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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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Bronze badge

Am I missing something..

...it's not even particularly subtle.

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Anonymous Coward

Nothing to fear, nothing to Hide

By the secrecy I can only assume that the UK members of this potential clusterfcuk have already signed something saying they are committed to implementing whatever the other governments agree on and they are now undertaking damage limitation (butt covering) prcoedures.

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<title>

If they show that much contempt for the duly elected representatives of this sceptic isle, how much more do they have for the great unwashed?

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Big Brother

'Sobvious...

We're just vote-fodder every five years, financial milch cows permanently, and are being threatened with the bogeyman of Alky Ada to frighten us into submission, and a host of petty rules and jobsworths to condition us into unthinking obedience.

I think the Hoons have forgotten that they are OUR servants - 't'aint t'other way round...

**Never forget,

Rebellion is the right, sometimes the duty. of every free man

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Megaphone

I DONT NEED A TITLE!

"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."

And that comes as a shock to you? Do you think thats all that they are working on?

Its time for the Internet Revolution gentlemen, it is time to teach those penny pinching bastards that the keyboard is mightier than the nuclear bomb!

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Revolution?

>>"Its time for the Internet Revolution gentlemen, it is time to teach those penny pinching bastards that the keyboard is mightier than the nuclear bomb!"

By doing what?

What liberties are you hoping to defend, and what fraction of the population (who are old enough and motivated enough to vote) do you think really do or might support you?

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Happy

Sounds like we're in a bit of bother.

Allegedly, they wont/can't tell us (the General Public, consumers and taxpayers!) what our negotiating partners don't want us to know what they're negotiating about - but the lobbyists do get an inside track. And they claim open Government! We must trust them to come to the right decission and they'll work on our behalf to secure the best deal. They will love you in the morning and the cheque is in the post!

I'm tempted to the view of "sack the blighters" but I know the next lot will be no better. Until we have a change in attitude a change of Government will make almost no difference.

Time to get active.

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Open Government?

But this IS Open Government! It's wide open to any corporation who can afford to organise a lobby to influence it.

Just not to the people they like to claim it "represents". Us.

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Stop

bubble bubble

The title is the sound of my blood boiling.

When the corporates get access to new laws that the elected MPs do not, that's it. We've lost. We live in a combination police state/sony BMG state.

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Unhappy

Reading Bills

Bills don't have to be debated, they just have to be "read", which can be to an empty chamber (other than the reader). Then there's a division (vote). If a member isn't present at the division, their vote is forfeit. Calling a division at midnight on the last sitting day of a Parliamentary session, with only a handful of members present, is a tactic sometimes used.

People often hold up the USA as a beacon of democracy, and the movies show you packed chambers with vigorous arguments taking place, but that seldom reflects reality. I've personally seen the US Senate with one (1) senator present, there only for the purposes of reading a bill ... reading to no-one except some scribe in the corner, just to get it on record. They avoid issues with such things by avoiding the "quorum call" if the other side doesn't care, which seems to be most of the time.

I hope Blighty doesn't descend to such depths.

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Big Brother

Hansard?

Surely the proceeding of Hansard record what goes on in the Chamber.

If a bill is read then what was read has to be recorded in Hansard.

If NuLab want to keep this quiet then they will 'read' the bill, the day PArliament is dissolved for the election.

Then the Prince of Darkness with join Gordo as he goes to see Liz to disolve the house. But before she does sign the order, he'll say

"Excuse me Ma'am. Would you like to sign this bill into law"

That is done & dusted with not public debate.

If our Gov decises not to sign up then the US will just stop trading with us full stop. The WTO can go to hell.

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forget politics, just follow the money

the two party system is broken - in both the UK and US (and yes, I know the Lib Dems are a party in the UK but they're more of the ugly ginger kid who gets invited because your Mum feels bad)

Politicians are, if not ourtight corrupt, malleable in their loyalties - there are always financial / power considerations which they find more compelling that doing their job for the genuine long term good of the country and the electorate

Natural Resource companies want to dig somewhere - lets repeal some annoying land or animal protection legislation (never mind the next generation) or go to war. An "entertainment" conglomorate sees it's gravy train coming to an end (god forbid they'd have to innovate or be original) so secret treaties are concocted to prop them up.

