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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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Silver badge
Mushroom

Fuckwits 1 - Fucktards 0

MegaUpload got clobbered, file share sites are in a panic, and so are some of the big uploaders.

Funny, this was done *WITHOUT* SOPA, ACTA, and the like. How was this possible? Oh, wait, we HAVE existing legislation. We don't need corrupt politicians to sign in powers to big media to act as judge/jury/executioner based upon an accusation and the rather flimsy "evidence" of an IP address.

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Preach it, brotha!

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Anonymous Coward

They can't run or hide

Pirate and pay the price.

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They can and will

Innocent tech-illiterate citizens, on the other hand, will be thoroughtly screwed.

This is Andrew Crossley's methods turned into law. Mafia-like racket being made the norm. Big victory indeed...

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Oh Morris...

...neither can you!

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Black Helicopters

Piracy...

I'm going off at a bit of a tangent here, but...

Has anyone else noticed how all manner of counterfeiting, file copying and the like is now almost always referred to as 'piracy'.

I assume this is one more example of TPTB trying to demonise something they wish to destroy.

The idea is essentially very simple, and relies on the general public being unaware they are being manipulated. For example, the FBI described Dillinger as 'public enemy number one' to stop people treating him as a folk hero.

The Internet being portrayed as a haven for child pornographers, pedophiles and terrorists is another example.

In this case, copying music from a CD to an iPod seems perfectly benign, so TPTB have had to introduce this tenuous connection to seagoing crime to make it appear bad.

Unfortunately for TPTB, my dysfunctional mind only conjurers up an image of somebody with a skull-and-crossbones emblazoned three-cornered hat, eyepatch and peg leg, tapping at a computer keyboard with their hook, and mumbling curses past a cutlass in their mouth

(Removes tinfoil hat)

We now return you to your scheduled programming.

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Bring it up to date: vicious black people in rubber boats toting AK-47s and RPGs, attacking defenseless cargo ships off the coast of Somalia. Why, they're the very next thing to terrorists! Which of course, digital "pirates" eventually will become once they're so libeled and labeled. This is a very slippery slope.

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Facepalm

Steam Model

The major root of the whole problem of internet piracy of copyrighted content really is the fact that the MPAA/RIAA and associated global arms are stuck in an old and unworkable business model. The heads of this business are old fat-cats who are too happy with their fingers in their ears yelling 'LA LA LA LA LA' to block out the chorus of the internet crying out for change.

The old model guaranteed high profits, and loads of industry control because the means of distributing content were often limited to moving physical property from place to place. The duplication of film stock and audio recordings was limited to certain companies authorized to do such work.

The advent of the home VCR and even the cassette tape were the first stage in the loss of control of content distribution, you could connect two VCRs or tape players together and make as many duplicates of the content as you wanted. It was a time consuming process and the MPAA/RIAA didn't like it but not much could really be done, and the rates of piracy were still relatively low mainly due to the time required and loss of quality in the duplicates, so this didn't force the industries into a rethink of their business model.

Fast-forward a couple of decades and the rise of the Personal Computer and the Internet was such a fast and wide reaching thing that the MPAA/RIAA didn't have time to really look at and arrive with a new business model. They just stuck their heads in the sand and hoped it would go away. It didn't. The PC and Internet made it possible to almost perfectly duplicate the original copyrighted work in an extremely short time, with very little quality loss, and made distribution of these duplicate works extremely easy and fast. The MPAA/RIAA tried to sue as many people as they could but it turned into a PR disaster, such large and powerful organisations picking on little Johnny in his mothers basement, and in some cases, little Johnny's mother.

It is high time that the Film and Music industries finally conceeded defeat and came up with a new modern business model that will make everyone happy. My idea is this...

Steam, from Valve Software.

It's the perfect idea for this kind of content access and distribution. Sure it will require some small tweaks to make it apply to Video and Audio files, but the idea is just the same. Sure there is stuff like iTunes but they are hold-overs from the tightly controlled (DRM) distribution model of old, and they need to be scrapped.

