re:

    Here is a portion of his comments pertaining to "substantial, non-commercial infringement":

    There is a section on “Unauthorized Camcording.” This provides that

    Each Party shall provide for criminal procedures and penalties to be applied against any person who, without authorization of the holder of copyright or related rights in a motion picture or other audiovisual work, knowingly uses an audiovisual recording device to transmit or make a copy of or transmits to the public the motion picture or other audiovisual work, or any part thereof, from a performance of the motion picture or other audiovisual work in a motion picture exhibition facility open to the public.

     

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  16.  
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    chris (profile), Feb 4th, 2009 @ 10:10am

    Re:

    So, we have a new administration, and a new Senate... Will they role over and rubber stamp this g-d thing?

    hell yes. why do you think all those copyright goons are being appointed to positions in the DOJ?

     

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  17.  
    icon
    chris (profile), Feb 4th, 2009 @ 10:13am

    Re: Time for a Tea Party...

    I say we grab a ship full of CD's and DVD's and throw them into the harbor. Why not have another Boston Tea Party to show our displeasure. If it's good enough for our founding fathers, it's good enough for us!

    are you kidding? miss 'american idol' to take a stand for something?

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    David Lagesse, Feb 4th, 2009 @ 10:47am

    ACTA

    All this in the article is very informative, EXCEPT for one thing!
    What is ACTA?

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2009 @ 11:21am

    Re: ACTA

    Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Dan, Feb 4th, 2009 @ 2:19pm

    As the neocons liked to say "if you have nothing to hide it shouldn't be a problem". The answer is to publish the final draft for 6 months and have a national referendum before passage. We would like to call their bluff.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2009 @ 8:58pm

    Re: ACTA

    Dude, you obviously have an internet connection. Have you ever used Google ?
    ACTA is the number one return, you dont even have to scroll.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    David Lagesse, Feb 6th, 2009 @ 7:22pm

    Re: ACTA by Anonymous Coward - Feb 4th, 2009 @ 8:58pm

    Yes I use Google, I use it a lot.
    Just because something is at the 'top of the page' or the "number one return" does not necessarily make it the one thing that you are looking for!

    Google results for ACTA (Page ONE)
    Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Acta - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA)
    Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority
    ACTA Inc.
    ACTA Publications
    Acta, the classic outliner
    ACTA: Assertive Community Treatment Association
    Aldrichcimia Acta
    Searches related to: ACTA
    atca, acta fuel cell, acta holding, acta materialia, acta cryst, electrochimica acta, acta horticulturae, acta cytologica

    My original posting still stands. What 'ACTA' is, was not mentioned anywhere in the article.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward 2, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 12:52am

    Re: Time for a Tea Party...

    Amen!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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