ACTA One Step Closer To Being Done; Concerns About Transparency Ignored

from the getting-closer dept

Despite widespread demands from politicians around the globe, combined with promises from the USTR to be more open and transparent (despite unsubstantiated and totally ridiculous claims that countries would leave the negotiations if details were made public) and even entertainment industry lobbyists admitting that the process could be more transparent, ACTA negotiations are continuing in a veil of total secrecy to the public (unless you’re a big industry lobbyist — then it’s open). The latest meetings in Mexico were again held in total secrecy, where public concerns were mocked, but appear to have continued to move the negotiations forward with claims coming out that the document is in “final drafting stages.”

Yes, without any transparency or participation allowed from those who it would impact most: the public.

How is it that any government is willing to participate in such a process? It’s a massive travesty. The details that have been revealed suggest that this is a sneaky way to significantly impact copyright laws around the world, greatly in favor of a few industries that have been unwilling to adapt to a changing marketplace. This is protectionism at its worst. At the same time that US politicians are slamming China for its internet restrictions, ACTA seeks to place the same type of limitations on ISPs around the world that the Chinese government places on its ISPs, all done through a secret process with no public input — even from many elected officials who are greatly concerned about both the content of the agreement as well as the way in which it has been drafted.

That the US government is orchestrating the whole thing at the behest of the MPAA and the RIAA, among others, is a disgusting display of industry influence in government policy. The administration should be massively ashamed of itself for not just participating in such a travesty, but in many ways leading the way and providing cover for the bogus claims of industry representatives and lobbyists that this is a minor trade harmonization issue, rather than a significant change in policy and an attempt to route around existing venues (that are willing to listen to the public and consumer concerns) in order to push through these changes on a widespread level.

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Comments on “ACTA One Step Closer To Being Done; Concerns About Transparency Ignored”

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Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Re: "share"

“I hope ACTA bites the music/ entertainment industry in the ass.”

Dont worry it will bite them in the ass. In the best possible way, the pocket book. Plus when it becomes public wait for every imaginable group it affects to lobby against it. IMHO in the end it could be the tipping point that breaks the IP maximalist bubble.

It will also lead to more encryption, onion routing, distibuted anon cloud storage, and P2P apps faster and more efficient than TOR. Looking at the rise in encrypted traffic in sweden and south korea after the ACTA like laws were passed there has actually been a rise in file sharing. If you dont worry about getting caught you tend to do it more.

iTunes is a “glam” marketing glitch. Most music sites are now communities that people can buy stuff, its not a RtB, its just convenient for the members. This to shall pass…

Now for the main reason they have already lost. 30 plus years of file sharing, 2 generations, plus all the older people who were techno savy enough. It started with modems and BBS’s and now the internet. There arent enough jail cells to hold all of them, and making examples never works it just pisses people off even more. RIAA’s lawsuits comes to mind.

I hope this helps in your wish to have ACTA bite them in the Ass.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 "share"

“Sounds like you think it will be as effective as the “war on drugs””

Looking at Sweden, south korea, france, etc that have implemented parts of what is (see wikileaks) or has been speculated on being in ACTA it has had no effect except to drive up encrypted traffic after the laws were implemented. The UK’s digital economy bill with its clause 70% reduction in infringing file sharing in x years is worthless. It will look like infringement is down because they wont be able to see what is infringing content. So I doubt as many people will be kicked off the internet as people believe.

To answer your question “will this be as effective as the war on drugs?” It will be less effective and it will cause better more anonymous software to be developed. If they cant see what you are transfering because its encrypted then monitoring by the ISP’s using deep packet inspection is worthless. It just pushes it to a new level.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Canadians pay a levy on some black media so it’s okay to “share” some people’s IP, at least here in Canada.

So now on top of the levy, ACTA would also force people to get kicked off of the internet? Are they going to give up the levy? Over $600 million dollars has been handed over to the CRIA by the Canadian public.

How horrible would that be!

Who’s going to pay for the expense of kicking people off of the interent? You? The Canadian ISPs? The Canadian taxpayers?