A studio needs to make their works available within the 'Steam' style framework where a user's content library is stored in the system. Newly released content is made available from a central server but as it gets downloaded, the system starts using a P2P model where once there is a critical mass, the central server basically becomes a backup for the P2P version of the file. As for the purchasing of music or films, you access the store, you pay a small amount of money, say a couple of dollars for an album, or maybe $5 for a feature film. You get a perpetual license to the content, if you loose it you can just download another copy from the P2P pool, you can freely copy the file to other systems and access it whenever and whereever.

Then the store can have deals on content. Like all the bond films? Instead of paying $300 for DVDs of the whole thing, you can pay like $50 and get all of them. Is it the holiday season? 30% discount on all the crappy holiday season films. Want to keep the Cinemas in business? All latest released stuff still gets screened at the Cinema but keep your ticket which has a redemption code for a free or heavily discounted digital copy of the movie from the Store.

The whole issue is pricing the content at a point where everyone thinks 'Meh, it's only a few bucks, i'll buy it" the same thought process can be seen with movies that didn't do so well at the box office in the bargain basement bin at the local shopping complex. "Some Crappy Movie for $8, it was an ok movie, i'll grab it for $8, no big deal" The bonus of doing the content distribution digitally instead of over physical media is with the Store/P2P approach is that the Industry doesn't have to pay or pays almost nothing for distribution, it's pure profit. Where as the $8 DVD in the bargain basement bin still has to pay shipping, manufacturing, wages, etc up the line and will make almost no money in the end.

Then comes the added benefits from the Store based approach. Have a single unified store. Sure it will be a monopoly but if it represented the whole of the global content industries, the cost of running the thing can be shared easily, thus making the running cost of it for any particular company rather small, and leaving them with even more profit. It also avoids market segmentation with people having content on multiple services. Also with the monopoly store approach, there is a guarantee that the store will always exist, thus keeping everyone's purchases 100% safe forever. The game stores (Like Steam) have a problem of if the parent company shutters the service what happens to the user's legally purchased content. This is a non-issue for a global, industry-wide service.

Next comes the metrics that could be data-mined from each user in an anonymous fashion. They could work out what films/music people like the most and produce more of that type of content, thus fueling more sales.

This is something I thought of for about the whole of 20mins, why is it so hard for the content industries to come up with something like it!

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This post has been deleted by its author

TL;DR: Discount code for films wouldn’t work so well because the tickets or license to watch the film(s) would then be huge. Streaming films wouldn’t work so well because of limited bandwidth and speed. Though big budget films may not be as awesome as indie ones, they are the ones that bring big bucks to the investors and do tend to fund indie films that could otherwise be a loss. Everything below says what’s mentioned in this paragraph at least once with quite a lot of bantering and digressing. Why not delete what’s below? Maybe you’ll enjoy my bantering, maybe not. Either way, I ain’t all for the new laws, especially if they restrict freedom and so on. But I don’t quite agree with you, though it could hold true for the future.

Hmmm I'd disagree with getting a discount code for a digital copy when watching the film in the cinema. Sure, it'd be lovely, but it's just not viable—unless you're going to raise the ticket price to cover the cost. Part of the money from the ticket goes to the cinema—so maybe a discount code could work, but then they're just going to be increasing the price of that license to watch the film on whatever medium you desire, a medium-wide-license so to speak.

That could be very, very expensive—I much prefer the current model, pay for what you want when you want. It also means those tight on cash don't need to pay a huge price for a medium-wide-license and instead a small price for the DVD or Blu-ray, or whatever, copy. In the future, downloaded films are the way to go, but the current bandwidth and download-speed doesn't really cut it at the moment. I understand the point you're making though, their current model isn't suited for the internet age. I agree.

