Posts Tagged ‘ACTA’
Free speech

Australian Government Response to Freedom of Information Request on Copyright Meeting.

There are moves afoot to fight for free speech in Australia:

Keith Windschuttle: So we come well within Finkelstein’s scope. If his oppressive scheme is ever implemented, we would feel compelled to defend the long tradition of press freedom by engaging in civil disobedience. While ever I am editor, Quadrant would not recognise the News Media Council’s authority, we would not observe its restrictions, and we would not obey its instructions, whatever the price. We hope other publishers will take a similar stand.

It’s great to stand on principle, but will he also defend press freedom from legislative assault at the bequest establishment media vested interests:

Australia’s government won’t disclose its secret copyright meetings because knowing what went on isn’t in the public interest: The government also claims that it can’t release a list of attendees because it doesn’t have such a list — that is, the government doesn’t know who was invited to its secret, eyes-only copyright meeting.

The changes to copyright attack the same fundamental freedom. But in Australia they are at an earlier stage in their assault. It is also subtler, with the nature of the evil impositions somewhat camouflaged under legitimate business interests. Even normally sound groups such as the IPA have been seduced by the rhetoric around copyright protection.

While the IPA is to be applauded for its moves to defend free speech, it needs to recognize that government acting on behalf of vested corporate interests is no less of a threat than when it is acting on behalf of vested ideological ones. Vested interests will always use the rhetoric they believe most likely to be effective. They also tend not to give up after a defeat:

MPAA boss: we’re cooking up a new SOPA behind the scenes: Former Senator Chris Dodd, head of the MPAA, has hinted to the Hollywood Reporter that he’s already greasing the wheels for a new version of SOPA, though he’s shy about revealing details because of the public outcry that might ensue. Dodd is the guy who went on the record to tell Obama that he would instruct his members to stop donating to the Democratic party because Obama didn’t usher in the laws they wanted.


Understanding TPP, ACTA’s nastier, more secret little brother: A new report by Carrie Ellen Sager of that compares the provisions in ACTA, the secretly negotiated copyright treaty currently up for adoption in Europe, the USA and other countries; and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a more extreme, more secretive version of ACTA being negotiated by various Pacific Rim countries.

 On “Technological Protection Measures” TPP has two nasty turns of the infringement screw:

 TPP goes beyond ACTA by applying provisions on technological protection where circumvention is carried out unknowingly or without reasonable grounds to know.


 TPP goes beyond ACTA by explicitly limiting the possible limitations and exclusions to the TPM circumvention rules, while ACTA gives a country free reign to create exceptions and limitations it finds reasonable.

 The second of those is particularly troublesome, since it reduces the scope for signatories to introduce more balanced copyright laws even if they wanted to.


Perhaps Andrew Bolt will weigh in? He is not legally restricted from doing so.  Sadly I expected human cognitive failings will come into play. We all have our blind spots. Traditional defenders of free markets sometimes miss the fact that corporations are incentivized to get laws changed to maximize their profits, not our welfare or freedom – be it of speech or anythings else.

Introducing an Australia carbon dioxide tax or emissions trading scheme will enrich many, but it will impoverish more. Legislative imposts are imposts, even if they benefit some people and corporations. Bastiat’s broken windows parable made that clear enough. Let’s not allow our liberty to be crushed. Resist restrictions on our ability to espouse our views. It is fundamental to Western civilization. Without it we will slip back into despotism and a new economic dark age. One technology will make hard to escape from.

The price of liberty is eternal vigilance. Don’t let the state deny you the ability to even know what is going on, let alone voice your objection. Let’s delay the return of terror and slaughter.

