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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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RE: Let's not forget the goold ol' US of A
By RW on 7/5/2010 10:31:49 PM , Rating: 0
And if you destroy the basic principles of democracy something else will take it's place like fascism or anarchism.

RE: Let's not forget the goold ol' US of A
By dtm4trix on 7/6/2010 3:39:06 AM , Rating: 4
I agree with you but I can not see the US supreme court upholding this treaty as it steps all over our rights guaranteed under the constitution. And well if it does come to pass I no longer wish to call my self an american as this is some 1984 bullshit and its time for me to go somewhere else.

RE: Let's not forget the goold ol' US of A
By gorehound on 7/6/2010 8:04:31 AM , Rating: 2
I intend on voting for any politician who refueses to take the big money from the big industries.I am no longer voting for corporate mouthpieces.And I am surly never buying a new DVD/Music from any of these BS MAFIAAA Companies.This is garbage and we really need to get the Pirate Party or a new Party here who will enable us to vote both Republicans and Democrats out.I am fed up with both and see them as a bunch of rich pricks who have or no longer have anything in common with the average USA'er.

RE: Let's not forget the goold ol' US of A
By bodar on 7/6/2010 5:07:46 PM , Rating: 5
So what do you intend to do with all this new free time on Election Day?

By wiz220 on 7/6/2010 6:37:05 PM , Rating: 2
I LOL'd :)

By JediJeb on 7/6/2010 11:53:31 PM , Rating: 2
And I am surly never buying a new DVD/Music from any of these BS MAFIAAA Companies

This is the only real way to get the point across. Only if 90% of those that purchase music and movies now will boycott any that are produced by the labels associated with RIAA and MPAA will the point be made. No matter how neat or good a new movie is, or how great a new song is, just refuse to purchase it, listen to it, talk about it, totally ignore it. Don't even download it for free! If people will completely turn their backs on the mainstream music and movie industries and give them absolutely no attention, then this problem will be solved. It will take away their money, and without their money there will be no politician willing to back them.

Also it is up to us who know what is happening to educate the average citizen because the news outlets certainly are not going to. Good musicians can turn to self marketing and distribution to remain viable, and if the general public will actively ignore any who flock to the major labels then those artists who are serious will learn to get by on their own. There are enough independent labels out there to pick up the ones without the tech savvy to go it on their own. It would also probably weed out the over hyped, run of the mill groups that the big labels feed to us trying to make us follow their idea of what is good entertainment.

Anyone who is serious about this will make the sacrifice of not purchasing or pirating any mainstream music or movies. Purchasing puts the money right into the pockets of the ones that are messing us over, and pirating only gives them fuel to use against those unwilling to put up with their nonsense. Take away their money and their reason to complain and they will fade away, though probably kicking and screaming to the end.

By wiz220 on 7/6/2010 6:36:27 PM , Rating: 2
I would like to agree with you, but sadly, I think the Supreme Court has made it clear where they stand when it comes to citizens versus corporate interests. They recently said that money = free speech in a case that gave corporations the "right" to spend unlimited amounts of money on political campaigns (I know there are stipulations, but, in the end this is what it amounts to).

That, coupled with a decision long ago to give corporate entities the same "rights" as individuals could be the death knell for representative government that works for real living, breathing citizens.

“So far we have not seen a single Android device that does not infringe on our patents." -- Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith

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