Is The US Meddling In Polish ACTA Voting?

from the how-dare-they? dept

With the immediate threat from SOPA/PIPA on hold, people have started to turn their attention to the long-running saga of ACTA. While it was being negotiated behind closed doors, few people knew about it, and protests against it were muted. Now that it has finally emerged into the open and begins its last dash towards the finishing line of ratification, the pace of anti-ACTA activism is beginning to pick up quickly. That's especially true in Europe, where everything hinges on the result of the European Parliament's vote on the treaty later this year. If it rejects it, ACTA is dead.

First we had the dramatic resignation of the European Parliament's "rapporteur" on ACTA, then the public apology of the Slovenian Ambassador to Japan for signing ACTA last week in Japan. Individual members of the European Parliament are also coming out against ACTA, notably the Dutch MEP Marietje Schaake, who has prepared an excellent briefing document on the subject, together with several Bulgarian MEPs. But without doubt, the main focus of anti-ACTA actions so far has been in Poland.

As Techdirt has reported, the first demonstration against ACTA took place in Warsaw, and some Polish politicians donned Guy Fawkes/Anonymous masks in parliament to express their displeasure at the Polish government's signing of the treaty. Even the Polish prime minister is trying to back-pedal. Meanwhile, the Polish "No to ACTA" Facebook page has gathered nearly half a million supporters.

Clearly, something very interesting is happening at all levels of Polish society as a result of ACTA, and someone else has noticed this too. According to a translation of a report on the Polish web site gazeta.pl:

"--It was around 11.00 in the morning when an employee from the US Embassy called. She was curious about the voting [on ACTA]. He has counted the votes and she thought some of the deputies were missing. Eight deputies were for, three against, four have held up. Something's wrong here, because some votes seem to be missing." -- said Mieczysław Golba from Solidarna Polska.
As another Polish politician explained:
"-- If the US embassy was just interested in the voting itself, it's okay with us. But questioning about party discipline is scandalous"-- says Sławomir Neumann from PO. -- "Americans should calm down a little, as such behaviour is an interference into the internal affairs of the Polish parliament. We can treat Americans as friends, but there are some borders that one shouldn't cross.We are partners, but not a parliament dependent on the Congress or the president's Obama administration."
Assuming this really was someone from the US embassy checking up on the whether Polish politicians were following the party line on ACTA -- there's been no independent corroboration yet -- it does seem pretty extraordinary. Judging by the generally outraged tone of the 1100+ comments on this piece, the Poles themselves don't seem very happy either. I think we can expect to hear much more about Poland's resistance to ACTA in the coming weeks.

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Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
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    Skeptical Cynic (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 11:50am

    I am part Polish...

    And this just shows the Polish are NOT always backwards. So I say in the effort to promote Internet freedom we all should stop all Polish jokes!!!

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 1:26pm

      Re: I am part Polish...

      "So I say in the effort to promote Internet freedom we all should stop all Polish jokes!!!"

      and how does this serve to progress the arts. Jokes are an art, right?

       

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      lostalaska (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 3:16pm

      Re: I am part Polish...

      Don't worry at the rate things are going in the USA we'll just change the words polish or Poland to american or America.

      America... the most technologically advanced backwards thinking country in the world. It used to anger me how much of a decline we Americans have seen in our science programs and progress often at the behest of congress so we can continue all our "ideological wars" be it on terrorism, drugs and copyright. Looking at how we laud and embrace idiocy I feel like our decline as a world power can't come soon enough. We've gotten fat, lazy and far too self entitled for our own good. Let another country have it's golden age as we slide into our self induced technological dark age.

       

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    Jay (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 12:02pm

    Hmmm... Warsaw

    I find it very interesting that Warsaw Poland is now considered the final stand for internet freedom...

    Just think about that for a moment.

     

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      Skeptical Cynic (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 12:27pm

      Re: Hmmm... Warsaw

      I said above; Stop Pollack jokes in the interest of Internet freedom!!! They are not backwards but forwards thinking!!!

       

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        harbingerofdoom (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 12:49pm

        Re: Re: Hmmm... Warsaw

        perhaps he may be alluding to the fact that the end of the cold war was in fact due to the solidarity movement in poland and is now drawing compaison to current events...


        not everyone see's poland as little more than a source of jokes ya know...

         

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          tqk (profile), Feb 4th, 2012 @ 6:36pm

          Re: Re: Re: Hmmm... Warsaw

          perhaps he may be alluding to the fact that the end of the cold war was in fact due to the solidarity movement in poland ...

          Perhaps he was alluding to the fact that Churchill had issued an ultimatum to the Nazis prior to WWII. Invade Poland, and it's war! Too bad we let them down at Yalta. Sorry Poland.

