interweb freedom

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Posts Tagged ‘Cory Doctorow’

ACTA Conspiracy Theory

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on September 7, 2010

The latest round in the ACTA talks has finished and KEI (Knowledge Ecology International) has released the leaked version of the text, which seems somewhat toned down. Still, it isn’t over yet. Nor is this an official version.

Obviously the USTR (United States Trade Representative) is aware that there have been many ACTA leaks. It is reasonable to assume that the people who have leaked the ACTA documents have been as concerned about ACTA’s attempt to make an end run around democracy as I am. Leaking the ACTA documents has been a very risky undertaking with serious consequences if caught. Yet there have been many such leaks.

There was in fact been one official release. In the midst of the process. But the American Government blocked a second official release.

The August 25th version isn’t an official ACTA release, this is another leak.

It has long been clear that major media corporations have been the biggest force behind ACTA. And the most major of these special interest groups are the MPAA movie corporations.

I’ve always loved spy thrillers and multi-layered mystery stories. If I were a major movie company trying to pass a secret trade treaty that would ensure my corporation’s economic health by forcing global adoption of laws beneficial to my interests, I would do what any good thriller writer would do: employ misdirection. It shouldn’t be very difficult at all particularly with the talented writers at their disposal.

Think about it. Releasing an official version would show the reasonableness of the treaty participants. It would demonstrate that ACTA is not as bad as it has been portrayed. Doing it in the middle of the process would be a wonderful way to lull opposition into a false sense of security. You can always reintroduce controversial elements once it is again clothed in secrecy.

In the same way the Allies used misdirection to keept the Nazis confused as to where an Allied invasion force would land, I would release a fake leak. One that would make it look as though the worst bits of ACTA have been watered down. Declawed even. It is not like draft legislation; it is a document without provenance. No one stands behind it.

a leak is not official… it can say anything

Are movie companies that sneaky? Several years back I remember reading that three movie companies decided to make a movie based on The Three Musketeers in the same year. Why not? It’s a great story and its in the public domain. The story was that the richest and most powerful of the three movie companies scoured Europe and bought or rented every possible period costume that could be had. The end result being that only one Three Musketeers film was made that year. So yes, I rather think that movie companies could be that sneaky.

If ACTA appears to be getting weaker the forces arrayed against it may weaken as well. I don’t know about anyone else, but I would rather be working on any number of things than blogging about this. This is just a wild eyed conspiracy theory. Pure speculation.

I learned a long time ago not to believe in the check that’s in the mail until it has been cleared by my bank. The thing is, we can’t afford complacency.

cliched but true: it ain’t over ’til it’s over

reprint of an old classified ad- United States and Foreign Copyrights - Patents and Trademarks -  A COPYRIGHT will protect you from pirates and make you a fortune.  If you have a PLAY, SKETCH, PHOTO, ACT, SONG or BOOK that is worth anything, you should copyright it.  Don't take chances when you can secure our services at small cost.  Send for our Special Offer to Inventors before applying for a patent, it will pay you.  Handbook on patents sent FREE.  We advertise if patentable, or not FREE. We Incorporate stock companies.  Small fees.  Consult us.  WORMELLE & Van Mater, Mangers, Columbia Copyright and Patent Co Inc. Washington DC

Some recent ACTA articles from around the web:

Starting with KEI’s James Love in The Huffington Post: White House Blocks Disclosure of Secret Intellectual Property Trade Text

and one of the premier sources of ACTA information and explanations is Canada’s own Michael Geist, whose latest at time of posting is ACTA’s Enforcement Practices Chapter: Countries Reach Deal as U.S. Caves Again

Another important ACTA Source has long been La Quadrature Du Net

TECHDIRT: And, Of Course, ACTA Leaks: Some Good, Plenty Of Bad

TECHEYE.NET: ACTA turns on Movie Studios

SYDNEY MORNING HERALD: Piracy setback for movie giants

OPEN ENTERPRISE Glyn Moody: ACTA: Please Do What Simon Says…

NationalJournal Tech Daily Dose: Scope Of ACTA Worries Critics

Zero Paid: ACTA Leaks Again – Our Review of the August 2010 Copy

P2PNET: Latest ACTA draft leaked online

ZDNET Australia: ACTA warms to ISPs?

Wild Webmink: URGENT: Has Your MEP Signed The ACTA Written Declaration?

WIRED INN: ACTA Letter to MEPs

POGO WAS RIGHT: Of Note: Text of ACTA leaked (updated)

PNT: ISP Liability For Infringement Nuked, ACTA Leak Reveals

STAND UP DIGGERS ALL: ACTA: Treaty without a cause?

TORRENT FREAK: ISP Liability For Infringement Nuked, ACTA Leak Reveals

Oh! Canada: ACTA keeps chugging along post

and ending with the inimitable Cory Doctorow’s boingboing: Latest leaked draft of secret copyright treaty: US trying to cram DRM rules down the world’s throats

Any way you slice it, ACTA continues to be bad.


