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Unpacking the Secrets of ACTA

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the oh-i'm-sure-it'll-be-fine dept.

Censorship 169

An anonymous reader writes "As negotiations in the 7th round of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement talks continue this week in Mexico, Michael Geist has been posting a comprehensive guide to the secret copyright treaty. He started with a review of the substance of the treaty, then posted links to all the leaked documentation, and has now unpacked the secrecy associated with the talks, including why governments have made it secret, the public concern, and why this isn't business as usual."

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G$$Gle (1, Flamebait)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 4 years ago | (#30919112)

This is just another shadowy instrument of the Italian islamocommunist world government, which was established in 1992 by Al Gore.

Re:G$$Gle (1)

cromar (1103585) | more than 4 years ago | (#30919264)

Lately when anyone uses some like that, something like G**gle, I immediately fill in the blanks as "giggle." I get a small laugh out of it...

Re:G$$Gle (1)

mdm42 (244204) | more than 4 years ago | (#30920532)

That's OK... whenever I read of a version control system with the command "bzr" I read it as "boozer". Dunno why...

Hello? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30919134)

Can somebody please post anything so that I can get an opinion without reading the summary?

Re:Hello? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30919228)

This is bad becuase it will make it harder for me to steal things off the internet.

Re:Hello? (1)

haderytn (1232484) | more than 4 years ago | (#30919266)

Do you really think of it as stealing?

Re:Hello? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30919288)

Why do Jews have such big noses? Because air is free.

Re:Hello? (2, Funny)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30919898)

More or less I usually don't worry too much about semantics. I've found that explaining things in basic terms is the easiest way to get through life. When it comes down to it the difference between (C) infringement and stealing is if $RETAIL is getting screwed in the deal as well. For the most part I haven't heard $RETAIL complain that much, then again I see a whole lot less record stores than I used to...
In the end it's the pirate vs (C) holders. Stealing basically means that someone isn't getting paid and the (C) holders aren't getting paid, therefore piracy is basically stealing.
 
I wish I could think of another example because its a bit inflammatory but its lunch time so:
Manslaughter, 1, 2 deg Murder: end result someone's dead
Stealing, (C) infringement: end result someone didn't get paid.
 
Unless we're talking about punishment its a waste of time to argue semantics.

Re:Hello? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30919974)

The problem with such definitions is that they also apply equally for a wide range of legal gratis alternatives.

"Yes Billy, I've enjoyed your works for years but I've never once paid for one." (no piracy required)

Re:Hello? (1)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 4 years ago | (#30920168)

The other side of it is that said (C) holder wasn't looking to get paid, or at least wasn't attempting to charge for the work. Granted, even if someone is giving something away for free, it is still possible to infringe their copyright on it.

Re:Hello? (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30920476)

I should have been a bit clearer at the end. What I mean is for general discussions and what not the differences don't really matter.
 
Semantics don't matter until they do.

Re:Hello? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#30920242)

No, stealing results in someone being deprived of the stolen goods.

Re:Hello? (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30920420)

Let me guess what you read

haderytn (1232484)

Do you really think of it as stealing?

jgtg32a (1173373)
More or less
 
Then you though time to post, am I right?

Re:Hello? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30921082)

when you deprive someone of their exclusive publishing rights, that would be stealing.

Re:Hello? (3, Informative)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#30919270)

No, this is bad because it will make it harder for me to use products and media I have legitimately paid for.

The making it harder to steal part is less important.

indeed (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30919358)

The "make it harder to steal" part is less important to you.

You, however, are not rich. Therefore, you do not matter.

The "make it harder to steal" part is very important to a small group of rich people who usually get their way.

Re:indeed (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30920002)

The lame attempts at "making it harder to steal" don't matter to ANYONE.

Why is this so? BECAUSE THEY DON'T WORK!

So ultimately, the only person is inconvenienced by any of this nonsense
is "me the paying customer". The pirates are not slowed down by any of
this nonsense one bit.

That's rather the point of digital distribution. It only takes one cracker
in order to enable a billion pirates.

Re:indeed (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30920892)

I'm a pirate, it slows me down one bit, from one week to one month usually, to 6 months rarely, which doesn't matter because of the huge backlog of stuff I could enjoy, pirated.

At this rate media is actually fighting for my attention, movie studios should be paying me to watch their stuff.

Literally so because I don't care about anything the MPAA or the RIAA produce anymore, for the last 10 years, it's mostly Japanese stuff, that is not even released here sometimes, with horrible subs that can't hold a candle to fansubs.

And yet I watch youtube videos all day.

Seriously if this stuff was really impossible to pirate they would start giving them off for free., kinda like the google vs newspapers problems, it's a be careful for what you wish for kinda deal.

Re:Hello? (5, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30921668)

This doesn't make it harder to steal, it makes it easier to steal -- from us. We are being robbed of our cultural heritage. Copyright is supposed to be so new works will go into te pubic domain. WE own the art; the "content creators" only own a monopoly on its distribution.

The theift isn't copyright infringement, it's the copyright holders themselves who have stolen from us. Disney should NOT have a monopoly on Steamboat Willie, JRR Tolkien's heirs should not have a monopoly on LOTR. In a sane world all images, music, movies, books produced before 1989 should be in the public domain. They belong to US, and have been stolen from us by the corporatti.

Nothing produced in your lifetime will reach the public domain. That is the REAL theievery, and it's an abomination.

Re:Hello? (4, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#30920372)

This is bad becuase it will make it harder for me to steal things off the internet.

This is bad because it violates my right to free speech (due to anti-circumvention clauses).