Andrew F (profile) says:

Re: Re:

They also might lose a whole lot more. For example, f ACTA kills fair use, the public might lose the benefit of parodies and literary criticism. Or suppose ACTA imposes liability upon service providers for the responsibilities of their users — the public might see the closing of free Wi-Fi and Internet cafes who don’t want to deal with all of that.

Those are “mights” because we don’t know what’s in it.

Democracy depends upon transparency. The free market depends on transparency. I would even argue that an effective IP system depends on transparency, but even if it doesn’t, arguing that IP rights matter more than democracy and the market seems to be an untenable position.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:


“That the US government is orchestrating the whole thing at the behest of the MPAA and the RIAA, among others, is a disgusting display of industry influence in government policy.”

I know you don’t take the same view of our govt. that I do, I know you don’t see the same extremes in the dangers and you temper your language to appeal to a greater audience….but why not just call a duck a duck. This is the very definition of fascism, as defined by the man who coined the term.

The time for pulling punches is over. First comes the harsh language, then comes the harsh but peaceful disobedience….after that….well….it might finally be getting close to the time when marching on our state governments and then on to Washington is at hand….

Rasmus says:

Re: Look...

Agree, its time to call a duck a duck. This is fascism, in its original meaning.

The Pirate march against Fascism will go to history. One man in the European Parliament already. But we need people everywhere. So its time to join. Form a local Pirate Party with some friends. And remember the Pirate rule: 3 members that agree on a party activity is entitled to act in the Pirate Party name without asking anyones permission.

Check out

The Anti-Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

My thoughts are that different players will have different positions, and that some of them might not be palatable in their home countries. Example, say a country like Sweden negotiating to block torrent sites, or the US to limit fair use. The end results might not include either of those things, but the privacy gives them the chance to air those ideas and concepts without fear of reprisals.

Free and frank discussions only can happen in private.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“Free and frank discussions only can happen in private.”

There may be some truth to that, but two questions, one of which I already asked and you decided not to comment:

1. (Repeat) If this is a trade agreement, and they are going to release the details once finalized….WHERE THE HELL IS THE NAT’L SECURITY ISSUE?

2. If the only way you can have a frank and free discussion is without the scrutiny of the very people you represent, then maybe you shouldn’t be IN FUCKING PUBLIC OFFICE!

gdkgjdgkj says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“2. If the only way you can have a frank and free discussion is without the scrutiny of the very people you represent, then maybe you shouldn’t be IN FUCKING PUBLIC OFFICE!”

I think when every time the bourgeoisie mentions the “people” their actually talking about their own class and not us because under capitalism we’re actually designed to be their serfs/slaves with no rights and the internet was actually just a accidental mistake they put out (by the military I think) and their currently trying to gain control of it once again.

don’t let their words fool you.

Luci says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Err.. So you’re saying that you DO like the idea of corporate interests drafting laws in back rooms that the American public will be compelled to obey without any legislative checks and balances. Because that’s what you just said. The American public, as well as the other countries involved in these discussions, will be compelled to obey these laws, and do not try to say they aren’t laws, without the benefits of the checks and balances we have in place.

Sam I Am says:

big bad laws

“Protectionism at its worst.”

Yeah, right Mike. How shocked are we? After 5 years and hundreds of millions in education and a ten year ransacking of the greatest catalog of recorded music the world has ever known….music owned by others (thank you very much)…they are finally moving to protect their products in the digital marketplace and even then only AFTER the public has made clear what they will do unless that digital marketplace is finally protected.

Aw, big bad evil laws to curtail rampant infringing. Poor widdle pubwic.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: big bad laws

a ten year ransacking of the greatest catalog of recorded music the world has ever known

It would have been an even greater catalog if copyright actually lasted a reasonable amount of time.

Poor widdle pubwic.

Wow. Are you making fun of the public? The ones who have the power to change the laws?

Good show!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: big bad laws

“a ten year ransacking of the greatest catalog of recorded music the world has ever known”

At least you admit that you don’t want the public to benefit from anything great and that your motives have nothing to do with the public interest.

