UK Intellectual Property Office representative made an important
revelation to online publication ComputerActive, commenting,
"ACTA should not introduce new intellectual property laws or
offences. Instead, it should provide a framework to better enforce
existing law."That stance is very significant as the EU
and U.S. governments, at the behest
of copyright holders in the music and video industry, are
pushing a treaty called
ACTA which allows its member states to adopt not only fines,
but prison time for those who fileshare.Details of the plan
to criminalize filesharing just leaked thanks to a citizen advocacy
group La Quadrature du Net. The document, found here [PDF],
is entitled "ACTA Chapter 2 Criminal Provisions".The
new proposal would criminalize "infringements that have no
direct or indirect motivation of financial gain" -- which
currently would be considered a petty civil offense in most
countries. The language about criminalization states "each
party shall provide for effective proportionate and dissuasive
penalties" to include "imprisonment and monetary
fines".Britain's decision to back down from supporting
the most-extreme U.S. and EU proposed copyright enforcement measures
is a blow to these governments and the corporate lobbyists that
support them. Under the Obama and George W. Bush
administrations, the U.S. secretly
brokered the ACTA treaty without informing the general
public. The EU similarly cooperated in secret
negotiations. Only recently were the some of the
terms revealed, in preparation for the measure to go before the U.S.
House and Senate and EU Parliament to become law. And as this
most recent leak, shows, there may be more than a few surprises in
store, in the form of still undisclosed proposals.Britain has
also indicated that it would also likely decline to enforce the
provision against language "inciting and aiding" piracy.
That provision could impose criminal or civil fines for those who
write supportively about piracy, essentially silencing their free
speech. The U.S. is allegedly one of the nations considering
the measure. A Netherlands court already ruled
against a newsgroup which had the locations of torrents
posted in plaintext -- a seemingly strange decision, considering
Google.com and other search engines provide direct links. Such
decisions to abridge free speech in the name of anti-piracy may be
only the first of many court battles to come.Jérémie
Zimmermann, spokesperson for La Quadrature du Net comments,
"The ACTA agreement, by its opacity and undemocratic nature,
allows criminal sanctions to be simply negotiated. The leaked
document shows that the EU Member States are willing to impose prison
sanctions for non-commercial usages of copyrighted works on the
Internet as well as for ‘inciting and aiding’, a notion so broad
that it could cover any Internet service or speech questioning
copyright policies."Previously published materials on
the ACTA bill also reveal that it creates a new kind of crime called
"imminent infringement" -- which could bring punishment to
those who haven't even infringed. An example of such a
thought-crime would be if you searched "torrent daft punk"
in Google. The U.S. and copyright holders argue that if it can
be shown you were thinking about committing piracy you've as much as
committed a crime already.The music and film industry
continue to press towards their dream of one day having the bill of
copyright infringement be footed by citizens, to ban backup copies,
and ban free speech in support of piracy.
quote: There is NO excuse for piracy and this is from someone that has... sampled.
quote: - Calling taking a copy "stealing" and trying to say it is like stealing a car, a TV and so on. To me that is simply stupid.
quote: And I'm not sure where you are coming from about the entertainment industry delivery model.
quote: Well call me stupid. Here is a better example to why they call it stealing; You walk into Best Buy, take a cd/dvd off the shelf and just walk out the door. So when the cops come and arrest you, you can just tell them "I wasn't stealing, I just took a copy." Just because you don't have a physical copy doesn't make it any less than stealing.