Czech Government Suspends ACTA Ratification

from the check-off-another-one dept

Following Poland's lead, the Czech Prime Minister, Petr Necas has announced that the government there will suspend the ACTA ratification process until the country has had more time to analyze the agreement. This follows a "wave of protests" across Europe, in which this agreement, that everyone assumed was going through with no questions asked, has suddenly generated significant public interest:
"By no means would the government admit a situation where civic freedoms and free access to information would be threatened," Necas said.

That is why the government will analyse the issue and have it assessed by experts. "We really must look into the impact it would have in real life," Necas said.
Unfortunately, it sounds like some of the protesters are still claiming things about ACTA that were removed ages ago, as Necas is also telling people that it won't require checking laptops at borders or monitoring internet usage. While some of those things were floated in very early drafts of ACTA, all of those have been gone for years at this point. Once again, we have to urge people to keep the ACTA debate fact-based, because misinformation like this makes it easier for countries like the Czech Republic to come back later and say that they're still ratifying the document, because the complaints turned out not to be true. There are plenty of real problems with ACTA, and hopefully people can focus on those. Otherwise these milestone moments in the Czech Republic and Poland will be for nothing....


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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Feb 6th, 2012 @ 11:29am

    He who controls the informations, controls the universe!

    It is entirely within the realm of possibility that a concerted misinformation campaign is ongoing by those who wish ACTA passed into international law--they can then use the factual argument that those opposed to this law do not know what they're talking about.

    Seriously, it's a sound strategy with a good chance of success. A present day example of the ol' "if you can't blind them with brilliance then baffle them with bullsh*t."

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2012 @ 2:01pm

      Re: He who controls the informations, controls the universe!

      "The most perfidious way of harming a cause consists of defending it deliberately with faulty arguments."
      -Friedrich Nietzsche

       

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    sneeje, Feb 6th, 2012 @ 11:44am

    shocking

    It is absolutely shocking that an agreement negotiated in secret with a limited set of parties and some perspectives completely missing would have so much misinformation floating around!

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2012 @ 11:58am

      Re: shocking

      I understand your point - but it is getting played out. Yes ACTA was negotiated in secret by just those folks who knew the super-secret handshake, but the *official* text of the document has been available for months now. It's not like it was just released last week and people are still trying to wrap their heads around it.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2012 @ 6:45pm

        Re: Re: shocking

        Huh? Then you're only paying attention to the narrowest sliver of the point. We are well aware that various versions have leaked repeatedly, but that only partially addresses the point of secrecy and does nothing to address the other points, e.g., involving only those with aligned interests, none of the public, and none with contrary points of view or alternate proposals. Oh and then there's the constant flow of misinformation from the groups involved in the negotiations themselves as they pretend they are involving all interested parties, that the treaty won't affect law, and that they aren't actively trying to avoid scrutiny.

        There's a lot that's getting "played out" but it isn't the criticism of this farce.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2012 @ 11:46am

    the big question here that needs answering is, why the hell do these governments keep signing these 'agreements' without looking at them properly themselves? if it is bad enough to keep out from the 'discussions' all parties other than the entertainment industries and their lackeys, surely that alone must ring alarm bells? to then just blindly sign a document without knowing exactly what's in it and understanding how it will affect your own country and citizens, well that is pure stupidity of the highest level!

     

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    TtfnJohn (profile), Feb 6th, 2012 @ 11:47am

    If the slowdown in the legislation to emable ACTA is caused by misinformation that could be fatal. Nevertheless it stalls it and may get a better chance of getting the truth out about ACTA and the things that are really wrong with it as ACTA is studied.

    Though, as Lobo Santo says we need to be prepared for a kind of "reverse astroturfing" by supporters of the proposed treaty. It won't be the first time that's happened, now will be the last. Sticking to the facts is by far the best way to kill this abomination off. Just as they killed off SOPA/PIPA (at least for now).

