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Last post Author Topic: SOPA Shelved - ACTA is Worse  (Read 11105 times)


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Re: SOPA Shelved - ACTA is Worse
« Reply #25 on: January 26, 2012, 08:18 PM »
Three posts from techdirt and a fourth from another source. Together they could provide a snapshot perspective and background to the rolling assault on freedoms posed by SOPA-->ACTA-->TPPA.
(TPPA is the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and is arguably potentially worse than ACTA - which latter might be a done deal unless the belated Submit ACTA To The Senate For Ratification petition has some effect.)

I have copied the posts in the spoilers, below, and emboldened a few lines for emphasis, but some of the posts contain embedded links that I have not copied (too much trouble to do in in this forum, sorry), so, if you want to see/follow the links, then you will need to go to the actual post containing them.

Some people might say that the applicable turn of phase to apply in this sort of case could be:
"We've all been hoodwinked".

2011-09-27: US, EU, Canada, Japan, Australia & Others To Sign ACTA This Weekend, Despite Legal Concerns
US, EU, Canada, Japan, Australia & Others To Sign ACTA This Weekend, Despite Legal Concerns
from the failure dept - 2011-09-27
Despite serious Constitutional concerns in the US, and significant legal questions in the EU, it appears that the US and the EU, along with most of the other participants in the ACTA negotiations are planning to sign ACTA this weekend in Japan. In the US, this may very well lead to a Constitutional challenge. President Obama, via the USTR, is ignoring the Senate's oversight concerning treaties, by pretending ACTA is not a treaty, but rather an "executive agreement." Pretty much everyone else agrees that ACTA is a binding treaty -- in fact, EU negotiators have been quite vocal on that point.

But even if this is considered "an executive agreement," the President does not have the authority to sign an executive agreement concerning intellectual property issues. Executive agreements can only be signed if they cover issues solely under the President's mandate. But intellectual property issues are clearly under Congress's mandate, and nowhere in the Constitution is the President given a mandate over IP issues. This is a clear end-run around Congress, and seems likely to be unconstitutional.

What I really don't get is why they're making such an end-run. As we've seen with things like PROTECT IP, most of the Senate seems to have no problem propping up the entertainment industry's legacy players with bogus laws and "greater enforcement." It seems likely that ACTA would probably sail through the Senate with little problem. But the administration seems to not even want to have the slightest debate on the topic -- which is greatly troubling, considering that the USTR negotiated the agreement in near total secrecy, refusing to allow public comment or debate (outside of leaks which it tried to block) until after the document was done.

The others that are listed as planning to sign the document are Japan, Australia, Canada, South Korea, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore and Switzerland. Basically all the countries who took part in the negotiations. The fact that Mexico is on that list is interesting, given that the Mexican Congress has already told the Mexican President that it will not ratify ACTA, and made it clear that Mexico needs Congress to ratify ACTA to have it go into effect. In other words, it sounds like Mexico is facing a similar executive run-around as in the US.

It's pretty amazing. This isn't even just about Presidents doing an end-run around the public, but around their own legislatures. And for what? A bailout of some legacy entertainment industry players who are unwilling to adapt.

2102-01-24: What Is ACTA And Why Is It A Problem?
What Is ACTA And Why Is It A Problem?
from the a-little-explainer dept - 2102-01-24

Yesterday I noted that the anti-SOPA/PIPA crowd seemed to have just discovered ACTA. And while I'm pleased that they're taking interest in something as problematic as ACTA, there was a lot of misinformation flowing around, so I figured that, similar to my "definitive" explainer posts on why SOPA/PIPA were bad bills (and the followup for the amended versions), I thought I'd do a short post on ACTA to hopefully clarify some of what's been floating around.

