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back to article MPs frozen out of super-secret copyright talks

The government has refused to give MPs access to papers on international negotiations about copyright enforcement on the internet and at national borders. Junior business minister David Lammy said he could not put documents about the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in the House of Commons Library, because other …

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Anonymous Coward

Counterfeiting != Copyright

Lest we forget, ACTA is a counferfeiting treaty, the people negotiation it only had authority to discuss the issue of counterfeiting, NOT COPYRIGHT, NOT IP RIGHTS.

"The European Commission, also involved in negotiations, responded that "ACTA will not go further than the current EU regime for enforcement of intellectual property rights"."

COUNTERFEITI *not* Copyright.

And counterfeit goods are so rare (0.06% of trade when measured at the US border with random searches) that there is no major gain to be had by further attacking citizens.

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Re: Counterfeiting != Copyright

The link below shows what was discussed in ACTA negotiations in November 2009:

http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2009/november/tradoc_145271.pdf

The introduction states that "The intended focus is on counterfeiting and piracy activities that significantly affect commercial interests, rather than on the activities of ordinary citizens".

However, this does not necessarily mean that the measures proposed or adopted will not be useful for enforcing copyright and "the activities of ordinary citizens". Indeed, Section 4 suggests that the measures being discussed will specifically address the online sharing of copyrighted material.

This would be much along the same lines as RIPA. If you remember ministers claims upon introduction of RIPA, it was to be all about terrorism and not at all about spying on normal citizens - in reality, we all now know the reverse to be true.

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FAIL

nope..

"the people negotiation it only had authority to discuss the issue of counterfeiting, NOT COPYRIGHT, NOT IP RIGHTS."

You're wrong. You are mistaking the lie in the description for a rule in its execution. ACTA absolutely deals with copyright, IP and ISPs.

http://www.publicknowledge.org/node/2788

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Anonymous Coward

It's a game

They are trying to place copyright infringement in the same league as counterfeiting. This means it'll be harder for politicians like Lord Lucas to take a position against copyright because they could be accused of supporting counterfeiting!

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@JohnG

They may well consider 'activities of ordinary citizens' to include things like giving a mate some MP3s, but to exclude people making arbitrarily large amounts of material available for anyone in the world to download.

That would probably seem like a reasonably fair distinction, at least to anyone who isn't sharing/downloading large amounts of copyright material.

If people were trying to address piracy *without* considering file-sharing, they'd seem likely to be completely wasting their time.

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Alert

Just another example...

... of the contempt in which this government holds parliament and the people. Not even Charles the first was this bad and we had a bloody civil war over him.

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Pirate

vfhaasdacv

Charles didn't have X-Factor.

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"other countries wanted to maintain secrecy."

Huh! I wonder if the UK is one of the "other countries" The Minister should name names and tell us which countries want to keep the negotiations secret.

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"Which" other countries?

Or is that a secret too?

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Nope, not a secret.

The other countries are Sony, EMI, Warner and Universal.

Oh, and the Sovereign State Of Mandelson...

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Some of the Other Countries

From <http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/anti-counterfeit-trade-agreement-acta-redactions/Content?oid=1265563>

"Since late 2007 representatives of governments from the United States, the European Union, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Mexico, and Canada, among others, have been negotiating a treaty known as ACTA."

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Re: Some of the other countries

I think JS19 meant which other countries wanted to keep it a secret. As the US is involved then anybody who is interested as to what goes on will just have to ask them as they are more inclined to make things public.

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promote and secure an outcome in the UK's interest

Is the UK's intrests the same intrests as the people that live in the UK or just eh people that do business in the UK.

Open Government is Great.

Vote for a change - Vote for change

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Black Helicopters

Vote for change?

As far as I can see all the major parties are just offering more of the same.

If voting could change anything they'd ban it.

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Pirate

Vote for change

Vote for the PIRATE PARTY!

They are the only ones left standing for privacy and fairness.

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Big Brother

PR is Horseshit

I want my MP to be accountable to me, and the the political system forcibly devolved to the local level as much as possible. Better yet, the Boundary Commission needs to be strengthened to ensure that each parliamentary constituency is properly drawn such that there's no built-in advantage for any party. There's nothing wrong with first past the post that a little commitment and rigour wouldn't solve.

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Anonymous Coward

Unfortunately, PR still produces governments with 100% of the power

Ireland has had coalition governments for decades, but the opposition is still toothless, because once a coalition forms and agrees on a "platform", they vote for everything in the platform, and against anything the opposition might propose. In fact, there have been occasions where the government has defeated an opposition bill, only to turn around and re-introduce essentially the same bill, which is passed because it's now a government proposal.