     

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    Sovian (profile), Feb 6th, 2012 @ 11:52am

    Ratification process

    Does that mean that they were planning, before the Poland events, to sign ACTA without even knowing what's inside and its potential impacts ... ?
    If so, how's it possible that a government can ratify a text without even knowing its content and its potential impacts, that it has to be the people who must alert its own government about the potential dangers of a text rather than the opposite ?
    'Bit scary.

     

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    ken (profile), Feb 6th, 2012 @ 11:55am

    Staying secret to their own peril

    TPP negotiators insisting on secrecy and shutting out everyone except Hollywood are going to find massive opposition to whatever comes out. They no longer have free rein to sneak things in when no one is looking because now everyone is looking.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2012 @ 11:56am

    The Pirate party continues to grow!

    If only a third party could stand a chance in the US.

     

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      :Lobo Santo (profile), Feb 6th, 2012 @ 12:05pm

      Re: Unicycle

      There is only one party in the US--they just like to give off the illusion of being two parties. Also, the illusion of being a democratic republic.

       

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        Someantimalwareguy (profile), Feb 6th, 2012 @ 12:29pm

        Re: Re: Unicycle

        There is only one party in the US--they just like to give off the illusion of being two parties. Also, the illusion of being a democratic republic.
        This was certainly true for a long time, but things started unraveling for the status-qua around the time Ross Perot had his 15 minutes back in the 90's which then led to the Tea Party fracture in 2010.

        What made the structure work and keep things relatively stable was the strong middle where actual deals got made with real governance that kept the extremes in check by throwing them a bone now and again. What we have currently is an evolution of the fracturing that will most likely continue, but more so on the left which has some catching up to do.

        I expect this process to continue even if Obama wins this year, but see it accelerating should he loose in November.

         

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      SolEiji, Feb 6th, 2012 @ 12:21pm

      Re:#7

      I am trying to help the Pirate Party get a foothold in Virginia myself! Hear hear!

      While it's scary that they seem to have not paid attention like so many, it makes me REALLY HAPPY to see things like "Country X decides to pause and put this on hold". And wow, two in rapid succession! It's like watching a Jenga tower wobble and shake with each piece taken out! Crumble! Crumble and fall to pieces!

       

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      Hephaestus (profile), Feb 6th, 2012 @ 1:19pm

      Re:

      You don't need a pirate party in the US. You need to get the politicians to agree to certain terms. We saw this with the Tea party types. If at every re-election event we ask politicians if they will support internet freedoms and realize we will vote for the other guy if they do not. I think they will get the hint.

      We just need to make the content industry so toxic that they are not listened to.

       

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    non-anonymous coward (profile), Feb 6th, 2012 @ 12:26pm

    Seems redundant

    I'm confused. Since this is just an executive agreement, why do the legislatures need to ratify ACTA?

     

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      John Fenderson (profile), Feb 6th, 2012 @ 12:36pm

      Re: Seems redundant

      It's an executive agreement in the US. It's a treaty for everybody else.

       

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      Cowardly Anonymous, Feb 6th, 2012 @ 12:48pm

      Re: Seems redundant

      Simple, only the white house claims this as an executive agreement. This is because they know they won't get ratification at this time. Instead, they are waiting for the EU to ratify it and get mad that the US hasn't. Then, they will use the argument of international pressure to force ACTA through congress.

      The EU considers this a kind of mixed treaty, such that every country in the EU and the centralized governing bodies must sign and ratify it or it won't pass for anyone in the EU. If we can stop it in any of these places, we can prevent it from taking effect in the EU. This will remove the US excuse and allow US citizens to stop it here.

      Without the US or the EU, the other countries in the negotiation will not have substantial pressure arguments to force it onto any outside nation, if they can even get the necessary six ratifications to put ACTA into force.

      In other words, we have two big fights ahead of us and if we win both ACTA dies. If we lose the first, we lose. If we win the first, the second is simply a matter of keeping momentum going. If we win the first and lose the second, things could get really tense (US adopts ACTA, EU does not, global alliances start to shift).

