People In Poland Come Out To Protest ACTA In Large Numbers; Polish Gov't Calls It 'Blackmail'

from the people-are-fed-up dept

Wow. We’ve noted that the folks who got revved up around SOPA weren’t just focused on that one bill, but have remained active and interested in related issues — with ACTA being an important one, especially given the effort by the government in Poland to sign on. Following on the big anti-SOPA protests, it seems that a bunch of folks in Warsaw decided to take to the streets in protest of ACTA… and it looks like an awful lot of people showed up, despite this being about a copyright trade agreement and the fact that it was below freezing temperatures outside. There are some photos on the site linked above that show a very large group gathering. This is really fantastic. Just a month ago, you would have never expected over a thousand people to show up in the freezing cold in Warsaw to protest a bad trade agreement about copyright issues. But it shows just how badly the entertainment industry is miscalculating on these things. The further and further the entertainment industry pushes, all it’s doing is educating and activating a large and growing group of folks who are sick of bad copyright laws interfering with their own basic rights and civil liberties.

That is not a small crowd. That’s a demonstration of just how important these issues have become to a very large population of people around the globe. Those who still think this is about a small number of tech companies have no idea what they’re facing.

But, alas, it appears the Polish government is following in the tone deaf footsteps of the MPAA. The government has said it’s moving forward anyway, and appears to consider this example of democracy and assembly a form of blackmail:

Prime Minister Donald Tusk said the government “would not submit to blackmail” and that the treaty would be signed.

Separately, he claimed that there’s obviously no free speech concerns around ACTA, because countries like the US, New Zealand and others, who “are the backbone of freedom” signed on… so obviously it must be just fine and dandy.

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Comments on “People In Poland Come Out To Protest ACTA In Large Numbers; Polish Gov't Calls It 'Blackmail'”

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Skeptical Cynic (profile) says:

Re: Re:


By Sheriff Jim R. Schwiesow, Ret.

Most crises, other than natural, are the inventions of devious minds, they are the tools that have been ? and will always be ? used to seize power, to circumvent laws, to institute control, and to enable undesirable change. A crisis simply means that some person or a group of people has either created or simulated circumstances to influence some event or to promote a desired activity. Adolph Hitler was a master at creating crises, he promoted a series of such that enabled him to establish a fascist despotic rule over a nation and its people, to institute wars upon sovereign nations, to seize territory, to encourage genocide, and to force his will upon a major portion of the world.

In our own society environmentalists manufacture crises to abridge self-determination, to limit personal prerogatives, and to curtail various lawful activities and technical advances of which they autocratically disapprove. These may be identified by a display of obsessive-compulsive behavior when in the presence of chainsaws, bulldozers and construction equipment; they are only at ease while hugging a tree or in the presence of snail darters

Social do-gooders devise crises of various sort to force their personal, often totally selfish and stupid, desires upon their neighbors, upon those who are culturally different, upon the children of families other than their own, and upon businesses and industries who produce and sell products that they personally deem undesirable or inappropriate. The notable feature of them is that their noses are extraordinarily long, an anomaly born of sticking them into the business of others.

And now we come to the most pestilent, the most dangerous, the most consistent, and the most fearsome perpetuator of false crises ? the U.S. government. Most everything that the educated morons of our government carry out ? on both the administrative and bureaucratic levels ? is born of a crisis predicated upon simulated circumstances. That monstrous boondoggle Obamacare is a case in point.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: History of the world...

Govts move toward oppression to “protect”. The people in office love to have the populace scared and ready to give up their rights.

As Van ?Communist? Jones states, Bottom Up (Occupy style uprising), Top Down (Govt clamping down), Inside Out (Make the Constitution irrelevant so we can implement our new rules, preferably the UN?s).

Compare and contrast the Govt?s reactions to Pearl Harbor and 9/11.

Skeptical Cynic (profile) says:

Please face forward...

do not turn your head to either side and keep walking straight. Focus on the point of light you see in front of you. This is the only way you will remain safe. Ignore all sounds you may hear as they have nothing of importance to say or that you need to concern yourself with. We will keep you safe and get you to your next goal safe, but only if you follow our directions

This is what I imagine is being whispered in to the politicians ears as the MPAA/RIAA lead them to the end of the cliff

ken (profile) says:

President Obama said about SOPA “While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response,? said the note, ?we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet.”

