Total posts: [69]
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The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is an international treaty under negotiation that will have far-reaching ramifications for how millions of internet users share copyrighted material online. It is a US-led initiative, with strong support from Japan. Other countries involved in the negotiations include the EU, South Korea, Canada, Singapore, Mexico, NZ and Australia. It has been estimated that this treaty will be made public by 2011 - and pressure will be placed on other countries to sign as part of future trade agreements.

Negotiations are top-secret for 'national security reasons' - yet the US trade representative has allowed certain interest groups to view the document. These include people from Google, eBay, Intel, Time Warner, Sony, News Corporation, the MPAA and RIAA. Members of the public have largely been kept in the dark, apart from leaks online.

But what has been leaked is scary enough. This treaty is going to give the copyright holders the teeth to enforce copyright law, and internet service providers are going to be the watchdogs. To be considered a 'safe harbour' from prosecution, ISPs will be obliged to operate a three-strikes policy for alleged copyright infringement (no evidence required): two warnings, and then a ban for one year for that household. There is some speculation that ISPs will share lists of banned households, preventing people from subscribing to another ISP in the meantime.

One year is a pretty long time to go without the internet.

Michael Geist, a Canadian law professor at the University of Ottawa, provides a great summary of the dangers of ACTA in an interview on CBC's As It Happens.

He also has a 20min slide presentation that outlines the origins of ACTA, and where it is heading:


If ACTA is implemented, the internet will not be the same. Forget about watching music videos and film segments on YouTube. Forget about making fanvids and fanmixes. Forget about fansubs and scanlations. Forget about making screencaps for icons, website layouts, and lulz on image-hosting comms such as 4chan and [info]fandomsecrets.

No more bittorrenting your favourite films, TV shows, anime. No more sharing of manga raws. And don't think you can hide on US Enet or IRC either. The groups providing these services will be subject to the same 'safe harbour' requirements too. When your country gets into bed with the US or other signatory states over trade, you too will have to comply with ACTA.

As for the grey area of fanfic and fanart, they may very well clamp down on that too. ACTA has redefined criminal copyright infringement to include significant wilful infringements that have no direct or indirect motivation of financial gain. So it no longer matters if your activities are not-for-profit. As far as ACTA is concerned, you are still committing a criminal offence - which means the government can come after you. (Actually, copyright infringement is already a criminal offence here - people have served jail time for sharing music online).

If ACTA does make it through to my country in 2011-2012, my fannish activities are over. I'll have to pull down my websites and all the copyright-infringing content on them. I'll have to remove my profiles on various forums and archives. I simply can't risk being an active online fan any longer.

Which, in the end, is what the major US media corporations, who have no doubt lobbied hard for the copyright provisions in ACTA, want of us all. They don't want fans who question and dissect and remix and rewrite without showing 'respect' for the original work. They prefer consumers who passively digest the prepackaged content that's tossed their way, and come back for seconds afterwards.

ETA 29 Mar: ravensilver has more links with information about ACTA. I've also come across an ACTA rant by CNET's Molly Woods: Dear President Obama: Get ACTA out in the open.

edited 5th Oct '10 7:07:11 PM by BlackKing

2 Deboss5th Oct 2010 07:22:13 PM from Awesomeville Texas
I see the Awesomeness.
I oppose.
This site itself could be in trouble.
Wait, you're saying they'll be getting rid of Fair Use?
C'est la vie.
5 Deboss5th Oct 2010 09:35:17 PM from Awesomeville Texas
I see the Awesomeness.
They'll try. Whether or not it's still born is the main question.
Not a bug!
Well, one thing I think is pretty clear about this:

Obama took his status as One of Us, and then chopped it into little tiny pieces. And then set it on fire. And then buried it.

