Estonia Next In Line To Receive US 'Encouragement' To Adopt Harsher Anti-Piracy Laws

from the nice-little-country-you've-got-here dept

Numerous Wikileaks cables have highlighted the pressure that the US has brought to bear on several foreign governments behind closed doors in an attempt to get the latter to pass maximalist copyright laws. But it's worth noting that plenty of arm twisting takes place openly. Here, for example, is a letter (pdf) from the American Chamber of Commerce in Estonia addressed to the Minister of Justice, and the Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications of that country:

We find that the level of intellectual property protection in Estonia needs to be improved, both on the legislative and practical fronts. Estonian government should also focus more on investigating the commercial IPR infringements committed through the Internet, and not only breaches of law in relation with cyber terrorism. In addition, the government must follow the EU and national level debates that might have an impact on IPR legislative framework.
In other words, Estonia really ought fall into line like the other countries. Because if it doesn't:
Insufficient IPR protection has a negative effect on the entire economic situation in Estonia. As long as the IPR holders cannot be sure that their rights are protected, the international groups are hesitant in having their R&D units in Estonia and it is likely that R&D projects are run in countries with more comprehensive IPR protection. Insufficient IPR protection can also be an obstacle for starting new production units in Estonia as the IPR holders feel that the risk of IPR infringement is too high in Estonia and therefore it is better to produce their products in countries where the IPR-s are better protected.
Although the letter touches on trademarks and other areas, its central concern is copyright infringement, especially on the Internet. Its list of demands -- sorry, suggestions -- is depressingly familiar: stronger protection; more criminal prosecutions; intermediary liability for ISPs and website owners; and an "effective mechanism of damage compensation, without having to go through lengthy, complicated or costly procedures for achieving redress through the courts."

However, as an excellent post on the Estonian Public Broadcasting site explains, the letter's underlying assumptions about lack of enforcement are simply wrong:

They claim, for instance, that there is poor intellectual property rights (IPR) enforcement in Estonia. However, Estonia’s IPR laws and enforcement, at least in the commercial space, are quite adequate. Operations, including websites, that exist for commercial exploitation of unlicensed rights, are already illegal and get shut down. The operators can be imprisoned for up to three years.
The article goes on to point out one of the likely casualties of any harsher approach to copyright enforcement in Estonia:
if suing for non-commercial infringement is allowed, sooner or later, the pubs, restaurants and hotels offering free WiFi will be receiving legal threats and fines because someone downloaded something via their connection. It will be simpler for businesses to close their free internet access points, rather than face the legal harassment and risk of huge crippling fines that could result from one of their clients downloading something illegally.

When that happens, the Open Internet, an item of national pride in Estonia, will effectively be dead.
That's an important point: copyright legislation does not exist in isolation, but can have serious knock-on effects on the digital life of a country -- in this case, jeopardizing Estonia's place in the vanguard of open wireless Internet coverage. Let's hope the Estonian ministers bear that in mind when their visitors from the US Embassy come calling.

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Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2012 @ 10:46pm

    Estonia is one of the countries famed as a source for pirated material, for pirate websites, for hackers, and a great source of DDoS attacks and bot herders.

    Please consult history of Estdomains.

     

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

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2012 @ 10:57pm

    American Chamber of Commerce?

    Is the "American Chamber of Commerce" am official part of our government or just another private lobbying group like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce?

     

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

  3.  
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    BeeAitch (profile), Feb 1st, 2012 @ 11:25pm

    Re:

    So you're saying the US should be afraid of Estonia?

    Or maybe that the US is so much bigger (and more powerful) than Estonia that Estonia should just put up or shut up?

    Neither makes sense to me. Please elaborate.

     

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

  4. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Dev Rexs, Feb 1st, 2012 @ 11:28pm

    great !

     

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

  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2012 @ 11:30pm

    "without having to go through lengthy, complicated or costly procedures for achieving redress through the courts."

