Posts Tagged ‘Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement’
International treaties and ACTA

Using international agreements to impose an elites utopian visions on society against the peoples wishes is abhorrent. It is also a practice that is getting totally out of hand. That’s why this type of post is so heartening:

TODAY IS THE DAY TO KILL ACTA: Today is the day of global protest against ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a copyright treaty negotiated in secret (even parliaments and other legislatures weren’t allowed to see the the working drafts), and which many governments (include the American government) are planning to adopt without legislative approval or debate. ACTA represents a wish-list of legislative gifts to the entertainment industry, and will seriously undermine legitimate users of the Internet. It imposes criminal sanctions — with jail time — for people who violate copyright, including remixers and other legitimate artists and creators. ACTA requires governments to shut down legitimate websites whose users “aid and abet” copyright infringement, creating a regime of fear and censorship for sites that accept comments and other media from users and curtailing discussion and debate in order to maximize entertainment industry profits….

Many European nations — including, most recently, Germany — have halted their involvement in ACTA. The tide is turning. We won the SOPA fight. We can win this one.

More on ACTA is available here and here. It must be stopped. The mechanism being used to impose it on us must be stopped. Only then can we remove the threat it represents to our rights.

Needless to say the the European Union (EU) is the trend setter in this progressive nightmare. Remember the Lisbon treaty:

Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe: The Treaty was signed on 29 October 2004 by representatives of the then 25 EU member states. It was later ratified by 18 member states, which included referenda endorsing it in Spain and Luxembourg. However the rejection of the document by French and Dutch voters in May and June 2005 brought the ratification process to an end.

Following a period of reflection, the Treaty of Lisbon was created to replace the Constitutional Treaty. This contained many of the changes that were originally placed in the Constitutional Treaty but was formulated as amendments to the existing treaties. Signed on 13 December 2007, the Lisbon Treaty entered into force on 1 December 2009.

Now democratically elected governments are dictated to by faceless foreign bureaucrats. Stop it. Enough already. Don’t they teach history anymore? Don’t they know the backlash they will unleash?  Youth unemployment is approaching or even exceeding 50% in some developed countries. There’s plenty of kindling for a fire. Once unleashed it will make the Arab Spring seem like a Tea Party. Europe has a long and bloody history. It no doubt has a long and bloody future. But lets not bring this future forward.

Massive unemployment is occurring while overly indebted States are running unsustainable deficits. When the deficits are reigned in, there will almost certainly be a rise in unemployment. Just as the heroin addict suffers withdrawal symptoms when denied their fix, so will our economies when the financial heroin is withheld. This does not mean that withdrawal is of necessity a bad thing. Giving a drunk another bottle of booze may delay the hangover. But eventually it will kill him. Better perhaps to sober up, however unpleasant the experience may be. We will have our debt/credit hangover, better sooner rather than later. Better while our socioeconomic system draws breath.

But please, lets get sober in a democracy rather than under a despot. Using treaties  to deny democracy undermines the power of the ballot box. Undermine it enough and people will lose faith in it. What will they turn to then?

ACTA is but one example of an appalling practice. The use of treaties, particularly ones connected with the UN to thwart democracy. Far too often the UN is used as a mechanism to impose the will of an alien elite on vibrant societies. The energy unleashed to stop ACTA must be focused on the real problem, subservience to foreign treaties and the UN. This mechanism for denying us our freedoms be must be closed. Only then can this route to despotism be blocked.


Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement replacing SOPA and PIPA

The grasping old media vested interests plan of implementing key aspects of SOPA and PIPA via the Anti-Counterfeiting  Trade Agreement (ACTA) continues apace. The Electronic Frontier Foundaton (EFF) reports:

We Have Every Right to Be Furious About ACTA

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is a plurilateral agreement designed to broaden and extend existing intellectual property (IP) enforcement laws to the Internet. While it was only negotiated between a few countries,1 it has global consequences. First because it will create new rules for the Internet, and second, because its standards will be applied to other countries through the U.S.’s annual Special 301 process. Negotiated in secret, ACTA bypassed checks and balances of existing international IP norm-setting bodies, without any meaningful input from national parliaments, policymakers, or their citizens. Worse still, the agreement creates a new global institution, an “ACTA Committee” to oversee its implementation and interpretation that will be made up of unelected members with no legal obligation to be transparent in their proceedings

Naturally many of the former bastions of freedom and liberty casually caste aside their cultural inheritance and signed the international treaty:

Ireland and EU to sign controversial ACTA treaty tomorrow

The United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Morocco – all of which took part in negotiating the treaty – signed up to ACTA in October of last year.

