Please Keep The ACTA Debate Fact-Based

from the good-points dept

As we noted in our ACTA primer, there appeared to be a lot of misinformation spreading about the agreement — which many people were comparing to SOPA/PIPA. While we appreciated that folks who had become interested in SOPA/PIPA were turning their attention to the (very problematic) ACTA, it didn’t do anyone any good to spread misinformation. Tim Lee, over at Ars Technica, has taken it up a notch by putting together a very good debunking of some of the exaggerated statements that people are making against ACTA. There are plenty of serious problems with ACTA — but it doesn’t help if those opposed to ACTA are spreading misinformation. It merely aids ACTA supporters in their attempts to claim, incorrectly, that all of the opposition is ill-informed. So, please, to those out there working hard against ACTA, read the details carefully and focus on the real problems.

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Comments on “Please Keep The ACTA Debate Fact-Based”

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Skeptical Cynic (profile) says:


So those for ACTA are spreading a lot of “disinformation”? Why can’t those against it also? In love and war in matters not who was truthful only who won.

I agree that we should not lie or distort what ACTA is, but I also say bring on the hype like only the internet can. I understand that we should not sink to the levels of Hades that the MPAA/RIAA et al does but really in the end all I care about is that we beat them back at ever turn until they are forced to come begging to us the consumers for a way to do what we really want. Which is get the content we want, how we want, at the time we want for a reasonable price without being hassled.

That is all we want. I am willing to pay but only for that which I feel I am getting my monies worth.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: So?

I think you’re right. This is a political fight, and one thing I’ve learned is that most people have been brainwashed into believing that the truth between two sides is “in the middle”.

We see this all the time with idiot news networks. On a debate with a scientist, they’ll bring in “Bob the self-appointed dissident with no actual training” and give each “side” the same opportunity.

If person A says “piracy is costing us $6B per year!”, and person B says “No, piracy is costing you $0 per year” *and then proves it*, person C will ignore the proof and infer that piracy is costing somewhere between 0 and 6B.

If the pro-ACTA people are lying, we can’t just say “oh, they’re lying, here’s the truth”, we need to produce “oh, they’re lying, and it’s *the exact opposite of what they say*”.

I wish that we could win this with the truth, but it’s just not the case.

Beta (profile) says:

Re: Re: So?

You’re advocating the old “bandwagon” style of politics, when broadcasting was everything and loud beat soft. A couple of weeks ago we demonstrated a new kind of politics, and knocked the bandwaggoners back on their heels. In this new style, based on communication, true beats false, and reputation is vitally important: ruin your reputation by lying and you might as well leave the table and go climb onto some bandwagon.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: So?

Because one of the many strength of our arguments is the ability to point out the lies, obfuscations, and inherent dishonesties of the supporters of these sorts of measures. Such behavior weakens all their arguments, even those that may have valid points (if the ever present any arguments that actually have valid points).

Trails (profile) says:

Piracy Supporters Mantra

Mike, this is just another one of your transparent attempts to support blatant piracy, theft and plank walking.

Only google, thepiratebay, Chief Piracy Apologist Rags Techdirt and Ars Technica (evidenced by the fact they both have “Tech” in their names) and Kim Dotcom would want a fact based debate about ACTA.

You’ve finally revealed your true stripes for all to see.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Please Keep The ACTA Debate Fact-Based

If we want to talk facts, can we please start focusing on the most fundamental one of all: the fact that the piracy crisis does not exist?

The US Government’s own study on the subject found that the entertainment industry’s facts and figures were made up out of thin air, with no basis in reality. And the Swiss government’s recent study on the matter found that the net effect of piracy on the content industry is actually helpful, rather than harmful. And nobody is reporting this stuff!

There’s no better way to reach a bad conclusion than starting with a false premise. As long as we keep swallowing the line about “something needs to be done to protect American intellectual property,” these sorts of laws will keep popping up. So let’s start focusing on the facts instead, please, and maybe we can find a way to keep what remains of our freedom?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Please Keep The ACTA Debate Fact-Based

‘The Magnificent Seven is a 1960 American western film directed by John Sturges. It is a western-style remake based on Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 Japanese film Seven Samurai.’

Seems both Wikipedia and already credit Kurosawa. However, it is a Western rewrite of Shichinin no Samurai. Saying it was ‘stolen’ might be a little farfetched, though credit should be given where due.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

‘Can someone tell me if the EU parliment does not ratify ACTA what happens do all the other countries still go ahead with it and when?’

as just about every country in the EU does what it wants, not what is actually agreed by the EU Parliament or EUCJ, your guess is as good as anybody’s

Daria says:

Re: Re:

Technically, the European Parliament is the legislative body of the whole of the EU, so if they reject the agreement, there’s a good chance it won’t be adopted by the countries that signed it. EU is supposed to have a set of common rules and laws, so it wouldn’t make sense for one country to enforce ACTA, while another doesn’t. But who knows? Keeping my fingers crossed that EP wil reject it and so will the parliaments in the countries that signed it.

bob (profile) says:

Fact based? Hah

The Internet mob kept yelling about SOPA being about “censorship” and they’ll probably take that up again because it sounds so earnest and good. But censorship is when the government stops you from expressing your OWN opinions, not from copying someone else’s content. Sheesh.