           

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    •  
      identicon
      Jola, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 12:49pm

      Re: Hmmm... Warsaw

      Polish people don't like having their freedom taken away (especially since we got it back just 22 years ago). It's sort of in our blood to rebel against those who try to control us, and form time to time we'll kick some ass :)

       

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        Chargone (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 3:14pm

        Re: Re: Hmmm... Warsaw

        might explain why Poland refuses to stay conquered :D (i don't think any other country has disappeared off the map And Come Back as many times as Poland. i could be wrong though. all sorts of perspective distorting factors that could play into that.)

         

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          identicon
          Jola, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 3:56pm

          Re: Re: Re: Hmmm... Warsaw

          You never know... Our 'eager to please government' may soon petition for Poland to become the 51st State... :D

           

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2012 @ 7:25pm

      Re: Hmmm... Warsaw

      I just couldn't help but notice the irony in that too.

      So glad someone in the comments noticed it already

       

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 12:19pm

    I wonder if they uses those hackable electronic voting machines in Poland?

     

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      identicon
      Stuart, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 1:55pm

      Re:

      I wonder if a person that misspells "use" is Polish?
      Oh oh. I guess I screwed up the whole no more Polish jokes thing.

      My bad.

       

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    Designerfx (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 12:21pm

    you know what?

    This is something I'd like to see the white house answer.

    Start a petition for the white house to answer on:

    Dear white house,

    why are we meddling in the political affairs of a foreign country?

    signed, the internet.

     

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      Raphael (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 12:41pm

      Re: you know what?

      You must be new to the US.

       

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      •  
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        Designerfx (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 12:53pm

        Re: Re: you know what?

        nah, but I'd genuinely like to see them required to answer via a petition.

         

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          Al Bert (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 10:43pm

          Re: Re: Re: you know what?

          They'll say the same thing they said about chris dodd. It's the same thing a criminal says to the press as he's whisked away after being tried guilty:

          "No comment"

           

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      Zos (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 12:48pm

      Re: you know what?

      "dear constituent- because that's politics, and because we can. Would you rather they were dictating to us? what are you, some kind of commy terrorist? Why do you hate america? How long have you worked for al qauida?

      Stay where you are, someone will be along to collect you soon. We have some questions about that lawn fertilizer you purchased last year. Also, those dodgy websites we've noticed you looking at


      respectfully, your lord and master,

      Uncle Sam."

       

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      The eejit (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 1:21pm

      Re: you know what?

      Amend it, to "why are you declaring war on Europe, Oceania and the BRIC countries?"

       

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      tqk (profile), Feb 4th, 2012 @ 6:41pm

      Re: you know what?

      why are we meddling in the political affairs of a foreign country?

      Shut up! It's how we teach geography to US-ians. Sheesh!

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Chemslave, Feb 5th, 2012 @ 9:29am

      Re: you know what?

      Done!
      here is your petition!

      http://wh.gov/k6r

       

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  •  
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    Jon Lawrence (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 12:31pm

    Bring on the Popcorn

    All I need now is a comfy seat and a soda to sit back and watch the comedy unfold. :)

     

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    Robert (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 12:31pm

    As an American Citizen...

    I wish we'd mind other nations governments the hell alone.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 12:44pm

    Poland can be a bit touchy when it comes to Big Brothers meddling in their politics.

     

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    Lesath (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 12:52pm

    This is a rhetorical question right? I mean, of course, our government is meddling in other countries affairs.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 12:57pm

    What did the Poles expect?

    The Polish government essentially agreed to be America's lapdog, in exchange for being protected from influence by its German and Russian neighbors.

    Today, Poles are finding that a nation on the other side of the ocean can be just as intrusive and damaging to their sovereignty.

     

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      Marcel de Jong (profile), Feb 4th, 2012 @ 5:05pm

      Re: What did the Poles expect?

      When was this 'agreement' made? In the '40s?

       

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      tqk (profile), Feb 4th, 2012 @ 6:49pm

      Re: What did the Poles expect?

      Today, Poles are finding that a nation on the other side of the ocean can be just as intrusive and damaging to their sovereignty.

      Sigh. Now that's depressing. It used to be just the Tsar or German Chancellor or the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Now, the US is getting into the act?!?

      To arms!

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 1:04pm

    People of the world: Please know that sane, intelligent Americans don't support this indecency, or ACTA/SOPA/PIPA and all that other garbage.

     

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      Al Bert (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 10:54pm

      Re:

      It's crucial to realize that the state acts as its own representative in many ways. It will trade favors among those with something to offer, but it has little more than a ceremonial role as a representative of the people.

       

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      tqk (profile), Feb 4th, 2012 @ 6:52pm

      Re:

      People of the world: Please know that sane, intelligent Americans don't support this indecency, or ACTA/SOPA/PIPA and all that other garbage.