“music owned by others”

“music owned by others (thank you very much)”

No body owes anyone a monopoly (thank you very much).

Anony1 says:

Hey TAM, First I knew you would be the first to comment.
What does that say about you? I’ll tell you! It says you’re predictable. It also says that (as your name implies) your only purpose here is to be a gadfly.

Exhibit A:

” the US to limit fair use. The end results might not include either of those things”

Are you capable of answering a single straightforward question? I say you’re not, which will solidify your gadfly status. Let’s test that OK?
QUESTION: What if the treaty did try and limit fair use in the US, would you be comfortable with this position, and if so why?

The discussions can be held in private, but the general concepts/proposals can technically still be discussed publicly, with no one individual signled out. In the US, people have representative government. Since fair use is accepted in US law, a decision to try and wipe it out would most likely be opposed by the majority of the American people. I have no data, that is just an opinion of my. The point is however, that an attempt to placate other countries would run contrary (in the US at least) to the concept of represenation at that point, and the will of the people. Possibly just to placate a non-democratic republic.
Still OK with that are you? Really?

Your reasoning fails basic logic. Bye for now.

Anony1 says:

TAM, Explain the fairness of this also please:
Why should industry get represenation with government, but not at least representatives of groups with alternative view points. Or is only one view point allowed?

You say this is all about people being pirates over their ISPs,but then bring up the possibility of limiting fair use.
You can’t logically have both. If it’s all or nothing, your point on fair use is moot. Unless of course that is also a goal. Now, no name calling, no funny business, JUST answer the questions please. Your choice of course, but if you don’t,your cover (however now thin) will completely be blown. Waiting… =)

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Dry runs ....

South Korea, Sweden, Spain, UK’s digital economy bill, all seem to be dry runs for ACTA. What is very interesting is that they are pushing so hard, and so fast to get ACTA signed, they seem to be ignoring what is going on in the countries they got laws passed in. But that has been the problem since the beginning. They ignore what they dont want to see. That is why in the short run ACTA will be passed, in the long run ….

With this perceived protection they will do victory dances, smoke their cigars, drink, snort some coke, hire some hookers, pat each other on the back, and go about business as usual. “We are protected now” will be the cry from the board rooms of all media distribution companies …

they will do nothing to adapt the old school business models … the world will continue down the path it is currently following and adapt to the new rules … then premature failure of their businesses will occur because they believe themselves to be protected and they do nothing to change.

This is the future ACTA will bring so I say ….


visual77 (profile) says:

internal and external links

this isn’t related to the article itself, but the amount of links in the article did remind me of this…

could the style of these articles be changed ever so slightly to make external site links more apparent? i like clicking to your source articles to view the full details, and this article has 10 links, 9 of which are internal. it would be very convenient if i could, at a glance, know which links go to the original source and which go to other articles that i probably read when you first posted them.


From the United Hackers Association to Anti Mike with Love or was it shit on his face

yea anti mike that limited time to make you a lil bit so you can continue ot crteate implunity right

where you can be the lazy fucking asswipe tha you really are and SOAK the public for billions and get to that yacht building program while people in haiti starve

while poor and disadvantaged get cut off of there own culture


they cant afford atm to put all of us in prisons
remember how much that would cost OH dont think i dont know
ive researched that too mister


leaked DRM

I kind sirs have aided and abetted and i shall to that time of death.

