back to article Most EU states sign away internet rights, ratify ACTA treaty

Representatives of 21 of the EU’s member states, including the UK, have signed off on the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) – the European version of the US SOPA and PIPA rolled into one and cranked up to 11. Only Cyprus, Germany, Estonia, Slovakia, and the Netherlands have held off on signing the treaty, …

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Anonymous Coward

Goodguys 1, pirates 0

It should be obvious that civilized nations are going to continue to ramp up the punishment for piracy and prosecute those who feel they are above the law.

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Anonymous Coward

And you're happy turning over your privacy and full rights to free speech in the name of 'stopping piracy', are you?

I'm all for dealing with content duplication, and taking appropriate measures in dealing with those who obtain content illegitimately. That said, it should not be done at the cost of compromised privacy, the feeling of being guilty unless proven innocent (because let's face it, you're never again going to be considered innocent *unless* proven guilty, the best you can hope for is guilty *until* proven innocent) with the assumption that everyone is out to steal content until there is evidence to the contrary.

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@ Morris D (AKA AC 27th January 2012 00:07)

Say, are you running for the "most downvoted commentard ever" prize, or what?

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Anonymous Coward

Is it just me

I can't help but wonder how you got his name. I'm guessing you have access to the database or admin panel? Does ElReg take privacy seriously?

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Trollface

I don't remember surrendering control of the the streets to Tescos...

.... to combat shoplifting, so I certainly am not going to surrender control of the internet to combat piracy. Nor do I remember giving customs agents the right to confiscate/destroy any goods that I might carry through the border 'just in case' they have been shoplifted.

It's amazing what laws you can get passed if throw enough hookers at the right people.

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@AC (27th January 2012 04:06 GMT). Re: Is it just me

ElReg!comments!Pierre didn't need access to the database. El Reg does take privacy seriously. So much so that El Reg even shopped themselves to the ICO when they emailed my, and many other peoples email addresses to 3,521 other El Reg readers.

It was I, not ElReg!comments!Pierre, that "outed" the AC commentard being referred to as "Morris D" after spotting a comment over at The Inquirer on a similar subject...

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MPAA opposes SOPA blackouts - The Inquirer (http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2139716/mpaa-opposes-sopa-blackouts)

"What a joke

These foolish blackouts are a waste of tiem. They will be as ineffective as the "occupy" protests were. The world ain't going to allow piracy to go unpunished so the pirates might as well get in touch with reality. It's very simple: pirate and be punished.

posted by : Morris D., 18 January 2012"

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The Register to publish other sites' blacked-out content in SOPA protest · The Register Forums (http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2012/01/18/el_reg_to_save_the_internet)

"Stupid protests

Posted [by Anonymous Coward] Wednesday 18th January 2012 17:43 GMT

These stupid protests just like the occupy protests are a waste of time. Governments will continue to crack down on priacy so the pirates might as well face reality. SOPA may have been a poorly written attempt to stop piracy but there will be more legislation and the laws and punishment will get tougher. The socially challneged pirates seem to only understand prison sentences so they'll get their chance to participate in the game of life, soon."

=====================================================

Notice a similarity?

However, I would hazard a guess that ElReg!comments!Pierre is also basing his labelling of the AC above being "Morris D" due to the following:

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Kiwis collar Megaupload kingpin, Anonymous exacts revenge · The Register Forums (http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2012/01/19/kim_dotcom_arrested/)

"A prison cell awaits you

Posted [by Anonymous Coward] Friday 20th January 2012 01:59 GM

DotMoron.com and his supporters who hack should know that a prison cell with their name on it awaits. This should be good media fodder for a couple years as the clueless get hauled off to prison."

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In response to which I again suggested the AC commentard is the same AC commentard who had also posted to the Inquirer using the moniker "Morris D". Take a look at the above comments, those quoted in this post, as well as the one that started this thread, the rhetoric is exactly the same. This is why the connection is being made that this serial commentard is "Morris D".

So no, it wasn't ElReg!comments!Pierre, nor was it result of a data breach that the AC commentard has been "outed". It was me, and, for the record, I don't have access to El Reg's database or admin pane either!

Interestingly "Morris D" has not posted a comment, using that moniker, on The Inquirer since I made the initial connection here on El Reg.

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@ElReg!comments!Pierre. Re: Morris D (AKA AC 27th January 2012 00:07)

I'm glad I'm not the only one seeing the connection!