First off, ACTA, unlike SOPA/PIPA, is not "a law." It's a trade agreement, in which a variety of countries agree to deal with intellectual property infringement in a similar fashion. It does have some similarities to SOPA/PIPA -- such as the conflation of counterfeiting physical goods with digital copyright infringement. This is a very common tactic for folks trying to pass massively draconian, expansionary, copyright laws. You lump them in with physical counterfeiting for two key reasons: (1) If you include physical counterfeiting, even thought it's a relatively small issue, you can talk about fake drugs and military equipment that kill people -- so you can create a moral panic. (2) You can then use the (questionable) large numbers about digital copyright infringement, and then lump those two things together, so you can claim both "big and a danger to health." Without counterfeiting, the "danger" part is missing. Without copyright, the "big" part is missing. The fact that these are two extremely different issues with extremely different possible solutions, becomes a minor fact that gets left on the side of the road.

Unfortunately, much of the information and fear-mongering about ACTA is extremely dated. People are asking me why the text of ACTA is hidden away as a state secret. Yes, during negotiations, there was an insane amount of secrecy -- much more than is standard. But the final text of ACTA has been public for quite some time now. We can complain about the process, but saying that the document is still secret is false.

Unfortunately, so much of the focus on ACTA was about the secrecy of the process, and the lack of actual stakeholders being involved (entertainment industry and pharma lobbyists had full access... everyone else? Not so much.), that the actual problems with the agreement have been clouded over. It is worth noting that the final ACTA text was very much improved from what was leaked out early on. In fact, it seems clear that, despite the attempts at secrecy, the fact that the document kept leaking really did help pressure negotiators to temper some of the "worst of the worst" in ACTA.

For example, ACTA initially tried to establish much stronger secondary liability for ISPs, including effectively requiring a "graduated response" or "three strikes" plan for ISPs, that would require them to kick people accused (not convicted) of infringement multiple times offline. One of the key problems with ACTA has been how broadly worded it is and how open to interpretation it is. For an agreement whose sole purpose is supposed to be to clarify processes, the fact that it's so wide open to interpretation (with some interpretations potentially causing significant legal problems) seems like a big issue. For example, while the original draft never directly required a three strikes program, it required some form of secondary liability measures, and the only example of a program that would mitigate such liability was... a three strikes program. To put it more simply, it basically said all signers need to do something to help out the entertainment industry, and one example is a three strikes program. No other examples are listed. Then they could pretend that it doesn't mandate such a program, but leaves little choice for signing countries other than to implement such a thing. However, thankfully, that provision was struck out from the final copy.

So why is ACTA problematic?

    While it probably does not change US law (with some possible exceptions, especially in the realm of patents), it certainly does function to lock in US law, in a rapidly changing area of law, where specifics are far from settled. Supporters of ACTA continue to insist that not only does it not change US law, but that it cannot change US law, since it's an "executive agreement" rather than a treaty (more on that later). The reality, however, is that to be in compliance with this agreement, the US needs to retain certain parts of copyright law that many reformers believe should be changed. At the very least, it ties Congress' hands, if we want to be in compliance with our "international obligations."

    An example of this is on the question of inducement theory for copyright law. Within copyright law there is direct infringement (you did the infringement) and indirect or secondary infringement (you had a hand in making someone else infringe). In general we should be wary of secondary liability issues, because they can create chilling effects for new innovations. It's why the Supreme Court allowed the VCR to exist, despite the fact that it enabled infringement. Contributory infringement (in which you're more actively involved) has been illegal, but there has been some question about inducing infringement (i.e., leading or pushing others into infringing). There was an attempt by Congress nearly a decade ago, under the INDUCE Act, to make inducement a violation of copyright law, but it failed to go anywhere in Congress. Of course, the Supreme Court then stepped in with its Grokster decision that made up (pretty much out of thin air) a standard for "inducement" to be a violation of the law.

    Normally, if Congress decides the Supreme Court got something wrong, it can pass a law to clarify. However, under the terms of ACTA, countries need to consider inducement a violation of copyright law. There's no way to read this other than to tie Congress' hands on the question of inducement. That's a big issue because we're still sorting through the true impact of considering inducement as against the law. I know it's tough to believe Congress could ever push back on ever more draconian copyright law, but with the SOPA/PIPA backlash, there's at least a sliver of hope that some are aware that these issues impact innovation. Should Congress realize that greater liability through inducement is a mistake, under ACTA, their hands are mostly tied if they want to fix it. That's a problem.