You seem to be putting across that films are cheap to produce. They're frigging expensive. Sure, some of the budget might be going to heads-in-asses actors and directors who demand, or whose unions demand, a huge wage. But that's the way our crappy society runs, unfortunately. You’re putting across that pricing films low will mean more people will buy it. Possibly yes, but it might not generate as much ‘profit’, or whatever Hollywood banking calls that huge positive sum of money they get.

As for what films people like, kinda the ones they are producing at the moment. Yes the big-budget Hollywood ones are kinda crappy but they bring enough money in to fund the smaller indie films which tend to be a loss, even taking into account Hollywood accountancy. If an indie film does do well, such as Terminator, then the sequels tend to be big-budget. Though some indie films are never released because they don’t agree to the Hollywood motto, or if are released aren’t really advertised well, such as the awesome Fight Club film. Hollywood is making films people like as a whole, that’s why they’re making huge ‘profits’. If you don’t happen like those big-budget films, then you’re taste is rare and doesn’t really make a good return, as awesome as it may be to you or me. By the way, I’m not questioning you’re taste.

So yeah, the new laws may be bad, I’ve not yet read it, and if they are against our freedoms and whatnot, then I’m against it. But the current model kinda works, but then kinda doesn’t. [I’ll update/delete this post when after a nice sleep and some common sense]

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PT

Steam model?

I'm not sure I like the idea of having to store content I paid for in the "system" and just borrowing it from time to time. I prefer the idea of tangible property in my hands, that I can use at any time without reference to any other person and dispose of any way I please. I have CDs that are 20 years old some vinyl records more than 40 years old. I'd like to see the online storage that would hold my property safe for so long, free of charge, and let me take them to parties or lend to my friends.

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except

Except that with the Steam model you download a copy to your local hardware - and you can re-download it onto any other hardware whether you own it or not as long as you're logged into your Steam account. The online servers basically work as a perpetual, access anywhere backup.

For instance, I own Shogun 2: Total War - my mum doesn't. If I'm visiting my mum I could, if I wanted, log into my Steam account on her computer download S2:TW and play it there.

But, yes, I still sometimes prefer the physical media and tend to buy CDs... but for games, well, there probably aren't that many games that you'll want to still be playing that you bought 10 years ago, let alone 20 or 40... and, as far as I'm concerned anyway, I think the pros outweigh the cons when it comes to Steam (especially when they have one of their sales on and you can pick up games dirt cheap; the original Mass Effect for £1.75 before Christmas for instance).

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----

I'd like to see the online storage that would hold my property safe for so long, free of charge, and let me take them to parties or lend to my friends.

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Technically, if you read the copyright blurb on your CDs, they probably explicitly disallow one or both of those things ;) So really they don't allow (OK, give permission for) you to do that either.

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WTF?

" It also means those tight on cash don't need to pay a huge price for a medium-wide-license and instead a small price for the DVD or Blu-ray, or whatever, copy."

Eh? A month of unlimited movie streaming from Lovefilm / Netflix costs less than one Blu-Ray film. Where's this "huge" price you speak of?

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The problem with the Steam model

Once steam goes bust, I'll loose all my content. It would be the first eternal company.

What I want is a DRM-free copy. I'll take care of the rest. Of course I'd like to buy it, but if I cannot, well I'll need to pirate.

And why does the industry have a problem with that. Until the mid-1990s every format was DRM-free, and since then, pretty much every DRM system has been circumvented, one way or the other. The ratio of media which can be found of Piratebay probably is way higher for DRMed media than for DRM-free ones.

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Re: magnetik

Well hear in lies a problem...

LoveFilm / Netflix haven't got a Linux compatible client (yet - although Netflix are making one)

So what should they do ... Purchase Windows perhaps ? There is no way as that would fund a company that is actively supporting this hideous act (and the PIPA act.) - not to mention using patents generally to prevent innovation and competition.