      Unfortunately, that sort of American appears to be in the minority, and your Hollywood Cabal has taken control of your gov't.

      Sucks.

       

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    Squig (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 1:04pm

    You should have noticed the Poles not being too happy with that when the Polish foreign minister of Poland said that he's more afraid of a passive Germany than a meddling Germany.

     

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    identicon
    Mr. Oizo, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 1:12pm

    Very cooI, I might even be going to Freiburg

    So that was my message :) I know, very important !

     

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      identicon
      Mr. Oizo, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 1:14pm

      Re: Very cooI, I might even be going to Freiburg

      and it is even the wrong topic. This message is supposed to be in the ACTA protests accros europe section. My, my, if I keep this up I might be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

       

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 1:13pm

    Classic misdirection. Looking for a way to not be accountable for their actions, the Polish government is pointing fingers across the ocean now. I guess it's a good thing, as they seem to have realized that ACTA can't just secretly sail through.

     

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      identicon
      Jola, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 1:27pm

      Re:

      I don't think it's misdirection, at least not in this case. Embassy did call - they admitted to that, and the government is not pointing fingers - it's trying to get out of the mess it created. It;s been trying to get out of it since the first demonstration in Warsaw.

       

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 1:16pm

    The United States government has turned into some weird cross between Cyril Sneer and Boris Badenov. Comically evil AND stupid.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 1:29pm

    I guess the most interesting part of this is considering how they thought it would be possible to pass ACTA in the wake of all the outrage against SOPA? Did they think that SOPA headlines would hide their attempt to keep it all silent? Maybe they thought that SOPA would easily pass as well, and that it would be all a done deal with none the wiser, only realizing their mistake far too late.

     

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      identicon
      Loki, Feb 4th, 2012 @ 5:12am

      Re:

      ACTA was already working its way through the system before SOPA/PIPA even hit the table. They figured given how little resistance there has been to their pet legislations: DMCA (a few small concessions), Pro IP, sneaking ACTA through the early stages in secret and so on, as well as the lack of outrage for other interests pet legislations: Patriot Act, its continued renewal, NDAA, and so on, they figured they'd hit more than minimal resistance popping SOPA/PIPA through to complement ACTA.

      There own greed actually got in the way of their goals this time though. Had they waited on SOPA/PIPA, or been less adamant about ramming it through at all costs, ACTA most likely would have sailed through the system as little more than a distant blip on all but a small handful of radars.

      Given the growing outrage of communities large and small, it will be interesting when knowledge of the ultra secret TPP negotiations begin to become far more widely known, and when details of those negotiation start to be ferreted out.

       

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 1:34pm

    "I don't think it's misdirection, at least not in this case. Embassy did call - they admitted to that, and the government is not pointing fingers - it's trying to get out of the mess it created."

    I can't imagine this not being misdirection, really. It seems like an attempt to shift headlines to a bashing of the usa government, which is a popular target everywhere nowadays.

     

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      identicon
      Jola, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 1:38pm

      Re:

      So far it has been the only piece of news in relation with the US (and not the US gov. but the embassy). There has been bashing but of the protesters ('young' 'stupid' 'misguided' 'manipulated'), of the Polish governemt officials, of internet pirates, etc. No one here is focused on the American government that much (really).

       

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 1:42pm

    "So far it has been the only piece of news in relation with the US (and not the US gov. but the embassy). There has been bashing but of the protesters ('young' 'stupid' 'misguided' 'manipulated'), of the Polish governemt officials, of internet pirates, etc. No one here is focused on the American government that much (really)."

    Mob rule tactics --> give the mob a more tantalizing target. One must ask oneself why this is news, when it certainly isn't such an outrage, honestly. They called up and asked a question--is it really logical to be concerned or outraged about that in any way? Surely worse things have happened to these people before.

     

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      identicon
      Jola, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 1:49pm

      Re:

      "is it really logical to be concerned or outraged about that in any way?"

      Honestly - it's 'old news'. Media talked about it for one day (some days ago) and moved on. Personally, I don't think it's such a bad thing to enquire about what happens and what thae result of voting are. But questiong the validity of the voting, who was present, were there enough people for the voting to be valid - it seems to undermine the Polish authority over its own matters.

      "Surely worse things have happened to these people before."
      Surely, yes. But it doesn't mean thet 'less bad' things should be ignored.

       

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    Yartrebo (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 1:44pm

    Finally some good news

    It's very good to hear that ACTA appears to be going the way of the SOPA.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 1:56pm

    "Honestly - it's 'old news'. Media talked about it for one day (some days ago) and moved on. Personally, I don't think it's such a bad thing to enquire about what happens and what thae result of voting are. But questiong the validity of the voting, who was present, were there enough people for the voting to be valid - it seems to undermine the Polish authority over its own matters."