modified mentors last words

Another one got caught today, it’s all over the papers. “Teenager Arrested in Downloading music tune Scandal”, “Pirate Arrested after Copyright Infringement”… Damn kids. They’re all alike. But did you, in your three- piece psychology and 1950’s technobrain, ever take a look behind the eyes of the pirate? Did you ever wonder what made him tick, what forces shaped him, what may have molded him? I am a hacker, enter my world… Mine is a world that begins with school… I’m smarter than most of the other kids, this crap they teach us bores me… Damn underachiever. They’re all alike. I’m in junior high or high school. I’ve listened to teachers explain for the fifteenth time how to reduce a fraction. I understand it. “No, Ms. Smith, I didn’t show my work. I did it in my head…” Damn kid. Probably copied it. They’re all alike. I made a discovery today. I found a computer. Wait a second, this is cool. It does what I want it to. If it makes a mistake, it’s because I screwed it up. Not because it doesn’t like me… Or feels threatened by me.. Or thinks I’m a smart ass.. Or doesn’t like teaching and shouldn’t be here… Damn kid. All he does is play games. They’re all alike. And then it happened… a door opened to a world… rushing through the phone line like heroin through an addict’s veins, an electronic pulse is sent out, a refuge from the day-to-day incompetencies is sought… a board is found. “This is it… this is where I belong…” I know everyone here… even if I’ve never met them, never talked to them, may never hear from them again… I know you all… Damn kid. Tying up the phone line again. They’re all alike… You bet your ass we’re all alike… we’ve been spoon-fed baby food at school when we hungered for steak… the bits of meat that you did let slip through were pre-chewed and tasteless.

We’ve been dominated by sadists, or ignored by the apathetic. The few that had something to teach found us willing pupils, but those few are like drops of water in the desert. This is our world now… the world of the electron and the switch, the beauty of the baud. We make use of a service already existing without paying for what could be dirt-cheap if it wasn’t run by profiteering gluttons, and you call us criminals. We explore… and you call us criminals. We seek after knowledge… and you call us criminals. We exist without skin color, without nationality, without religious bias… and you call us criminals. You build atomic bombs, you wage wars, you murder, cheat, and lie to us and try to make us believe it’s for our own good, yet we’re the criminals.

Yes, I am a criminal. My crime is that of curiosity. My crime is that of judging people by what they say and think, not what they look like. My crime is that of outsmarting you, something that you will never forgive me for. I am a hacker, and this is my manifesto. You may stop this individual,but you can’t stop us all… after all, we’re all alike.

I strive for freedom , I strive for knowledge. YOU seek containment and control. I am guilty of disobeying you, and your unjust laws. I am guilty of caring about spreading knowledge for it shall one day save us all.

lbds137 (profile) says:

Re: If ACTA gets passed...

I think the problem is not with capitalism but with companies wanting to ignore the fundamentals of capitalism – you know, “more competition is better”.

No, the problem is with the political system that can be bought out by lobbyists and twisted to the ends of the corporations instead of the people. When the people who are supposed to represent you turn a cold shoulder to your concerns and take bribes from companies trying to acquire / preserve monopolies, you know there is a real problem.

Some Guy says:

It’s almost as if these organizations are trying to fail. Everything they do alienates their paying customers, which causes less of their products to be sold, which causes them to be more vocal in calling their customers thieves, which in turn alienates more of their customers, and so on…

Sure must be nice to treat your customers like that. If my company treated all of its clients like thieves, we wouldn’t have any clients! I’m guessing neither would most companies.

That’s ok, the bigger they are, the harder they fall, right?

RD says:

TAM the amazing TAMHOLE

And here we are, hours later, and Traitor Against Mankind has yet to respond to anything, and especially not to a couple of simple, clear, specific questions. So now we know, he is a complete tool, and has nothing to offer these kinds of discussions. He will just blather on and take the side of Big Media, and the opposite side of anything Mike supports, and then traipse off to the next post, sowing nothing but discord, specious arguments, and bile.

He is now proven out as nothing, just a corporate mouthpiece.

The eejit (profile) says:

Once upon a time, people shared trades, and pretty much everyone could so some of everything.

Then, capitalism happened out of ascetic Protestantism. And suddenly, like magic, people started to specialise.

Sharing was a part of our culture for milennia. Stopping sharing now, when it only benefits a small few, is as best stupid and at worst downright neglectful of our collective cultures.

We need to shoot the bright sparks behind this., and fast. To put us all out of our deocratic Misery. Democracy is for Ancient Greeks.