    But when a restaurant or other venue is compelled to stop hosting independent performers without facing huge legal risks and potential liability or when bakeries are compelled to stop allowing children to make drawings on their birthday cakes without facing potentially huge legal risks and liabilities, they are forced to either comply with collection society complaints and demands and pay huge royalties or stop providing certain entertainment services or risk complicated or costly procedures to defend itself. When Veoh is faced with bogus lawsuits it is forced to undergo lengthy, complicated and costly procedures to defend itself.

     

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

  6.  
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    BeeAitch (profile), Feb 1st, 2012 @ 11:38pm

    Re:

    "Estonia is one of the countries famed as a source for pirated material, for pirate websites, for hackers, and a great source of DDoS attacks and bot herders."

    ...and [citation needed].

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2012 @ 11:40pm

    "...and an "effective mechanism of damage compensation, without having to go through lengthy, complicated or costly procedures for achieving redress through the courts."

    "When Veoh is faced with bogus lawsuits it is forced to undergo lengthy, complicated and costly procedures to defend itself."

    What's good for them isn't good for anyone else.

     

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

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2012 @ 12:17am

    Estonia should point out the own failings of the US and say in no uncertain terms sod off or we will do business with others more compelling countries.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2012 @ 12:22am

    Estonians should do what Dutch folks did when Faux News lied about them, put a video with hardcore statistics there and compare it with America and see how it looks like.

    Fox News vs Amsterdam

    That video was so funny, Fox even had to answer that.

     

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

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2012 @ 12:37am

    Frankly I don't see how Stonia is a lawless place, if they were they wouldn't be able to implement such things as Estonia becomes E-stonia with digital revolution which is an electronic ID that is used for everything there they are decades ahead of the US in that, it seems every other country is ahead of the US.

    This wouldn't be possible in the US because the government is don't trust its people and would use those things to harm them and the people know it, the loss of confidence is the single most damaging result of the use of force to solve their own problems is the thing that will destroy this once great country.

    And the thing enabling that is of course the use of exclusionary powers like copyrights that are growing to become something that can't be controlled anymore, it is even threatening society.

     

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  11.  
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    The eejit (profile), Feb 2nd, 2012 @ 1:27am

    Re:

    Yeah! Those crazy Estonian terorrists and their freedoms! So much better than those crazy Yanks with their entitlement culture!!!

     

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  12.  
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    Josef Anvil (profile), Feb 2nd, 2012 @ 1:43am

    Thank you Lobbyists, Shills, and Trolls

    It would seem there is a corollary to the Streisand Effect. Trying to bring as much attention as possible to a bad idea, can bring all of that intended attention to a good idea.

    I would like to thank all of the trolls for working so hard in their efforts to maximize IP laws to their benefit. Without that effort, so many of us would not be communicating so much about things we otherwise would not have paid attention to.

    I'm guessing that all of the political maneuvering that goes on in foreign countries has been business as usual for decades. We may have known that it was going on but never actually got to hear what was actually being said. Often, we the people, have worried that we are being watched by our respective governments, which in a lot of cases is true (i.e. TSA and Tweets). We the people, are waking up and realizing that our governments are much more worried about us watching them. Secrets are no longer so secret. The web is appropriately named for its ability to catch things.

    Once again, thank you for all your hard work trolls. Just a bit of advice.... the interweb thingy is not like TV or Newpaper; when you state your position on it, people actually get to read it, research it, and then start talking to one another.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2012 @ 1:50am

    i'm quite sure the Estonian ministers will bear that in mind when their visitors from the US Embassy come calling. i hope they tell the US to 'fuck off' but i assume they will do what the rest of the world has done/is doing. be gutless, then just say 'bollocks' to it's own citizens and bend straight over!

     

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

  14.  
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    Richard (profile), Feb 2nd, 2012 @ 2:06am

    Re: Thank you Lobbyists, Shills, and Trolls

    One effect is that the younger generation are now clued up on these issues at a much earlier age. I didn't really know anything much about copyright at 16 - but my daughter came to me asking if I knew about SOPA (and complaining about it). Considering that we're not even in the US it would seem like the maximalists have just scored a massive long term own goal by alerting a whole generation to the politicalaspects of IP.