These words ring hollow when he signed ACTA when no one was paying much attention to copyright issues. Accept for Techdirt of course.

TaCktiX (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

He kinda HAD to sign the NDAA, because otherwise the entire military doesn’t get paid. The NDAA has never been vetoed in the history of such acts. I will agree that adding the indefinite detention provision was against everything America stands for and is total BS, but they should hammer through a revision (there is an HR along the lines) to strike that out WITHOUT nixing the military’s paychecks.

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

When large swaths of people don’t get paid because the President won’t sign a bill because of an unconstitutional provision in it, that’s what we call doing the right thing, protecting the people, and right and honorable. If people who don’t get paid have a problem with that, their beef is with congress, not with the President.

Machin Shin (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

That is exactly what he should have done too. Should have publicly stated he would not sign it as it was written because it was not constitutional and send it back to congress. It would have made those in congress scramble to get something he would sign.

This whole thing has turned into a huge joke. No one in Washington really seems willing to stand up firmly for what is right.

Mesonoxian Eve (profile) says:

V for Vendetta II: Governments Should Be Afraid of the People.

And it’s all live.

Prepare the (non-copyrighted) classical score!

I recommend Beethoven.

I waited for nearly 20 years to see the public finally stand up and take notice, and to see it go global brings tears to my eyes.

Just a couple more, and these RIAA/MPAA eras of terror finally end.

Now, if only people would stop buying music and movies, if only to drive home a point of change.

Anonymous Coward says:

Blackmail the latest buzzword!
Newsflash, you serve the people, not corporations, not other politicians and certainly not foreign governments.

You run your government based on what the people want, you know, the same people who gave you that power, and FYI your tactics in the past to manipulate your people, are’nt gonna work for those that have wised up to them and are now looking out for them, your just gonna incite the anger of those people you supposedly serve, if you continue to ignore them, and do whatever you please, under the guise of “its for our country”

Anonymous Coward says:

obviously a ‘bit of blackmail’ gone on with him then. on top of that, he can’t even think for himself. if USA told him to go drown himself, would he? if they told him that others had done it, so trust them, would he do it? only if he is a complete moron!
strange how the public are always the ‘bad people’ when they try to protect their basic rights, but nothing is ever mentioned about the bribery going on to get laws passed or that those laws are made in private with secrecy being the main ingredient so as to give certain industries unacceptable measures at the public’s expense.

Gregg says:

Re: Democracy in Action

Governments have forgotten that they are “public servants.” They’re supposed to serve the people. Their only purpose is to do for the people those things which the people can not do for themselves. If the people protest against these draconian, restrictive laws then it seem fairly clear that the servants of the people should cancel the ACTA, SOPA, PIPA, DMCA, etc.

Violated (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Democracy in Action

People should face the fact that the USA is now a society where everyone gets watched and where there is very little privacy left.

Today we find out Mega was being monitored back to 2006 including listening in to their encrypted Skype calls. Skype hands over your private key to anyone with a court order.

European businesses now totally refuse US hosting including cloud service when the US can just pick through their communication, trade secrets, designs, plans are more.

Immigration record for 10 years your name, address, telephone numbers, bank numbers, credit card numbers, passport, source and destination, travel companions and if they feel the need medical records, religion and ethnic origin.

This is the same country that believes that any email over 6 months old is considered “abandoned” and they can take it without any court order.

All the US Government did was to give them laws to protect the population against terrorists. Now everyone is a potential terrorist and to get whatever data they want they just need to say “he may be a terrorist”. Abuse is rampant and the US Government now compiles up all the data it can to monitor all aspects of your life.

Anonymous Coward says:

“The further and further the entertainment industry pushes, all it’s doing is educating and activating a large and growing group of folks who are sick of bad copyright laws interfering with their own basic rights and civil liberties.”

Wasn’t the MPAA/RIAA’s whole point of suing people to “educate” the masses?

