plans of the RIAA and MPAA to end the pirate rebellion have almost
come to fruition. After spending millions in lobbying money to
build support in the U.S. government, their new government
built ACTA, a secret treaty which looks to offer unprecedented
legal actions against citizens who pirate.The treaty will
likely make it a criminal act to develop P2P or BitTorrent
technologies. It will also turn DRM circumvention (the RIAA
says making backup copies is theft) from a civil offense under the
DMCA to a criminal offense. And in Europe, there are already
secret plans to potentially jail
millions of everyday filesharers. Free speech is also on
the chopping block in the EU and possibly the U.S.Amid
that dire backdrop, Pirate Party MEP Christian Engstrom, an elected
member of the EU Parliament from Sweden, optimistically attended an
European Commission ACTA meeting, hoping
to gain details to share with the public.Afraid of
public outrage at the punitive treaty it is crafting, the U.S.
government – under President George W. Bush and U.S. President
Barack Obama -- pushed its allies, including the EU, to keep
the treaty secret. Only last April was the partial
(redacted) text of the treaty released. And even now secret
meetings continue, such as the one Engstrom attended in Lucerne,
Switzerland.So it was perhaps unsurprising that Engstrom was
told that he would not be allowed to share details of the meeting --
with the implied threat of prosecution if he failed to comply.
Engstrom states, "At first the Commission seemed unwilling to
answer this question with a straight yes or no, but after I had
repeated the question a number of times, they finally came out and
said that I would not be allowed to spread the information given.
I then left the meeting, since I am not prepared to accept
information given under such conditions in this particular
case."Engstrom concludes that the negotiations are a
sham -- a corporate scheme designed to punish everyday citizens
perpetuated by the U.S. government, and now embraced by the European
Union, as well. In the process the governments are willing to
sacrifice the very principles they are founded upon, abandoning
democracy, freedom of information, free speech, due process, and
public participation in government. He states, "There
is no sensible reason why the ACTA negotiations should be carried out
in secret, or why Members of the European Parliament should not be
allowed to discuss information about ACTA with their constituents.
In a democracy, new laws should be made by the elected
representatives after an open public debate. They should not be
negotiated behind closed doors by unelected officials at the
Commission, in an attempt to keep the citizens out of the process
until it is too late."The meeting also appears in clear
violation of one of the EU's central governing documents -- the
Lisbon Treaty, which states that European Commission will inform the
EU Parliament fully of any actions. The secret oral meeting
without any documents being handed out, represents a complete lack of
providing any info the EU Parliament, and his hence illegal according
to Engstrom.He concludes, "That is
disgraceful."Unfortunately, barring a dramatic change in
course, it appears that both EU and the U.S. will abandon legality in
their quest to combat piracy. In their eyes abandoning
citizens' legal rights and adopting a cloak of secrecy are a small
price to pay for combating what they view to be an egregious
blight on society -- piracy.
quote: We trade freedom for convenience constantly, when our country was born out of a respect of the former above the latter. How did we get here?
quote: They fully expected that at some point in the future, we would be able to do that and meant for us to change the Constitution from a Republic to a total Democracy, getting rid of Congress except as people who PROPOSED the laws and wrote the laws.
quote: As an American, and avid reader of our history and founding fathers...this infuriates me
quote: It really blew my mind during the election that a lot of people seemed to believe that having a different president would drastically change things.
quote: Currently, I believe ACTA will be severely watered-down before it's passed into law. Further, I do think it will be thrown out by the courts if/when pressed.
quote: I would argue that the only such discussions that need to be secret are military in nature. This is a law about a certain section of commerce.
quote: I strongly disagree. The freedom of speech (1st amendment) is THE most important right in any society.
quote: The original 13 states were intended to be 13 individual experiments in governing, where people and businesses and wealth would gravitate to the states with the policies that created an environment most condusive to each individuals lifestyle and beliefs.
quote: the elected elite, due to their superior intelligence and abilities, get to change the rules (ie. constitution) as they see fit
quote: The meeting also appears in clear violation of one of the EU's central governing documents -- the Lisbon Treaty, which states that European Commission will inform the EU Parliament fully of any actions....So it was perhaps unsurprising that Engstrom was told that he would not be allowed to share details of the meeting -- with the implied threat of prosecution if he failed to comply.
quote: I wonder if the fact environmental regulations have completely destroyed the economy has anything to do with how unpopular Obama is