Image Credit:

“A COPYRIGHT will protect you from pirates” under a Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike License (cc by-sa) by Ioan Sameli

Posted in Changing the World | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

2010 is the new 1984

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on May 27, 2010

No Usage Based Billing2010 is the year the UK passed the Digital Economy Act. (formerly #DEBill now #deACT on Twitter) It’s also the year that Canada may get a Canadian DMCA and I suspect it is also supposed to be the year that the fast tracked A.C.T.A. is supposed to be put in place.

I know I should be talking about Usage Based Billing right now, since its been approved and all, but there is just so much happening all at once. I am working up several (long) articles right now. My novel is all but ignored. But I felt I had to respond to another comment on Cory Doctorow’s boingboing article today Canada’s sellout Heritage Minister ready to hand copyright to Hollywood to explain why it is so important to fight against all of this now. It seemed like a good idea to expand that a bit and post it here too.

Canadian DMCA graphic by laurelrusswurm

Standing back and letting those powerful corporations dictate what Canadian law should be isn’t just about our sovereignty, and it isn’t just about turning our young into criminals. It’s about freedom. Not as in beer, but as in liberty.

We may be living in a world where corporations have more of a say in our supposed democracies than citizens have. But that isn’t good enough.

And it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t fight a Canadian DMCA or A.C.T.A.

We can’t afford not to fight them. Not just because its wrong, but because it won’t stop there.

Scale of justice gold by Erasoft 24, a public domain image from Wikipedia

Just because the DMCA it isn’t prosecuted all the time doesn’t mean it can’t be. Once a law is on the books, the authorities can use it all the time.

Or some of the time. Or none.

They might only haul it out when they need it to silence dissidents.

Even if they don’t bother to make use of a law, once it’s made, it has full force whenever they want or need it. Once enacted it can always be used.

No Smoking Sign

If you have a restaurant smoking ban in a city, it doesn’t work well, because smokers (and their friends and families) will just go to restaurants outside city limits. It can be economically damaging for the city restaurants. Smokers lighting up in city restaurants won’t get stopped by management because management can’t afford to lose more business. So it’s usually only when a bylaw officer is at the next table that it gets rigorously enforced.

On the other hand, if you put the ban on the whole province, it will work much better. Smokers won’t have a choice, and restaurants aren’t going to have to worry about losing business. and for the most part, you’ll find smokers standing outside smoking even during blizzards. Because unless you live on a border, there won’t be a feasible alternative. Because unless you live on a border, there won’t be a feasible alternative.

In much the same way, if you pass the DMCA, it won’t work well because of all those other jurisdictions that don’t have laws like it.

So you lobby other governments to get them to do what you’ve done. You begin negotiations for a secret treaty called A.C.T.A., where you try and convince friendly governments that they should do what you want.

And in the meantime, you convince the UK to pass a Digital Economy Bill, and Canada to draft a Canadian DMCA.

The world wearing mickey mouse ears

Because the more countries who already have passed laws that pave the way for A.C.T.A., the more chance there is that A.C.T.A. passes. I mean, what’s the big deal? A.C.T.A. is only a few countries. Look at India… they just passed some great laws.

But the point is that if A.C.T.A. passes, the solidarity of the A.C.T.A. signatories can be used to intimidate the non-A.C.T.A. signatories to do what you want too. A.C.T.A. is doing it this way on purpose. It will be much easier to get their friends to sign on than try and get the whole world to agree.

Once the whole world has DMCA laws, there will be no safety for people who are doing what my generation was allowed to do legally. Funny, isn’t it, that cassette recorders and later video cassette recorders were made by companies like Sony… a corporation that wants to stop us and especially our children from making recordings today.

boombox graphic by Linda Kim, Public Domain clip art

Why on earth would anyone have purchased cassette recorders if it wasn’t to copy our favorite songs from records to make dance tapes for parties?

Because most people are law abiding, they will follow the new laws, even if they don’t agree with them.

Eventually the new laws will be accepted. Even though countries like India may have passed the non-DMCA copyright law any sovereign nation should be able to make, which conforms to the WIPO treaties India has signed India was placed on the USTR watch list, as was Canada. This is another way the United states seeks to bully sovereign nations into bending to their will. If Canada makes a DMCA copyright law and signs A.C.T.A. we will be able to help our American cousins bully India into following A.C.T.A. although clearly India has not chosen to. But surely India can be economically coerced into changing their laws to match ACTA. After all, how many call centers (like Bell Canada’s, for instance) are located in India? People have to eat.

Once the new DMCA/A.C.T.A, laws are everywhere it will be much more difficult to undo them.

Worse, the corporations behind them will be even more powerful.