    I'm not sure that we can truly understand the motives of the questioning, but to assume that the motives are bad--seems unreasonable. I think most everyone believes that:

    "Clearly, something very interesting is happening at all levels of Polish society as a result of ACTA, and someone else has noticed this too." [quoted from this article]

    At face value, questions are asked because an honest answer is expected. It must seem to many others, as it seemed to me, that there was a rush to pass ACTA before the public knew about it. I'd want to get to the truth of that as well.

     

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      identicon
      Jola, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 2:03pm

      Re:

      "It must seem to many others, as it seemed to me, that there was a rush to pass ACTA before the public knew about it."

      There was a great rush and secrecy. As I see it, our government signed ACTA to impress 'the big boys' and to have something to show off with at the end of Polish presidency in the EU.

       

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      tqk (profile), Feb 4th, 2012 @ 7:59pm

      Re:

      It must seem to many others, as it seemed to me, that there was a rush to pass ACTA before the public knew about it.

      That has been "Standard Operating Procedure" from the outset. Secret negotiations, anything we "proles" knew about it came from leaks, & etc. This has been a highly undemocratic procedure with no oversight from us from the beginning, which we were simply expected to accept as an accomplished fact once done. In the USA, it's an Executive Agreement, not even vetted, nor challengable, by Congress!

      Procedurally, it's smelled like rotten fish from day one. That should make anyone suspicious about what strings are being pulled, and by whom.

       

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 2:14pm

    my money is on 'yes, it was someone from the US embassy'. the US has interfered/still is interfering in other nations politics with the threat of sanctions against them if those other nations dont do as the US wants. all for the entertainment industries, remember. they dont have the right to interfere and dont have the right to put their economy before that of the countries they are threatening. it is definitely time for the US to back off and butt out! there's gonna be some serious consequences before long if not!

     

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    identicon
    Jeff, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 6:13pm

    STOP ACTA

    If the American people knew anything about ACTA do you think we would have something to say? Answer is HELL YES! This was kept hidden and never let out. I for one disagree with ACTA and would love to have the chance to tell my gov't so. Thank you Poland for taking a stand and I hope others will follow to keep the Internet FREE!!!

     

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      identicon
      Loki, Feb 4th, 2012 @ 5:19am

      Re: STOP ACTA

      Let's not forget that the current form of ACTA is a "watered down" version from where it originally started, and that even as we protest it, they are even now working on TPP, which starts where ACTA originally started and tries to go in the opposite direction from where ACTA ended up.

       

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    Androgynous Cowherd, Feb 4th, 2012 @ 9:37am

    No doubt this resistance will catapult Poland to the very top of the Special 301 Naughty List.

     

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      tqk (profile), Feb 4th, 2012 @ 8:06pm

      Re:

      No doubt this resistance will catapult Poland to the very top of the Special 301 Naughty List.

      Nah. I think we Canucks have a lock on that spot, for what reason we've no idea.

       

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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Feb 4th, 2012 @ 5:13pm

    One wonders, with all this protest, if any of these bad ideas (ACTA, TPP, etc) were to become laws. How many people would actually follow it?

    And it's quite simple to solve really. If their claims of the profitability of the illegal sites are true, and those sites really are so profitable, then what's stopping the Great Morons at Hollywood at creating the same kinds of websites, but then legal?

     

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      tqk (profile), Feb 4th, 2012 @ 8:41pm

      Re:

      One wonders, with all this protest, if any of these bad ideas (ACTA, TPP, etc) were to become laws. How many people would actually follow it?

      Following it is the only option. There is no "choice" allowed here. It will be the law of the land, our politicians will have sold us out (or soon will be), and doing other than what it allows us to do is illegal infringement of Intellectual Property, right or wrong, whether we like it or not.

      Do you think you have a right to use 21st Century culture? Can you back that up with a good lawyer, better than the *AAs lawyers?

      I'm not even a pirate (I advocate boycotting them), but I see the slop over effects this will have on everyone, and it sickens me that the *AAs just have to buy a few Congressmen, and the Internet will be pleading for its right to exist or do anything useful for us.

      I hate this century. On the other hand, go Poland! Yeah!

       

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2012 @ 7:15pm

    How many Americans does it take to screw up Poland?

     

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    identicon
    Jola, Feb 5th, 2012 @ 5:46am

    "On the other hand, go Poland! Yeah!"

    We're going... we're going... but it's freezing here ;)

     

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    identicon
    Polish translator, Feb 10th, 2012 @ 8:07am

    ACTA won't work anyway. Internet will find it's own way to omit the rules~~

     

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