Some More Lowlights From The Leaked ACTA Draft: Whole Thing Can Be Rammed Through With 5 Votes

from the it-ain't-pretty dept

Michael Geist points us to a rather thorough review, by Margot Kaminski, of some of the more troubling aspects of the leaked ACTA draft. Kaminski highlights 24 different points, but we'll just pick out a few key ones. For example, she notes that ACTA would create an express lane for intellectual property cases in the courts, and questions: "Why should copyright take precedent over other cases and have such a fast turnaround?" There are a few concerning things about border searches. While ACTA negotiators and defenders keep insisting that ACTA won't mean border searches for individuals, the draft highlights a few things that are troubling. For example, the US, Canada and New Zealand want to change the exemption criteria for border searches from the current "small quantities of goods of a non-commercial nature" to the much lower standard of "reasonably attributable to personal use of the traveler." In other words, this does, in fact, grant more powers to customs and border patrol to search laptops and iPods and the like, if there's any indication of more information that is "reasonably attributable to personal use," -- though, that standard seems quite vague and subjective.

Then there are the big ones, such as greatly increasing the scope of what's considered criminal copyright infringement (remember, in reality, most copyright infringement is a civil offense, but copyright holders have tried desperately to turn it into a criminal offense, so the government gets to do the dirty work for them):
Expanding the definition of Criminal Copyright Infringement- THIS IS BIG: ACTA as the US wants it to read will expand the international definition of criminal copyright infringement to explicitly include Internet "piracy" done for personal benefit alone. Under TRIPS, countries must hold a person to have committed an act of criminal copyright infringement if he or she has willfully infringed on a "commercial scale", which was understood to mean involving sale to others. ACTA: 1) expands the international definition of "commercial scale" to include "private financial gain," (Australia and New Zealand request striking "private" to stick to a TRIPS understand of commercial scale) which is the standard in U.S. law, and 2) explicitly includes "significant willful infringements that have no direct or indirect motivation of financial gain" (U.S. initially, in its ACTA discussion paper, made clear that this was referring to Internet copyright infringement: "without motivation for financial gain to such an extent as prejudicially affect the copyright owner (e.g., Internet piracy).")

The downloading of copyrighted files or collection of copyright-infringing research "for private financial gain" by avoiding paying for such material may be found to meet this standard. This standard has the potential to criminalize the behavior of an enormous number of individuals, worldwide.
Along these lines, Kaminiski notes that ACTA greatly enhances and expands criminal aspects of various laws, well beyond previous agreements (i.e., this is not -- as ACTA defenders keep claiming -- just about enforcement).

And, yes, despite claims to the contrary, ACTA even goes beyond what US law currently includes. For example, in the language that seeks to export the DMCA to other countries, the US very specifically chooses language that goes beyond the DMCA -- specifically including language that covers inducement. Inducement is not found in the DMCA, though it is a part of US case law. But, of course, as part of case law, Congress could always clarify it and get rid of it. However, with it in ACTA, we'd be blocked because the industry folks would immediately start screaming about how we have to "obey our international obligations."

And the scariest part, right at the end:
Only Five states are required for ratification. So effectively, the five most powerful can rush to sign on to terms that everybody else will have to take on later.
Back when we first discussing the bits and pieces of ACTA leaks, an IP lawyer in our comments suggested that we shut up until the full document was produced, as commenting on it beforehand wouldn't do any good, and he was sure (so sure) that it wouldn't possibly include any language to expand US law. I'm curious what he thinks now.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    NAMELESS.ONE, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 1:38pm

    as i said earlier

    go now and look hard at the tory bill C61

    that with the camming law and a few others like warrantless search and seizure and your getitng a picture HOW TREASONOUS these politicians are gettign with civil rights


    and if im gonna get any potential jail time over a fucking music tun YOU Better coem to my fucking house with a swat team cause im a kill a few cops on way down.

    WHY? you can only get life once and if i get offed who the fuck cares the musicans dont
    the actors dont
    the greedy fat yacht building programs of the labels dont
    SO WHY NOT FUCKING OFF A FEW

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 1:47pm

    What!?

    "Only 5 states are required for ratification".

    Huh? What country in their right mind did not reserve the right to walk away if they didn't like the final draft? This isn't a forced surrender treaty at gunpoint - What are they thinking?

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 1:49pm

    I'm glad this will be challenged for it's unconstitutionality. Those involved in it's authorship or passing should be investigated for crimes against the United States like Cheney and Waterboarding were.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    bn, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 1:52pm

    Cram Down!