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Big Brother

Bad AC, get your virtual jack boots on but mind the wobblies

So Frank Zappa was right, soon we will ALL be dancing to the tune of the Central Scrutinizer.

I would post a link to this excellent song to make the point but don't want to be sued or imprisoned by ACMorris and his faceless legions. So you will have to find Joe's Garage yourself, and then listen to the first track and title song (quite prescient)

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Holmes

I imagine it's just a guess.

Juist from the RIAA-sockpuppet-like(can I copyright this dual hypenated word?) posts of Morris D.

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@AC at 00:07

If they passed a law that said you had to beat yourself in the face with a meat tenderiser, you'd applaud it as a way to remove aesthetic discrimination whilst you pound yourself and your family to a pulp; wouldn't you?

This law is wrong.

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@The BinYin

Probably whilst slating those who didn't as criminals.

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I take back my comments in defense of the US Government. Ars Technica reports that the USA has been pushing ACTA since 2010 and signed in 2011. Obama himself was said to declare that the treaty does not require Congressional ratification, so much for the US Constitution.

Ars Technica also reports that there is a "Son of ACTA" in the works, more draconian yet....

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/03/son-of-acta-meet-the-next-secret-copyright-treaty.ars

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Not Uncle Sam, the IP industries are behind ACTA

SOPA and PIPA were effectively defeated in the USA last week. The parties behind them are not the US Government, although I'm sure its ambassadors did quite well making the case for ACTA. The parties behind ACTA are the increasingly obsolescent and quite worthless media and IP owners -- not the creators or inventors, but rather, owners -- who see their middleman status evaporating as real creators and inventors connect directly with their audiences. Most others would prefer to do that, too, but are trapped within restrictive covenants and contracts that force them to dispense their fare via the middlemen, who ratchet up the prices and conditions of purchase to astronomical levels. ACTA may be sold as a remedy for piracy, but its actual purpose is to protect the the real pirates, the corporate pirates, who steal untold billions in public wealth extracted via their monopolies and controlled channels. It's too bad the US Government didn't refuse to represent them in Brussels, but perhaps that's asking too much of politicians who rely on media treatment and contributions to support their campaigns in this election year. They become puppets of the media and IP monopolies the moment they are elected and stay that way until they leave the scene -- unless they go to work for the monopolies as lobbyists. It's sick.

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Ha ha great user name :)

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Yep,

Or unpatriotic etc. etc.

As per the quote from Hermann Goering

“Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” -- Hermann Goering

Only it's not 'an enemy' that's being fought, it's 'the pirates', most of whom are engaging in a most human instinct if sharing things.

What's particularly frustrating is the fact that artists (you know the people the MPAA etc are trying to help) will thrive on getting their name known - if new people never find out about them then the artist is limited to a virtually fixed set of fans.

In most cases piracy helps the artists get their names out to the highest number of people, thus ensuring a steady uptake of new people seeing them and being interested in their stuff.

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@the Big Yin

Can you explain why it is wrong?

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Re:Goodguys 1, pirates 0

"we're going to need a bigger button"

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@Sketch

I'll pick two points, just for starters:

1) ACTA was negotiated behind closed doors, if it hadn't been for a few leaks there would have even less known. This is wrong in any democracy.

2) The further entrenchment of DRM is also (e.g. forcing ISP to remove DRM counter-measures) is, IMHO, wrong.

There are of course, many more. Point 1) is probably the most important by far. No law should ever be passed in a democracy without judicial oversight. Period. Point 2) just happens to really grate my carrot.

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Megaphone

@ Sketch:

I can do it in one quote:

"Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power."

Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack (1738)

Franklin's aphorisms apply to Europe as much as they do to the US, or to Brazil, or China, or anywhere else humans live - OWN your own power, do not let it be stolen!

Woo! Now I'm feeling all fired up and revolutionary!

Think I'll go down to my nearest center of Gevernment Oppression, and overturn a few more pieces of nasty legislation!

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CENSORSHIP 1

FREEDOM 0

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FAIL

Hyperbole cranked up to 12

"the European version of the US SOPA and PIPA rolled into one and cranked up to 11."

Have you actually read it. I've had a read and it doesn't appear that way. http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2011/may/tradoc_147937.pdf

At least if you're going to shout 'the sky's falling in' in a news article actually quote the passages you find objectionable and explain why. If there's a good case I'm more than happy to lobby my MEP, man the barricades etc.