    Beyond just locking in parts of copyright law, ACTA also expands it. First, it takes things that would normally be considered non-commercial file sharing (which is potentially against the law), and turns it into commercial scale criminal infringement. Similarly, it appears to broaden the definitions around inducement/secondary liability to make what had been a civil (between two private parties) issue into criminal aiding and abetting. Basically, there are parts of ACTA that effectively seek to take what would normally be civil infringements, dealt with between two private parties, and allow the entertainment industry to offload the policing to government law enforcement (paid for by tax payers) and leading to a higher likelihood of jail time.

    Copyright law is, by its very nature, a bundle of forces -- some that incentivize good behavior, and some that are bad. There should be no question that copyright has some good effects and some bad effects. The real question is in weighing the good and the bad and making sure that that the bad don't outweigh the good. Often, copyright law has used exceptions (fair use, public domain, de minimus use, first sale, etc.) to act as a "safety valve" in an attempt to make sure the bad doesn't outweigh the good.

    However, ACTA pretends that copyright is only good and there's no need to minimize the bad effects. That is, it only talks about the enforcement side, and completely ignores the necessary exceptions to copyright law that make it function. Basically, it exports the punishments from the US, but leaves out the safety valves. That's pretty scary. It may be (well, not really) okay in the US where fair use is clearly established, but most other countries don't have fair use at all (if they have anything, it's a much weaker system known as "fair dealing"). Exporting strict enforcement without exceptions is dangerous and will lead to unnecessary limitations on creativity and speech.

    There are serious health risks associated with ACTA, especially in the developing world. In this case, Europe pushed strongly to include patents under ACTA (something the US actually preferred to leave out). This has complicated matters for some countries. Under existing international agreements, countries can ignore pharmaceutical patents to deal with health emergencies. That is, if you have an outbreak and need a drug that pharmaceutical companies are unwilling to supply at a reasonable price, governments can break the patent and produce their own. That becomes much more difficult under ACTA, which could be a real threat to health around the globe.

    Similarly, there are very reasonable concerns that ACTA will be used to crack down, not on actual counterfeit medicines, but on "grey market" drugs -- generic, but legal, copies of medicines. Some European nations, for example, already have a history of seizing shipments of perfectly legal generic drugs in passage to somewhere else. For example, say that a pharmaceutical company in India is shipping drugs to Brazil that are legal in both countries. However, those drugs violate a patent in Europe. If, during transit, those drugs pass through Europe, customs agents may seize them. That's already been happening, but the fear is that there's greater power to do so under ACTA.

    ACTA presents certain requirements for border patrol agents in determining what is and what is not infringing. This is a big issue for a variety of reasons. First, as we've seen in the US, ICE/border patrol isn't very good at figuring out what is and what is not infringing. Traditionally, there are significant questions of fact to be explored in determining if something is infringing, but under ACTA, border patrol often will be in a position to make a snap decision. Believe it or not, Homeland Security itself was worried about ACTA, because of fears that it would actually make it more difficult to be effective on intellectual property issues -- and might require them to spend more time trying to figure out if something is infringing, rather than if there's a terrorist trying to get into the country.

    Again, while ACTA supporters insist that it won't require changes to US law, there are a few parts of ACTA that are so vague that you can definitely see how they could be interpreted to require changes to US law. One key example is where certain kinds of patent infringement cases protect against either injunctions or damages... whereas ACTA would require one or the other.

