EU Pushing For Criminalizing Non-Commercial Infringement In ACTA

from the nothing-to-see-here... dept

The latest news coming out of ACTA negotiations (latest round in Switzerland) is that the EU is apparently pushing to include criminal sanctions even for non-commercial infringement. Apparently, part of the language suggests “imprisonment and monetary fines” as a way to dissuade people from infringing behavior, even in cases of private and non-commercial use. Specifically, such criminal sanctions could apply for the the broadly worded “inciting, aiding and abetting” of infringement. But what counts as aiding and abetting? Would having a file shared on BitTorrent count?

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Comments on “EU Pushing For Criminalizing Non-Commercial Infringement In ACTA”

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33 Comments
masquisieras says:

is politic

Several departments/commissions of EU has try to pass quite draconian copyright reinterpretation, one of the problems has been that privacy rights are considerer an esencial rights as such a no-comercial civil infringement has little standing. This could be a try to bypass that by making non-comercial infringement a crime.

Another possibility is that any international agrement is require to be approved by the European Parlament. That is and institution with a very high cost/reward ration for lobbing a way to bypass that could be to insert some very awful clausulas in ACTA so the Parlament concentrate in them to later renegotiate ACTA to eliminate the sticky point that themselves putted in the first place and distract the attention from other aspects.

Bengie says:

Knowing someone

“aiding and abetting”

supplying power to their computer, supplying food for them to eat, supplying them a computer, supplying internet access, giving birth to them, educating them.

Chaos theory(butterfly effect) applies and says everyone’s actions, no matter how small, led up to cause this event where the this guy infringed.

EVERYONE goes to prison for “aiding and abetting”!!!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Knowing someone

“supplying power to their computer, supplying food for them to eat, supplying them a computer, supplying internet access, giving birth to them, educating them. “

your reaching further than mike usually does, and that is pretty far. you may want to see if you can find at least a reasonable definition of aiding and abetting.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Knowing someone

Without IP laws creativity and music and art would die, no one would ever create anything, and the consumer will suffer. We need 95 year copy protection terms to prevent this.

Nice try, but you still don’t have him beat. Thanks for playing. A couple hints to become better: you gotta post either entirely in lowercase or uppercase letters, and inflate 95 years to 1,000 years before you’re reaching at his level. Plus it helps to throw in a personal attack against Mike and accuse us all of being in his payroll.

Love the sarcasm though.

Sam I Am says:

Is there an option?

I think the most interesting thing here is not the press for criminal sanctions but rather who is now pressing for them. The EU, long a bastion of human rights and inalienable privacy is raising the stakes?

Three things come to mind. 1) the threshold for conviction will rise considerably, as it should for a criminal conviction 2) just like every other law in every other country, live lawfully and it will be as if this law doesn’t even exist for you, and 3) the EU, like America, Japan and other post-industrialized nations increasingly have IP as their primary form of merchandise going forward.

Nothing these countries do to enforce IP value-confers-price will surprise me. Their economies are based upon the license and sale of intellectual property, so they see little option.

Modplan (profile) says:

Re: Is there an option?

1) No basis for this. Everything ACTA does has so far been to reduce the threshold down to level of accusations and baseless reasoning.

2) Assuming the law is just and makes sense of course, which there is no evidence of in the case of ACTA.

3) I would think merchandise is their primary form of merchandise, not IP. Several industries thrive without copyright and patents, like fashion, and make more money than film, TV and music.

Yet another baseless post from Sam I Am.

Sam I Am says:

Re: Re: Is there an option?

” I would think merchandise is their primary form of merchandise”

Well, you’d be thinking incorrectly. The chemicals and binders in a pharmaceutical, for instance, may be worth pennies, but the research and development behind it prices in the millions, maybe tens of millions. Automotive, aerospace, you name it, the design is far more valuable than the material product itself. That’s what we have to sell, and it is increasingly in digital format.

Besides, material manufacturing has been outsourced from the EU and the USA for decades.

Expecting government to abandon IP in the marketplace so you can have your “freedom of speech” by taking unpurchased copies is…….a bit delusional. And now Europe is catching on.

Sean T Henry (profile) says:

Seems troublesome especially the aiding and abetting part. If a person goes to the library (non-profit) and uses the WiFi there to download infringing files they have no record of who was doing the downloading and even if they do and can prove it they will still be aiding the downloading of infringing files. This could go for any establishment that has free WiFi unless the company can prove they were infringing commercially on purpose. LOL

Who wants to get on to politicians WiFi and infringe to get them arrested? It will happen at some point I’m sure.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re:

he last thing we need to do is overload them with more non violent criminals who aren’t doing anything unethical, especially since this might contribute towards converting them to true criminals.

At the risk of going all Ayn Rand in this discussion, I am not entirely certain that this isn’t their (the copyright maximalist’s) goal to begin with. After all, if the “pirates” are all behind bars, then there isn’t an active group of individuals out there standing against their maximalist attitudes. Of course, since some politicians view anyone who doesn’t have a maximalist view as a terrorist or revolutionary, it might just be easier to build a small city on an island somewhere and move all the maximalists there instead of putting everyone else in jail.

Of course, they may just be thinking that if they get rid of the most obnoxious “pirates” everyone else will go along.

Personally, I tend to agree with Overcast above…by making this criminalization of non-commercial infringement, we’ve targeted the behavior that causes the least amount of damage over the behaviors that cause the most amount of damage (commercial infringement.) If I am a member of a criminal organization who is selling knock-offs of copyrighted works, I pay the fine and move on, or better yet, go into hiding and allow others to take the fall for it. If I am Viacom, and am infringing copyright for works I downloaded off of Youtube and then placing them on my website where I get ad revenue without permission from the producers, I say sorry and remove the offending content when I get caught, but if I am joesixpack and I download a copy of the A-Team off the internet, I get 5 years in a federal prison, where I get to learn from the experts how to truly be a criminal. Guess the real answer is to go into business infringing on other people’s content…as you don’t get jail-time that way.

DNY (profile) says:

ACTA and civil disobedience

It is becoming increasingly clear that if ACTA is adopted and ratified in anything like the form we hear coming out of the negotiations, “piracy” in the digital sense will become a morally legitimate act of civil disobedience against tyranny, at least for those of us in the U.S., where the Constitutional justification for patent and copyright is “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”

Deliberately flouting the chop-logic distinction between parody and satire in derivative works (as reported in another of TechDirt’s stories today) already strikes me as morally legitimate civil disobedience.

As The Economist recently called for, it’s time to take intellectual property law back to its roots in the Law of Queen Anne: 14 years, extendable for another 14 at the request of the author/artist/inventor if he or she is alive when it expires, and that’s it. And, while we’re at it, top it off with a dose of explicit fair-use protection for a broad class of derivative works, and provisions to make it impossible for the creator of a work to completely alienate his own control of his work by signing rights over to a commercial entity.

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