Re:Hello? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30920984)

Global DMCA means no more uncrippled-yet-DRM-compatible media players, meaning no more DRMed content, meaning piracy (as opposed to violating DMCA in your own home where no one will ever know) becomes the only solution. This means more pirates, more seeds, and therefore easier stealing.

you dont deserve democracy (4, Informative)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#30921502)

because you are dim enough not to understand that with this treaty, there are criminal punishments that are being brought by into your country's citizens, including you, WITHOUT going through the legislation process of a democratic country. basically, democracy is being bypassed, and NATIONAL criminal charges and punishment are being brought over your citizens without your parliament's approval.

its a violation of democracy. and if you are unable to comprehend what this means, you dont deserve democracy. not that you would need it, if you didnt comprehend the meaning of this anyway.

Re:Hello? (5, Informative)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30919286)

Anything? Anything at all?

Michael Geist is like the skinny short Brunette in all the Slasher flicks from the 90's. He's always shouting "YOU NEED TO WATCH OUT FOR THIS" but everyone else is like the dumb Jock who isn't afraid of a guy with a knife and ends up getting diced into french fries.

So - the only opinion you really need to form is whether ACTA is metaphorically a serial killer. It hides under the same deceptive mask of Anonymity, so we don't actually know very much about it.

how's that hope and change working out for you? (2, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30919152)

Because from where I sit the new master looks and smells a lot like the old.....

Re:how's that hope and change working out for you? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30919182)

We replaced Halliburton with RIAA. That's change!

Re:how's that hope and change working out for you? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30919212)

Same old story, you have a two party system where both parties are being funded by corporations, and God forbid you should suggest some kind of government regulation because that is "socialism" and as every patriotic American knows Socialism = Evil.

Re:how's that hope and change working out for you? (5, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30919284)

Same old story, you have a two party system where both parties are being funded by corporations, and God forbid you should suggest some kind of government regulation because that is "socialism" and as every patriotic American knows Socialism = Evil.

One of my problems with regulation is that big business actually welcomes it. Why do you suppose that is? Because they know that it's easier to shut out small businesses that might challenge their business model when you put regulatory hurdles in the marketplace. A large company will have no problem complying with whatever regulations are imposed on it. They have legions of lawyers working on compliance and lobbyists in DC working to ensure that the regulations protect their existing business while shutting out competitors. The small start up has neither of those advantages.

Re:how's that hope and change working out for you? (3, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30919458)

One of my problems with regulation is that big business actually welcomes it. Why do you suppose that is? Because they know that it's easier to shut out small businesses that might challenge their business model when you put regulatory hurdles in the marketplace. A large company will have no problem complying with whatever regulations are imposed on it.

I think you're oversimplifying things with that statement. Take for instance a new regulation in healthcare which states that every healthcare provider shall audit their records daily by hand (no machine automation) in order to reduce the number of errors in prescriptions. It's an outrageous regulation but certainly a small highly specialized practice would have less of a problem implementing than a big behemoth county hospital sitting precariously atop an urban population in downtown metropolis.

They have legions of lawyers working on compliance and lobbyists in DC working to ensure that the regulations protect their existing business while shutting out competitors.

I kind of agree with you. However, if you can provide names and conclusive proof and evidence of this, I urge you to submit a complaint to the FTC [ftccomplai...istant.gov] with said details falling under the Sherman Antitrust Act. They actually do take that stuff very seriously.

The small start up has neither of those advantages.

They also don't have that overhead or those complications and so should be able to find a niche in the market where people would like a lower priced product and are not afraid of litigation and licensing headaches.

Re:how's that hope and change working out for you? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30919912)

You cannot be a small company in many industries because in order to sell anything, you have to be expensively licensed. For example, there is no "niche market" for fire detectors, so we still have 30-year-old technology as the primary detection device. There is no "niche market" for producing road-legal cars. There is no "niche market" for many things, because the licensing costs millions.

On the other hand, there is a "niche market" for useless medicines and treatments. Go fig.

Re:how's that hope and change working out for you? (1)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 4 years ago | (#30920288)

Really? I would say there definitely is a "niche market" for cars. Electric roadsters? High end luxury vehicles?

Re:how's that hope and change working out for you? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30921150)

Really? I would say there definitely is a "niche market" for cars. Electric roadsters? High end luxury vehicles?

Yeah, because that REALLY negates his entire point, you jackass. So tell me, how well are those electric roadsters doing on the marketplace? If you sit in a big city and note the make/model of every car that drives by, do you think you'll see a single one? I know you think you're being cute or clever or something but you're contributing nothing useful to the discussion. Truth hurts, so call me Flamebait or Troll and mod me down now.

Re:how's that hope and change working out for you? (1)

fhage (596871) | more than 4 years ago | (#30922194)

They have legions of lawyers working on compliance and lobbyists in DC working to ensure that the regulations protect their existing business while shutting out competitors.

I kind of agree with you. However, if you can provide names and conclusive proof and evidence of this, I urge you to submit a complaint to the FTC [ftccomplai...istant.gov] with said details falling under the Sherman Antitrust Act. They actually do take that stuff very seriously.

Here's a good example I know from first hand experience. The FTC won't do shit.

Baron Services, Inc., of Huntsville, Alabama filed a formal protest with the GAO after they lost a bid, knowing it would seriously harm their competition. See http://www.gao.gov/decisions/bidpro/402109.htm [gao.gov]

They knew they had little chance of success, but they know by filing protests against awards to small, innovative competitors, they have a chance of killing off the small company due to the induced long delays in distribution of contract funds. Based on comments from our contract administrator, this is standard practice, with well over 90% of protests being dismissed.