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Unhappy

Please see these articles

http://founditonline.net/stories/what-is-acta/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Counterfeiting_Trade_Agreement#Threats_to_freedom_and_fundamental_human_rights

https://www.eff.org/issues/acta

ACTA is very very bad.

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@yossarianuk

I am nitpicking here BUT....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Counterfeiting_Trade_Agreement

If you want to give people evidence of something "bad" then give them the whole story. NOT merely the part of what you want them to read. (I know they can scroll up and read; as said I am nitpicking here).

There is a risk but quite frankly I think there's an even bigger risk with all the contradicting protests. One claims that "the current draft of ACTA would profoundly restrict the fundamental rights and freedoms of European citizens, most notably the freedom of expression and communication privacy" while the other claims that: "ACTA would create unduly harsh legal standards that do not reflect contemporary principles of democratic government, free market exchange, or civil liberties. Even though the precise terms of ACTA remain undecided, the negotiants' preliminary documents reveal many troubling aspects of the proposed agreement".

'Freedom of expression' or a statement which doesn't 'reflect contemporary principals' ?

issues like these have very little public interest unfortunately. And when several groups start spouting several opinions which all end at the same place its only more damaging that doing good.

We have seen this happening with the "European vote" for personal encryption some years ago. Why haven't we learned anything from that yet still think we have what it takes to address major topics ?

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Watched the anonymous video explanation and there description of Counterfeiting is sooo bad

Fair enough, the intrusive monitoring is very bad, but you can't claim that there is nothing wrong with making copies of someone else's work and distributing it without permission

Claiming that it's not stealing because the original is still there is not a good enough justification for pirating music and movies

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Anonymous Coward

Seriously, what the hell is your point? Copyright infridgement is already illegal.

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Meh

This agreement needs work

This bit looks OK:

"Further to paragraph 1, each Party’s enforcement procedures shall apply to infringement of copyright or related rights over digital networks, which may include the unlawful use of means of widespread distribution for infringing purposes. These procedures shall be implemented in a manner that avoids the creation of barriers to legitimate activity, including electronic commerce, and, consistent with that Party’s law, preserves fundamental principles such as freedom of expression, fair process, and privacy."

However the criminalisation of any method of bypassing DRM technology is odious. This agreement needs work.

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> This bit looks OK:

No, it bloody well doesn't. It is the same old trick all over again (last seen with the so-called European Constitution and its token Human Rights section). The "illegal" activities are so broadly defined as to really mean "anything we might think of after the fact" while the protection section is so vague as to be ignorable in ANY real-life case. That is VERY bad practice as the real meaning of the thing -can't be brought to call it a law- is left to individual case evaluation. The ordinary citizen has _litterally_ no way of knowing whether what he is doing might fall foul of the law (fair use and freedom of expression, among other thing, are not defined in any enforceable way); and the lobbying groups with deep pockets have all latitude to influence the rulings, be it by clever media manipulation or by, erm, more "direct" methods. Laws were initially meant to AVOID abuse of the ordinary defenseless citizen by the Big Strong Guys. This kind of "laws" actually openly FACILITATE this kind of abuse.

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Headmaster

Copyright infridgement?

"infridgement" ?

Are you saying they should freeze copyright, or that they should all just chill out?

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Facepalm

My case exactly

Link 1: No content, merely the assertion that: " Initial reports indicate that the treaty will have a very broad scope and will involve new tools targeting “Internet distribution and information technology.”

Great. "Initial reports" - well how about looking at the final treaty?

Link 2: the letter from EFF et al "states that "the *current draft* of ACTA would..." - so again not referring to the final text.

Link 3: Seems to date from around 2008 or possibly 2010:

"While little information has been made available by the governments negotiating ACTA a document recently leaked to the public entitled "Discussion Paper on a Possible Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement" from an unknown source gives an indication of what content industry rightsholder groups appear to be asking for..."

I keep seeing this stuff quoted time and time again. Stop posting OLD LINKS talking about OLD DRAFTS. If you want me to get on to my MEP a properly reasoned critique of the actual agreement.

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@Yes Me

"However the criminalisation of any method of bypassing DRM technology is odious."

