Polish Government's Plan To Sign ACTA Gets The SOPA Treatment

from the you-do-not-know-what-you've-unleashed dept

We received an amusing email over the weekend chiding us for never having covered ACTA — the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. Of course, we’ve actually written 247 articles that mention ACTA (yes, I just counted). It seems that among some folks who just joined the “worry about copyright legislation” bandwagon, they’ve just discovered ACTA as well. ACTA stories are quickly taking over the SOPA channel on Reddit. I’m happy that more people are coming around to these issues, but they might want to take some time to actually read up on things before they start screaming. For example, someone there put together a White House petition to stop ACTA, without even acknowledging that the US government already signed ACTA back in September.

The petition also ignores the most obvious line of attack for the US’s participation: the questions about whether or not ACTA really qualifies as an “executive agreement.” Instead, it takes that as granted, ignoring (or, more likely, simply not knowing) that there are serious constitutional questions about the claim that this is an executive agreement — and that Senator Ron Wyden has already asked the White House to justify the claims that it’s an executive agreement, rather than a treaty. Also, it’s worth noting that other countries, including the EU, have already claimed that ACTA is a binding treaty, even as the US continues to deny that fact.

Either way, the EU failed to sign at the official signing ceremony (along with Mexico and Switzerland), claiming that it still had to get some legal ducks in a row. A legal review within the EU found that ACTA is terribly vague and wide open to interpretation, such that some of it may violate other directives — which would be a pretty big problem. But rather than fix anything, it appears the EU (under great pressure from the US) is looking to go ahead with ACTA. We noted last month that an EU Council took a step forward in supporting ACTA, but did so by hiding it in an unrelated agriculture and fisheries meeting.

And, now, reports are spreading about how the Polish government is set to agree that the EU should sign onto ACTA, later this week. There are still more steps before the EU officially does sign ACTA, but the effort in Poland is definitely a step in that direction.

What’s interesting to me, however, is how the SOPA/PIPA fight really has energized folks into fighting all sorts of efforts to encroach the internet with expanded copyright law and copyright enforcement efforts. Despite some of the hyperbole, ACTA is not SOPA. It’s certainly bad — though, massively watered down from what it was originally. But it’s not the same thing by any stretch of the imagination. ACTA should not be approved, and there are significant legal questions in the US as to whether or not it really can be approved in the manner it was — but either way, it’s nice to see more people waking up to the serious problems with the ever expanding copyright law efforts — pushed by the same folks who supported SOPA/PIPA.

And… it appears that these protests are already having at least some impact. Polish politicians are meeting ahead of the planned meeting “to review their stance on copyright protection policies.” If the widespread online outrage about ACTA can actually lead countries to pushing back against this agreement, which is pretty much signed, sealed and delivered, it would be yet another sign of the growing power of online protests (though, some folks may ask where were you back when lots of people were arguing against ACTA, before it was signed by most participating countries).

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Comments on “Polish Government's Plan To Sign ACTA Gets The SOPA Treatment”

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38 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Wow…another chance to read internet blogs, tweets, petitions and the like by a whole bunch of people who likely have difficulty spelling ACTA, and almost certainly no substantive knowledge of what it says. Of course, it seems inevitable that experts will pop up everywhere to give them everything they need to repeat in those blogs, tweets, petitions and the like.

bigpicture says:

Re: Expert

And you are such an expert that you can be critical of others knowledge? I personally don’t know what the content of a “special interests” document is only that it is for “special interests”. Every time that anyone is granted “special rights”, I loose some of mine. This is all anyone needs to know to be entitled to protest, and “to bear arms in fact”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Poland Defends Stance on Treaty After Web Attacks
Polish officials vowed Monday to stick to plans to sign an international copyright treaty that has outraged Internet activists and prompted an attack on government websites.

A government minister, Michal Boni, defended the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA. He said that signing the international treaty would not hamper Internet usage and that Poland will sign it on Thursday, as planned.