It really doesn't matter what form of election you use, because in the long run, politicians will convince themselves that what's good for the party is good for the country, and will vote accordingly.

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Hmm, neither thumb up or down

is really appropriate here. Rather than "I like this post" or "I dislike this post" how can we indicate "I don't like this post but I agree with it"?

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Horse Droppings!

"we would like to but we've told the others we wouldn't" means "We really don't care about openness in government... at least not enough to tell others we won't sign an NDA".

So much for the sovereignty of parliament

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@RegisterFail

>>"I'm certain the majority of the UK is not interested in ANY agreement that is formed and agreed in secret primarily amongst foreign nations whatever that agreement is."

What???

Surely what matters is how any agreement ends up being worded, not how it was arrived at.

If an agreement stinks, then whatever the process, whoever was involved, and whatever they said, the agreement still stinks.

The same logic applies if an agreement makes sense.

Even had it been mandated in advance that every single thing said at the talks would be made public, that wouldn't do anything to stop any of the participants having been lobbied behind the scenes, or having made up their minds beforehand what kinds of agreement they wanted or would be prepared to settle for, and wouldn't seem likely to much affect any outcome.

All it would do is move some of the decision-making and opinion-forming elsewhere.

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Stop

Can't possibly be true...

...let's face it David Lammy's boss is Lord of Darkness...erm...I mean Mandelson, he would never cozy-up to big business and freeze-out our democratically elected representatives! And he's part of a Labour cabinet who are so big on open government, preposterous!

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Dog bites man.

"The secrecy surrounding ACTA has prompted speculation the agreement will be favourable to the music and film industries, whose lobbyists are party to the discussions."

No shit, Sherlock!

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Anonymous Coward

The EFF has more...

...here http://www.eff.org/issues/acta, including some (but not very recently) leaked docs.

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Anonymous Coward

How do they know the difference...

...between the mp3 on my iPod that I might have downloaded to the one that I ripped off the CD that I bought?

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FAIL

There's no Fair Use in the UK!

You might be able to demonstrate that your download was legitimate? (your CD ripping *is* illegal in the UK)

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FAIL

Fail and you.

Murder is illegal in the UK. Ripping CDs is at most unlawful. Of course, if some arsehole tried to sue me for ripping a CD, I'd very likely be up for murder in short order.

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Stop

It is Legal, but a licencable activity.

A produb licence exists for the sum of £250 to allow you to legally rip 5000 tunes per annum, with higher pricing for incremental amounts

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WTF?

Cost of life

Interesting, so you place the value of another life at less than £7.99 then?

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Dead Vulture

Civil, not Criminal

Currently in the UK, CD ripping is a civil offense. Sony can sue you for damages. Police cannot act because it is not a criminal offence.

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@AC 13:10

>>"How do they know the difference..."

Quite.

That's why border officials won't be likely to care about what anyone has on their MP3 player - they can't tell what someone owns, and, as the spokesperson stated fairly clearly in the article, they have much better things to do.

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Big Brother

Hang on, WTF?!

Let me get this straight?! ... "lobbyists are party to the discussions" ... but "the government has refused to give MPs access"?! ... WTF?!

Since when has lobbyists been given such power over us all?!

Who makes the laws?! ... Lobbyists?!

Sounds like this law change is going to be a bloody nightmare.

So much for open government.

So much for a government accountable to its people.

So in effect we have a global cabal of powerful businesses working together in secret to write their own laws, so they can create a global totalitarian copyright policing system. Oh wonderful. I can't wait. :(

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@Hang On

"Who makes the laws?! ... Lobbyists?!"

Yes.

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Grenade

oooo

> Who makes the laws?! ... Lobbyists?!

How many examples of this would you like, just not too many please as I do have some work to do.

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Big Brother

@richard (age) 7 and the nightmare unfolding before us...

While its easy to glibly say Lobbyists run everything, as if its nothing much, that totally fails to highlight the incredible seriousness of that implication and this news about effectively a global cabal of powerful businesses all working together in secret to write their own laws!. This means they work to force there wishes on us via the law. That means there is nothing to stop them creating a global totalitarian copyright policing system. They get whatever they want, as they work to change the law and we cannot even be allowed to know what they are doing!. When a society isn't allowed to choose what laws it has, then that is an outright Totalitarian level of rule – yet what we are seeing is even worse!, its outright Totalitarian level of rule from outside that society!

When our government no longer makes any pretense that they do not represent the people, and instead represents the wishes of their rich friends, then we know we are all in very serious trouble.