FakeTam says:

but it is only a small and noisy percentage of the population protesting, it can be assumed that everyone else wants these laws. Never mind the fact that every astroturf (strikethrough) grassroots effort to get these sorts of laws passed has gathered very little support, it’s just that everyone else isn’t as loud as you pirate thieves.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Doesn’t matter whether its one person protesting or one hundred thousand. In a (supposedly) democratic government, to call legitimate protest “blackmail” is just plain wrong, in every sense of the word. In a democracy, if you do something that pisses off your voters, they have the right (nay, the duty) to vote you out of office. It is not blackmail, it was what you expected to happen once you decided to become a democratic politician.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

At this point i agree with you, although, we might be a minority, but the potential to grow is there, the means is there, and the thing is we would’nt even be doing these things if our goverments were’nt giving us reason to.

Its all about spreading the word to as many as possible, the way governments use media outlets, the ones in power have a potential strangle hold on all forms of media to spread lies and truths, problem with the internet, is that they cant control negative press, whats to say that censorship of the internet is’nt their end game, hell copyright infringement is apparantly the most important issue facing some of our goverments, every other more important issues have all been taken care of, and the SOPA/PIPA/ACTA bills will finally bring a utopia to the companies…..sorry i meant ………people

isla says:

Re: Re:

Small group? Not everyone who is against this agreement (ACTA) goes out to protest in the streets when it’s freezing, though groups of thousands of people already have, in more than 40 Polish cities (only in one of them, in Krak?w there were around 30.000 people protesting in the centre). It took him less than a week to organize this protests.

Violated (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The US are not done yet by a long shot.

The current goal is to get ACTA into Congress. The President’s signature on ACTA is invalid when he is not allowed to change things that Congress control like Copyright law.

If he is allowed to get away with this one then he will be writing many laws disguised as trade agreements to bypass Congress.

Should ACTA get into Congress then we can fight it there.

Anonymous Coward says:

“Separately, he claimed that there’s obviously no free speech concerns around ACTA, because countries like the US, New Zealand and others, who “are the backbone of freedom” signed on… so obviously it must be just fine and dandy.”

Someone really needs to get this printed on a large metal sign and then beat everyone on the State Department and Congress over the head with it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Fact is that shutting down the entire operation of megaupload is a form of censorship, and that, whether they want to admit it or not, does affect “free speech”

Who’s to say what has and has not been uploaded to megaupload, piracy is only a problem, because the artists are’nt getting compensated for their work, and there is nothing stopping them appeasing the artists and the people, in regards to better service and low low rates, oh wait, no, they shut down that road

and then there’s all that content uploaded by the people, such as personal photos, academic writings, indie artists, work documents etc etc, thats not a form of free speech apperantly, because that would srew their plans to do whatever they want

Chargone (profile) says:

Re: Re:

*sigh* yes, not to bright.

NZ’s a backbone of ‘freedom’ in the sense that, from where i’m sitting, it mostly ignores you unless you’re actively causing problems… and most Kiwis can’t be bothered causing problems when the issue doesn’t personally affect them. so… it’s less freedom and more lazyness.

hence why that ‘freedom’ vanishes the moment the US comes knocking… and why we’re (fortunately) still not a republic… among other things.

that said, i figure if our government could get their heads around the fact that NZ is, in fact, a sovereign nation and no, they, the elected officials, are NOT the bosses, it’d all work quite nicely as is. (especially if the Monarchy/governers got it through their heads that, much as parliament exists to limit the excesses of monarchy, it is their job, duty, and reason for existing to limit the excesses of parliament. not the only one, but certainly the most meaningful day to day. well, that and the fact that, last i looked, officially speaking the bureaucracy answers to the monarch, not parliament. )

Violated (profile) says:


I have been doing a lot of reading up on this. I know it was not just protesters in Warsaw who took part but also protesters in other major Polish cities. Unfortunately I no longer have the list of cities to hand to be able to name them all.

Reports are over 10,000 people took part. These protests were said to have arranged these meet-ups on FaceBook. There was also a rumour that such posts in Poland were being censored.

Now they are planning a Polish website blackout day for the end of this month. If you think Poland is doing well you should see what Brazil did.

Anonymous Coward says:

i think our governments need to wise up.

In the past, when laws and regulations were passed, those who did’nt agree with them, had the will but never the means that the internet provides, the potential to reach out to many like minded people and discuss just truly what people think about them.