“The ACTA agreement in no way changes Polish laws or the rights of Internet users and Internet usage,” Boni, the minister of administration and digitization, said after a meeting with Prime Minister Donald Tusk and Culture Minister Bogdan Zdrojewski.

Internet opponents of ACTA fear it could lead to censorship online.
Source: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/

**AA Shill says:

Why aren’t we being allowed to participate in these debates? All of the public is being turned against us and we have no way of voicing our opinions! The government is ignoring us after we donate all this money to them!! How dare they. We are being misrepresented. We want a voice too and we want to be at the negotiation tables with the government as well.

(nevermind the fact that the government only allows industry interests to discuss ACTA in secret while keeping everyone else out and unrepresented).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

HAHAHAHAHAAHAHA….I can’t stop laughing at this which is how delusional the populace has become.

It’s actually vice versa if you knew and studied political science.

Because capitalism is a system where the wealthy privileged few control the means of production while socialism actually means the productive classes control the means of production.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Here’s the main problem….

Most of you want to become rich/wealthy by becoming capitalists yourselves (hence becoming the next “Facebook”, etc) and you don’t want “government” interfering with your business….

Thing is we already have a capitalist class who started the same way and they currently control the government and their trying crush the next capitalists as if we’re actually living in a giant Ghetto/hood which drug dealers do the same thing which they also don’t allow competition…

It’s the entire capitalist system that’s the main root of the problem in the first place folks.

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

All laws reduce freedom in some way, from taxes to speeding laws, from narcotics laws to bureaucratic policies of what size paper building permit plans should use. Given that they reduce freedom, laws should be incredibly difficult to pass. Rather than a simple majority to pass a law, it ought to be higher (e.g., 75%).

All bills should have an automatic sunset feature. Of course, by all, I really mean all. Even murder laws or pedophile laws. Every 5-10 years bills come back into the legislature. If they haven’t been passed again at the end of that session then they automatically become revoked. This ensures that only the laws that the vast majority of people want get on the books and only the laws the vast majority of people want stay on the books. The sunset time can be based on the voting percentage.
* 100% yea-vote, sunsets in 10 years
* >95% yea-vote, sunsets in 9 years
* >90% yea-vote, sunsets in 8 years
* >85% yea-vote, sunsets in 7 years
* >80% yea-vote, sunsets in 6 years
* >75% yea-vote, sunsets in 5 years

As far as voting goes, simple yeas and nays need to be expanded. Before voting, every legislator should document the lobbying they received for that particular bill; time, money, gifts, names of people, names of companies/groups/people that were represented, etc, as well as the position of that lobbying. This means everything from
* Evil Rich Lobbyist paid $10,000 for flight and 3-day stay on exotic island, representing Insidious Industry and encouraged a yay vote to
* Old man Jenkins spent $10.00 for lunch, represented only his self and encouraged a nay vote.
Once that information is out in the open, it’ll be more difficult for a lawmaker to say they voted yay because it was the best for the people when the record could show otherwise. To keep anonymity, all lobbying involves only communication (letter, email, phone call, tweet, etc), can be recorded as
* 1,000 letters for
* 500 letters against
* 5,000 emails for
* 300 emails against

What are the problems with these changes?

Chris says:

ACTA is extremely dangerous international agreement that has been made secretly and voted by the EU during meeting of ministers of agriculture and fishery (!). It states that Internet providers would be obliged to give personal data of every suspected person that may send or download “illegal” content (that may be everything in fact), on the private party (“copyright holder) application. The citizen has no vote to defend, there is no voice of the court. It leads to situation that IP would prefer to scan every activity to avoid prosecutions and paying high fines.

We may compare this to the situation, in which the post is responsible for the content inside millions of envelopes and packages… but according to ACTA the power is in private hands! There is no State acting as independent judge. How citizens can defend themselves? Unbelieveable

Polish citizens will never surrender and will fight against any form of censorship forever.

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