But its far worse, when many of the most powerful governments all show they work together in no longer even pretending to represent their own people, but instead represent the wishes of their rich and powerful friends. At that point, we are all heading into not just very serious trouble, its very serious danger.

What we are witnessing is the gradual formation of a ruthlessly self centered global Oligarchy. A collective group so powerful that they are completely unwilling to recognizes any limits to their authority, which makes it a global Oligarchy with Totalitarian levels of rule! (don't feel so glib now, do you richard (age) 7).

So stop and think about that for a second or two. We are witnessing a global Totalitarian Oligarchy!. A global cabal of governments and corporations ruling us all. Their wishes, not ours. All governments not representing their own people, but instead openly representing the global cabal wishes. What the cabal chooses, we all must do. Its the law.

That is what this news is representing! - It is that shocking! ... and technology is giving them ever more power, to make it even worse!

That also therefore means Democracy and elections are becoming ever more meaningless not just in the UK but slowly meaningless globally!. Because as soon as you vote in another government, they immediately have to totally conform to the wishes of the global cabal of powerful governments and companies and not the wishes of the people who voted in that government. (Plus no government will stand against the cabal, as this news shows, they all want to work with them, out of their own personal greed for power). It means Democracy is now becoming meaningless in every country!. Its showing whoever we vote for its meaningless!

Think about that, no more Democracy, no more Privacy, no more Liberty, no more Freedom, no more Decency and all this slowly becoming GLOBAL!. Soon no where to run from it all.

I know we have been slowing getting into this nightmare for the past few years, (the x-ray scanners are just one of the latest moves towards this), but now the governments and corporations are no longer even pretending or even trying to hide their utter contempt for the vast majority of people. We do not matter. As this news shows, we are not allowed to know what the global cabal is deciding for our laws, we must simply obey.

I seriously fear where this is heading. As the people in power grab every more money and power for themselves the more public anger and so eventual civil unrest will be generated. (Soon they will be labeling protesters as domestic extremists *shakes head*). That in turn will result in ever more Draconian laws to control and curtail people, (exactly what they are doing now), ironically creating a feedback loop, leading into even greater public anger and so even more civil unrest against the people in power. Added to that whoever we all vote for, we cannot stop what is happening, so its going to keep getting worse!. I seriously fear where this is going. It looks like its got only one end result, which is an eventual global revolution against the self centered, Narcissistic, arrogant, greedy control freaks in power worldwide, to force some fairness back into the world and to force state interference back out of all our lives. Yet the more we slide towards this nightmare the more the rulers will add ever more Draconian laws to control and curtail people (as they are doing now), its literally a feedback loop. Its horrific. The world's first global revolution could cost the lives of millions of people around the world, a death tole almost as big as some of the biggest wars in history.

The Narcissists in power are behaving like Sociopaths taking us all into an utterly horrific global nightmare. It seems George Orwell was right about the consolidation of countries into huge power blocks of control, just as he was right about the growth of such powerful Police States.

Reading the news these days sounds ever more like some kind of Orwellian nightmare. :(

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Arrogance

We all know the Government are quite happy to ignore their electors, whilst vaguely trying to please the popular press, but surely anything affecting laws in this country should be open to either House for discussion? They have Parliamentary Privilege for just this sort of thing - to allow them to discuss anything, even if it winds up some foreign agency.

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Don't understand the concern at all

Governments really need to grow some balls. The music & film industry is continuously trying to erode copyright protection and they really need to get lost. It's not like either industry is especially suffering despite what they might claim, and both very simple and very effective ways to ensure more people pay for their content than just pirate - make it cheaper and easier to obtain.

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Unhappy

Well the americans are keeping it secret

And we couldn't possibly break rank now could we?

Makes me sick. All the countries are keeping the whole thing very secret. What is known is that the big IP stakeholders (the large patent holders, the movie and music businesses) are party to what's going on, but the people and even most politicians are not.

What's likely going on is a treaty that will massively strengthen these things and introduce new penalties for cross-border infringement. It will be presented by the industries and the few political leaders that are involved as a fait accomplis and a necessary framework for continuing business.

And it will inevitably result in more happy lawyers as the scope of IP related lawsuits gets widened massively.

To anonymous coward - If not counterfeiting then what else is unauthorised copying? What else is duplicating someone else's patented functionality? These things can be stretched to mean whatever people want them to mean.

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Anonymous Coward

Time to say the obvious once more

Interesting tidbit is that this is a deal between governments and... lobbyists. Since when do large organisations have the same standing as governments?

I think it's time for us "ordinary citizens" to reconsider our willingness to be governed by parties that, contrary to what they say, clearly show they do not have our best interests in mind when they do what they do. In every step they take it clearly shows. So, do we really need them?