       

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    Kenneth Michaels, Feb 6th, 2012 @ 12:45pm

    Border Checks

    I disagree with Mike on this one. The Border provision of ACTA states: "1. A party may exclude from the application of this Section small quantities of goods of a non-commercial nature contained in travellers' [sic] personal luggage." The BIG qualifier here is "non-commercial." This means that the border agent must FIRST determine if an air traveler's goods are personal or commercial. Only then can he exclude goods that are non-commercial from a copyright check. There are still border checks on everyone all the time required by ACTA.

    If you are traveling on business, I assume that everything on your laptop is commercial. Or, if personal travel, if you plan to sell the music stored on your iPod, then that is commercial. In other words, this still requires checking of all passengers for copyrighted goods, but only after there is a determination of commercial or non-commercial.

    Or suppose you have a lot of music on your iPod? That does not qualify as a "small" quantity of goods. Perhaps a terabyte of music? When is it no longer "small"?

    This is still problematic.

     

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    Boo Boo, Feb 6th, 2012 @ 2:05pm

    no trust

    The problem is people do not trust their governments to make a wise decision about ACTA or any other similar bill. As we saw in the US with SOPA / PIPA it was clear that many supporters of the bill in congress either did not read it properly or did not understand the implications of what they were supporting.
    Not all of them were under the direct influence of Big Content , some were just supporting it on the basis of ' Gee, well, stopping online piracy is fine with me, I,m in'.
    There is also this ghastly sledgehammer at the core of all these bills . Domain seizures, arrests,guilty until proven innocent, criminal charges,prison time,etc,etc all in the name of copyright infringement/protection and sooner or later these will be extended to ordinary users as the lunatics take control of the asylum.
    Standing at the back pulling the strings is Big Content and its this that is alarming everyone. Under these circumstances fair ,balanced and sane regulatory progress is impossible.
    I also believe that the sleeping giant of ordinary internet users will be woken by something that effects them directly.
    When that happens , it will blow up in the faces of those drafting and promoting these things.

     

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      sabacat (profile), Feb 6th, 2012 @ 5:43pm

      Re: no trust

      I also believe that the sleeping giant of ordinary internet users will be woken by something that effects them directly.


      You mean like they start taking down the dancing cat videos or they nuke Farmville? Sadly, I think that's what it would take for some people... and unfortunately I know a few of them. I would send them articles about SOPA/PIPA, and they would send me invites to help them pick apples or radishes, or milk cows or something. Very apathetic. Unless it hits them, they're uninvolved.

       

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    Jacob Blaustein, Feb 6th, 2012 @ 4:58pm

    Problem?

    Yes I suppose that we need to be made aware of the proper information regarding ACTA, but it will come with time as this this goes on. And remember even without the full story, the secrecy with which ACTA has gone through is still a very legit concern and that we accomplished so much already.

     

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    Nevermore669, Feb 6th, 2012 @ 7:33pm

    Do we REALLY Understand ACTA?

    Rick Falkvinge makes what seems to me (a person largely ignorant in the areas of law and international treaties) an important distinction between a straightforward interpretation of the text of the treaty and an interpretation based on the still secret negotiation protocols, which, he says, define many of the new terms in the treaty. These definitions are binding, and without knowing what these terms actually mean, the treaty remains essentially, secret - despite having the text in front of you.

    He doesn't elaborate much beyond this - the intent of his post was to skirt these difficult, confusing and obfuscated rules, but it seemed an important point to me, however briefly stated (there's a bit more from him in the comments).

    The post is here: http://falkvinge.net/2012/01/28/the-only-thing-you-need-to-know-about-acta/

    It's a quick read, and guaranteed to give any anti-Big-Content person a smile and a warming sensation in the center of his chest.

     

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    Peter Wakefield Sault, Feb 6th, 2012 @ 9:08pm

    Problems?

    "There are plenty of real problems with ACTA" - Mike Masnick

    Such as what, exactly?

     

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 7th, 2012 @ 1:34am

      Re: Problems?

      You see how the words you highlighted are blue? That means those words are "linked" and you can click them to find out more...

       

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