    Even the signing parties don't agree on the purpose, scope and nature of ACTA. This may be the scariest part. Part of the debate in the US is over the USTR and President Obama's claim that ACTA is not a binding treaty, but rather a sole executive agreement that doesn't need Congressional approval. Many believe that this is unconstitutional, and Senator Ron Wyden has asked the President to explain what certainly appears to be a violation of the Constitution. However, over in Europe, they're insisting that it is a binding treaty. The US, on the other hand, has already said that it can ignore anything it doesn't like in ACTA. If you think that's a recipe for an international problem, you get a gold star.

    Finally, international trade agreements are a favorite tool of the copyright maximalist. You see it all the time. If they can't pass legislation they want, they resort to getting these things put into international trade agreements, which get significantly less scrutiny. This also allows for two tricks: the first is leapfrogging, where you get each country to implement the laws required by these agreements in slightly different ways, and then push other countries to match (or better yet, exceed) the rules in the other countries to stay in compliance. Then you use those agreements to demand the same thing from other countries to "harmonize" international laws. It's already been admitted that ACTA was done outside of existing structures for IP-related international agreements (like WIPO and the WTO) because a few countries wanted to negotiate it without input from Brazil, Russia, India and China... but the plan has always been to get ACTA approved, and then pressure those other countries to join.

    The sneaky part is that once you have some of these "international obligations," it's almost impossible to get out of them. Copyright maximalists love to shout about how we must absolutely respect our "international obligations" on these kinds of treaties, to limit the government's ability to fix copyright law.

All that said, for folks who have just discovered ACTA, it's important to note that this is pretty much done. Many of the countries involved, including the US, have already signed on, and ACTA will go into effect soon (even if the other countries don't sign on). It's a bad agreement, but it's pretty late in the ball game to step in. If the EU can be convinced not to sign, that would be a big deal, but at this late stage, that seems unlikely.

In the meantime, for folks who are just getting up to speed on ACTA, you really should turn your attention to the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP), which is basically ACTA on steroids. It's being kept even more secret than ACTA, and appears to have provisions that are significantly worse than ACTA -- in some cases, with ridiculous, purely protectionist ideas, that are quite dangerous.

2012-01-25: New Petition Asks White House To Submit ACTA To The Senate For Ratification
New Petition Asks White House To Submit ACTA To The Senate For Ratification
from the as-required-under-the-constitution dept - 2012-01-25

As we noted in our post about people just discovering ACTA this week, some had put together an odd White House petition, asking the White House to "end ACTA." The oddity was over the fact that the President just signed ACTA a few months ago. What struck us as a more interesting question was the serious constitutional questions of whether or not Obama is even allowed to sign ACTA.

In case you haven't been following this or don't spend your life dealing in Constitutional minutiae, the debate is over the nature of the agreement. A treaty between the US and other nations requires Senate approval. However, there's a "simpler" form of an international agreement, known as an "executive agreement," which allows the President to sign the agreement without getting approval. In theory, this also limits the ability of the agreement to bind Congress. In practice... however, international agreements are international agreements. Some legal scholars have suggested that the only real difference between a treaty and an executive agreement is the fact that... the president calls any treaty an "executive agreement" if he's unsure if the Senate would approve it. In other words, the difference is basically in how the President presents it.

That said, even if Obama has declared ACTA an executive agreement (while those in Europe insist that it's a binding treaty), there is a very real Constitutional question here: can it actually be an executive agreement? The law is clear that the only things that can be covered by executive agreements are things that involve items that are solely under the President's mandate. That is, you can't sign an executive agreement that impacts the things Congress has control over. But here's the thing: intellectual property, in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, is an issue given to Congress, not the President. Thus, there's a pretty strong argument that the president legally cannot sign any intellectual property agreements as an executive agreement and, instead, must submit them to the Senate.

This is why Senator Wyden has asked the President to explain why Congress has been cut out. Scholars have noted their concern that if allowed, this will open the door to allowing the president to regularly route around Congress on international agreements. Even more amusing, Vice President Joe Biden, back when he was just Senator Joe Biden, was one of the most outspoken critics of an attempt by President Bush to use an executive agreement on a weapons treaty -- forcing Bush to take the agreement to the Senate. Yet here, he stays quiet.

