EU Finally Realizes The Public Is Watching CETA: Softens Criminal Provisions For Copyright Infringement

from the somewhat-encouraging dept

Last month, through all of the secrecy shrouding the Canada-EU Trade Agreement (CETA), it was revealed that the treaty called for the same criminal copyright sanctions that European citizens widely rejected when those same sanctions showed up in ACTA. This was just as people feared, and those who noticed were furious that the EU would try to quietly undo the public's ACTA victory so quickly and brazenly. Of course, the reaction to CETA is so far nowhere near the critical mass that led to the ACTA protests — but it looks like the negotiators are afraid of recent history repeating, and may just have gotten the message that they can't do whatever they want behind the public's back. TechCentral reports (found via The 1709 Blog) that more recent CETA documents reveal a weakening of the ACTA-like criminal provisions. There has even been some stance-softening from pro-ACTA powerhouse Karel De Gucht:

...according to documents from the Cyprus Presidency of the EU seen by IDG News Service, the CETA text has been greatly watered down in order to avoid a similar outcome [to ACTA]. The intellectual property protection chapter is now understood to say that countries "may" provide for criminal procedures and penalties.

Even European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht, who pushed hard for the ACTA agreement, admits that changes must be made. "Since the negative vote of the European Parliament on ACTA, we have been changing the language obviously," he said in an interview with "We should have no illusions, there are still a number of difficult issues to tackle."

Interestingly, though, there is still a strong push for CETA to include criminal sanctions for video recording in movie theaters... championed by Canadian negotiators. We've had a specific criminal law against recording a movie without permission of the theater owner in Canada since 2007 — a law that, like many of Canada's anti-piracy efforts, was primarily the result of U.S lobbying. This is typical of U.S. tactics when it comes to intellectual property law: push your closest friends and neighbors to adopt the strictest laws possible, then put pressure on international negotiations to export those laws around the globe and enshrine them as the norm. Thankfully, these latest leaked negotiation documents suggest that the EU is against Canada's proposal.

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  1. icon
    Rottweiler (profile), 7 Nov 2012 @ 1:04am

    Its a small improvement

    But sadly, the TPP negotiations are even more secretive than CETA negotiations....

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

  2. icon
    Zakida Paul (profile), 7 Nov 2012 @ 1:53am

    They may have softened the criminal provisions but CETA still needs to be crushed as there is too much bad in there to allow one tiny microscopic fleck of good to create any support for it.

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

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Nov 2012 @ 2:50am

    governments are there at the will of the people, to act for the people, instead of the people, not despite the people. when there are any changes trying to be done in secret, over anything, it is going to negatively impact the public and positively impact businesses and governments. that's because those included in the negotiations are scared of the backlash once the people find out, particularly when there is no way back, for whatever reason! there is absolutely no excuse for this at all!

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

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Nov 2012 @ 4:47am

    May? so it's pretty much a definite that they WILL then, because we all know how countries, especially smaller ones get blackmailed into doing so by US and others.

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

  5. icon
    gorehound (profile), 7 Nov 2012 @ 6:02am

    Crush CETA ! Fight Back Against This and TPP !
    Citizens Unite

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

  6. icon
    Jay (profile), 7 Nov 2012 @ 6:12am

    When all you've got is a hammer...

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

  7. identicon
    Notsoanon, 7 Nov 2012 @ 7:00am

    Sent mails out to mainstream (left wing) media in sweden, nothing in the news about this and that was a few months ago.
    It's a shame that mainstream is controlled in such an extent that social media is the only media you can get any "real" news out of.

    This reminds me of the financial areas which Sweden would grant power to EU if the euro election went through, those areas was before the election (when polls were conclusive, even though bipartisan hardcore propaganda for a yes, the polls showed a clear no)removed from the vote and then tranferred behind the public scene, media reporting nothing.
    Keep spreading the word, keep up the good work!

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

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Nov 2012 @ 8:28am


    It is not as bad as most people think. Most of it is already deeply enshrined in laws and provisions outside of EU law, like the camera in cinema provision, will get shot down since EU is the bigger of EU and Canada. They really do not want to go through the trouble of changing EU law to accomodate a small partner like Canada.

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

  9. identicon
    Michael, 7 Nov 2012 @ 10:05am

    Canadian Law

    Perhaps someone can answer this.

    "We've had a specific criminal law against recording a movie without permission of the theater owner in Canada since 2007"

    What does the theater owner have to do with anything in that situation? The copyright owner is (not likely to be) the theater owner. How can the owner of a theater give someone permission to record a film with a camera? If they can, who is responsible of the owner of the copyright on the film does not approve?

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

  10. icon
    Leigh Beadon (profile), 7 Nov 2012 @ 12:33pm

    Re: Canadian Law

    It's just a way of getting camcording into the criminal code separately, without requiring changes to the copyright act. The original argument for the law was that it's too difficult to charge camcorders with commercial copyright infringement because that requires intent to sell commercially—which is difficult to prove. By putting permissionless camcording into the criminal code, it becomes an illegal act all by itself, without copyright entering into it—even if, for example, the theatre was showing a public domain film.

    It's effective because theatre owners are already beholden to strict license agreements with the film distributor. So yes, theoretically the theatre owners could allow people to record, which would make that criminal law no longer apply. Then you would once again have to prove commercial intent to get those people for criminal infringement—but theatre owners would never be able to get away with that, and I'm guessing there's specific language in the licensing contracts between distributors and theatres that requires camcording bans and probably even prescribed countermeasures.

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

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