Here's why it works. Right after we are awarded the contract, we ordered $100+k of parts so we can meet the contract deadlines. Then, Barron steps in and files a complaint. At this point all contact with PNNL and all money stops. We still have to pay for parts we ordered. Try to get a small business loan these days. Banks tell us; "If you deposit that amount of the money in our bank, we'll lend it back to you". Really. Thanks for all the help with the US economy, Wall Street. Fascist Bastards. I'll never forget.

Large corporations work hard to create Fascist states. In the US, they seem to be succeeding, especially in light of the recent SCOTUS decision. Some of us actually had hope things would change. Silly us, the GOP won't stand for that and the Dems have clearly demonstrated they can't pick their nose without gaining "bipartisan support".

Re:how's that hope and change working out for you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30919468)

One of my problems with regulation is that big business actually welcomes it. Why do you suppose that is?

Because they still pay off the people who write the regulations.

Re:how's that hope and change working out for you? (1)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#30921306)

One of my problems with regulation is that big business actually welcomes it. Why do you suppose that is?

Because they still pay off the people who write the regulations.

That isn't a complete sentence. The complete sentence would be, "because they still pay off the people who write the regulations and for some reason we put up with this." Sheep need a shepherd.

Re:how's that hope and change working out for you? (2, Insightful)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 4 years ago | (#30919470)

Large corporations like regulations that they write. That's pretty obvious.

Now if regulations were written without all the clauses and loopholes and in a plain enough language for the average entrepreneur to understand without a team of lawyers the large corporations wouldn't like that (which is why they aren't written like that).

Also, being a small business isn't an excuse to ignore regulations. "Hi, I'm a start up nuclear waste disposal company so I'll need all these regulations waived so I can compete."

Re:how's that hope and change working out for you? (3, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30919680)

Also, being a small business isn't an excuse to ignore regulations. "Hi, I'm a start up nuclear waste disposal company so I'll need all these regulations waived so I can compete."

That's a nice strawman, but where did I say it was an excuse to ignore regulation? All I suggested was that some regulations are put into place with the implied intent of codifying the business model of the big boys and locking smaller players out of the market. Do you disagree with that notion?

Re:how's that hope and change working out for you? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#30920412)

All I suggested was that some regulations are put into place with the implied intent of codifying the business model of the big boys and locking smaller players out of the market. Do you disagree with that notion?

I agree that this is definitely the case in U.S., and, to some (albeit lesser) extent, in other Western countries. However, this again points at the fact that it's regulation by and in favor of the corporations that is the problem, not regulation per se.

If you want a counter-example, look no further than huge fines megacorps (both local and foreign) often get in EU for abusing the marketplace.

Re:how's that hope and change working out for you? (2, Interesting)

OttoErotic (934909) | more than 4 years ago | (#30919610)

I'm always a little torn on regulation. I can see the virtue in trying to use it to fix a system that's heavily weighted towards corporate interests, but it seems like the law of unintended consequences inevitably causes it to backfire. For instance, I wonder what the real effect of regulating the stock market has been. By making it safer for investors than a total free market, did it artificially create an environment where bloated corporations thrive? It seems to me like people would have been a lot more prone to invest in local, known companies, and that stock prices would be a lot more realistically tied to income and profit if we didn't try to shield people from the inherent danger market investment. Generally I'm a free market guy and would oppose regulation, but I also don't think the current system is the product of a free market; how far can you go to correct an imbalance before you choke out innovation with over regulation?

Re:how's that hope and change working out for you? (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 4 years ago | (#30919702)

One of my problems with big business, is they seem to welcome whatever is best for the executives. Take for instance, health care. One would think that most business would LOVE some reform, since its the single greatest increasing cost for any business. (Unless maybe your a shipping company, then its second to diesel prices). They are constantly battling foreign companies that don't have to pay for their employees health, its taken care of by slightly higher taxes (or in many countries, lower taxes, with much less military spending!). Hell, when they outsource American jobs, they don't have to pay insurance or other benefits in many of the companies, so the savings is much more than the difference in salary!

Yet the executives forget they could save a billion a year, and look at the fact that out of their $10 million salary, they would now have to pay the $20k a year for their super high end health plan for them, their 3 ex wives, and handful of kids that hate them, since they make too much to qualify, or would want something much nicer than a basic government plan. So, the might of the company is against it, because the leaders are, even though, for 99.9% of the employees, as well as the business itself, would be better off.

Re:how's that hope and change working out for you? (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 4 years ago | (#30920094)

(or in many countries, lower taxes, with much less military spending!).

Note that if the US military budget were zeroed, the budget deficit would drop to about $700 billion per year.

Note further that this year, mandatory spending (SSA, Medicare, Medicaid, interest on the national debt, that sort of thing) is approximately equal to income from ALL taxes.
So if we were to zero out the entire discretionary federal budget, we might reduce the deficit to zero.
This year.
Next year, SSA and Medicare expenses will be higher (and it's possible that debt servicing will be higher as well, since we're at historically low rates right now).

Re:how's that hope and change working out for you? (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 4 years ago | (#30920782)

"They are constantly battling foreign companies that don't have to pay for their employees health, its taken care of by slightly higher taxes (or in many countries, lower taxes, with much less military spending!). "

I guess it depends on your definition of "slightly higher" taxes. I already pay easily over 30% of my salary (currently working W2)...with state, federal, SS and medicare taken out right off the top. You add onto that the sales taxes I pay on things, property taxes...etc. My effective tax rate is quite high enough for me thank you kindly.

I suppose it wouldn't be so bad..if MORE people in the US paid taxes..at least starting with income taxes. From what I read, about 40% of the US does not pay income taxes, I'm appalled that not only do many people pay no taxes, but that many actually GET refunds on taxes they do not pay?!?!?