I think that the forces that unleashed this Internet Mob Rule will eventually rue the day because mobs turn as they turned on Robespierre.

The fact is that a government can’t allow people to break the laws simply by connecting to a server outside of the country. It’s just too easy to connect to a server outside the country these days and so it makes the laws meaningless.

:Lobo Santo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Fact based? Hah

You have a good point.

I’ll revise:
There are laws on the books which are neither followed nor enforced–ergo “meaningless”. Examples: anti-swearing laws, anti-fornication laws, anti-sodomy laws, anti-bananas in church, illegal icecream in pocket, illegal horse in court, illegal alligator leashed to telephone pole, etc, there’s tons of them.

Those laws which are not followed but enforcement is attempted range from annoyances to injustices… and those are the ones which the public eventually moves to get fixed. Examples: Marijuana, DVD ripping, media sharing, speeding, cell-phone while driving… There’s likely many more examples if anybody wants to chime in.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Fact based? Hah

The other side of that equation is that when laws are passed that the general population neither respects nor follows results in “experiments” such as the prohibition of alcohol in the Anted States in the 1920s and the continued prohibition of what are called recreational drugs to this day.

Probably government’s greatest gift to organized crime in the history of civilization.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Fact based? Hah

“But censorship is when the government stops you from expressing your OWN opinions, not from copying someone else’s content.”

So, you still refuse to listen to the actual points raised against SOPA, and cling to lying about people you disagree with? Pathetic. Predictable, but pathetic.

“It’s just too easy to connect to a server outside the country these days and so it makes the laws meaningless.”

Oooh… you’re almost getting it. Now, if only you’d support the industry changing to make this “problem” meaningless instead of supporting something that can only have negative effects on free speech and chilling effects on future innovation – intended or not – and maybe you’ll finally understand.

One day, perhaps.

Bengie says:

Re: Fact based? Hah

“But censorship is when the government”

Your corner stone is wrong. What you’re thinking about is the USA’s constitution that says the government can’t censor, but private parties may.

The problem SOPA/etc present is one private party wielding government power to censor another private party against their will.

Anonymous Coward says:

Not so, uninformed can change legislation in bad ways

Not so, lots of passionate and uninformed people can effect the outcome and legislation and change it in bad ways because of lies they believe.

Take the debate on Obama’s healthcare bill. Some opponents at one point spread the lie that ‘death panels’ would be created to decide who would live and die.

Where did they get such a lie from? A provision in the law to authorize medicare to compensate doctors for helping patients write a living will. A living will would say what to do if you’re stuck in a hospital bed for months unable to wake up/communicate/think for yourself anymore with no hope of recovery according to doctors.

Examples of what can happen without a living will are the Terri Schiavo mess, where the family spent a bunch of time and money suing each other and the hospital when fighting over her fate, because there was no living will. Each side argued that what they wanted is what Terri would have wanted. Terri couldn’t say otherwise, being pretty much brain dead.

weneedhelp (profile) says:

Re: Not so, uninformed can change legislation in bad ways

Another fucking lie from an ac. The issue was “end of life” counseling that would encourage aged patients from partaking in costly medical procedures.
But on Dec. 3, the Obama administration seemingly flouted the will of Congress by issuing a new Medicare regulation detailing “voluntary advance care planning” that is to be included during patients’ annual checkups. The regulation aimed at the aged “may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment,”
Where did they get such a lie from? – The New York Times reported.

“A provision in the law to authorize medicare to compensate doctors for helping patients write a living will.” – Outright lie.

in addition,
Seniors appear to be a major target for precious resources under the Obama healthcare plan. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Obama plan cuts nearly $500 billion in Medicare benefits to seniors as the federal government adds 30 million uninsured Americans to private and public healthcare systems.

?The chronically ill and those towards the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health care bill out here . . . there is going to have to be a very difficult democratic conversation that takes place,? he said. – Dr. Donald Berwick, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

read it yourself

Anonymous Coward says:

Debunking the EU Commission's Lies About ACTA

Paris, January 30th, 2012 ? The EU Commission is engaging in an all-out offensive to portray ACTA as normal trade agreement harmless to fundamental rights or access to knowledge. In several published documents, the Commission’s attempts to impose ACTA onto the EU Parliament while silencing legitimate criticism. But these misrepresentations don’t resist scrutiny.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

You and your ilk just tried to sneak through draconian copyright legislation and were shouted down by overwhelming public opposition. Funny how ACTA, negotiated in secret by the authors of SOPA, could be prevent us from making our copyright laws saner in the future. I’m sure thats just a coincidence though. (Yeah, right)

Copyright laws have become deeply one sided in favor of creators because you’ve never had powerful industries willing to fight back. Let SOPA be your warning: The masses are tired of being abused by a lack of protections for fair use, blatant rent-seeking, secret negotiations, shameless cronyism, effectively infinite copyright term lengths, deep hypocrisy regarding artist compensation, and a fundamental lack of respect towards your customers.