    Now some will say that the 60's generation betrayed their ideals when they reached the age to obtain power themselves - so we shouldn't expect the younger generation to be any better - BUT I think that is a false analysis. The 60's generation did in fact fix most of the issues that they originally got worked up about (in fact most of them got fixed before they even got to the reins of power). What we complain about now is mainly their negative reaction to issues that have arisen since.

    So expect the current 12-28's to fix IP law - but be really stupid and conservative about the next big thing.

     

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

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2012 @ 3:02am

    Thats it, after all this,, every country who has gone on to sign this, is americas bitch, whenever i think of them, im gonna assume their as corrupt as america, until proven otherwise, the ones who refuse to sign, i will remember.

    What fucking right does america think it has to dictate, and thats what that letter is, another conutries policy, either america's the biggest douche, or theres something here were not getting, either way fuck it, and fuck you america, id normally say american government at this point, because i know its not all americans, but im startint to get really fucking fed up with this shit, so again i say fuck you america for your fucking arogance

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2012 @ 3:03am

    Re:

    ahhh, truly the last place for freedom

     

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

  17.  
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    vukovar (profile), Feb 2nd, 2012 @ 3:32am

    Re:

    That's what happens when you accept aid and support from the US. Look at the history of the Baltic States - the US supported and backed their separation from Russia, backs their membership to NATO, etc. Estonia also hosted some of the secret CIA interrogation centers. The paymasters in Tallin are getting the bill for all that.

     

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

  18.  
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    Violated (profile), Feb 2nd, 2012 @ 4:15am

    East of here

    I would expect Estonia take Hollywood more seriously when Hollywood stops providing media months or even years behind most other countries.

    I have heard many time from people in this region that they simply cannot buy the media they want to. Hollywood prefers the richer countries while the poorer are neglected.

    Well it is easy to say any law needs improvement but Estonia should do what is best for Estonia.

     

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

  19.  
    identicon
    Another AC, Feb 2nd, 2012 @ 4:24am

    Ah I Get It Now

    It's not so much that piracy 'steals jobs' then, it's that the entertainment industry 'removes jobs' when they don't get their way.

    NOW the industry claims are starting to make sense! Er, wait a minute...

     

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

  20.  
    icon
    gorehound (profile), Feb 2nd, 2012 @ 5:41am

    Re: Ah I Get It Now

    The Big Content Industry is one Industry I would love to see DEAD !!!
    I imagine they must have hidden away tons of emails & digitized info like "Accounting" jobs for big blockbusters they claim lost money, ETC.
    When their DIRT is released to the General Public I will have to buy a nice Bottle of Wine and make a Toast to their Demise.
    Lick my dog's dirty Butt MAFIAA.............
    and the day will come when this Country sees both Democrats & Republicans lose out to New Parties who better represent their Constituents.
    I am usually Liberal and my brother is very far right Conservative.Both of us hate the way this Government is.Neither one of us are happy at the choices we have for 2012 Voting.

     

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

  21.  
    identicon
    Jones Lange, Feb 2nd, 2012 @ 6:33am

    Total control

    They are doing this in all countries to gain total control.
    What happens when they have it? thrivemovement.com
    See the movie. It is not a problem, but time to make a decision to help yourself.

     

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

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2012 @ 7:15am

    Re: Re:

    {citation]: Please consult history of Estdomains.

     

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

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2012 @ 7:25am

    Re: Re: Re:

    IOW, you have no citations (or, like most pro IP extremists, you're too lazy to look them up because you're so used to getting paid to do nothing).

     

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

  24.  
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    crade (profile), Feb 2nd, 2012 @ 8:18am

    Like it matters what Estonia wants. They have a gun to their head like the rest of us.

     

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

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2012 @ 8:19am

    Re: American Chamber of Commerce?

    The only legitimate organization representing the interests of the United States and its citizens ending in the words, "of Commerce," is the Department of Commerce.

    Everything else meeting that description is just a collective organization of corporations seeking protectionism and easier ways to insert their hands more deeply into your pocket. I.E., scum.

     

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

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2012 @ 9:17am

    Re: East of here

    I hope Hollywood stops providing his [...] at all :)

     

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

  27.  
    identicon
    Jane., Feb 2nd, 2012 @ 10:22am

    Re: East of here

    Does not matter... they will have free internet.