No, until they make it more fair and have everyone that is able bodied and can work do work and PAY taxes...I'm not willing to foot the bill for any more. If we did away with the 'progressive' system we currently have, and went for ONLY a VAT type tax...I'd be more inclined to be a bit more liberal with what we do for it since I'd feel more that everyone that could, was putting into the system. Everyone has to buy things...even those in illegal activities, so we'd rope more from everyone, and lower the burden for everyone. But only a national sales tax...I'd want a constitutional amendment saying no other taxes (income..etc) to prevent the congresscritters from coming back and hitting us with multiple more taxes.

As for the US's military spending...you do realize that is we were to drastically cut out spending...all the other countries that depend on us for protection, etc...would seriously have to start ramping up their military expenditures, eh?

Re:how's that hope and change working out for you? (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 4 years ago | (#30921932)

Actually, the "Fair Tax" sounds pretty much exactly like you describe, except for the fact that they mail you a check every month to cover the taxes a family at poverty level would pay. (which does make it slightly progressive, but not nearly so much as we have now)

True in some cases (2, Insightful)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#30919916)

Big businesses welcome regulation that they lobby for. They despise regulation that comes from any other source. In an nutshell, your problem isn't regulation but lobbyists and corruption.

When big businesses really ran the show a hundred years ago, you had kids working in sweatshops, factory fires that killed scores of people, and the government literally sending in the marines to break up union strikes. Businesses have been forced to become civilized, not by their own will, but by government regulation and public pressure.

Americans could change the way business is done, but collectively, we have been hoodwinked into believing that we can't do anything, and that football and famous twats deserve more of our attention than the decisions that really do affect our lives. The real issue now is that so much money is being diverted to the military and away from education and infrastructure that each successive generation is dumber and more apolitical than the last.

Wrong, sort of (2, Interesting)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30921004)

You're half right and half wrong. They don't like regulation that costs them huge chunks of their profit margins, sure. However like the parent poster suggested, businesses like regulation that makes it hard for new players to enter the market.

If regulation makes it hard for new businesses to start but is trivially expensive for big business, then they are going to love that. Like say forcing all of the businesses in a particular sector to pay $10,000 for a license. That's nothing to a big company like Microsoft but to us it could mean life or death.

Imagine if we made it legal to manufacture, sell and serve liquor out of your home without a license as a small business. Do you think that local breweries and bars would support or oppose that decision?

Re:how's that hope and change working out for you? (1)

Jawn98685 (687784) | more than 4 years ago | (#30920626)

Bravo, sir! You have just illustrated that the "free market" is a myth in an society where regulatory influence can be bought at rates low enough to make it pay. Which is to say, it is a myth, totally.
Now, if it were illegal for businesses to spend money in order to influence the government of the people, things would be different. Alas, that horse has left the barn.

Re:how's that hope and change working out for you? (3, Informative)

hiryuu (125210) | more than 4 years ago | (#30921718)

One of my problems with regulation is that big business actually welcomes it. Why do you suppose that is? Because they know that it's easier to shut out small businesses that might challenge their business model when you put regulatory hurdles in the marketplace. A large company will have no problem complying with whatever regulations are imposed on it.

My experience, anecdotal as it is, offers a slightly different take. I work in a large specialty chemical company, one of the three largest globally in a relatively niche-but-widespread industry. We frequently encounter products out in the marketplace, put there by competitors who are 1/10th our size, that are flatly illegal - they may contain banned substances, or are sold without proper or warnings labels or documentation or transport containers, etc. Many times, the cost of using allowed substances (or the cost of maintaining compliance with the appropriate regulations) puts us at a competitive disadvantage.

The reasons for this include the lack of education in the marketplace as to the law, lack of enforcement on anything but the largest and most visible participants in the market, and sometimes a complete ignorance of the law and regulatory requirements on the part of the small players. (Often, they're violating the law simply because they may not even employ anyone whose responsibilities and/or knowledge include any purview of the regulations.) If the regulations were to mysteriously vanish, we'd crush all the small players because of our purchasing power for raw materials - but with the detrimental effects to the environment, our customers, etc., that occur in the absence of regulation.

Re:how's that hope and change working out for you? (2, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30922352)

I welcome regulation, as long as they're good regulations in the public interest. Take Monsanto, for instance. When I was a kid, you could not drive past the Monsanto plant in Sauget with your windows rolled down, even though it gets damned hot in the summer and few cars had AC. The pollution was horrible; lung-burning horrible. And you couldn't get to St Louis from Cahokia without driving past it.

After the Clean Air Act was passed, they were forced to clean it up, and rarely do you smell anything while driving past there.

Look what happened in California after they deregulated power companies.

Re:how's that hope and change working out for you? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30922520)

California didn't "deregulate" power companies. If they had deregulated power companies they would have been allowed to enter into long term contracts to purchase electricity and wouldn't have been as vulnerable to Enron'ish manipulations of the spot markets.

Re:how's that hope and change working out for you? (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30919574)

Same old story, you have a two party system where both parties are being funded by corporations, and God forbid you should suggest some kind of government regulation because that is "socialism" and as every patriotic American knows Socialism = Evil.

And what is social security? A mild form of socialism. What are taxes (especially those that go to public owned parks, libraries and schools)?

I believe that we've slowly warmed up to the idea that the best economic system lies somewhere between pure capitalism and pure socialism. And even on a state by state basis you will find a wide array of where each state sits. Take Minnesota versus Texas, in Texas it might be well known to all the patriotic 'wing-nut conservatives' that Socialism is Evil but in Minnesota I can tell you that the patriotic 'bleeding heart liberals' that Socialist programs are necessary to protect the poor and sick. I know that the political winds of politics are different because I grew up in Minnesota under the poverty line on Minnesota Care [state.mn.us] and received college grants based on need. Everyone around me loved it. I now live in Northern Virginia where I leave that out of conversations after listening to a few folks rail on "Communist Minnesota." Fine.