On-topic: The U.S. Supreme Court will probably throw this one out.

edited 5th Oct '10 9:49:52 PM by TotemicHero

Expergiscēre cras, medior quam hodie. (Awaken tomorrow, better than today.)
See ALL the stars!
It's a treaty; If I understand the US law system correctly, the Supreme Court don't have a choice.
Da Rules excuse all the inaccuracy in the world. Listen to them, not me.
8 Deboss6th Oct 2010 10:55:35 AM from Awesomeville Texas
I see the Awesomeness.
See ALL the stars!
Didn't know that, thanks, but doesn't mean you can side-step any treaty by amending the Constitution?
Da Rules excuse all the inaccuracy in the world. Listen to them, not me.
10 lee4hmz6th Oct 2010 01:13:23 PM from A shipwreck in the tidal Potomac , Relationship Status: Chocolate!
486-powered rotating Orange Crush Pop-Tart
Technically, but amending the constitution is (intentionally) very, very difficult.
This space for rent
11 Starscream7th Oct 2010 07:46:02 AM from Sydney, Australia
The internet is for sharing, and I'll continue to do so no matter what the money-grubbing asshole corporations say otherwise.

Ask a pirate, and I'll bet they'll say they'd gladly pay and support the artist/s directly, if they could. What we oppose is corporate greed, which is what this boils down to.

Hell, thanks to piracy, there's a lot of things I want to buy; the only reason I haven't is because my parents are sticklers for money and paranoid about online shopping. Without that, stuff is stupidly difficult to come by in Australia. And stupidly expensive.

(very funny, you stupid word filter) fuck copyright; KNOWLEDGE IS FREE

edited 7th Oct '10 7:46:49 AM by Starscream

MariaMoments: The wonder of 91% accuracy is that it [Thunder] still misses 50% of the time.
12 Fighteer7th Oct 2010 07:50:38 AM from the Time Vortex , Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
^ Sharing, yes. Not stealing. While I support the right of content creators to make money from their work, I definitely think that handing them the sole and unrestricted keys to deciding what can and cannot go on the Internet is a horrifyingly bad idea with severe slippery slope implications.

That said, the governments in question have everything to gain from enacting this legislation and very little to lose, as the types of activities that have triggered all of this concern from copyright holders generate little to no economic activity in First World nations, so they have no teeth to argue.

13 Tzetze7th Oct 2010 08:54:07 AM from a converted church in Venice, Italy
It would be the distributors getting power, not the creators. :/
14 Fighteer7th Oct 2010 09:00:54 AM from the Time Vortex , Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Technically, the copyright holders. Which takes longer to type.
Samurai Troper
Looking on Youtube for music, for example, to listen to allows me to find music I likely wouldn't be exposed to otherwise. Without it, I'd likely never have come across Nightwish, Within Temptation, Blackmores Night, Haley Westenra, etc. I'd be stuck with the shite Top 40 I could find in stores.
16 storyyeller7th Oct 2010 11:18:05 AM from Appleloosa , Relationship Status: RelationshipOutOfBoundsException: 1
More like giant cherries
A lot of fanworks are basically just free advertising.
17 Fighteer7th Oct 2010 11:31:00 AM from the Time Vortex , Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
The point here isn't that the copyright holders will automatically use this law to shut down fan works, Lets Plays, machinima, and the like. The point is that it gives them legal standing to do so if they choose. Heck, technically they do have this right already, it's just rarely exercised except in the case of jerkass creators - a famous one being Anne McCaffrey refusing to allow people to write Pern fanfic.

Anyone can complain to YouTube today and get a video removed for copyright infringement. What makes ACTA so nasty is that it makes it mandatory for signatories to adopt the same laws, so that there will be a uniform playing field; it enacts penalties for ISPs who fail to comply; and it enforces a "three strikes" rule on users accused of violations, which could potentially block them from the Internet entirely.

It doesn't help that the people being targeted by the treaty are widely seen as freeloaders and thieves within governments and industry, with only free speech advocates to seriously take their case. "Fair use" rings kind of hollow when people are clearly not abiding by its principles.