Either way, it looks like folks have figured this out, and there's now a new White House petition, demanding that ACTA be brought to the Senate before it can be ratified/signed by the US. This petition should be a lot more interesting than the other one if it gets enough signatures (so encourage people to sign, please!).

2009-06-02: Capitalism Evolving: Be a Cockroach, Not a Dinosaur
Capitalism Evolving: Be a Cockroach, Not a Dinosaur

Not Dying, Adapting
Many of the world’s most ardent free market economists would have us believe that the current wave of government intervention in markets heralds the end of capitalism. It’s not, because capitalism isn’t something you can kill, it simply adapts itself to the prevailing reality and carries on, regardless of economists and their ideas.

The proper metaphor for capitalism is evolution – which is ironic because Adam Smith’s invisible hand was one of the inspirations for Charles Darwin’s intellectual breakthrough, the theory of natural selection – a rare case of science imitating economics. Evolution, the process of life adapting to the complex changes in the natural world, is mimicked by capitalism, the process of markets adapting to complex changes in the financial world.

Lo’s Adaptive Market Hypothesis
With a nod and a wink to the Efficient Market Hypothesis Andrew Lo has labelled his alternative to it the Adaptive Market Hypothesis. Modelled on evolutionary processes Lo reasons that the way in which complexity emerges through natural selection and mutation is analogous to the emergence of complexity in markets. In the natural world if the conditions change – due to global warming, deforestation, volcanic activity, asteroid strikes or something – then the natural order adapts. The species best fitted to survive in the new reality will win and those unlucky enough to be out-evolved will lose.

Something similar seems to happen with stockmarkets. If instead of animal species we consider types of investor and instead of meteor strikes we think of the collapse of the banking industry you have the idea. Now we’re seeing the equivalent of human inspired global warming as governments desperately intervene to flood the markets with cheap money, nationalise banks and abrogate the legal rights of bondholders.

Cyclically Adjusted P/E Ratios
We can see the changes in the stockmarket ecosystem over time by looking at historical cyclically adjusted P/E ratios (CAPE). The idea was originally used by Ben Graham who proposed that the proper basis for assessing the profitability of any company was over an extended period of history not the arbitrary time unit of a single year. This idea has been taken up by Robert Schiller whose ten year running CAPE analysis of the US markets shows that the long-term P/E ratio is around 15 – a number which the markets had been running in excess of until collapsing earlier this year (see the spreadsheet here - look at the second sheet, labelled Figure 1.3).

Examining Schiller’s figures it’s quite obvious that CAPE can vary significantly over time, for considerable periods – it’s not a constant number but one that trends about the average value in what looks like a suspiciously mean regressing way. It’s easy to imagine that this variation in CAPE equates to the different environments within which investors are operating at various times.

Underlying this is the horrible truism that when markets tank due to worsening economic conditions they do so in a perfectly nasty way. P/E ratios establish a new, lower level because investor expectations about future growth drop. In a real downturn this isn’t just about share prices dropping – it’s about falling earnings. If earnings and P/E ratios are both falling then, obviously, share prices will drop by more than earnings. P/E ratios can then remain depressed for long periods of times, even while earnings recover, as scalded investors stay clear.

Changing Markets, Static Investors
This points up that there’s no single way of investing that will succeed under all conditions. As the environment changes so must the investor if they’re to survive. Trouble is that most investors can’t do this quickly enough to avoid getting caught in the wave of destruction that’s occasioned by most economic natural disasters. Worse, people become fixated on expecting the return of the world they’ve become accustomed to.

In the wake of the dotcom collapse millions of investors threw good money after bad by buying into worthless companies because they expected them to regain their previous, illusory highs. This is a general psychological trend, not something specific to investors. So Russian émigrés who fled Russia in the wake of the communist revolution spent their entire lives expecting to return home, post-war British politicians couldn’t understand that the Empire was finished and a generation of economists are struggling to make their mental models fit with an old reality they’ve never personally experienced.