Decentralization of power back to the states is good. And shows that many models can work for many different people. I speculate that socialism is evil locally to you. Please don't extrapolate it to a national scale.

Re:how's that hope and change working out for you? (1)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 4 years ago | (#30920502)

You know, I grew up right next to Minnesota, and while I had plenty of reason to hate your state (a certain professional football team with a propensity to lose important games comes to mind), I've never heard of it referred to as Communist Minnesota.

Re:how's that hope and change working out for you? (1)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30920702)

You know, I grew up right next to Minnesota, and while I had plenty of reason to hate your state (a certain professional football team with a propensity to lose important games comes to mind), I've never heard of it referred to as Communist Minnesota.

Well then you might find your state's history [wikipedia.org] interesting as well as a certain Sconnie Senator from 1947 to 1958 [wikipedia.org] during which it was the fashion at the time to get anyone and everyone on a particular list for being a 'Commie Sympathizer.'

Despite your idiotic sports elitism complex that runs rampant through your state and trickles into my home state (so annoying), the two are really not that different nowadays.

Re:how's that hope and change working out for you? (2, Interesting)

dpilot (134227) | more than 4 years ago | (#30921192)

> And what is social security? A mild form of socialism.

The last administration tried to do away with (privatize) social security. One of my pet fears is that the new 2012 administration with same-party Executive and Legislative branches will enact the "Fiscal Responsibility and Recovery Act" that will sunset social security, medicare, medicaid, and who knows, maybe even the FDIC/FSLIC in order to undo the last traces of "Socialist FDR". Of course that *might* correct the deficit problem, if it weren't followed almost immediately by the "Economic Stimulus and Recovery Act" that removed the top tax bracket and sunset capital gains and inheritance taxes - pushing the deficits back up to where they were prior to the two "recovery acts". Except by this time, the federal government would be so small that you could snuff it out with a blanket, or whatever the phrase was.

> I believe that we've slowly warmed up to the idea that the best economic
> system lies somewhere between pure capitalism and pure socialism.

I'm there, and I'll agree that states are moving along the spectrum. But there are strong forces pushing the nation toward pure capitalism - savage, green in tooth and claw. Personally I think/fear it's really heading toward feudalism, not capitalism or socialism.

> Decentralization of power back to the states is good.

In theory I can agree with that. The problem in practice is that corporations wield much more economic power relative to the states. Ever watch the states start lifting their skirts whenever a corporation says, "We want to build a new plant." The real problem is the concessions the states make, and there's no guarantee that all of those new jobs won't get outsourced and the plant shut down a few years later.

Re:how's that hope and change working out for you? (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30922152)

Exactly. I'm tired of these idiots (and generally they're old too) crying about socialism when we're paying into social security, medicare and medicaid.

If socialism is such a bad thing then don't be shelfish and just try to stop younger people from getting healthcare, take it away from the old people and stamp it out for good.

I also don't like that the people most vocal about socialism also typically come from the dead weight states who are taking more from the government than they're paying in. Must be nice to have the best of both worlds.

All I want is equality and that is what it should be. Either *everyone* should have access to free healthcare or take it away from the elderly and the job shy poor people and everyone can fend for themselves. From an evolutionary stand point this is the best option. Let the weak fall to the side.

The eldery have less reason than the 20 somethings for not being able to pay their own way. They've had their whole life to prepare for retirement. The 20 something has barely been working and won't get paid much. He technically deserves free care more than the eldery who did not prepare for the end of life.

Re:how's that hope and change working out for you? (1)

DustyShadow (691635) | more than 4 years ago | (#30919586)

and God forbid you should suggest some kind of government regulation because that is "socialism" and as every patriotic American knows Socialism = Evil.

There's a difference between a government running corporations and a government regulating corporations. The current Congress and Administration prefer the former. I call that socialism and I don't care if that offends you.

How's that rope and chair working out for you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30919786)

I prefer government running corporations than corporations running government.

Re:how's that hope and change working out for you? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#30920370)

And the last preferred the government rune by the corporations. That's Fascism.

Re:how's that hope and change working out for you? (1)

Jawn98685 (687784) | more than 4 years ago | (#30920718)

There's a difference between a government running corporations and a government regulating corporations.

[citation needed]
...and no. Fox News and the usual assortment of "reliable tea-bagger sources" doesn't count.
Ahem...
[crickets...]

Re:how's that hope and change working out for you? (3, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30919944)

Same old story, you have a two party system where both parties are being funded by corporations...

Some of the other parties are also funded by corporations, for instance Lieberman is probably going to get a lot of money from his masters in the health insurance industry, and I guess he's technically not a democrat? Anyway, just wanted to point out that what's keeping corporate funding for the other parties low isn't a magic number greater than 2 or any ideological differences, it's that they haven't been winning and are therefore poor investments. If that were likely to change, corporate interests would invest in 3rd, 4th, or 9th party candidates faster than flies land on poop.

Re:how's that hope and change working out for you? (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#30921784)

And now thanks to the US Supreme Court, you can now have "this candidacy brought to you by Initech". The dissent by John Paul Stevens is something to behold. Although I'm in agreement with those who think Congresscritters should wear Nascar-style outfits, so everyone knows exactly who their corporate sponsors are.

Re:how's that hope and change working out for you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30919354)

Yeah, I HOPE you have some CHANGE you can spare

Re:how's that hope and change working out for you? (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#30919654)

the new master looks and smells a lot like the old

Too bad we already stepped in it.

Re:how's that hope and change working out for you? (1)

JonStewartMill (1463117) | more than 4 years ago | (#30920092)

It's too soon to tell, really. At least this administration has yet to commit treason.

