The ACTA, or Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, have been more than just making headlines as the world's newest force behind Anti-Piracy. They've already went through six rounds of international discussions, and have a firm grip on the world's political process and legislation.
They've also brought with them turmoil, such as leaked documents which includes a provision to force Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to provide information about suspected copyright infringers without a warrant, making it easier for the record industry to sue music file sharers and for officials to shut down non-commercial BitTorrent websites.
For an organization that according to Wikipedia was supposed to be a response "to the increase in global trade of counterfeit goods and pirated copyright protected works." The scope of ACTA is broad, including counterfeit goods, as well as "piracy over the Internet", it seems that the latter, piracy over the internet, has become their main focus.
Their tough enactments against file sharing has been a secretive ploy by the organization, by rallying nations behind them on their skills at defeating the piracy of material goods, they have used that same partnership to inflict their means of anti peer to peer legislation upon the nations.
They have been pushing with quite success in international talks, to declare a world-wide "three strikes" policy, as well as a push to recognize and expand the already existing Digital Millennium Copyright Act to be standardized and enforced across the globe.
As of now, all major international treaties regarding IP addresses, and Internet Service Providers, do not force the ISP to be held accountable for what the customer does with the bandwidth they supply. If the ACTA has it's way, this will all change. All three of the major treaties currently in place, the 1994 Trade Related Aspects of IP agreement, the WIPO Copyright and WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty, do not require ISP's (or any "third party") to be held liable for the users whom violate copyright laws or commit any form of internet piracy.
This is something the ACTA is planning to secretly change, according to leaked documents. ACTA member countries will be required to provide for third-party (Internet Intermediary) liability. Which means they will be forced to not only hand over their customers IP addresses if they are investigated, but also that they could be penalized if they fail to do so.
The powers that be in the ACTA can consider their puppet speaker Michael Geist to be one of the most powerful key players in the fight to combat internet piracy. He has more swagger and say-so in the world governments, than any member of the MPAA or other strong anti-piracy groups ever imagined having. To view a small graph of some of the ties Mr. Geist has, click HERE.
The ISP's have countered that this will only cause extreme costs to them, without any assistance to pay for the expensive monitoring measures. Although some have suggested that's an enactment that the ACTA plans to introduce, a treaty which would allow international funds, including Federal, or United Nations cash, to repay the ISPs for their expenses in monitoring and "controlling" the internet.
This has sparked outrage from many opponents of the ACTA and groups which believe that censoring the internet should never be allowed by any means. Many opponents believe this is the start of an even more evil plan, to "regulate" the internet, in order for member nations of the ACTA to profit greatly from new creative technologies laws that they will be allowed to generate revenue from.
Others fear that their privacy will be totally obliterated by the new-found attack on their rights, by this Anti-Counterfeiting legislation. The leaked European Union documents state that "The U.S. wants ACTA to force ISPs to put in place policies to deter unauthorized storage and transmission of IP infringing content (for example clauses in customers' contracts allowing a graduated response)", which shows that the corporate entertainment giants in the United States are pressuring the U.S. Federal Government to pressure other nations into their master plan.
Already has the European Union rejected certain measures proposed by the ACTA, but more than two-thirds of EU Member Nations are also ACTA Member Nations, and they've all created their own "three-strikes" like policies which have spread abroad.
In the first six meetings, the ACTA considered their rounds at the world stage to be quite successful. With a previous meeting in South Korea, they've dominated nearly every continent on Earth with creating some form of partnership to date.
ACTA is the main Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement being negotiated by the US, the EU, Japan, South Korea, Canada, Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as many other member states. The "stated" goal of the agreement although it seems it secretly has a more sever presence and plot, is the international enforcement of strong intellectual property rights through increased cooperation and coordination among international governmental agencies. ACTA does not yet exist, though its ongoing discussions are confirmed by all of the participating governments.
Next comes their big appearance in the "Western" Hemisphere, North America. They will be front and center for the seventh round of "negotiations" in Mexico, on January 25th of 2010. Various groups of protesters to the ACTA have planned tough responses to the ACTA and their methods of globalizing the internet through regulations and privacy violations.
