Posts Tagged ‘International agreements’
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.


The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)

We have issued our call to arms against The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). Lest you be in any doubt about the need to revoke or refuse this treaty:

Enough, Already: The SOPA Debate Ignores How Much Copyright Protection We Already Have

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), recently signed by the EU, was negotiated with more than thirty-five countries at once. ACTA significantly expands international law on criminal copyright enforcement, from one paragraph to more than ten. It also mandates digital enforcement procedures, now thankfully vague after public pushback against the idea of cutting off user Internet access through “graduated response.” ACTA exports U.S. penalties for circumventing technological protection measures. It requires governments to encourage private arrangements between Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and right holders to enforce copyright law. It strengthens the power of border officials. And it requires the establishment of enforcement infrastructure, and enforcement coordination between countries. It fails to include basic balancing measures, such as the usual mention of fair use or limitations and exceptions.

There are substantial problems with how ACTA was negotiated: in secret, without public input, outside of institutions such as the United Nations (UN) or World Trade Organization (WTO). And there are places where ACTA potentially departs significantly from U.S. law, such as in suggesting criminal liability for Internet intermediaries.

The post also outlines key aspects of exiting US copyright protections. The very protections the US is exporting around the word via free trade agreements:

Many features of existing U.S. copyright law are harsh by international standards. The U.S. penalizes the attempt to access digital material against a rights-holder’s wishes, even when the material itself is not protected by copyright. We guarantee large monetary awards against infringers, with no showing of actual harm. We effectively require websites to cooperate with rights-holders to take down material, without requiring proof that it’s infringing in court. And our criminal copyright law has such a low threshold that it criminalizes the behavior of most people online, instead of targeting infringement on a true commercial scale.

Unlike past administrations that chose not to use government resources to protect private companies, this administration has built up the copyright enforcement infrastructure, and publishes a newsletter about its efforts with language that compares copyright infringement to terrorism. Last year, the current Copyright Czar secretly encouraged Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and rights-holders to establish a private agreement to enforce copyrights against Internet users, out of courts. And this administration has deputized the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to seize websites as if the Internet were a physical border, where protections for civil liberties are few.

Yes, it’s bothersome to rights-holders that they can’t just shut down foreign websites or block them. But think of what they already have: no such website can be created in the United States; U.S.-based users of the website can be sued for huge damages; Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will send Internet users warning letters and potentially cut them offline with no due process or government oversight; owners of infringing foreign websites can’t come to the United States or hold assets here, for risk of seizure or arrest; and as evidenced by what’s just happened to Megaupload, American prosecutors will even extradite people from other countries for copyright offenses.

Make no mistake, this is not about enforcing peoples property rights. It’s about stamping all over our traditional freedom of fair use. Its a craven attempt by a powerful vested interest to gauge people. It restricts their freedom of speech and their creativity. it is a backwoods step. It signals just how wrong things have become in the USA.

Other links related to ACTA:

PolitiFact Trashes Lamar Smith: Says His Claims About Economic Impact Of Piracy Are Flat Out False

SOPA, Internet regulation, and the economics of piracy

Pirates Are The Music Industry’s Most Valuable Customers

The ACTA is designed to ensure this type of thing directly affects you:

Breaking News: Feds Falsely Censor Popular Blog For Over A Year, Deny All Due Process, Hide All Details…

Law enforcement and regulatory bodies overstepping legal bounds, then trying to cover it up. To hell with the victims. I am shocked, absolutely shocked.

The political lackeys of powerful media vested interests are removing our rights and reducing our liberty. They are putting short term profit over  principle. But without principle there can be no property right. Whoever has power simply takes what they want. It is back to a pre-capitalist system. There will of necessity be a retribalization of society. Life will again be uncertain, short and brutish. Nice.

There is more at stake than many realize. We must stand up for our traditional liberties and freedoms. Lest it be death by a thousand cuts. Let’s avoid this.

Graphic on the top of this post is from Somebody Think of the Children.