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

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 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.



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This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By BZDTemp on 7/6/2010 6:10:22 AM , Rating: 0
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.


Well since you offer I will call you stupid :-)

Your so called "better example" has nothing to do with piracy but simply tells of transaction that is taking possession of a physical item. I'm pretty sure you get the difference and is just being silly but if not the do look up the word "copy" in a dictionary.

About my second point it seems you did miss what I was on about. If the industry claims a pirate copy equals a loss of say $30 and a shop sells said item for $10 then using the "logic" of the industry that sale would be equal to robbing the industry of $20. Of course this is not how it works but it just highlights one of the ways the industry piracy loss figures are wrong.

Finally. No where in my post did I claim any of my arguments gave me the right to make unauthorized copies. Stop putting words in my mouth!


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