The Pirate Party's message has been clear, through all their member nations, that the ACTA must be stopped, and we must help get the message out about the true goals and ploys that the ACTA plans to enforce.
An internal Pirate Party memo reads as follows:
The Pirate Party wrote:
Dear Pirate Party Members,
Negotiations over the ACTA treaty are still ongoing. The negotiation partners, amongst whom the largest economies in the world can be counted, wish to achieve an effectively global trade agreement as soon as possible in 2010.
Leaked details about this agreement can be found at Wikileaks, at the European Digital Rights Initiative (EDRi} and on the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) websites. US-based Knowledge Ecology International has also published extensive analyses of the known material.
Along with numerous media outlets, these NGOs have all expressed great concern regarding both the negotiation tactics and te alleged content of the treaty.
Negotiations have been kept secret from both the public and from national parliaments. The practice is corrosive to democracy and will aid the corruption of global society. The content of the treaty is shared with corporate lobbyists under the guidance of cleared advisors, but so far only one representative of civil society has been allowed to partake in the documents in the US, and then only after signing a non-disclosure agreement.
Any affected stakeholders - including the European Association of ISPs (EuroISPA) and ISP's around the world - not connected with the IPR lobby have been kept outside. No stakeholder other than the IPR dependent ones has been allowed to see or comment the proposed texts. Including members of your own parliament.
The treaty text closely resembles the US DMCA legislation and sets exceptionally high minimum standards for IPR protection, in direct defiance of academic reports and without any open or public debate. Negotiators are quite aware the treaty will be very difficult to reverse once signed, making the impact all that much more severe.
Prior experience with IPR-related treaties shows that controversial agreements adopted on a global or multilateral level often in opposition to developing nations' concerns - are habitually later enforced bilaterally in negotiation with opponents that lack the economic strength to stand up against significantly stronger trade partners.
These agreements are remarkably obstructive for developing countries that do not yet have a developed IP industry. They hamper both domestic investment and industrial development in these nations. In some cases global IP issues resolved in this way have through these trade agreements - resulted in health crimes and "biopiracy".
The way in which this treaty has been negotiated should be reason enough to abolish it. But the way it also risks posing a threat to the market, diversity and industrial development in developed and developing nations alike is just as bad.
ACTA too closely resembles a corporate dictatorship, completely disregarding the sustainable development of society, civil liberties and due processes of democracy. This treaty aims to implement extreme policy changes on a global level - without the participation of either the global community, not even that of those concerned citizens who live in the negotiating countries around the world!
This matter does not just affect the Pirate Parties of the world, but also any and all organizations and individuals with a regard for democracy.
We urge you to take this matter to the public in your respective countries and stop ACTA soon. Otherwise it may very well be too late to bring an end to this madness.
Some ideas for taking action:
• Inform the public! Publish articles in your blog and/or in the press.
• Urge your government to take measures for process investigation
- write to your local elected
official and encourage others to do the same!
• Call out for an [inter]national action day.
• Address the issue in your election program/manifesto.
• Organize a demonstration against the treaty.
• Check your legal options for a lawsuit against the process or ACTA, ie. in the
highest national court possible.
• Provide free talks on ACTA for pirate party members and the general public.
• Create and circulate informational material and leaflets to the public and the PP
• Inform as many people as possible. Also, ensure the press is not distracted by the
term "Counterfeiting" in ACTA. As Christian Engström, MEP, emphasizes ACTA
is primarily concerned with Copyright enforcement. There is more copyright related
material than there is about counterfeiting physical products and trade marks.
• Question the secrecy of this agreement, according to KEI, ACTA is a US national
security issue? Question the motivation for this lack of transparency! Especially in
• Demand a transparent venue! México is according to the mexican pirate party one
of the most corrupted countries in the world, discussing ACTA here will only make
the whole process more shady. We need a country with better transparency
standards to decide the future of file-sharing and the internet. A place where
the media is not at the service of the state or vice versa.
For all PPs involved in local elections, spread the word and use the buzz to emphasize and disseminate information about ACTA
The Pirate Party International Anti-ACTA Taskforce.
