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.

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Comments on “ACTA Proposal Would Criminalize Substantial Non-Commercial Infringement”

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Anonymous Coward says:

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.

interval says:

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.

Matt says:

Re: 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?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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.

IntoTheForge says:

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!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Do you remember this?

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.

JSF (profile) says:

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.

moelarry says:


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.

David Lagesse (user link) says:

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 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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