Print 67 comment(s) - last by JediJeb.. on Jul 7 at 10:29 AM

EU to filesharers: we want to imprison you! The U.S. is considering similar measures.  (Source:

Watch out Pirate Party members: the EU plans to ban free speech on piracy and send those who fileshare to prison.  (Source: Gecko and Fly)
Britain has announced its opposition to the plan

A UK Intellectual Property Office representative made an important revelation to online publication ComputerActivecommenting, "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 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.

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RIAA Pot Calls P2P Kettle Black
By Hlafordlaes on 7/5/2010 4:21:14 PM , Rating: 4
Having operated a retail outlet dealing in music and video in the 80's and 90's, I can testify to the illegal practices of the industry at the time. From forcing buyers to use their transport services (@4x going rates), to giving away a free copy per n items instead of discounting prices (promo copies pay no royalties to artists), to adding advertising costs directly as line items to product invoices (another royalty-free way of pricing), the industry did everything in its power to abuse their monopolistic hold while screwing artists and retailers alike.

That after decades of internet growth, abundant indications that online viewing with advertising can work as well as broadcast media, and drastically lower costs for digital distribution, media companies cannot (ahem, will not) make the mental transition from monopolist to fair player is clearly a testimony to their own greed, and is what is creating the bulk of piracy.

Lower prices, learn to actually provide value, and do your business homework!! There is more to business than calling your attorney every day to put another squeeze on someone.

RE: RIAA Pot Calls P2P Kettle Black
By Lerianis on 7/6/2010 4:39:15 AM , Rating: 2
Giving 'buy 4, get one free' is not illegal. Contrary to the popular belief on the part of music artists. If it was, then those foods and other things doing that would be doing something 'illegal', and the courts have ruled numerous times that they are not.

By JediJeb on 7/7/2010 10:29:06 AM , Rating: 2
Giving 'buy 4, get one free' is not illegal. Contrary to the popular belief on the part of music artists. If it was, then those foods and other things doing that would be doing something 'illegal', and the courts have ruled numerous times that they are not.

There is a difference between illegal and unethical. By using a loophole to rob the artist of their royalty then the record company is simply stealing by legal means. To the record company it is ok to find a way around paying the artist or over charging the distributor, but when a consumer tries to find a way around paying the record company they fight tooth and nail to prevent it or even prevent you from thinking about it. It is not so much that record companies are going after pirates that make me upset, it is that they are doing the same thing themselves.

Didn't one record company just lose a lawsuit because they were selling song by an artist which they had no rights to sell, but since he had worked for them in the past, they assumed that they had rights to songs he made later even though there was no contract to that effect.

The British music group tried to sue people for playing their radio loud enough that others could hear it because that constituted a live performance. You would think they would want more people to hear it so maybe more would buy the music. Another example here in the US last year was the NFL shut down a church that was going to have a Super Bowl party where they would show the game free. Apparently it is ok for a couple hundred people to watch the game free at home separately but not all on one TV.

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