David Crafti, Australia
Rodney Serkowski, Australia
David Xanatos, Austria
Germain Cabot, Belgium
Jurgen Rateau, Belgium
Bogomil Shopov, Bulgaria
Jake Daynes, Canada
Scott Elcomb, Canada
Mikulas Ferjencik, Czech Republic
Erik Ernst, Denmark
Anthony Rondel, France
Denis Germain, France
Eric Carrara, France
Florian Lauté, France
Laurent Le Besnerais, France
Ralph Hinterleitner, Germany
Thorsten Wirth, Germany
Athos Gualazzi, Italia
Marco Confalonieri, Italia
Jerry Weyer, Luxembourg
Sven Clement, Luxembourg
Conrado Romo, México
Mario Arauz, México
Samir Allioui, the Netherlands
Cristian Bulumac, Romania
Aleksandar Blagojevi?, Serbia
Xavi Vila, Spain
Amelia Andersdotter, Sweden
Marie Axelsson, SwStates
Ryan Martin, United States
Andrew Norton, United States
Various branches of the Pirate Party, have been fighting for the rights of the online users for a few years now, and we see them becoming more an more powerful from grass-roots campaigns and word of mouth. Holding seats in the European Union, Canadian Government, French Parliament, they are becoming a driving force to combat the "regulation" of the internet.
The ACTA founders including many of the former power-players for copyright protections, has been successful through various Anti-Piracy groups which they fund, in many court cases. Wikipedia lists the following groundbreaking victories for the last few years.
MPAA vs. RealNetworks Inc.
In August 2009, the Motion Picture Association of America won a lawsuit against RealNetworks for violating copyright law in selling its RealDVD software, allowing users to copy DVDs and store them on a harddrive. The MPAA claimed that Real violated the DMCA by circumventing anti-piracy measures ARccOS Protection and RipGuard, as well as breaking Real's licensing agreement with the MPAA's Content Scrambling System.
Viacom Inc. vs. YouTube, Google Inc.
On March 13, 2007, Viacom filed a lawsuit against YouTube and its corporate parent Google for copyright infringement seeking more than $1 billion in damages. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Viacom claims the popular video-sharing site was engaging in “massive intentional copyright infringement” for making available a contended 160,000 unauthorized clips of Viacom’s entertainment programming. Google lawyers say they are relying on the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act to shield them from liability. On March 11, 2008 the judge ruled that Viacom cannot seek punitive damages against YouTube. Massive statutory damages, however, remain on the table. Viacom's case against Google, which is being run in conjunction with a separate class action filed by the Premier League and several music publishers, is unlikely to go to trial until 2009 or 2010.
IO Group Inc. vs. Veoh Networks Inc.
On June 23, 2006 IO Group, Inc. filed a complaint against Veoh Networks, Inc. in the U.S. District Court for California's Northern District. IO Group alleged that Veoh was responsible for copyright infringement by allowing videos owned by Io Group to be accessed through Veoh’s online service without permission over 40,000 times between the dates June 1 and June 22. Veoh is a Flash video site relying on user contributed content. IO Group argued that since Veoh transcoded user uploaded videos to Flash format it became a direct infringer and the materials were under their direct control, thereby disqualifying them for DMCA safe harbor protection. The ruling judge disagreed with the argument stating that "Veoh has simply established a system whereby software automatically processes user-submitted content and recasts it in a format that is readily accessible to its users. Veoh preselects the software parameters for the process from a range of default values set by the thirdparty software... But Veoh does not itself actively participate or supervise the uploading of files. Nor does it preview or select the files before the upload is completed. Instead, video files are uploaded through an automated process which is initiated entirely at the volition of Veoh's users." The Court has granted the Veoh’s motion for summary judgment, on the basis of the DMCA, holding that the defendant's video-sharing web site complied and was entitled to the protection of the statute's "safe harbor" provision.
Vernor v. AutoDesk
After numerous stifling DMCA takedown notices on his eBay listings Timothy S. Vernor sued AutoDesk in August 2007 for abusing the DMCA and disrupting his right to sell used software he bought at a garage sale. A federal district judge in Washington State dismissed AutoDesk's argument that the software's license agreement preempted the seller from his rights under the first-sale doctrine.