    Whoooo Hooooo! Who says Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have the market cornered on tyranny? Constitution? We don't need no stinkin' Constitution!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 1:54pm

    Why does everyone keep talking about copyright with regards to ACTA. It's called the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. It's 100% about counterfeiting. Why would they lie about that?

    What would they have to gain!?!

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Mario, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 1:56pm

    Copyright infringing research?

    Whoa! Hold on a minute! What is "collection of copyright-infringing research"? What is "copyright-infringing research" for that matter?

    They really are intent on making access to facts and knowledge a crime and bring back the dark ages.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    HairySally, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 1:58pm

    Rapidshare has anticipated on all this

    Mike, please check out this article. It has some outrageous statements.

    Rapidshare is anticipating on all this

    Rapidshare Aims To Convert Pirates Into Customers
    Written by Ernesto on March 26, 2010
    The file-hosting service Rapidshare is seeking major entertainment industry partners for an online store where links to infringing material will redirect to. The plan is an attempt to bridge the gap between copyright holders and users of the site who distribute infringing material.
    http://torrentfreak.com/rapidshare-aims-to-convert-pirates-into-customers-100326/

     

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  8.  
    icon
    gorehound (profile), Mar 26th, 2010 @ 2:08pm

    Anti-Citizen Trade Agreement is BS

    Anti-Citizen Trade Agreement is a pile of krap that I hope hits content providers like Holywood right in their greedy asses.
    I am boycotting any and all big content companies.I only buy their krap used if at all.

     

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  9.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Mar 26th, 2010 @ 2:10pm

    Er?

    "Only Five states are required for ratification. So effectively, the five most powerful can rush to sign on to terms that everybody else will have to take on later."

    I just don't see how that could make sense. There is no international body with the power to enforce via votes a treaty or law that a state has not signed on to. How would five yay votes for ACTA equal ratification in a country that had not agreed to adopt it?

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 2:22pm

    Re: Cram Down!

    We live in a democracy, in a democracy the majority wins and he who has the majority of the money wins.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 2:28pm

    RE: ER?

    it doesnt, this is precisely what happens when you give the AAs an audience when they masturbate.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 2:30pm

    Re: Er?

    I think this simply means that the agreement is not binding for anyone if less than 5 sign on. If 5 or more sign on, then its binding for just those who agreed to it.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    ant anti mike, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 2:32pm

    @ten

    WRONG we actually live in whats called a plutocracy, govt by corporations and trade houses.

    WHY? cause you and others are too fucking lazy to fight for your rights.

    THIS IS why....

    @11 you some kinda a sick weird freak?
    Let me get this straight, when they do bad stuff its cause they want to masturbate when they get bad news coverage?
    YOU should get a place on the pitch fork too , your genetic code needs to be utterly removed form the gene pool ( HI TAM )

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 2:50pm

    Back?

    Someone said "back to the dark ages".. Umm.. In case you didn't know.. We are IN the dark ages now or we wouldn't be talking about this kind of crap now..

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 3:12pm

    Re: @ten

    The problem is that citizens are not organized. In such a large society we need large scale communication mechanisms to remain organized. But, outside the Internet, the FCC et al have ensured that we can't use public airwaves or build new infrastructure that would allow such things. What we need is for the FCC to allow a portion of spectra to go into providing everyone with a mechanism to post and search through (at least) text on databases/forums located on the Internet. Anyone with some sort of wireless connector (which people should be able to buy from the store) should be allowed to connect and this can enable ALL citizens to communicate with each other and organize protests and help each other with tech support issues and other problems. But it should be, at least initially, text only being that text takes up very little bandwidth compared to voice or pictures or video or sophisticated java code. Everyone (who either has a wireless connector or who has Internet access) should have a right to connect to any of these text servers (and anyone should be able to host their own text server) and post comments and respond to others, even anonymously, and search through the database for existing text.