They need to wise up to that fact, because all the tricks they use to get the majority to comply, are being documented, and it does’nt take a genius to start seing the patterns in this corporate sponsored matrix

Lukasz says:

Protest in Krakow (Cracow)

There were 15,000 peoples in Krakow yesterday according to polish police. I was one of them πŸ™‚ And according to some people it may have been even more (try to see some movies on youtube, just type something like “Protest przeciw acta Krakow” or “Cracow protest against acta”). People are very focused on internet when it comes to acta but it’s not the only problem. It may block things like alternative ink for printers, generic medicals etc. also. That’s why we must not allow it to pass because it’ll interfere with every aspect of our lives.

Anonymous Coward says:

I’d show up too if I thought someone was about to cut-off my supply line to freebie movies and music. It is a matter of human rights that people should be able to select and choose when to pay for things they have consumed.

Sheesh…the gall of those labels and studios, the only industries associated with this trade agreement.

Wait…My bad. It looks like other industries are also associated with the agreement.

The Logician says:

Re: Re:

An argument without evidence, AC 71, and with irrational, biased assumptions that ignore the very real and valid concerns of those involved, which involve opposition to this latest form of government/corporate oppression of the larger populace. It is not logical. Rather, it merely illustrates that you provide less intelligent discourse than a tribble.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Of course people have concerns, but that does not necessarily mean that they are very real and valid.

Whenever I read a litany of “concerns” that manifest little, if any, substantive knowledge about the content of legislation, I an not inclined to immediately assume they are very real and valid.

I am still trying to decipher your comment as it pertains to government/corporate oppression of the larger populace (much less what populace you are talking about). Note sure I agree that encouraging people to pay for what they consume is particularly oppressive, whether such people reside in the US or elsewhere.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Well, I doubt you’d ever acknowledge any concerns no matter how real of valid they are. Especially when you just assume everyone protesting ACTA is doing so because they just want free stuff and they’re mad that may come to an end.

It really shows the type of mindset you have. Which is to say, it’s a bad one. Your bias is showing. Everyone on the planet could say they’re against such acts for every reason but the need/want to get free stuff and you’d still say that’s all they care about.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Well, as soon as I actually read up on ACTA and the wording therein, I can get back to you. I’ve heard of it, but haven’t actually looked into it as well as I should, relatively busy as of late.

But notice how I never said I (emphasis on “I”) was concerned. I spoke mainly about you and your mindset, emphasizing on the fact that you just read an article about people protesting ACTA and your comment immediately jumped to the “they just want free stuff” rhetoric. Dismissing them right off the bat.

Perhaps, rather than wanting to focus on specifics within the law, you should just kinda take note and realize, NOT EVERYONE WHO COMPLAINS ABOUT THESE LAWS JUST WANTS FREE SH*T.

That’s it. No more, no less. Realize there is more to any of these things than that. Then… and only then… might you and your kind be able to realize that the people who aren’t at all happy with these various laws and acts and whatnot are the people you should really not be going out of your way to piss off. Aka, YOUR customers. Or, aka, YOUR constituents.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

I appreciate your candor about not having read ACTA. It is the remarkable lack of candor concerning ACTA/SOPA/PIPA/TPP/etc. that gives rise to my intentional rhetoric.

If one is inclined to criticize a document (statute, legislation, agreement, etc.), then it seems to me that at the very least one should first read it to try and learn if it really does say or cover what others are attributing to it.

ced1106 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Our congresspersons don’t do that. In fact, a good number of bills are written by the lobbyists. I don’t know how laws are written in your country, but ours are written in complex, convoluted, legalese, and, sadly, we need those who *do* understand the law to editorialize it for us.

Or, if you’re smart, you follow the money.

The eejit (profile) says:

Re: Re:

When your agreement claims trillions are lost in “piracy” each month for the past 10 years in ACTA nations, they’re probably doing something wrong.

When a blu-Ray costs half of a weekly wage in one nation, which can’t import it from a nation where it is cheaper due to restrictions which are unnecessary, then there’s something wrong.

When you have to conflate criminal activities with a civil activity just to protect your “business”, then there’s something wrong. This is called the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, not Anti-Counterfeiting and Anti-Piracy Trade Agreement.