     

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

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2012 @ 10:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

     

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

  29.  
    identicon
    what?, Feb 2nd, 2012 @ 10:42am

    Re: Re:

    Supported? Dude, are you serious? When russian tanks were driving over crowd of patriots who stood there as a human wall in Vilnius to protect their own land, none of the 'supporters' were there.

     

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

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2012 @ 11:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Those links talk about EstDomains, not Estonia. and while EstDomains may have participated in questionable activity, the CEO did get punished for it.

    "The CEO, Vladimir Tšaštšin (also known as "SCR"), received a prison sentence for credit card fraud, document forgery, and money laundering."

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

    So a country has some people who have participated in illegal activity and you use that to label the entire country. With that logic, the U.S. is a country famed as a source for distributing aids tainted blood to hemophiliacs and what's even worse is that no one in the U.S. got sent to prison for it. So the U.S. is even worse, their crimes make estdomains look like misdemeanors and they don't even punish those responsible because big pharma gets the high court treatment.

    So what's your point again? That criminals exist in all countries but the U.S. has a history of not punishing big corporate criminals who get the high court treatment?

     

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

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2012 @ 12:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    the U.S. is a country famed as a source for knowingly distributing a i d s tainted blood to hemophiliacs * (it was no accident).

     

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

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2012 @ 12:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    (sorry, the filter doesn't like the word a i d s without spaces)

     

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

  33.  
    icon
    vukovar (profile), Feb 2nd, 2012 @ 3:59pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yes I am serious - the separation was supported politially. Goling completly off-topic - militarily, they were on their own. NATO didn't even want to extend membership because the Baltic States hold no strategic value and have a piss-poor military. If Russia wanted to flatten them, it would mean NATO would have to intervene under the joint defense agreements. Running a proxy war there wasn't going to happen, so they were SOL.

    The US has a nasty habit of doing that - encouraging uprising and/or independence, but then not lifting a finger in the resulting chaos. See Iraq, former Yugoslavia.


    US Senator McCain: Estonia Can Be Sure of US Support
    3 August (BNS)


    Senator John McCain, a former presidential candidate of the Republican Party of the United States, thanked Estonia during his Tuesday meeting with Estonian Defence Minister Mart Laar and confirmed that Estonia could be sure of US support.

    During their meeting, Laar and McCain discussed the situation in the United States in connection with the debate over budget cuts and its potential effect on the defence budget. They also discussed co-operation opportunities between the United States and Estonia; the situations in Russia, Afghanistan and Belarus; and issues connected to cyber defence. Laar gave a longer overview of Estonia's activity in the cyber defence sphere.

    McCain noted Russia’s actions in the accusation of its neighbours but expressed hope that it would not give any major results. "We know Russia and we know you," the senator said.

    Laar said that the meeting passed in a warm atmosphere and the senator recalled his visit to Tallinn. "Our views are close and our aims similar. It is good for Estonia to have such a good friend in the US Congress," Defence Minister Laar said.

     

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

  34.  
    identicon
    Aleina, Feb 2nd, 2012 @ 7:50pm

    It makes me feel so warm and fuzzy inside that a small country like Estonia gave the middle finger to SOPA and the US regarding the anti-piracy laws.


    http://goo.gl/jAqHd

     

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

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 1:42am

    Re: Re:

    Those CIA camps were in Lithuania, or at least one was. Nothing such in Estonia except some scandal-hungry journalist making quesses he couldnt prove or elaborate later.

     

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

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2012 @ 2:46pm

    Re: American Chamber of Commerce?

     

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

  37.  
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    Estonian, Feb 6th, 2012 @ 8:28am

    FUCK YOU!! You Yankie fu*ks aint telling s#it what we should do. Just like we aint telling YOU what to do.

     

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

  38.  
    identicon
    Herp, Feb 9th, 2012 @ 8:02am

    Psh.

    If you honestly believe Estonia isn't going to sign ACTA, then you're deluded.

    The Prime Minister of Estonia himself said that ACTA is the Right Thing To Sign.

    Also; Estonias President is practically American.

     

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


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