A Little Sunshine Brings Out Rapid And Well Deserved Anger Towards ACTA Treaty

from the spreading-the-word dept

Last week, I wrote a post highlighting the faulty premises behind a secretly negotiated treaty between the US and many other countries, the so-called Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). Since then a bunch of news articles have been written about ACTA, with most of the focus on how it will have border guards going through your iPod and computers to see if you have any infringing content. A bunch of folks have been submitting stories on this all week, despite the fact that we wrote about it last week. However, what's most interesting to me is how quickly this turned from a little story -- first posted to Wikileaks and a few blogs, into something that's been in major newspapers (oddly, mostly focused in Canada).

Even more interesting, however, is how this has so quickly turned into activism, with some newspapers already already calling for people to stand up against ACTA to protect our privacy rights. Think about that for a second. This was a treaty on the "boring" topic of copyright, that was basically pitched by the entertainment industry to politicians who wrote it up in secret. It leaked out to a single website, and within a week there were major newspaper editorials calling for people to stand up against it, and thousands, if not millions, of people informed about the potential harm this treaty could cause. So much for slipping it under the radar.

This is really the culmination of a few different factors, including the entertainment industry's misguided and rapidly backfiring battle against consumers, that has catapulted copyright from a boring "wonkish" issue into one that people recognize effects so many aspects of their daily lives. Combined with the wonderful communications ability of the internet, it makes it harder for the entertainment industry to simply pull one over on people like this. Of course, as we've noted, the industry keeps on trying, and they love sneaking through legislation and treaties before anyone recognizes it -- but the rapid response to ACTA (which is far from over, of course) suggests that some of the industry's advantages are slipping away. Hopefully, this issue will continue to receive the attention it deserves so that there's a real debate on whether or not such a treaty is needed (it's not).

Filed Under: acta, canada, copyright, counterfeit, trade agreements, treaties


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  1. identicon
    ulle53, 30 May 2008 @ 11:29am

    # 10 the following comes from an article in the Washington Post which shows what the US government wants ;
    The U.S. government has argued in a pending court case that its authority to protect the country's border extends to looking at information stored in electronic devices such as laptops without any suspicion of a crime. In border searches, it regards a laptop the same as a suitcase.
    "It should not matter . . . whether documents and pictures are kept in 'hard copy' form in an executive's briefcase or stored digitally in a computer. The authority of customs officials to search the former should extend equally to searches of the latter," the government argued in the child pornography case being heard by a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in San Francisco.

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