Everything about this act (and SOPA/PIPA) is all about censoring the internet and will damage society (like funding Microsoft)

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@magnetik

Unlimited Movie streaming from LoveFilm or Netflix may cost less than a bluray, but you haven't bought a license for a copy, you're just renting. What the OP (Robert Heffernan) said was to get a coupon for a heavily discounted or free digital copy of the film when you watch it at the cinema. If that was to occur then you're going to have a license to watch the film on different types of mediums (or media), such as the cinema and on PCs.

Now, they're already sell films and then re-release them if a different type of medium comes out, but they want you to pay. So say you had Beauty and the beast on VHS, if it comes out on DVD they expect you to pay the full price, they will not give a discount just because you owned a license to watch it on a different medium. Likewise, if you download a copy because your copy on VHS isn't as clear or is lost, I doubt they'll treat you different to another downloader and who has never had a legal copy.

So, if they did sell the license for you to own a copy of that film on different mediums, then expect it to be high because they already want people to pay several times for that film. That's why there's directors cut and extended versions and special anniversary versions, they want people to pay. It may not be nice but they're a business and expect them to squeeze money out of their customers at every opportunity.

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Replies to above points

I understand the current hollywood model tries to squeeze as much money out of the consumer as possible, by having to re-buy the content when it comes out in a better format. It's this very act that is known far-and-wide and is part of the problem when it comes to piracy of content. It's the first thing that needs to change. The fact that directors, actors, etc make such huge sums from a movie actually gets offset by the fact that they can go years without income, not getting cast or called to make a movie, it's why you see so many actors and directors branching out into producer roles and such.

As for the store using a streaming model, that's a definite no-no, it's still a hold-over of the current 'we-must-have-total-control' mentality of hollywood. While there are internet markets that have caps on downloads and data is priced by the gigabyte, streaming will not work, doubly so to people on very low bandwidth limits. The service must be download based. You buy it, it starts downloading a copy to your local machine. Once there, there is no issue with burning the file onto DVD or Blu-Ray for those that like to have a physical copy. If you ever damage your disk you can just re-burn it. If you want to take it to a friends house, you can take the file, and watch it (with your license) if your friend likes it, they can copy the file to their system, buy it from the store, and not have to re-download it.

The whole system will cause a big change in hollywood, especially concerning money but it's a change that is needed, the current system doesn't work anymore. They will make less per copy of the content, but they will get more sales of the content and the cost to distribute content will become essentially free, so the money lost in the supply chain will dry up (which sucks if you work in the supply chain). Besides, using Avatar for an example, the film cost $250,000,000 to make which is quite a large sum for a single movie. They only needed to make that sum back plus a modest amount extra to make it worthwhile. They made $2,782,275,172 which is such an obscene amount of profit (in fact it's a little more than the GDP of Guam), and where did it all go? In to some fat-cat's bank account.

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ACx

Oh nice one this. We get these laws and each nation state will simply blame Europe. Brilliant. No, its a work of genius.

Wow, I now believe we actually have less democracy than the US. I apologise America. Serves me right.

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Boffin

apology accepted

"At least EU parliamentarians get to debate the issue – the Obama administration claims that no democratic vote is required on the treaty since it an “executive agreement”.

Since when does Obama have squat to do with the EU parliament ?

most Americans don't accept Obama's interpretation of our laws, why would any in Europe give a rats ass about his opinion of EU law ?

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Flame

You (like the Reg journo) don't understand

ACTA is not an EU law.

ACTA is a multinational treaty

*EVERYONE* is going to sign up for ACTA, not just the EU.

Didn't you notice they were signing it in Japan?

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Anonymous Coward

Not smart enough to quit while behind

Oops, they did it again.

http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2141725/alleged-anonymous-arrested-edf-hack

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Pint

Who Has the Power Here?

You can always vote with your wallets next time Hollywood - or whomever - wants your business, and just *refuse* to spend your hard-earned.

Let them know why you won't buy as well.

It is entirely THAT simple. Who's up for a pint, down the corner pub instead?

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Trollface

You can also vote...

... and I will not be voting for a government that ratifies this next time around.