How easy it is for our representatives to betray all those who fought and died that we may be free. Shame on our government, shame on our bureaucrats. But most of all, shame on us for quietly allowing it to happen. As Martin Luther King Jr said:

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.

So start protesting. Let your representatives know your views. Stop your legislature from ratifying the treaty. If already ratified, force them to withdraw from it. Those with more recent memories of living under tyranny are showing the way:

 Thousands take to streets in protests at internet censorship

Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Polish cities Wednesday, some of them hurling stones at police, in protest at an international copyright treaty criticized as a clampdown on freedom of speech on the internet.

It’s Polish politicians in parliament in the Guy Fawkes masks at the top of this post. Then earlier today there was this report:

Poland’s Prime Minister wants to put the brakes on ACTA

Tomo sez, “Polish Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, announced ACTA needs to be reviewed and consulted with his ministers as well as internet community representatives. ACTA won’t be ratified until all doubts will be explained. He added that that might mean the ACTA won’t be ratified at all. In addition, he announced he wants to start discussion in European Parliament on freedom of speech and expression.” (Thanks Tomo!)

Slovenia’s ambassador has apologized for signing the agreement:

Slovenia’s ambassador apologizes to her children and her nation for signing ACTA, calls for mass demonstrations in Ljubljana tomorrow

First I apologised to my children. Then I tried to reply to those acquaintances and strangers who expressed their surprise and horror. Because there are more and more of them, I am responding to them publicly. I want to apologise because I carried out my official duty, but not my civic duty. I don’t know how many options I had with regard to not signing, but I could have tried. I did not. I missed an opportunity to fight for the right of conscientious objection on the part of us bureaucrats.

Wow, the idea of something akin to jury nullification on the part of bureaucrats obliged to sign UN treaties is now out there. What a wonderful suggestion. For too long have the free peoples lost their traditional rights and freedoms to powerful vested interests acting on the international stage. The UN is just as much a tool for tyranny as the EU. The UN is stuffed full of the lackeys of despots and tyrants. Tyrants who trample all over the lives and liberties of people in their own countries. If they don’t respect the right to life and liberty of their own people, why on earth do you expect them to care about yours? Seriously.

This is not over. It may never be over. The price of liberty is eternal vigilance. The ACTA is not a done deal. It can not just be stopped in its tracks, but wound back.  Liberty lost is hard won back. Let’s make sure we do not lose it. Get active. Get on the phone, fax, email, social media and streets.

In some countries violence may be the only way to achieve change. But those blessed by living in democracies have peaceful options. We are not powerless, no matter how much the powerful may want you to believe you are. Don’t despair and don’t resort to violence. It is so often self defeating for so many reasons. But that will be the subject of another post. In the interim have a look at this study and the discussion around it:

Erica Chenoweth: Confronting the myth of the rational insurgent

Erica Chenoweth has developed a dataset and analyzed the historical record. Below the fold are slides summarizing the results of her study of 323
 non-violent and violent campaigns 
 1900‐2006. (There are twenty slides, so anybody with a slow connection may prefer to download a zipped file of the original PDF). Here’s one key slide:

As Polish blogger Valga put it on twitter:

I guess that slowly people start to understand that this is not a discussion about “piracy” and “thieves” but about the direction in which our civilisation is heading.

Tyranny or Freedom. The choice is yours.


Update 4 February 2012

Bulgarian MPs wear Guy Fawkes mask for ACTA session

A number of Members of the Bulgarian Parliament protested Thursday and Friday against the singing of the controversial international ACTA agreement.

On the initiative of the blog “Open Parliament” and following the example of their colleagues from the Polish Parliament, they agreed to wear the mask of Guy Fawkes, symbol of the global protest against ACTA, and to have their picture taken with it.

The MPs say they support copyright laws, but oppose ACTA over its possible turning into an instrument to limit freedom of speech, to control internet use, and to turn into an obstacle for the exchange of information and knowledge online.