If the Pirate Bay is giving the RIAA/MPAA a hard time, I can’t help but think this is karma catching up to them. Your industry’s horrible public relation problems are well earned.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

You want to take the morale high-ground now? You spread the censorship lie about SOPA why change your tactics now?

His tactics haven’t changed. He pretends that he’s spreading the truth while his opponents are only lying. He complains that the other side can’t prove their suppositions when he can’t prove his own. He pretends like it’s about innovation and censorship when really it’s about protecting his pirate friends. Same old, same old, I’m afraid.

weneedhelp (profile) says:

I love it

All the misinformation that get passed around from the supporters of SOPA/PIPA/ACTA… thats ok, but G forbid some opponents get some facts wrong and all of a sudden the sky is falling and we are all a bunch of freeloader, freetards. Nice. See above comment as a perfect example.
Anonymous Coward, Jan 31st, 2012 @ 8:14am
“spread the censorship lie” Yeah OK AC.

If ACTA is passed, studio execs will be allowed to behead children and eat their entrails. Its true go see for yourself.

Anonymous Coward says:

i’m waiting to see what sort of reaction there is concerning the Chris Dodd and the ACTA petitions. still 3 weeks to go but with more than sufficient signatures, the excuses to ignore the petitions could easily be worth a read. i am of course assuming that they will be ignored, as they dont suit those that buy politicians. oft times, the truth really hurts!

Anonymous Coward says:

When you do things behind the backs of everyone and in secret the first thing that goes out the window is accuracy and that is on both sides.

Heck there are people in the US protesting ACTA to not be signed, it already was.

If anything I blame the innacuracies on the way it was conducted and all the confusion that will spread among people, the government didn’t do its job to inform and educate people and now it is time to pay the price for hiding things.

Violated (profile) says:

Not a SOPA

I usually hear people run around telling everyone “ACTA is worse than SOPA”. My reply is always “No it is not!”

What I most do not like about ACTA, beyond the attempted secrecy, is reflected by TPP (son of ACTA). When even before ACTA has passed they are already trying to chip away and get more through.

Also since I know about anti-circulation technology then are they including the common “fair use” I see within this?

Anonymous Coward says:

Also the ArsTechnica article was cool, but there is one thing missing there, he didn’t say it was not possible, it is unlikely that most ACTA points will not be used that way, but it is up to governments to implement those and they can surely do so if pressured by say another government or industry.

So if in one hand the public is looking at the worst case scenario and people say that is innacurate because is highly unlikely that is just as wrong.

Scientists in the UK were criticized for not explaining to the public that mad cow disease was very unlikely to be transmitted to humans by consumption, and when people died of it science took a credibility hit, just as scientists now in Italy are being judge to see if they can be hold responsible for what they told the public about earthquakes where they said it would not happen, what they failed to mention was that the low probability of happening was not to mean impossible.

The same way I feel that even though some points that people keep using are wrong and there are those, mostly if you look at the worst case scenario possible they are correct.

Anonymous Coward says:

If you read through the entire revised version you woukd still see that it does allow for some monitoring of everyones internet use to gather evidence to use for copyright infringement.:P Also, the provisions allowed are very vague and pretty much will let each separate country to initiate it’s own means of “preventing piracy and counterfeit goods”….. it’s gotten more acceptable, but still not at it’s best. 😛

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Regardless of the distasteful stuff in ACTA (and TPP) the biggest problem with them both has been the secrecy surrounding them. And once it all starts to leak out, it looks bad though not all that much different than the US DCMA. (And believe me, that one is bad enough.) TPP will seek to do similar things all in the name of protecting copyright and to save people from dubious claims of counterfeit goods. No one has died from a conterfeit handbag, some have from fake drugs but no one has been killed by copyright infringement.

Notably, as Ars hints, ACTA, and TPP, are attempts to impose western based intellectual property values on countries that dont’ share them. The Third World and, perhaps more important, the BRIC countries. Far be it from me to suggest imperialism but…..

Anonymous Coward says:

i reckon if they were more honest, open and more precise about these bills and for fuck sake stop the behind the door meetings which to me screams, corruption, im sorry but secrecy because security, my ass, more like secrecy because people wont like what your trying to force down their throats, people cant resist what they dont know about, aint that right fellas…………dip shits

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