Time and again generations of investors get rendered extinct by failing to recognise that market conditions have changed. These changes aren’t permanent, but they can last for significant periods only to be replaced by something completely different again. A single investing lifetime isn’t long enough to encompass all possible conditions.

The New Reality
The past decade has been one of extremes in stockmarkets, reflecting changes in the world around us. A new global order is emerging, shakily, and it’ll take time for us all to adjust. Most investors have been wrong-footed at some point in this process and there’s little reason to suppose that the changes are over yet. Despite this investors need to try and find a way of making money, to avoid being wiped out no matter how many asteroids strike.

Governments are now throwing money around like confetti rather than letting the free markets take their natural course. Banks have been propped up instead of allowing them to die in much the same way that humans try to stop species becoming extinct. Partly this is out of a sense of moral duty and partly it’s due to fear that allowing the death of one will cause a chain reaction. For investors this is part of the new natural environment: capitalism can’t be killed by governments, it will mutate to deal with the new order and we’ve got to work with it.

Be a Cockroach Investor
Most people are unable to adapt at the macroeconomic level to the evolutionary changes in the markets: human psychology isn’t fluid enough to cope with the dynamics of such moves. We need to develop cockroach-like strategies that will see us survive under all circumstances while recognising that those lucky animals that simply happen to hit on the right strategy will massively outperform us. There are millions of people out there playing the markets in more or less random fashion – at any one time a few of them will get rich by being in the right place at the right time. We then call them gurus but remember; genius always strikes twice.

Still, the generational changes in cyclically adjusted P/E suggest that it may be possible to finesse a straightforward index tracking or value investing strategy by coupling it with a careful use of derivatives. Providing you’ve the liquidity to support it then going short when the markets are high, as judged by CAPE, and gearing up to go long when the markets are low would be rational. For private investors using the right combination of ETF’s can get you close to this, but it’d be easier if someone would launch a single vehicle to do it for us.

In the end to avoid being out-evolved you either need to be lucky enough to be a dinosaur during one of the long periods of unchanging market conditions – 1949 to 1969, for instance – or you need to be a cockroach, well adapted to surviving under any circumstances. Just don’t think you’re an indestructible insect when you’re actually a lumbering giant lizard with a brain in your bottom.

Lots of BIG 'roaches here for Renegade, it seems...       >:(
Cockroaches on man.jpg

"Psychopathic Capitalist cockroaches - don't you just love 'em?"™     :-*
« Last Edit: January 26, 2012, 09:12 PM by IainB »


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Re: SOPA Shelved - ACTA is Worse
« Reply #26 on: January 27, 2012, 01:24 AM »
Maybe aggressive defence might be a good strategy to protect further erosion of freedoms: It’s Time To Go On The Offensive For Freedom Of Speech
It’s Time To Go On The Offensive For Freedom Of Speech
This week’s collective action against the PIPA and SOPA bills in the United States was unprecedented and mighty. But have you noticed that we’re always on the defensive? We cannot win or even maintain our rights to free speech that way.

The copyright industry is tenacious and effective in using the “Daddy, I want a pony” tactics in legislation. They go at it again, and again, and again, and again. The result is a continuous erosion of our civil rights and an entrenchment of their entitlement to taxpayer funds.

The “Daddy, I want a pony” tactic goes roughly like this:

Little girl: Daddy, I want a pony! Want pony! Want want want pony!
Dad: Uhm, no, uhm, uhm, no, how about a dog?
Little girl: No no no NO! Want pony! PONY! …Dog? Well, ok then.

At this point the dad thinks, “Phew, that was a close call!”. The little girl on the other hand thinks “Wow, that’s the easiest dog I ever got.” That’s the “Daddy, I want a pony” tactic.

You saw it with the DMCA in the United States, which severely restricted our rights to our own property, and the corresponding InfoSoc directive in the European Union. You see it right now with ACTA, which again shows this “the most offensive, repugnant may be gone” attitude, despite still being a giant leap backwards for human rights. You’ve seen it with the Data Retention Directive.