With the founding of the ACTA, these above DMCA related lawsuits against companies, were only the beginning. Now they've moved on to attempting to rule all the land, and the people, with the plans at monopolization of the internet through trade agreements with member nations.
This type of "lock and key" legislation cannot benefit anyone other than entertainment industry, as it totally decreases the possibility that new technological advancements in file sharing will be encompassed from the small inventors and programmers by reducing their capability to share files due to regulations.
The first step, for the ACTA, is getting all member nations to agree upon the "three strikes" policy and to push them to hold internet service providers accountable for the copyright violations their customers make. If the customer downloads "pirated" media, the ISP being forced to turn in the user, will make prosecution of the user extremely easy in a court of law.
Such precedents would allow many governments to gain extreme revenue increases from both funding for the prosecution and legislation and both penalties which citizens would have to pay for committing these new "copyright crimes".
This would also allow with ease the search and seizure of many computers around the globe, and create a new task force against file sharing. Think of it as the new "War On Drugs", an international effort with the goal of bringing the internet to a "controlled" level of monitoring.
We cannot allow this to happen. It's preventing the children of tomorrow, from being able to experience a private internet which one of them could use to develop a new technology we never before thought possible.
Regulation has never worked in all of history. All it's done is shut down creativity and strip people of their freedoms. If you would like to get involved, research Digital Millennium Copyright Laws, research the plans of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, research the Pirate Parties of the world. Get involved. Send a message to your government representatives, tell your friends, tell your family.
There are other groups dedicated to the fight against internet censorship as well. In my circle of friends also exists affiliates with Creative Freedom, http://creativefreedom.org.nz/media.html, whom are dedicated to the eradication of internet censorship and the combating of anti-piracy groups attempts to litigate measures that would violate our privacy and rights. I suggest visiting them if you want one of many approaches to the ACTA's attempt to destroy the liberties of the internet.
The Creative Freedom group, have stated their goal as follows:
Creative Freedom Group wrote:
Our Goal: No Companies Snooping on Your Internet
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) may force Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to reveal your private information if you are accused of copyright infringement. This is comparable to forcing Telecom to reveal information on who you talk to based on nothing more than an accusation, without a warrant and without court approval or oversight. This is an unprecedented breach of privacy and due-process and it's being proposed in the name of protecting artists. The revealed ACTA documents include a provision to force ISPs to supply information about suspected copyright infringement to companies. This is comparable to forcing Telecom to reveal information on who you talk to based on nothing more than an accusation, without a warrant and without court approval or oversight. As ACTA is an International Trade Agreement, overseas companies could obtain information about New Zealanders through this.
This is an unprecedented breach of privacy and due-process and it's being done in the name of protecting artists. Stand up and make your voice heard: Say NO to Companies Snooping on Your Internet.
As I've said time and time again, file sharing is heading into a new battle. Our freedoms are being removed, all in the name of "copyright protections". They want to censor our internet. Invade your privacy. They want the ISPs to bow down to their demands. They want the governments to prosecute those who do not obey. They want to totally remove the internet as we know it today, and make it a regulated, manipulated, monitored, and controlled industrial complex. This will not only kill the open ended internet we have enjoyed for years, but this will strangle the freedoms in which we all hold precious. It will totally annihilate creativity, and advancements through one's creativity.
Here's a video about the results of the law caving in on creativity:
The best thing we can do, is inform the world. Tell everyone you know about the agenda which threatens our freedoms and threatens our future. The upcoming event in Mexico for the ACTA "negotiations" will not stop there. This is only round 7 in a long process.
We must act now, for time is short, and if they succeed, consider a "free and open" internet to be non-existent. Do you want to have all of your actions, downloads, site visits, emails, and possibly more, given away to the ACTA or your government because you are suspected of "file sharing"? I know I don't. This is why we must inform everyone of what is at stake, and the fallout of allowing such measures to become international treaties. By:
December 21st, 2009 Posted by:
You are 100% right obscene, time is short and the more people that are informed of what is truly going on here the better.. I for one cannot imagine how different and worse things will be if the ACTA and people like them are allowed to have their way. We gotta get the masses informed and you're definitely doing your part with great reads like this.. Man your battle stations people, our enemy approaches and they want our privacy.. They want our freedom.. United we stand, the road only gets bumpier from here.