    What we really need is for mechanisms that encourage citizens to FREELY communicate (ie: without paying some monthly fee) with one another so that we can organize, just like corporations organize. But as the laws currently stand, outside the Internet (and not everyone has the Internet, at least not yet) the only mechanisms of communication involve either using the phone (and that can cost money for long distance communication at least and it's not efficient for organizing things like protests) or creating ones own newspaper (which is also slow/inefficient and expensive). We need a government that doesn't block free communication so that we can organize. The very widespread use of the Internet is still relatively new and corporations have been organized a while before the Internet was as prominent as it is now (while the mainstream media has been keeping us in the dark thanks to broken laws that enable them to), which is partly why, over the years, the laws have become outrageously absurd (ie: copyright length among many other laws). The laws in place are intentionally designed to keep us ignorant and from communicating from one another and organizing and so the organized corporations and rich people can control us.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    RD, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 3:37pm

    Re: Rapidshare has anticipated on all this

    "The file-hosting service Rapidshare is seeking major entertainment industry partners for an online store where links to infringing material will redirect to. The plan is an attempt to bridge the gap between copyright holders and users of the site who distribute infringing material."

    Wonderful! How is it again that they are going to point me to legal, non-infringing downloads of material that THEY DONT OFFER THAT ARE OUT OF PRINT OR NEVER HAVE BEEN OFFERED? I would LOVE to hear their solution to this aspect of "piracy."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 3:43pm

    Re: Re: Cram Down!

    You need to go back to school. The United States is not a democracy on any level. You may be right about the money side of it but the US is NOT a democracy it is a Constitutional Republic with a bicameral congress to insure that 51% of the people don't get piss in 49% of the people's Wheaties. So nope, not a Democracy. Although you appear to be a product of the public school system.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 3:52pm

    I find it curious that you are curious.

    As yet I have not seen a single provision contradicting US law.

    Merely by way of one trivial example, Article 2.5, Option 1 is mentioned. This is astounding. This is outrageous. Imagine exportation of the concept known as a TRO.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Mr Big Content, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 4:46pm

    Storm In A Teacup

    I think we should just sit back, stop worrying, and let our Governments do their jobs. After all, that’s why we pay them, right?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Glenn, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 5:00pm

    Amazing...

    I'm just so amazed that the President of the United States of America has absolutely no regard or respect for the Constitution of the United States... or the people of the United States. How... unusual... not.

     

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  21.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Mar 26th, 2010 @ 5:09pm

    Here is a really good point and its unintended consequnce

    "13) ACTA enlarges the scope of international criminal law sanctions to include imprisonment. TRIPS allowed countries to chose between criminal fines and prison terms, and sets no minimum standards for either. Art. 61. ACTA 2.15 mandates "penalties that include actual sentences of imprisonment as well as monetary fines", and includes a negotiator's note by the US (requested deleted by Australia and Canada) reiterating that countries "encourage competent authorities" to "impose penalties... including imposition of actual terms of imprisonment"."

    Recently someone commented here on TechDirt that ACTA would lead to more CC (Creative commons) Music and Videos (I am to lazy tonite to find the link). It got me thinking about how to redo a Creative commons lisc to circumvent ACTA and reset the CC-copyright on artistic works to pre 1976 levels. The rationale is simple. The actions of RIAA and the MPAA have caused a back lash with artists speaking out against them and leaving the labels. That was just over lawsuits, imagine what will happen when people start getting put on probation and jailed. The future excuse from the media distribution types will be "its not our fault its an international treaty". ACTA as a way to not be the bad guys filing law suits and to pass the buck ... brilliant!!! Its not going to work everyone knows or will know about ACTA.

    Here is the unintended consequence.

    More artists leaving the labels as 360 deals make them indentured servants. The business models will mature and the support systems grow online for artists. With that growth online will come a need for a more rational copyright model that is unlike what big media does. pre 1976 copyright Creative commons with the criminal and civil penalties set back to the same time period would be the best way to go. This can lead to people trusting the P1976CC artists, hating the labels, and accelerate the collapse of big media.

    Just a simple thought.

    David

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Mar 26th, 2010 @ 6:08pm

    Re: Er?

    "How would five yay votes for ACTA equal ratification in a country that had not agreed to adopt it?"

    Presumably if they (where 'they' equals the handful of people at the meeting) agree to that stipulation beforehand.

    These things aren't like actual treaties, except when they are.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    icon
    Chargone (profile), Mar 26th, 2010 @ 7:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Cram Down!

    i dunno, if you read it as 'one dollar, one vote' it's pretty democratic

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 7:49pm

    IP lawyer

    Back when we first discussing the bits and pieces of ACTA leaks, an IP lawyer in our comments suggested that we shut up until the full document was produced, as commenting on it beforehand wouldn't do any good, and he was sure (so sure) that it wouldn't possibly include any language to expand US law. I'm curious what he thinks now.