The games that our elected officials play, once elected, are shameful (and the Civil Service are, at best, complicit and, at worst, implicated) but luckily for them the public and the Fourth Estate have very limited memories (and the press are largely driven by the agendas of one of two large, politically aligned, masters) ... so come election time unless a candidate is stupid enough to be caught with an ugly hooker while his cherub like twins starve in his car on the street.... no-one remembers the harm they have done in the previous 3 and a half years.

Is there a better way? Without a doubt. Do I have the answer? Not really... but technology surely gives us an opportunity to deliver real democratic government...

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That's not how it works

I'm not sure this is going to form a new Copyright Act or whether it will simply be incorporated into a new copyright treaty (which is the prerogative of the government and does not need any debate).

There have to be three readings of the Bill in both the Commons and the Lords to enact an Act of Parliament. If Parliament is prorogued before the Royal Assent the bill automatically falls and has to start from scratch. There's almost no chance any new copyright bill could pass through these stages, even if both sides were in agreement, before the end of this Parliament.

The first reading is a formality. The government minister (or occasionally a back bencher) announces that a bill on such-and-such is going to be introduced. There's rarely a vote at this point. The real chance to change things is at Second Reading. Here's where all the debate occurs. MPs can post amendments (which must be voted on) or the whole bill can be thrown out.

The bill then goes off to committee for scrutiny (make your own jokes here). The government decides whether to accept the amendments from committee and the bill is then introduced for Third Reading. Usually this is a formality, but the amendments from committee can be voted on. However it's very restrictive and usually guillotined.

If the bill gets to this point it then goes to the Lords for three further readings and a committee stage. The Lords can also suggest amendments or reject the bill. After which it's back to the Commons. Assuming the Lords have no objections the bill goes for Royal Assent. If the Lords have suggested amendments, the government can either choose to accept them or to reject the amendments - at which point, back to the Lords again.

But I suspect, Mandelson's Law, which is fully supported by the Tories will be worded in such a way that any changes to copyright will become law without any public debate.

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Big Brother

Cost him my vote...

I think the recent turnaround in the MA electorate is a sign of the times. Things like the healthcare debate and ACTA have all been carried out behind closed doors. This flies in the face of all the open government promises we heard from Obama. I voted for him hoping for something better but in addition to prolonging the Afghan war, he has lost my vote for re-election. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

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autocracy?

For ffffive's Sake! This utterly corrupted labour government have to go... then if it were up to me, hang the lot of em! expect of course bLiar did away with that to save his own neck.

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And the Torries would do differently?

I hate Labour as much as the next guy (well, maybe not as much as the people who screech LIEBOUR!!!11!! at every opportunity), but I honestly think that the Conservatives would have done the same. Same policies, but a smarter suit. A bit like Tony Blair 10 years ago, really.

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@ Dave81

you are talking utter bollocks Blair was still at school when the death penalty was abollished he may have been in politics when it was finaly gotten rid of for even high treason (unless you are tring to say that he was ploting to invade Iraq in the early '80s) any way the death penalty is an absolute abomination.

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Stop

And the conclusion is...

Don't vote Tory or Labour! To do so is the Britard mentality, either swinging back and forth in middle class suburbia (where the swinging is supposedly to be found in more than one sense of the word), or ignorantly believing that voting Labour or Tory represents the values of your "social class" and that everyone down in London is working hard to look after your best interests, even when they've actually sold you out but you were too busy watching series 50 of "Celebritards Dancing in the Jungle".

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Big Brother

@John Dougald McCallum

"...any way the death penalty is an absolute abomination..."

That, Old Son, depends upon on whom it is being inflicted...

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On the menu

Organized corporatist deep packet inspection - standards and data sharing - backed by fascist corrupt politicians.

I would already be on a VPN but for the principle that hiding things is best done in plain view. This treaty will make VPN commonplace, and I for one welcome our nu VPN overlords.