The Gods Of The Copybook Headings

AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

Why ACTA’s Dangerous

EU Official Who Resigned Over ACTA Details Why ACTA Is Dangerous; While His Replacement Seems Unlikely To Care: He explains how those backing ACTA, by saying that it won’t have any impact on EU laws, are being misleading. He says that if that’s true, then the document is useless. And if it’s not true, then it’s a threat to people’s rights:

ACTA , Australia and too many laws

It’s hard to know the effects of a treaty which is able to evolve over time:

Article 42: Amendments Parties may submit proposed amendments to the Committee for review, which would then determine whether or not the proposed amendment should be presented for potential ratification, acceptance, or approval. Successful amendments would become effective 90 days after all parties have provided their respective instruments of ratification, acceptance, or approval to the depositary.[69][68]

In a report to the Australian Joint Standing Committee on Treaties, Kimberlee Weatherall, an associate professor at the University of Queensland, assessed the article in saying “it might be argued that the text of ACTA could be fleshed out through guidelines on an ongoing basis, with possible amendments in the longer term.”[70] Citing the relationship with Article 33, she added that “it might further be argued that the exhortations to ‘promote cooperation, where appropriate, among [the Parties’] competent authorities’, particularly in conjunction with the existence of regular meetings and exchange of information about enforcement practices, creates the basic framework within which more detailed mechanisms can be developed over time”.[70]

One of the ways that tyranny can be established is if there are too many laws for people to know if they are breaking one. They can’t possibly know. There are too many laws to know them all. Then you have to add all the delegated authorities to create regulations. Now there is a trend to add who knows how many pages of ever evolving international treaties to the list. It’s madness.

Even an organ as sedate as the Economist has recognized the problem:

Too many laws, too many prisoners THREE pickup trucks pulled up outside George Norris’s home in Spring, Texas. Six armed police in flak jackets jumped out. Thinking they must have come to the wrong place, Mr Norris opened his front door, and was startled to be shoved against a wall and frisked for weapons. He was forced into a chair for four hours while officers ransacked his house. They pulled out drawers, rifled through papers, dumped things on the floor and eventually loaded 37 boxes of Mr Norris’s possessions onto their pickups. They refused to tell him what he had done wrong. “It wasn’t fun, I can tell you that,” he recalls.

Mr Norris was 65 years old at the time, and a collector of orchids. He eventually discovered that he was suspected of smuggling the flowers into America, an offence under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

The following was true in 1998. The situation has got a lot worse since:

Law prof and cop agree: never ever ever ever ever ever ever talk to the cops about a crime, even if you’re innocent. In a brilliant pair of videos, Prof. James Duane of the Regent University School of Law and Officer George Bruch of the Virginia Beach Police Department present a forceful case for never, ever, ever speaking to the police without your lawyer present. Ever. Never, never, never.

I’ve directed many people to those videos over the years. No one has ever regretted taking the time to watch them. Indeed I’ll be adding them to the video section of the site. I can’t recommend them highly enough.

If there are so many laws that you almost certainly will be inadvertently breaking one, how do you avoid prosecution? Why, you have to make those in positions of power like you. You are no longer living in liberty, instead you have freedom by the grace and favor of whoever is not persecuting you. If they do not like you, they can get you locked up.

If nothing else having too many laws and regulations is an invitation to graft and corruption. But it is actually something far worse. It is an attack on the very essence of our society. It begs the question of whether you are living in a land of liberty or one of tyranny? If you still feel you are living in a land of the free, are you doing so on borrowed time? If you happen to be living in North Korea or somewhere else subject to the whim of a despot then you know the answer. You probably have no need to read this blog. You are already aware of what a precious thing liberty and freedom are. Sometimes you don’t realize the value of something until it is missing.

It’s not as if many legislators are unaware of the problem:

Stop making so many laws… all the u-turns are ‘making us look bad’, Cameron tells MPs. Lord McNally, a Lib Dem minister, told the paper both parties had entered the coalition aiming to legislate less, but that every department has Bills it wants passed.

But of course, there are so many problems. The government has to do something. Even those traditionally in favor of legislative and fiscal restraint are now conditioned to do something. Besides, the more complex the laws and regulations, the more scope there is for those in the know to profit from their knowledge. They then become a powerful vested interest for further legislative and regulatory imposts. Who knows what they might achieve if they were actually engaged in a value-adding activity? .

Graphic at top of the post from:

Too many conventions hurting environment. Increasing environmental awareness has resulted in the adoption of about 500 conventions, which paradoxically has hindered saving the planet.