Stop trying to buy bad laws and start fucking innovating – I am sick of seeing Generic 80s Cartoon Movie #98310 for the 17th time.

Marcel de Jong (profile) says:

BTW, thankfully, The Netherlands hasn’t sign onto ACTA yet. Mostly because they haven’t even debated it yet. And that’s because our deputy prime-minister Maxime Verhagen, refused to release the document for our government.

Fuck copyright, fuck Big Media. This is day 27 of my boycott of big media.
I will not buy a single dvd, cd or movie ticket this year, unless I can buy it from the artists/moviemakers themselves. Nor will I touch a digital download of any of those files. I don’t need it, I don’t want any of it. The big names behind the MPAA and the RIAA can rot in hell.

Daria says:

Re: Re:

There’s been an appeal on Facebook to stop buying any CDs and DVDs for the whole month of March and to stop any downloading (be it legal or illegal), to show Big Media what it means to piss off the public. Don’t know if it will catch on or if it will really have an effect, but I shared it and I will join the boycott πŸ™‚ I think the problem is that ACTA is perceived by a big part of the public – at least the Romanian public – as being against those nasty freeloading pirates who just steal the creation of others, period. Very few understand that it is indeed intended to censor the internet and free speech, as well as curtail individual freedoms. Most of them think it won’t affect them one bit, since they’re not “pirates”, so they don’t give a crap. Good for The Netherlands that they didn’t sign, hopefully they won’t, because as far as I understand, in order to be imposed at EU-level, it needs to be signed by all member states and needs to be approved by the European Parliament, so maybe we have a shot, if we convince the MEPs to vote against it. Romanian bloggers have already published standard letters to be sent to MEPs (and their email addresses) – hopefully that will mobilize at least a part of the population. Unfortunately, protests to the scale of Poland might be out of the question, since we are now busy protesting the government and the President for a plethora of other reasons. It was great to see the protests in France though. We still have time to stop this – the vote in the European Parliament will be in June.

Naoko Atsu (profile) says:

Oh geez Mr. Polish PM please consult your DICtionary before saying you call it blackmail since dictionary dot com specifies that blackmail is “any payment extorted by intimidation, as by threats of injurious revelations or accusations.” but people are fighting for their rights not your money! It is the other way around, Zaiks is blackmailing you into signing ACTA only to rip-off your funds in the end and corrupting you. Besides these ACTA revelations are injurious to us not you.

Anonymous Coward says:

So apparently doing what the people want counts as giving in to blackmail… who knew. Guess it’s time to update the dictionary.

Seems lists it as:

   /ˈbl?kˌmeɪl/ Show Spelled[blak-meyl]
1. any payment extorted by intimidation, as by threats of injurious revelations or accusations.
2. the extortion of such payment: He confessed rather than suffer the dishonor of blackmail.
3. a tribute formerly exacted in the north of England and in Scotland by freebooting chiefs for protection from pillage.

Might I suggest an additional entry:

4. Protesting actions of the government in Poland, or otherwise disagreeing with the officials in that country in a manner that is visible to other people.

Anonymous Coward says:

Prime Minister Donald Tusk said the government ?would not submit to blackmail? and that the treaty would be signed.

It’s quite enlightening when democratically elected governments around the world occasionally forgets to pretend that they serve the populace that elected them, and instead we get to see how they really view their citizens. The rulers may pay some attention to the people once every four years when there’s an election, but once that little annoyance is over with, the people should just STFU and don’t interfere with how the country is being run. In this version of “democracy” the people is not the ones who is the basis of the rule of law and whom the elected officials will be held accountable to, but rather a bunch of sheep that needs to be fooled every four years through a grotesque spectacle called erroneously an “Election”. The most succesful con-men in this popularity contest will get to rule the land for the next four years and bestow lavish tax payer funded gifts to their friends and allies.

Black March Boycott 2012 says:

Black March Boycott protest ACTA, do NOT buy Movies, Music or Video Games for the entire month of March. Send a clear message to the entertainment industry not to censor our internet, it will not be tolerated.

WE are the 99er’s of the World and WE SHALL BE HEARD!!!!!!

if you are reading this message, then you ARE the resistance.

google it and spread the word, starts 3-1-2012

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