Sapere Aude
and it enforces a "three strikes" rule
Is that really in the treaty? Then I can rest easy (for the most part), because such very american nonsense stands no chance in front of the Supreme Court in Germany. It's against our legal traditions.

Also things like telecommunications data retention got shot down  * because the bar for access to this data was to low. And that law was made to fight terrorism and child porn, so there is no way in hell something like that would pass for copyright claims''.

And that was also an "EU law".

edited 7th Oct '10 1:04:16 PM by DasAuto

19 TuefelHundenIV7th Oct 2010 04:55:46 PM from Wandering , Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Watchman of the Apocalypse
Breath easy folks. The predictable happened it started falling apart from within.

Both the U.S. and other Nations Balked on several parts. It wouldn't surprise me if it either got canned or severely emasculated into a barely useful piece of paper.

"Who watches the watchmen?"
I don't think it just fell apart by itself, due to some prior events in Sweden the "Internet generation" in europe has got political influence. The Pirate Party has 2 seats in the parliament, a German internet censorship law led to huge protests via petition system (afaik resulting in a petition with the largest amount of signers ever) and protests on the streets. In Sweden the Pirate Party was the second strongest party if you count membership (at least some time ago). I'd say that was at least some reason why there was so much resistance from Europe.

Even in the US the younger demographic starts to have an influence with their votes (i.e. politicians can't just ignore the internet generation as easily as years before). The wonders of democracy.

edited 7th Oct '10 5:11:47 PM by Uchuujinsan

Pour y voir clair, il suffit souvent de changer la direction de son regard
21 TuefelHundenIV7th Oct 2010 05:33:10 PM from Wandering , Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Watchman of the Apocalypse
Exactly. It is falling apart from within. Everyone who would sign on to it is having some serious second thoughts. Even the U.S. is balking at some of the more draconian aspects.

I am glad to see Europe is voicing their displeasure at this treaty. If enough of the Europeans balk the U.S. will likely water it down even more or possibly back out. I would like to see it die all together.
"Who watches the watchmen?"
22 SeptimusHeap20th Nov 2011 01:47:17 PM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
Over here in Switzerland we have referenda for such treaties. If it ever comes up, I will vote it down. There's no reason to misuse copyright to impose some kind of censorship. We are well past any acceptable cost/benefit ratio. The whole TRIPS (WTO treaty) nonsense is already disgusting enough - no presumption of innocence anyone?

edited 20th Nov '11 1:47:35 PM by SeptimusHeap

23 USAF71320th Nov 2011 01:54:48 PM from the United States
I changed accounts.
I am now known as Flyboy.
Pro-Freedom Fanatic
Worldwide censorship. They've reacted to the internet by (trying to) shut it down. Still, they're doomed to fail.

All they will ever achieve is a jump to the darknets. I 2 P, Freenet and similar analogues will spring and take users' communications to the wonderful realm of plausible deniability... Perhaps more fortunately, more people will be exposed to outright revolutionary rhetoric... Conspiracies against the government ahoy!

AFAIK, ACTA doesn't prohibit encryption (or it would have to prohibit DRM). At any rate, if it contains too much censorship the Euros won't sign. We'll see communications systems that can't be used to monitor traffic in any meaningful way, to protect against liability. If you physically can't pull the plug, you won't be held liable.

edited 20th Nov '11 2:13:52 PM by SavageHeathen

You exist because we allow it and you will end because we demand it.
25 USAF71320th Nov 2011 02:17:24 PM from the United States
I changed accounts.
Worldwide censorship. They've reacted to the internet by (trying to) shut it down. Still, they're doomed to fail.

Honestly, if given the chance, I don't know that I wouldn't consider turning the internet off for good. I don't think I would, given time to think on it, but it would be highly tempting.

The internet was the modern day Pandora's Box, and now they're trying to shove it back in because they've realized exactly how horrifically different the world is becoming in part because of it. If I were them, I think I would, too...
I am now known as Flyboy.

Total posts: 69
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