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Troll

morons

<rant>

you know if all this was happening along side news like " Sony BMG in administration, Warner music shutting down simon cowel sells his house to live in a trailor, JLO so poor she has to eat super noodles for every meal" I might give a F**K but they are making crap loads of money still its stupid. they need to adapt. all the law suits and paying for morons to sit in meetings and hammer out anti pirate procedures is costing even more money! also that Zillllllllionnnnnnn dollars/pounds/euros/yen or whatever they claim to lose each year to piracy is known by everyone to be complete rubbish! why why why dont people put them in there place?

</rant>

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Paris Hilton

wow....

If the entertainment industry ever did get so hard up that "JLO so poor she has to eat super noodles for every meal" then, I wonder just what would Paris have to resort to eating?

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Megaphone

Sovereignty of Parliament?

Is it just me or does this sound familiar? People treated punitively, and probably harmed economically, by foreign-imposed laws, without the cognisance or agreement of locally elected representatives, kept secret until decree and, judging from conduct to date, to be applied harshly when in effect. Does this sound anything like "Taxation without Representation"? Even though it does not involve a colony, I think there are parallels. I'm not sure what the digital equivalent of a Boston Tea Party would be, but we may end up with one sooner than the Government thinks if it keeps going in this direction.

I would have thought it so utterly obvious that no-one, I mean no-one, could fail to see that the first priority of Government is to look after the interests of its people and not foreign trading partners and industry lobbyists, and to do so in a transparent manner with engagement invited from all members of Parliament. I do not believe it's putting too fine a point on it to say that the sovereignty of Parliament is jeopardised by these negotiations.

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@AC 13:39

>>"Is it just me or does this sound familiar? People treated punitively, and probably harmed economically, by foreign-imposed laws,"

*Who's* going to be harmed economically?

Apart from people who like getting something for nothing?

>>"I'm not sure what the digital equivalent of a Boston Tea Party would be"

People deleting all the things they hadn't paid for, and then flouncing off to their bedrooms?

I'm not sure how well that would work, and I don't see any possible actions generating much sympathy from non-freeloaders.

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Re: Who writes the laws

Of course bloody lobbiests write the laws. Writing laws is expensive and time consuming. If someone volunteers to write the laws for them of course the MPs/Government/Officials will let them, particularly when they are prepared to wine and dine at the same time.

It's like government tendering exercises. Writing those is pain too, if you can get the prefered supplier to write the tender document it's cheaper and makes it easier for them to win, that is why they are the preferred supplier.

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Anonymous Coward

secrecy

Eventually, in order to pass legislation in the UK, the precise proposals will have to become public knowledge, or would they somehow try to create legislation without MPs, parliament and the public knowing? I can't see how.

But the worrying thing here, is that the various parties are deliberately trying to keep secret discussions on what will become new legislation, legislation that will affect us all.

This is fundamentally wrong.

For some reason, they don't want the public knowing what they're up to, presumably, because they don't want a big stink being kicked up and them receiving so much criticism that they're forced to change their unpopular proposals.

So I presume what's going to happen, is the new legislation when proposed, will have to be debated in Parliament, but I suspect the Labour government (if they're still in power), will try to rush it through right at the end of a parliamentary session, using all sorts of tricks to ensure there isn't a proper debate on it, and probably invoke the Parliament act to get it through the House of Lords.

Mark my words, there's going to be dirty tricks to get this legislation, whatever it will be, through Parliament.

And who knows what back-handers will be given out....

This is gonna get very, very dirty, dirtier than the airport expansion at Heathrow.

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Re: secrecy

"and probably invoke the Parliament act to get it through the House of Lords"

It wasn't in their manifesto so they can't use the Parliament Act. Since they're current position is that they can't publish it, it probably won't be in their next manifesto either.

But yeah, they'll find a way if they have the time. The best we can hope for is that the treaty is published *before* they ratify it.

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FAIL

If this were a democratic country...

...I'd protest.

But we all know it's not.

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Anonymous Coward

Lobbyists

Lobbiests have always influenced our legislation, I'm no expert but I recall one classic example which took place in 1976 where the Jewish board of deputies lobbied and sought to influence the creation of new Race Relations legislation. They were successful.

Did money play a part? I learned the other day through a friend of mine who dated a Jewish lawyer for many years, that bribery does go on in the court rooms...he said to her "watch this", and then she actually witnessed her partner go up to a judge and hand over an envelope.

I don't know what the nature of the case was, whether it related to an individual or corporate law.

People can be bought. People are bought. And money plays a big part. Always has and always will

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