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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

There's a new international fake free trade treaty. It's the "Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement" (ACTA). Evil laws are always given noble-sounding names. A more accurate name is "The Mainstream Media Corporate Welfare Agreement".

These economic terrorists say "This treaty is an open and democratic process." However, they refuse to release the drafts and details.

"It's an international 'free trade' treaty!" is a convenient catch-phrase for circumventing individual countries' laws. Most "free trade treaties" are actually "corporate welfare treaties". That's one reason people falsely believe free markets are evil.

"Intellectual property" is not property. A pro-State troll says "WTF? How will artists get paid?" The artist can directly solicit donations from fans. The artist can make most of their money from live performances. Some independent artists are already successful at this, without the backing of the mainstream media cartel.

There's already a group of people that steal artists' work without paying. They're called "record company executives". Via "Hollywood Accounting", the artist usually never sees $1 in royalties, even for a smash hit. A new band is locked up in a long-term contract, before the media cartel will promote their music. A pro-State troll says "The artist voluntarily signed the contract!" The State media cartel gives unreasonable power to corporations. 20 years ago, the only way to get a song published was via the media cartel. Now, some independents are directly self-publishing on the Internet and bypassing the media cartel.

The media cartel feels threatened, because the Internet threatens their business model. The "solution" is to crack down on freedom on the Internet.

What are the provisions of the ACTA? This analysis is based on drafts and rumors.

The ACTA changes copyright infringement from civil to criminal. Now, a copyright infringer can only be sued by the copyright owner. After ACTA, copyright infringement will be a crime.

It's the usual "cartel externalizes enforcement costs to the State". If the RIAA/MPAA had to maintain their own spying network and private army, it wouldn't be profitable. Instead, they lobby the State to enforce their cartel.

The ACTA has a "3 strikes" provision. If you're guilty of copyright infringement 3 times, then your ISP terminates your service and you're barred from purchasing Internet access. The UK already has such a law. (The Anonymous commenter from the UK who frequently comments on "legal extortion" would like that bit.)

It's unclear if "3 strikes" is "3 convictions for copyright infringement" or "3 times accused of copyright infringement". There probably will be an administrative court, with judges chosen by the RIAA/MPAA, separate from the regular legal system. Someone accused of copyright infringement probably won't get due process, when their Internet access is terminated and they're barred from buying Internet access.

The ACTA has an "ISPs are required to spy on users" provision. If an ISP suspects a user of copyright infringement, they are required to rat you out to the State copyright police. There's a "safe harbor" provision for ISPs who spy on their users; the user can't sue for violating their privacy.

If an ISP doesn't enact a "spy on users" program, then they're subject to potential civil and criminal penalties. There's no legal requirement for ISPs to spy on users, but they risk being sued or kidnapped if they fail to comply.

That is like the ironically-named "Bank Secrecy Act". The Bank Secrecy Act requires all banks to report "suspicious transactions" to the IRS and FBI. A bank who rats on its customers is immune from being sued by a customer. The Bank Secrecy Act makes all State-licensed banks into spies for the State. The "Bank Secrecy Act" really is the "Bank Anti-Secrecy Act". Evil laws are always given innocent-sounding names. BTW, the "Patriot Act" amended the "Bank Secrecy Act", imposing stricter requirements on banks.

I don't see how this law is enforceable. People will switch to invitation-only strongly-encrypted filesharing networks. Some peolpe already do this.

A P2P filesharer has a distinct traffic pattern. However, there are legitimate filesharing uses. World of Warcraft distributes updates via BitTorrent. Retrogaming is a grey area. Most old games are legally copyrighted but abandonware.

There's another benefit for the prison/legal cartel. Criminalizing copyright infringement will lead to more people in jail. Most people do some "illegal" P2P filesharing. If the police seize your computer and search for copyrighted material, they will frequently find infringement.

Criminal copyright infringement enhances the Police State's ability to send anyone to jail. Many young people now believe "P2P filesharing is not a crime." The police can seize someone's computer and search for copyright infringement, even if that wasn't the original reason for the search.

The ACTA is an example of State corporate welfare. This "free trade treaty" is a stealth way of imposing freedom-restricting laws. A cartel externalizes enforcement costs to the State. The "incandescent light bulb ban" is another corporate welfare law, implemented via international treaty.