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Gold badge
FAIL

"You can always vote with your wallets next time Hollywood - or whomever - wants your business, and just *refuse* to spend your hard-earned."

The problem is that they just show that their income is decreasing, and say that it is because of the pirates, and hence even more draconian laws are needed (oh, and here have another prostitute, senator)

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Black Helicopters

How will you do that? When one checks the voting record in a representative democracy, one will find that all parties - including "the opposition" - always vote in unison on controversial legislation, specifically to defuse voter retaliation (The voting record in general bears little semblance to the opinions presented in the media).

In Britain and the US, the incoming government will just carry right on with whatever got the last government kicked out. Democracy is a sham!

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@fajensen

Two words: Pirate Party

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Silver badge

What we have is a Representative Democracy

You are represented by the person who obtained the majority vote in their (your) constituency.

Not only can you not vote for your MP or MEP at the next election, you also have the ABSOLUTE RIGHT to lobby them to hear and your concerns, and if sufficient interest is expressed to convince them, act on the concerns. Obviously there are limits (don't go stalking your MP, use the surgery process and letters and email), but you should give it a go sometime. You also have the same right to lobby members of the upper house when legislation passes to the House of Lords.

What breaks this is the Party system, that imposes a whip on the way that they vote. In my view, there should be no such thing as the party whip in Parliamentary votes, and MPs should be free to vote in line with what a majority of their constituents want. This would, however, make passing legislation and running a government much more difficult.

Unfortunately, it is necessary to have a representative system for all but the most important issues (where you have a referendum), because the great unwashed masses (and in fact, many of your MPs) are really not interested in the minutia of day-to-day government. When was the last time any of my fellow UK citizens even bothered to watch the BBC Parliament channel, let alone read Hansard or attend parliamentary sessions, and this is often the most interesting bits!

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Thumb Down

The Pirate Party needs to work out where it stands on a wide variety of serious issues - for instance, the installation of air conditioning on the outside of buildings to combat global warming. Until then, the long-standing problems with the system of Western democracy can only be solved by the Monster Raving Loony party.

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Alert

Air conditioning units on the outside of buildings

You may have meant this as a joke, but such devices already exist. They are called "air source heat pumps", and the heat extracted from the outside air can be used for space or water heating inside the building.

Since one kilowatt of electricity can move heat from place to place at a rate of three or four kilowatts, and ends up as another kilowatt of heat on the output side, it means you are effectively getting heat for somewhere between one-quarter and one-fifth of the price of the electricity you would have used to produce it.

That works out cheaper per kilowatt-hour than mains gas; and, assuming the price of gas increases more quickly over time than the price of electricity (which is reasonable; since gas is a finite resource, not all power stations burn gas and more electricity is going to be generated sustainably in future), is likely to become more economical over time.

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Death of Democracy

Just goes to show how pointless our 'democratic' system is.

A wide ranging treaty that, like all the previous treaties we have been stuck with, is going to be interpretted so as to require new laws. Laws that will be rammed through the UK Parliament because they will be 'required' to conform to this treaty.

I seem to recall that the Irish government is being sued by the Music Mafia because their laws don't match the industries interpretation of other EU treaties.

And in this whole process our so called representatives have done absolutly squat to engage with us the voters.

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No - start lobbying your MEP

The Agreement needs to be ratified by the European parliament. If enough people feel strongly enough about ACTA and can put together cogent objections this could be an *excellent* issue to get the Parliament to flex its muscles. It just needs a concerted public push.

http://www.writetothem.com/

But

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Anonymous Coward

THEY GOT YOU BY THE BALLS

And we know what they want, they want more for themselves and less for everybody else!

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Facepalm

"Kader Arif, resigned... saying that the EU was trying to have as little public debate on ACTA as possible, and that right-wing groups were trying to ram it into law with no oversight."

As opposed to most things the EU does, where they have as little public debate as possible and the left wingers try to ram it into law with no oversight?

How shocking.