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Big Brother

Scratches head

You have a closed session of parliament , you are not allowed to read the document you are voting on , you are not allowed to amend it and/or change any wording , you are not even allowed to make a copy of it and you are required to make an informed decision for yourself ,and all your constituents ,

This is not law this is total insanity worthy of 1984 and by doing so if you vote yes , you are in the end voting for the end of real Parliamentary Democracy , the return of warlords and dictators and the literal end of freedom and rights of self determination that was fought for in a trans global conflict over half a century ago ..

Welkome to the new Corporate Era as was outlined in "Robocop" , wher the only rights you had was what the corporation permitted , no more , no less .

Absolute Insanity in 5, 4, 3, ...........

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Megaphone

Well don't just talk about it

I have sent a letter to my MP, do the same, they don't read the Register. Maybe if enough people write maybe then they'll see how angry we are and maybe they might actually do something sensible for once. But they won't know if you don't tell them

http://www.writetothem.com/

Use the above you don't even have to print it, they'll do it for you and send it and track it.

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FAIL

Unfortunately...

Whilst I would love to write to my MP, and ask him to do something about it, my MP *is* Lammy.

(and, in the past, even when not directly responsible for the issue at hand, he's always ducked doing anything about it because of being a junior minister, minister, or because he was wanting to become one.)

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Boffin

Both US and UK have parliment TV channels

Do they have an on screen count of how *many* elected representatives are *present* at any given time?

The ability to just tune in and how many are still at it would be quite handy.

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Big Brother

We've seen this before

It also rejected claims that ACTA will mean border guards will search digital devices for pirated material.

"EU customs, frequently confronted with traffics of drugs, weapons or people, do neither have the time nor the legal basis to look for a couple of pirated songs on an iPod music player or laptop computer, and there is no intention to change this," the Commission said, claiming talks on border measures concerned controls on conterfeiting.

The U.S. border patrol simply increased the number of officers at crossings, and routinely have time and the resources to clone HDs. Who do they think they are foolin'? I can see the day when the big music companies provide backup volunteer inspectors to the border control agencies as a tax saving solution to any manning shortages.

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Clöar evidence that MPs have become pointless

So, what use is an MP, no matter how elected? Anyway, by the spelling used by some of the apparently UK writers in this forum, you have adopted American spelling, context and ideas, so no doubt you want the American way.

Re PR: I agree with the point about direct accountability: I live in a country with PR. There is no MP to whom you can write who would care. He or she represents their party anyway, no direct link to you, not even theoretically. Of course, if one does not believe one is voting for the person, just for the party, then PR is right. If you want to vote for an individual answerable to his constituents, PR is clearly the wrong way.

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ACTA on wikileaks

It's a pity wikileaks is down right now, because they had the whole shebang available (well, an older version of it). ACTA is one scary bit of legislation that basically reverts us to the state of affairs that existed before 1710 and the Statute of Anne, with "Big Media" as the "London Company of Stationers". ACTA was written by big media solely for the benefit of big media, and it's getting crammed down our throats through secret negotiations that will affect us for decades at least.

Unfortunately, I'm betting that very few people will even wince, they've been so brainwashed into believing the big media hype about "pirates" and crap like that. Doesn't help that the mainstream press is part of the problem.

What I saw was:

Perpetual copyright through the criminalization of DRM-circumvention.

Makes "works for hire" rules easier, so authors no longer own copyright, the publisher does.

The end of a growing public domain. If it was published after 1923, it'll never get there.

The ability of companies to pull things OUT of the public domain and slap DRM (and thus "copyright") on older works.

Elimination of "fair use" through various means.

Elimination of many rights we currently have thanks to copyRIGHT law.

The list goes on.

I vote the new rules be called "copytheft".

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@raving angry loony

That's more like it - a post about the *possible* content of an agreement, rather than the method of decision making.

Though what was it you actually read - a recent draft of an agreement, a summary of what a particular lobbyist might want, or something else?

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'Junior business minister David Lammy'

He's just as clueless when professing to be the universities minister.

In a heap of really shit government officials, Lammy stands out as especially bad - forget 'Blears bad' - he makes her look competent; travel far past 'Hoon bad', take the second exit at 'Blunkett bad' and you'll still need to fill up the tank to reach the particularly pointless realm inhabited by David Lammy.

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@raving angry loony

> I vote the new rules be called "copytheft"

Copyleft was the precursor to the Open Software GPL.

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