The Best thing we can do is tell everybody whats going on here, before they take away even this away from us.
What will be next. Google not being able to be a search engine. The Media, printed and televised not being able to tell the news the way they want it. The New world order is coming closer to becoming a reality, this is a real shame.
Thanks again Obs for news.
Thanks, Obs. Sadly I believe that the true agenda is not to get us file sharers but to use us to get the legislature needed to take over, monitor, watch and completely control all aspects of the internet.
As msmsm stated "The New world order is coming closer to becoming a reality, this is a real shame."
Thanks for the very interesting read Obscene, truly top quality info. I agree completely with you SnakeyB, the internet provides us with our last vestige of freedom and we know how the powers that be hate that.
some straight bullshit is what this is. its like we're in f*ckin high school again, oh sure you can use "your" computer, but were gonna watch what you do so nothing "inappropriate" is going on. what malarkey! thnx for the info obscene. great read as usual. what measures can we take to further our chance that this doesn't happen? please let me know.
Since ACTA is a commercial organization, couldn't their investigative techniques be defined legally as stalking? And their penalty system as extortion? And their collection of information as Copyright Infringement as well? Since, under the law one cannot benefit legally from the commission of a crime, therefore if they must break laws in order to perform their "job" under the law they should not be able to extract payments through extortion. It seems to be in ACTA we have real criminals trying to extract value from people they simply allege are criminals.
Quote: 12 posted by daveindanorth
"Since ACTA is a commercial organization, couldn't their investigative techniques be defined legally as stalking? And their penalty system as extortion? And their collection of information as Copyright Infringement as well? Since, under the law one cannot benefit legally from the commission of a crime, therefore if they must break laws in order to perform their "job" under the law they should not be able to extract payments through extortion. It seems to be in ACTA we have real criminals trying to extract value from people they simply allege are criminals."
Excellent choice of words my friend. Yes, the fact that they're commercial would in SOME nations make them liable for "stalking", yet the fact that they're pre-dominantly founded in the United States, by the United States entertainment giant corporations (which own the government), tend to allow them to be "above the law". Obviously we the people find this outrageous, but that's the facts. This is how the world turns, and the only thing that keeps it spinning, is that almighty dollar.
It might be worth the mention that digital piracy has no measurable affect on industry sales. For the simple reason that itâ€™s for free: there is no redistribution of money. Itâ€™s whatâ€™s know as â€œzero-cost parasitismâ€ in biology, and it has its analogs in the theory of economics, social engineering and is now being applied to the internet free information trade. This is a phenomenon that is well known and understood in the industry. Thatâ€™s why they chose the careful wording â€œcounterfeitâ€ and not pirated. Counterfeiting pertains to physical manufacturing of patented goods (Intellectual Property). That is the crux of the argument advanced by the two main industry proponents of ACTA: the International Intellectual Property Alliance; and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufactures of America: Itâ€™s to prevent knock-off goods and potentially harmful counterfeit medicine.
Now suspending the question of whether that reasoning is legit, and focusing only on the part of the legislation that would affect the internet, there really isnâ€™t any concrete evidence being offered to substantiate the type internet regulation that ACTA will enforce. And there is a simple reason why. We really just have to look at the advisory committees of ACTA- its not comprised of independent organizations or the usual intellectual advisory boards, instead its made up out of corporations that have a vested interest in ACTA being passed: IBM; Verizon Communications; Oracle Corporation; Sun Microsystems; Intel and many others. The part of ACTA that will regulate the internet might offer anti-piracy as its main goal, but in actuality ACTA seeks to maintain corporate monopoly by destroying the primary competition- open-source programming â€“ through dismantling its main mode of propagation: p2p networks. If they succeed it would be the start of the internet losing its independence. The current freedoms that we enjoy will slowly erode away. No more freedom of association â€“ all that will be left is the networking groups owned by the corporations. The free exchange of ideas and information will also be silenced- the only ideas and information will be those they offer.
It is crazy how fiction from our past can so easily become a reality in our future. Big Brother is watching. The end of most of our freedoms is nigh. Info is power, power is and will most always be in the money in a world of greed.