And each time, we defend and defeat the worst parts, burning our activist reserves way into the red, and then there’s another assault three years later. Plus the fact that while we’re fighting one of these evils, another 11 pass in the background.

The point is, as long as we’re just defending, we will always be on the retreat, and we will always lose. The copyright industry has the initiative and the best we can do is to delay or reduce the damages done. That’s not good enough.

It gets worse. The copyright industry has also gotten the rights to collect levies from trade with unrelated items, notably blank media but as unrelated as game consoles, because they can theoretically be used to copy in legal ways. Did you get that? It does not break the copyright monopoly to copy in these ways, and just therefore the copyright industry is compensated.

Let’s take that again.

The copyright monopoly, as wet a blanket as it may seem, does not cover every conceivable act of copying. There are many acts of copying that are fully legal and not covered. But in the industry’s sense of entitlement, they have demanded — and received — compensation for the areas where their monopoly does not extend. Compensation from taxpayer money to a private industry. For not having a monopoly. Really, can you believe this?

In this compensation scheme, they collect ridiculous amounts of money every year for doing absolutely nothing. A lot of the money goes straight towards the war on our civil rights and to collect yet more taxpayer money in new “Daddy, I want a pony” schemes. For us, it’s a vicious circle. Anybody familiar with incentives knows that it’s an absolutely terrible way of optimizing production to give money to an industry regardless of whether they’re doing the right thing, the wrong thing, or no thing at all.

So, to summarize, the copyright industry has put itself in a position where they get insane amounts of money for doing absolutely nothing, and use that money to buy laws that give them even more money and restrict our freedoms of speech. That is not just unacceptable. That is repulsive.

It comes as no surprise that I think the copyright monopoly is harmful (or at best useless) as a whole, and that creativity, business, and civil liberties would be much better off without it. Having studied the topic for six years straight, I discover more and more arrows that point in this direction.

But I’m also pragmatic enough to realize that if you shoot for the moon and insist on not doing any steps in between, you’re not only never going to the moon, but you’re also never taking a single step forward. Besides, getting a small way to the moon may be enough to give you that great view you really wanted. In the same vein, 99% of the problems with today’s copyright monopoly can be solved with a much smaller reform that is both reasonable, achievable and doable.

When it comes to large matters, after all, you can’t change all of the rules of the game overnight. So let’s shoot for a balanced, reasonable proposal that restores our civil liberties while retaining some of today’s investment incentives in culture.

I’m borrowing this blueprint from the Green group in the European Parliament (where, in turn, it came from the Pirate delegation). Let’s try this for a legislation package in Europe, the United States, Australia, and everywhere else we can:

It must be made absolutely clear that the copyright monopoly does not extend to what an ordinary person can do with ordinary equipment in their home and spare time; it regulates commercial, intent-to-profit activity only. Specifically, file sharing is always legal.
Free sampling. There must be exceptions that make it legal to create mashups and remixes. Quotation rights, like those that exist for text, must be extended to sound and video.
Digital Restrictions Management should preferably be outlawed, as it is a type of fraud nullifying consumer and citizen rights, but at least, it must always be legal to circumvent.
The baseline commercial copyright monopoly is shortened to a reasonable five years from publication, extendable to twenty years through registration of the work in a copyright monopoly database.
The public domain must be strengthened.
Net neutrality must be guaranteed.
Levies on blank media are outlawed.
Overall, it must always be clear where the line goes; “the courts will sort it out” areas are not acceptable and tantamount to outlawing.
This reasonable, balanced, achievable, and doable proposal would solve 99% of today’s problems, while still maintaining all four aspects of the copyright monopoly. It solves the witch-hunt on teenagers sharing TV series. It solves the problem with orphan works and restores our access to the cultural heritage of the 20th century. It solves the problem with the copyright industry getting taxpayer money for nothing. On the other hand it still maintains a 20-year commercial monopoly (at the most) for investments in cultural productions, defeating every argument from the copyright industry lobby that the monopoly is needed for more culture to be created.