Re:how's that hope and change working out for you? (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 4 years ago | (#30920254)

And we haven't preemptive invaded anyone (else) yet. That's always a plus.

Re:how's that hope and change working out for you? (1)

ciggieposeur (715798) | more than 4 years ago | (#30920364)

At least this administration has yet to commit treason.

I voted for this administration, yet I think that it has indeed committed treason.

Re:how's that hope and change working out for you? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30920322)

Yeah right. Because a global treaty clearly is a America-only thing, and even more it is clearly the work of one single person with all-encompassing control over everything.

I’d call you a retard to your face. But I won’t insult the retards of this planet. That just crosses the line.

Terrorism is nothing compared to this threat. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30919322)

This is far more of a threat to freedom and democracy than terrorism ever could hope to be.

Governments negotiating secret treaties with corporations concerning the dispersion of information? That's a stake right through the heart of liberty, far more damaging than suicide bombers or terrorist attacks.

Re:Terrorism is nothing compared to this threat. (3, Insightful)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 4 years ago | (#30919882)

Don't worry, there will still be plenty of dispersion of information about suicide bombers and terrorist attacks.

Re:Terrorism is nothing compared to this threat. (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30920384)

Well, a real threat about imaginary property is more important, than an imaginary threat about real property?

Gee. News at 11. Who'dda thunka that?

Re:Terrorism is nothing compared to this threat. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30920774)

Yeah but a building full of people don't die when you sign a piece of paper so you can't sensationalize that or incite alarm.

Re:Terrorism is nothing compared to this threat. (2, Interesting)

Large_Hippo (881120) | more than 4 years ago | (#30920836)

Hmmmm... everyone on here seems to think the secrecy must be because the government is worried about "the public" finding out about horrific terms. That seems unlikely--remember, IP law doesn't even make the top ten of most US voters' important issues. War, health care, income taxes, education, research, crime, terrorism, etc... all trump IP law. So a politician's concern over public negotiations isn't likely to be that it may trigger some vague public discontent. The politician's main concern is that a corporation that cares *immensely* about copyright law will find out that something proposed in the treaty isn't to their liking, and then spend a ton of money to remove that politician from office before the treaty is finalized. Different wealthy corporations have different goals for copyright law (think Google vs. Publishers) and balancing them is probably impossible without making many very mad.

The treaty might be good, might be bad, and there are lots of reasons to be against secret negotiations (remember, the final treaty has to be presented and voted in public). But assuming that secrecy means the end product MUST be bad seems unfounded. Think of it this way: if you were in charge of the negotiations, and wanted to write the most Slashdot-friendly IP treaty possible, you would HAVE to keep negotiations secret. Otherwise the RIAA et al. would spearhead a $10B campaign calling you soft on crime, mean to elderly people, etc, etc..., removing you from office before the treaty could ever be passed.

Michael Geist (3, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#30919324)

For what it's worth, in case you (as I) were wondering who Michael Geist is (I don't want to end up passing on links to some guy who turns out to be a conspiracy theorist or something), he's a University of Ottawa professor, serving as their chair in Internet law.

Unprecedented secretive legislative attempt (4, Informative)

openfrog (897716) | more than 4 years ago | (#30919326)

From the European Parliament (quoted in TFA):

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) will contain a new international benchmark for legal frameworks on what is termed intellectual property right enforcement. The content as known to the public is clearly legislative in character. Further, the Council confirms that ACTA includes civil enforcement and criminal law measures. Since there can not be secret objectives regarding legislation in a democracy, the principles established in the ECJ Turco case must be upheld

From TFA:

The inescapable conclusion is that the ACTA approach is hardly standard. Rather, it represents a major shift toward greater secrecy in the negotiation of international treaties on intellectual property in an obvious attempt to avoid public participation and scrutiny.

Re:Unprecedented secretive legislative attempt (3, Informative)

debrain (29228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30919454)

The inescapable conclusion is that the ACTA approach is hardly standard. Rather, it represents a major shift toward greater secrecy in the negotiation of international treaties on intellectual property in an obvious attempt to avoid public participation and scrutiny.

Sir —

As a matter of interest, ACTA represents a greater shift towards secrecy of negotiations of multilateral treaties [wikipedia.org] . Bilateral treaties have traditionally been negotiated in secret, or at least in private.

I recall that before the 1900's most treaties (bilateral and multilateral) were negotiated -and often held- in secret, and I believe it was the post- World War I discussions that lead to open multilateral discussions. (I'd be much obliged for references on this).

Re:Unprecedented secretive legislative attempt (2, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#30919662)

A particularly large shift for either kind is that ACTA is, in the U.S. at least, not being called a "treaty" at all, although it clearly is. Rather, both the Bush and Obama administrations claim that it can be implemented as an "executive agreement" that does not require Senate ratification.

On the plus side, an "executive agreement" has only the legal force of an executive order under U.S. domestic law, which is generally subordinate to both statute law and the Constitution (unlike treaties, which have constitutional force). On the down side, it would still be seen as a treaty under international law, so if a future U.S. administration tried to back out of it, that would be perfectly legal under U.S. domestic law (if it were never properly adopted as a formal treaty), but not under international law, setting up a conflict.

Re:Unprecedented secretive legislative attempt (1)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 4 years ago | (#30921804)

On the down side, it would still be seen as a treaty under international law, so if a future U.S. administration tried to back out of it, that would be perfectly legal under U.S. domestic law (if it were never properly adopted as a formal treaty), but not under international law, setting up a conflict.

Yeah, that's always been a show stopper for us.