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Anonymous Coward

Far out

ACTA is about much more than copyright-violations. It also means that the most restrictive policies on copyrights and patents will be enforced globally regardless of local laws. Countries that currently don't endorse patents on software or business-processes are now fair game for US patent trolls. Commercial software companies will be able put a ban on freecode throughout the ACTA area through claims of patent infringement without having to disclose details.

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FAIL

Perhaps you should try reading it before passing assumptions off as fact

Article 3 - section 2

"This Agreement does not create any obligation on a Party to apply measures

where a right in intellectual property is not protected under its laws and regulations."

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As opposed to European Patent Trolls, or Patent Trolls of any other stripe..?

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Bronze badge

There are obviously questions over whether this act is even legal. I know people are saying it should have been put to public consultation, but that's not the problem. Most new legislation in most countries never goes to any form of public consultation.

The legality of this particular act is not under question because of the way the act was developed, it is questionable because many of the nations who ratified it did not debate it in parliament. Check the constitutions and laws of many of the countries that ratified the act and you will see that they are quite clear on the fact that nothing can pass into law until it has been debated and passed by parliament (two houses in many cases). So until it goes through those processes it is not law in those countries.

Of course the problem is that somebody would have to launch a successful challenge on those grounds in each of those countries. That might be difficult.

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It's a trade agreement

Nothing gets passed into law.

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Anonymous Coward

everyone should have their rights protected

Fair use, privacy, due process and copyright time limits need to be made clearer and fairer to the paying public and citizenry. We have a moral responsibility to content creators but this shouldn't be unlimited to the cost of everything else.

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Silver badge

Revolution

It's about the only option left!

Copyright infringement is bad, ok? But I doubt the problem is as big as is made out.

Infringement could be cut drastically by the majors simply providing the public with the service they want. No DRM, no region locking, fair price, multiple codecs (for those who can't transcode).

Yes, some companies will go to the wall.

Yes, some artists will see a massive fall in pay.

Yes, many people will lose their jobs.

So what?

Many new companies will appear.

Many artists will see an increase in pay (they should not have more of a direct link to their fans).

Many new jobs will be created.

Our culture will no longer be held hostage to corporate interests.

I still credit the EU with at least some level of honesty on how ACTA was bought and paid for by corporate interests. It gives me that extra urge to vote Pirate the next time I get the chance.

Thinking about it - as ACTA has had zero public and democratic scrutiny, could there be an appeal lodged?

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typo

"they should not have more of a direct link to their fans"

should read

"they should now have more of a direct link to their fans"

And I see there is at least one anti-freedom, anti-speech downvote already. Nice.

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Anonymous Coward

A lot of people here are taking the "it's stealing even if the original is still there" high ground.

A question, though...

If someone invented one of those replicators in Star Trek, would you have some sort of problem with that too?

"Replicating food is killing the supermarkets, and it's illegal!"

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Not necessarily my personal position, but...

"If someone invented one of those replicators in Star Trek, would you have some sort of problem with that too?

"Replicating food is killing the supermarkets, and it's illegal!""

All joking aside, Monsanto would probably be filing suit before the replicator even cooled off, so I'd guess that yes, they would. There is plenty of I.P. in physical products. Whether or not some of the associated "rights" (see Monsanto for example) should have been granted or be enforced the way they are is a different question.

-d

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Anonymous Coward

The Music Industry would get there first

You could after all simply input the pattern for the latest release (and hopefully the Justin Bieber of the day will cause the replicator to explode) and replicate your own CD.

Of course by then someone will have patented "the act of introducing various notes into ones voice whilst adhering to a tempo" so no-one will be allowed to sing without license anyway!

A/C cos at work, so as I can't use the Icon;

/-\

/ \

/ \

/ JOKE \

/ ALERT! \

/ \

------------------

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Anonymous Coward

Obviously

The forums removed my carefully placed formatting

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Big Brother

Yes - Thoughtcrime!

As title.

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