Too many young people are now accustomed to P2P filesharing. They realize that it isn't really a crime. The mainstream media cartel spends a lot of money on propaganda denouncing P2P filesharing. I don't see the mainstream media cartel winning this battle. They're still going to try. The ACTA will lead to lots of frivolous arrests and lawsuits for copyright infringement.


Master Doh-San said...

The recording industry is a den of thieves. If a CD sells for $15 (typical), the artist only gets $0.25 of it. The artists make their real money doing concerts.

Of course, the recording industry likes to use the "starving artist" lie to guilt people. They like to spread the lie that filesharing cheats the artist, when in reality it only "cheats" the cheaters.

Anonymous said...

Copyright law is some countries is too complex and is difficult to find out about. Copyright law also differs from country to country. You cannot just look up the statutory law in a textbook. It has been modified over ages by case law.

It should be simplified. Simply reword copyright as something like

"The owners of copyright should be the person or persons that contributed time and/or money to the project. Time and money are interchangeable. Copyright cannot be transferred implicitly or verbally and otherwise belongs to the authors."

Then again all the case law in the countries does contain elements on the above, but some bits of case law are nothing to do with who actually contributed the time and money to it.

The above law is simple and easily understood and does not need someone to spend several months researching all the different court cases where the law has been modified by court rulings.

Anonymous said...

>(The Anonymous commenter from the
>UK who frequently comments on >"legal extortion" would like that

You don't need any evidence to waste sometimes time and money under copyright law.

I could easily say FSK downloaded a porno movie two years ago. I have proof I can say. I have a list of 10, 000 IP address and FSK used one of those!!!

FSK is s*** out of luck. In the space of those two years, he probably threw his old computer away and so can't have his hard drive forensically examined to provide proof the video was never on it.

Likewise there is no proof in the world that I am lying.

So a sick lawyer clown can start harassing someone safe in the knowledge there is no real proof either way.

If the lawyer clown harasses 1000 people, some of those people will move addresses.

The lawyer clowns can then go to court and get a default judgment. The defendants can't turn up as the letters never got to them.

The lawyer clowns can then get money from their default judgments.

All with no evidence.

This happened to an unfortunate Polish woman in England. She had a default court judgment against her, despite only the weak evidence of an IP address. She didn't turn up.

The BBC promptly said in the news a woman was fined 16, 000 for file sharing. They didn't say in the news it was a default judgment WITH NO REAL EVIDENCE.

So you can bully someone out of money WITH NO REAL EVIDENCE.


And this is just one example.

I can say I own the copyright to the use of the colours red and green on a book cover, all because ten years ago I published a book that only sold two copies that used the colours red and green.

Whether something breaks copyright law depends on opinion.

Is a whole book copyrighted or can you copyright five words strung together?

Wanna spend 2 million dollars to find out?

Bas said...

Intellectual Property is a scam made up by corporations in bed with the government. It slows innovation, promotes inflated pricing and provides excuses for government violence. Copyright laws are deliberately kept vague so they can easily be twisted to the State's advantage.

Anonymous said...

Lawyers know copyright law is vague.

For example in the UK one lawyer wrote a legally threatening letter to a small restaurant "up north" because their family name "Allstrops" was thought to infringe the copyright of the name "Harrods".

Why didn't this ass clown lawyer use trademark law?

Both names were display using the colour yellow, but not the same shade of yellow. Both used slanting writing, but not the same slanting writing.

Effectively these very sick clowns were taking action because both names contained the letter "o" and "r"s look a bit like "l"s.

Countries are big places with hundreds of thousands of businesses. It is a fair bet you can easily find names that share the same ENGLISH ALPHABET CHARACTERS and use similar colours. Using slanting typefaces that emulate italic writing (but not the same) is common.

So basically any business could probably launch copyright lawsuits against thousands of other businesses because both use ENGLISH ALPHABET CHARACTERS AND COMMON COLOURS SUCH AS YELLOW.

These clowns know that if they submitted their bogus cases to a court, there is a fair bet they would get a fine for vexatious action.

So the sick clowns just write a threatening letter. The poor business at the other end gets frightening and wonders even though the case is bogus how much damage could be done to their HONEST business.

They see a solicitor who no doubt charges them a thousand pounds. This is a lot of money to a small business.

The end result is always the same. The lawsuit goes NOWHERE. Nothing goes anywhere near a court.

But the legal profession makes money from it none-the-less.

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