While I don’t agree with patent monopolies, it’s a good talking point here that if pharma companies can do with a 20-year commercial monopoly (patents), then that term should certainly suffice for Disney and Elvis, too.

This, or something along these lines, is what we need to do. We need to go on the offensive for our freedom of speech.


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Re: SOPA Shelved - ACTA is Worse
« Reply #27 on: January 27, 2012, 01:59 AM »
Maybe aggressive defence might be a good strategy to protect further erosion of freedoms: It’s Time To Go On The Offensive For Freedom Of Speech

That anyone would ever need to write something so utterly nuts is proof of how completely insane the system has become.

I don't mean to disparage the article there -- hell... I agree with it. But the fact that it has become necessary is just lunacy.

The pure, simple, trivial fact remains... NONE of this would be necessary if governments abided by the the rule of law or followed the law themselves. e.g. In the United States, the US Constitution (perhaps one of the most beautiful documents ever written) is clear in that it would not allow any of this insanity.

This is what the emergence of the police state looks like. This is what the birth of tyranny looks like. This is what the beginnings of enslavement look like. This is what the authors of the US Constitution wished to prevent.

Right now the offensive can still be peaceful... That window of opportunity is quickly disappearing, and we all know what that means... Violent revolution in the name of freedom or submission to tyrants. I refer back to those quotes by JFK and Thomas Jefferson. I believe they were correct.

Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker


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Re: SOPA Shelved - ACTA is Worse
« Reply #28 on: January 27, 2012, 08:00 AM »
That anyone would ever need to write something so utterly nuts is proof of how completely insane the system has become.
Is that borne out historically? Is it such a surprise?
I'm a bit vague on the history, but I gather that, before you had the US Constitution, human conditions and the conflict between religio-political ideologies which resulted from the then status quo were bad enough that they fuelled a civil war.
After the Constitution, that became a new status quo. The problem is that it now doesn't suit some people/organisations who/that were content to grow in the status quo. But things change and for whatever reason you now have people and organisations with conflicting sets of religio-political ideologies and objectives, which means that they must attack the Constitution at its roots if they want to change things to suit their peculiar objectives.

Aggressive defence per the article above might be the only way to retain that rather precious Constitution. Aggressive defence is a recommended strategy in war and chess as well.

Passive defence could probably be perceived as weakness, and exploited as such, and that is arguably why the Constitution has possibly already been successfully eroded to some extent, in certain areas. There are even government-funded NGO or administrative functions (e.g., including such as the the EPA, TSA, Homeland Security) effectively taking on the responsibility for propaganda and extra-military and extra-police/judicial (lawmaking) roles in society, regarding security and the environment.

That's arguably your emergent "police state", right there.


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Re: SOPA Shelved - ACTA is Worse
« Reply #29 on: January 27, 2012, 08:10 AM »
That anyone would ever need to write something so utterly nuts is proof of how completely insane the system has become.

I don't mean to disparage the article there -- hell... I agree with it. But the fact that it has become necessary is just lunacy.

The pure, simple, trivial fact remains... NONE of this would be necessary if governments abided by the the rule of law or followed the law themselves. e.g. In the United States, the US Constitution (perhaps one of the most beautiful documents ever written) is clear in that it would not allow any of this insanity.

This is what the emergence of the police state looks like. This is what the birth of tyranny looks like. This is what the beginnings of enslavement look like. This is what the authors of the US Constitution wished to prevent.



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Re: SOPA Shelved - ACTA is Worse
« Reply #30 on: January 28, 2012, 01:23 AM » post: BIG GOVERNMENT SUCKS TECH INDUSTRY INTO THEIR REALITY
What was it I said above?
"We've all been hoodwinked".
« Last Edit: January 28, 2012, 07:35 AM by IainB »