    I imagine he still wishes you'd shut up. You're blowing his gig.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    icon
    Chargone (profile), Mar 26th, 2010 @ 7:52pm

    Re:

    ... the above post either deserves a sarcasm tag or a large trout to the face...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 7:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Cram Down!

    the US is NOT a democracy it is a Constitutional Republic with a bicameral congress to insure that 51% of the people don't get piss in 49% of the people's Wheaties.

    Yeah, in a Republic 1% get to piss in 99% of the people's Wheaties. If you're a fat cat, a Republic is far better than a Democracy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    icon
    Chargone (profile), Mar 26th, 2010 @ 7:55pm

    Re: Back?

    and the dark ages are so called for one reason and one reason only: the distinct lack of records of what the heck was going on during them.

    nothing to do with the quality of life, science, or anything else. (and technology in most areas kept right on progressing during them.)

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 8:02pm

    Re: Re: @ten

    We need a government that doesn't block free communication so that we can organize.

    Not likely. You think the government is eager to let people organize against it?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 8:04pm

    Re:

    As yet I have not seen a single provision contradicting US law.

    Hi, TAM.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 8:38pm

    Re: Re:

    Seriously, sarcasm is the only thing I feel I can use to show how silly some of this stuff is because common sense doesn't seem to work.

    On the other hand, a trout to the face sounds kind of fun.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 8:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: @ten

    "If voting changed anything, they would make it illegal" - Emma Goldman

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2010 @ 8:28am

    Re: IP lawyer

    See #18

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    icon
    Karl (profile), Mar 27th, 2010 @ 8:57am

    Re: Re: @ten

    I don't think it's that the citizens aren't organized, it's that they either don't know what's going on, or don't care.

    I vented my hatred of ACTA at a guy who works for the Democratic Party. That includes my dislike of Joe Biden (for tech issues at least).

    His response was, "we've got health care, the economy, and a bunch of other things to worry about. Protecting the rights of people who download MP3's is not really at the top of the list right now."

    He had, in fact, never heard of ACTA before I told him about it and how bad it was.

    And he does have a point: compared to making sure everyone isn't homeless and dead in a year, ACTA does seem trivial. But it's the trivial stuff which will come back and bite us in the ass for years to come.

    On a different subject: If you're a touring musician who has ever crossed a national border, you'll know from hard experience that border searches harm musicians. Whenever anyone I know plays in Canada, they have to leave most of their merch in the U.S. so they won't have to pay import taxes (and that's on top of the hugely expensive "performance visa" you're officially supposed to get).

    So how are these new rules helping musicians in any way? For that matter, how is a customs official supposed to tell the difference between "official" and "unofficial" merchandise? How are they supposed to tell a musician from a counterfeiter?

    They're not, that's how. Major labels don't care about this stuff, since they can either produce their merch in-country, pay the fees (often taken out of artists' performance fees), or work out a deal with the venues or cities they're playing in. Indie artists can't afford any of those things. It's just another way that majors are trying to squash indie artists through lopsided laws.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    icon
    ChadBroChill (profile), Mar 27th, 2010 @ 12:08pm

    Re:

    I believe the article mentioned the expansion of U.S. law, not the contradiction of it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2010 @ 2:46pm

    Re: Cram Down!

    Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties.
    Abraham Lincoln

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Simon, Mar 29th, 2010 @ 3:20am

    Re: Re: Er?

    From Wikipedia Ratification article: "The treaty or legislation does not apply until it has been ratified. A multilateral agreement may provide that it will take effect upon its ratification by a specified number of signatories, rather than all. [snip]. A treaty in force does not apply to signatories that have not ratified it." In other words: less than 5 states ratify: the Treaty doesn't apply anywhere. 5 or more ratify, it applies to those states who have ratified it, but not to any who have signed it, but not yet ratified. So however many bad features this has, the 5 states requirement isn't one of them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    wallow-T, Mar 29th, 2010 @ 5:09am

    From the guy who works for the Democratic party:

    "Protecting the rights of people who download MP3's is not really at the top of the list right now."

    What the Democrats don't seem to understand is that they are launching a war against their younger voters. Good luck expecting them to turn out and be enthusiastic in 2012. The under-30 voters were 66% for Obama in 2008, according to the Pew Research Center.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    icon
    Louis (profile), Apr 5th, 2010 @ 8:45pm

    Big labels in prison?

    Does this mean that if ACTA comes to pass, we can bring the head of the big 5 to "justice" since they haven't paid thousands of artist for their music that they have produced and sold without paying the artist because they can't find them? That would be the day!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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