Bingo. I buy a BluRay (say), I have an HTPC. It makes sense to me to get the movie on to the HTPC so I can watch it from my TVs/PCs. Or maybe I want to transcode it down To do this I need to by-pass the DRM.

I am now a criminal.

For what, exactly?

I am not going to share it with 10 brazillion people or start my own disc fab or something.

I own a few pieces of equipment that have had their security measures by-passed. I do not illegal with these either, they just now perform functions the original designers never intended.

DRM is nothing more than an obstacle to fair use. By-passing should not be a crime (as DRM should not exist to being with). Making many copies of the by-passed material is already a crime. Why do we need ACTA, SOPA, PIPA et al?

The current laws are perfectly adequate (in fatc, the current laws go too far, but anyway...). They managed to take down Megaupload with current laws (and deprive goodness know how many people of their own material - but who care about the public?)

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@Chris 3

The treaty has been negotiated in private. It's as if those involved don't want the public to know what it contains...

Any drafts we have seen have been leaked.

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Megaupload

If you trusted your files to Kim Dotcom (or Kimble as he used to be known) then you should have known better. The guy was the biggest twat on the internet even back in the 90s and would spend hours and hours cheating at Quake and Quake 2 and then DDOS'ing people who criticised or beat him. Do some research on who you give your money and files to.

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Fortunately that time honoured tradition of beer infridgement is still totally legal.

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Anonymous Coward

The sad thing is there's a more recent draft of ACTA which postdates the EFF scare story by quite some time. It's not that easy to find though (lost link, sorry). But it didn't sound very scary to me. Mostly it was just "member states COULD implement X,Y or Z if they so choose". No MUST, not even SHOULD. The EFF line is that ACTA implements things at a federal level across Europe with no dissent allowed, but they're paranoid Americans and don't understand that that's just not how Europe works. Frankly I'd be happy if the Americans would stay the fuck out of European politics and get their own house in order.

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Anonymous Coward

Democracy at its finest :(

Censurship of the net under the guise of piracy and the likes. In time the govenments amend these acts to suit their politcal whim.

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Anonymous Coward

How can you up or down vote a post that doesn't even make sense?

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@AC 2012 07:57 GMT

Easy - downvote it for being inchoerent. :)

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Forward it to ECJ

If everything else fails. Forward the ACTA to ECJ. As I find it in my opinion that ACTA breaks several EU treaties by default. That way it should be possible to kill ACTA in simple manner.

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Heh. The French on the side of Good. Would you believe that.

Funny to say the least, as under the current administration the French (gov) tried use their presidency period to pass a EU "law" making the operator of a wireless network criminally responsible for the acts of any person who would gain unauthorized access to said network. Read: yo granny's going to jail if someone posts kiddie porn -or indeed copyright-infringing content- after cracking her WEP. No further proof needed. Thankfully that never went through. The French observer's move is a welcome change (disclosure, before you ask: although I've been living overseas for quite a few years now, my passport still says "French").

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Downvoters, please expand

I'd genuinely love to see what I got wrong in this post. I'm French, so I might be a bit thick; please explain. Or go get screwed, your choice; I don't really mind the downvotes, I'm not running for class president.

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No you're not thick. You just didn't read the article. The French are one of the 21 states who ratified the act. So how do you put them on the side of good?

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Pint

It was probably...

...Morris! ;)

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Yag
Joke

Logical explanation : you are downvoted because you are french, the historical ennemy of everything british :)

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Clarifying: one good French guy, not France as a whole...

A little bit of confusion to which "French" Pierre is referring to. Not France at large, but the French EU Parliament Member that resigned in protest...

From TFA:

In an unprecedented move, the French European Parliament member assigned to monitor the treaty proceedings, Kader Arif, resigned in protest at the signings

Hope that helps resolve ambiguity.

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But note the UK!

After Cameron's weighty protestations about signing the financial pact subjecting nations' budgets to EC oversight, on grounds that that denigrates the UK's sovereignty, he approves this "treaty" that eviscerates the privacy rights of British subjects without any remorse. In a digital world, that's more of an extranational intrusion on citizens' privacy than are green-visor types in Brussels looking over a stale budget. Talk about hypocrisy of the highest order!

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Happy

Not "the French"

A French socialist MEP.

Sarko is C Bruni's sock puppet.

Good thing he's on his way out.

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OK, bad title

I should have typed "A" French.

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