Re:Unprecedented secretive legislative attempt (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#30921986)

Depends on who it benefits. I'd be willing to bet that the copyright lobby will immediately point to, "but you'd be violating international law!" if any future administration tried to amend the way this non-treaty were applied in domestic law.

Re:Unprecedented secretive legislative attempt (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 4 years ago | (#30920198)

I believe it was the post- World War I discussions that lead to open multilateral discussions. (I'd be much obliged for references on this).

Post WW2. There were texts of secret treaties captured by the Germans in the fall of France. Made for some great propaganda, I understand.

A coup (1)

wytcld (179112) | more than 4 years ago | (#30919480)

This is quite plainly a coup against democracies worldwide. Those attempting it should be jailed and prosecuted. If that action proves untenable, President Obama has a clear option for dealing with the US members of such conspiracies [firedoglake.com] .

Re:A coup (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 4 years ago | (#30920300)

Those attempting it should be jailed and prosecuted. If that action proves untenable, President Obama has a clear option for dealing with the US members of such conspiracies.

Given that he's the President and that ACTA is being treated as an Executive Agreement (a deal between the President and other head of state), it seems pretty clear that he approves of both the process and the eventual outcome.

In other words, I doubt seriously he'd add his own name to a KoS list....

Re:Unprecedented secretive legislative attempt (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30920454)

Well. This means that the treaty can not possibly be legal.

Which means it is not law, no matter what politicians say. Because they are not above the law.

Which means, we do not have to follow it.

And, yes: If that means I will go to jail in such a terrorist oppressive state, then so be it! I will walk every single step with pride in every single of my fibers.
And so should you!

(Which does not mean, that if I can, I will move to a more free country.)

Notes from an ACTA information meeting (5, Informative)

Hermel (958089) | more than 4 years ago | (#30919494)

I went to an ACTA public information meeting that was organized by the Swiss delegation ten days ago. They couldn't openly talk about the positions of the different countries, but from what they said, I concluded that we don't have to fear as much as the internet rumors suggest. For example, they wouldn't sign the treaty if it contained a three-strikes-provision as this would be against Swiss law. They also publish quite some information on their website, including a transparency paper that roughly describes the content of ACTA:
https://www.ige.ch/en/legal-info/legal-areas/counterfeiting-piracy/acta.html [www.ige.ch]

Overall, they made a good and competent impression and it also seems to me that they are open to input from the public. I'm quite proud that the Swiss government seems to handle this much more democratically and transparently than others.

Re:Notes from an ACTA information meeting (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#30919706)

I see right through their blatant astroturfing. Their reassurance is full of holes.

Re:Notes from an ACTA information meeting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30919788)

How can you believe the same government that came up with IPRED?

Re:Notes from an ACTA information meeting (1)

deepershade (994429) | more than 4 years ago | (#30920048)

Thats Sweden, not the Swiss

ACTA will kill people (5, Insightful)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 4 years ago | (#30919724)

Forget filesharing for a second. Anybody have the latest stats off how many have died as a direct result of us refusing developing countries generic antiretroviral drugs since they are covered by patents?

If you think the main issue here is about file-sharing and the MPAA, think again. The ACTA negotiations involve representatives from the Pharmaceutical industry but notably absent is the WHO , Amnesty, Doctors without Frontiers , and a number of other human rights organizations.

Basically if this treaty is allowed to go through it is likely millions will continue to die a morbid death needlessly. Focusing on file-sharing and the RIAA is only going to result in the Pharma industry getting to screw over the citizens of developing countries.

Re:ACTA will kill people (3, Interesting)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 4 years ago | (#30919936)

Face it.
ACTA will only make 2 groups of people:
-Those care to get a product that is sold as legit is legit. (eg. Those who want a REAL Rolex watch for $5000 not a FAKE one for $5000)
-Corps that want to make $ at all cost. (cost=Life, liberty, health, happiness, family, progress, etc.)

ACTA will hurt EVERYBODY ELSE.

Re:ACTA will kill people (1)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 4 years ago | (#30920006)

When people start complaining about the high price of patented drugs, I ask them this: are you fine with just the drugs available today? Ok, then eliminate patents. You won't get any new drugs, but we don't need them. If you think new drugs are needed, then you might want to back off eliminating patents for pharmaceuticals.

Don't think you can rely on governments to pick up the slack. Seen any phase three clinical trials paid for by a government lately? Not to mention that government disease research funding is allocated by politics, not by need. That's unlikely to miraculously change with drugs.

So, happy or want more? The choice is yours.

Re:ACTA will kill people (3, Insightful)

Polumna (1141165) | more than 4 years ago | (#30920808)

You do, of course, have a legitimate point. However, unless you honestly believe that if all the pharmaceutical companies in the world closed their doors, the NIH and other analogous organizations would have no change in funding or purpose, you also have an egregious false dichotomy.

Re:ACTA will kill people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30920830)

As soon as Big Pharma spends as much on research as on marketing you will have a case. Until then: STFU fucking industry shill.

Re:ACTA will kill people (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30920510)

I don’t think the developing countries care much.

Just like Brasil. They simply took the recipe, produced it themselves, and told the foreign country to go fuck themselves.
Now that is what I call a (rare exceptional case of) government for the people!

Re:ACTA will kill people (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#30920870)

Forget filesharing for a second. Anybody have the latest stats off how many have died as a direct result of us refusing developing countries generic antiretroviral drugs since they are covered by patents?

Ever heard of compulsory licensing?

Off the top of my head, India, Thailand, Brazil, and South Africa had all told the pharmaceuticals that the prices for retrovirals were too high and that they were going to get paid far less under a compulsory license. I believe Thailand then started importing from India. Big pharma got butthurt and has pulled products from those markets as well as refusing to develop drugs/pills for diseases/conditions specific to those regions.