Letherial (profile) says:

I believe that it takes any treaty to go through house, senate and such for a vote, it will hopefully become more transparent at that point. I get this info from here
Everyone responsibility now is to demand that the treaty become transparent and look to see who votes and who doesn’t.

Most in America have forgotten how much power we have, the fact is the politicians and government take as much power as they can, and through ignorance Americans give them that power. with the internet i don’t believe lack of information can no longer fall as a excuse, I also don’t believe that we can blame the people we put there. You need a movement, you need people getting off there asses and start throwing this at the people we vote in there, They are the employees.

I like tech dirt, it talks about a lot of things i care about, its unfortunate that i rarely see answers and only see gripes.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re:

According to the EFF this will not even require the involvement of the Senate. Why that is even possible I do not know.

“The Office of the USTR has chosen to negotiate ACTA as a sole executive agreement. Because of a loophole in democratic accountability on sole executive agreements, the Office of the USTR can sign off on an IP Enforcement agenda without any formal congressional involvement at all.”

More information at

Anony1 says:

So here we are DAYS later and TAM can’t give a simple response. BTW, TAM, NO BS ALLOWED. If you want to play go back to post # 26 read it, and respond (directly as requested please). Anything other than a direct response WILL be ignored by those here. Otherwise please continue your silence. PEOPLE: DO NOT feed the trolls.
TAM = TROLL. Class dismissed…LOL…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

From 26:

QUESTION: What if the treaty did try and limit fair use in the US, would you be comfortable with this position, and if so why?

1. Not a treaty.
2. Fair Use is defined by Title 17, and no executive agreement can in any way amend substantive federal law. Only Congress can do that, and Congress has shown not the slightest inclination to amend anything dealing in Title 17 with Fair Use. BTW, the USTR is well aware that he has not a whit of authority to negotiate something that would conflict with subsisting federal law, so for all intents and purposes the question is rather silly.



Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

BTW, the USTR is well aware that he has not a whit of authority to negotiate something that would conflict with subsisting federal law, so for all intents and purposes the question is rather silly.

Then why is ACTA even on the table? It’s blatantly false to claim that nothing in the agreement would change US law. We went through a rather detailed discussion of why that little talking point is false.

Anony1 says:

AC: I’m very well educated. Yes, I misreferenced ACTA as a treaty, but it is being negotiated in a very similar manner.
Just because someone doesn’t know the nuances of Federal code, doesn’t make them uneducated. Your condescending, and arrogant tone, is a disgusting example of the tactics some will take to try and make themselves feel superior. I admit, I typed in anger, and insulted you. You deserved as much, although frankly, you aren’t worth it. BTW, your assertion that the details of title 17 are taught in a basic highschool civics class is a false statement, and a straw man based attack. You have no valid factual base from which to assert my knowledge, or lack thereof, of Federal law. Go stroke your ego somewhere else. One last thing, Mike Masnick has a big fat crow sandwhich for you today. Perhaps you should read it. It just might knock you down a few notches.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I will assume for purposes of this reply that you are in fact well educated since I have no reason to believe otherwise.

My answer transcends Title 17. It is directed to a basic principle under our trilateral separation of powers; in this case the separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches of our federal government.

As a general rule the truism applies that laws are enacted by Congress and executed by the President and his/her administration. I say “general rule” because there are circumstances under the provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act, coupled with Supreme Court precedent demarcating the extent of what is known as “The Non-Delegation Doctrine” (in essence that under apporpriate circumstances Congress is empowered to delegate certain quasi-legislative functions to the Executive Branch). In this circumstance involving ACTA the doctrine does not come into play.

Thus, in the matter of ACTA the USTR is authorized to promote positions on various matters, but in all cases such positions must not deviate from the provisions of our copyright laws as expressed in Title 17.

Also try to bear in mind that ACTA involves many countries whose laws may depart significantly from US law. Thus it is to be expected that they would offer proposals that may very well be broader in scope than US law. As to such proposals the USTR is foreclosed from taking any position contrary to US law that would mandate amendment of US law.

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