Just to get an idea of the prices, Americans get charged ~$7K/person/year, Thailand was being offered $2K, India produces it for ~$1K, and pharma sells it to countries like Kenya for $500.

Re:ACTA will kill people (1)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 4 years ago | (#30921894)

I don't know. Do you have the latest stats on how many lives were saved because these drugs were developed in the first place? In most cases, they were developed because the companies can make money on them. Take away patents, they lose that incentive. Is that better?

who (2, Insightful)

anonieuweling (536832) | more than 4 years ago | (#30919792)

Who has given the EU the right to represent me (EU citizen) with these criminal talks that will rob me from even more freedoms and rights?
Who in the EU decided the course? What was my part in deciding/controlling?
In other words: where is the democracy?

Re:who (1)

coofercat (719737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30920148)

Statistically, you didn't vote in the last European elections [telegraph.co.uk] . That's where the democracy you speak of has gone.

The EU Parliament is a gravy-train. Your MEP most likely doesn't even turn up most days of the week [europa.eu] , least of all on the days when stuff you care about is being debated.

If like a lot of people you're about to say "yes, I but don't even want my country to be in the EU", well, again, we all got to vote for our respective governments, and we voted for parties who wanted to join up. For those of us that didn't vote for our government, and even though they didn't get 50%+ of the votes, well, you still voted for your version of democracy. What's wrong in the EU/your country today got set that way 10+ years ago.

I'm not saying this is good, and I'm not saying I feel any more 'in control' than you do, but we are all to blame here. Democracy sucks like that.

* yes, I know my citations aren't brilliant, but I couldn't immediately lay my hands on better ones ;-)

Re:who (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30920730)

Nobody did. The EU “government” is in fact not your government. No matter what they tell you.

The “laws” were just written in everything, without asking anyone, any against the law! In fact those who did it, committed high treason. A crime that is usually punished like murder etc.
So they legally have to go to a real dirty pound-me-in-the-ass prison. Not one of those nice ones.

The only reason it’s not happening?
Because the cattle that call themselves nations, are constantly fed the media bullshit reality distortion. Just like the Matrix. But without machines. Psychology suffices perfectly.

So what can you do?
Well, for starters, you can do the same thing they did: Become a master in social engineering, learn your psychology, rhetorics, etc. Become a hacker of minds. Make people your botnet. (Instead of their botnet, which they are right now.)
On top of that, surpass their skills! Put skill on top, and on top. Stop comparing yourself to them, but lead, and let them try (and fail) to catch up.

And then, go and change the world.

Impossible?? Don’t be silly. If it were impossible, then how would they have done it. Or do you think they are more than ordinary humans?
No. Stop making excuses on why you can’t do the same. There are no excuses. Just do it, dammit! Just. Do. it.

Or else, never ever dare to complain again.

Re:who (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#30921564)

My understanding was that the ultimate decisionmaking power in the EU was either the European Parliament (which you could have voted for as an EU citizen) or the European Commission (which has representation appointed by your government). So you either need to pay more attention to European elections, or hold your national government responsible for its role.

The EC is less democratic than the EP, certainly, but that's not to say you have no democratic controls over it.

Re:who (1)

Zigbigadoorlue (774066) | more than 4 years ago | (#30922380)

You, like most of the rest of the world that exists under "democracy", live in a representative democracy not a direct democracy and do not have a part in the formation of the vast majority of legislation. Hence you don't have anymore part in the negotiation of treaties than you do in the criminalization of theft. This includes treaties that "rob [you] from even more freedoms and rights." The public, of which you belong, voted in those politicians who are "representing" you.

Revolting (5, Interesting)

psYchotic87 (1455927) | more than 4 years ago | (#30919870)

Frankly, I find this whole business revolting. Several large countries are working on a framework for lawmaking, which would eventually turn into laws all citizens aren't supposed to break.
The problem with this (and laws in general) is that no single citizen has any idea how not to break the law anymore. Furthermore, I was under the impression that lawmaking within democracies is supposed to be a process where every voting citizen has a say in, directly or indirectly.These ACTA negotiations are essentially about making laws noone but the big shots really want to be enforced.

To summarize: I believe these negotiations to be utterly and completely undemocratic, unethical and criminal.

It CAN'T be good (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#30920062)

There are really only a few explanations for the secrecy and ALL of them strongly suggest that the public should oppose any ratification.

Simplest is that it's secret because they know we won't like it. Perhaps they don't want the people of the world to understand all the tricks and traps they're building in.

Next up, they don't talk about it openly because they imagine themselves above the opinions and thoughts of the vast unwashed masses. If they let us in on it it might encourage us to give them our annoying, uneducated, simpleton input. If that's what they think of us, how likely is it that ACTA in any way respects us?

Compounding factors include that they're SO divorced from reality and human psychology that they never imagined secrecy would breed distrust. If so, anything they come up with is likely to be equally divorced from reality and human nature.

Finally, perhaps they don't give a damn how it all comes out so long as someone foots the bill for the hookers and blow.

So what can we do? (1)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 4 years ago | (#30921910)

I've written my senator (I wont bother with Burris), and for the heck of it wrote to my congress representative too, but otherwise there is nothing I can do. I would recommend everyone writes their representatives (any country where it makes sense to do so)- it takes 5 to 15 minutes, and at the worst it gives you more right to complain when your government doesn't listen to you.

At the least, getting more politicians asking questions can be a good thing. If they find that people care, they might even race to be the first to announce their opposition to the treaty. I realize one letter doesn't do much to change things, but if you complain, there is political gain to be made by someone. There will never be an anti-ACTA candidate to vote for until politicians know there are votes to be gained from taking that position.
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