If they haven’t already snuck in laws in allowing government spyware– not just on the Internet but on our computers too– as was attempted in Canada last year, it will be much easier now. Now that the law is universal, it is a vindication of the idea that piracy–even personal use piracy– is bad. And once piracy is no longer legally defensible anywhere in the world, law enforcement will need teeth to do the job of wiping out the insidious crime of piracy.

A nice little law outlawing private encryption would really be handy.

Original art from the public domain Oscar Wilde's “The Nightingale and the Rose” digitized by Project Gutenberg

Certainly large corporate entities with important sensitive data will still require encryption. They could be allowed to proceed with government oversight, perhaps licensing. The bank would have to allow government inspections of the data they encrypt, just to make sure that there is no piracy being hidden behind the encryption. There would need to be a whole new arm of law enforcement to manage it. And think of the income the government could generate by licensing encryption.

This is all to wipe out piracy, right? To get that underway, we’ll have to make some examples. Going after commercial pirates isn’t enough. It’s those bloody kids pirating movies in their parents basements that are the problem. Some of them are copying movies from DVDs they’ve purchased and upload them to p2p networks so other kids can watch them for free. What a dastardly crime. A few of those badly behaved kids need to be arrested to make the point. Put a good scare in them. Make an example of them. Throw some really big show trials and put a few of these depraved pirate children in jail. That’ll teach ‘em not to share!

But of course even jailing non-commercial pirates won’t actually do the trick. In fact, it will probably encourage an entire pirate underground.

The next step in the war to wipe out those pesky pirates would be making p2p networks illegal. A final solution to digital piracy. After all, if there was no p2p there would be no piracy, right? So now, finally, p2p would become illegal. No loss, eh?

Project Gutenberg: Gone.
Maybe they could start selling those public domain ebooks, since distribution will be a problem without p2p.
But hey, if they go under that’s OK, people can still buy ebooks from Google and Amazon.
Loss to literature and literacy: immense

Free-Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS): Gone
Without p2p distros, many FLOSS apps will of necessity become LOSS since “free as in beer” may no longer be affordable.
But that’s OK. The real pros like Microsoft and Apple are the ones that should be making software.
Loss to technology: astounding

Independent Music Recordings: Gone.
With the loss of nearly free digital distribution, musicians will have to give up their dreams if they aren’t one of the few acts signed by CRIA members. As it was in the days before the Internet, it will again be far too expensive for Independents to release their own music.
That’s OK. RIAA/CRIA are the experts after all. Why shouldn’t they have total control of the music we listen to.
Loss to culture: incalculable

Because you see, when enough countries have DMCAs and Digital Economy Bills, they will start clamping down.

Because they can.

Canadians don’t want a Canadian DMCA. Tell the Minister of Heritage James Moore on Twitter, although writing paper letters to all the politicians would a good thing too.

Just say:

No Canadian DMCA



If you haven’t already, sign the petition. There are only 10808 signatures.

If you have already signed, who else should you be asking to sign?

That’s easy: anyone who uses the Internet.

Because Usage Based Billing will harm both Canadians and our Economy.

http://dissolvethecrtc.ca/

STOP Usage Based Billing

STOP Usage Based Billing



Posted in Changing the World | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Much Ado About A.C.T.A.

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on February 22, 2010

on the wind logoThis past Thursday I scrambled to put together a personal submission to the Office of the United States Trade Representative.   Although the USTR made it clear that all submissions would be welcome, the Canadian Government chose to stand mute.   I’m only a private individual, but I thought it was an important thing to speak out about particularly since Canada, like many other sovereign states around the world, is under a great deal of pressure to participate in the secret A.C.T.A. (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) negotiations.

Should the USTR again unfairly place Canada on their “watch list” politically this could be used to leverage Canada into follow the American A.C.T.A. game plan.

There is a growing awareness of the potential danger from this negotiation among ordinary citizens.

The first warning sign about A.C.T.A. is the level of secrecy demanded by those negotiating it.   Although these negotiations have already been underway for a couple of years, anyone privy to the negotiation is required to sign a rigorous non-disclosure agreement that prevents all of the participants from divulging any of the details.   This means that there are many elected government representatives in the countries involved who are not privy to the details.   Logically, it is also a compelling indication that the terms are not going to meet with the approval of the citizenry.   After all, if any of this was in our best interests why would it need to be so secret?

If it was simply an anti-counterfeiting treaty, there probably wouldn’t be any controversy at all.   The problem is, although it sounds like counterfeiting is the A.C.T.A. raison d’être, it appears that the driving force is to force the rest of the world to follow the American lead and rewriting our copyright law according to the specifications of the American Corporate Copyright Lobby.   The ultimate goal seems to be to force all the countries involved in the negotiation to fall in line.

Detail of draped Mexican flag

Logo for the Mexican OpenActa group

The Internet has some wonderful things going for it.

Not least of which is the ability to connect with people all over the world and communicate regardless of language.

Although I’m unfortunately a mono-lingual English speaker, I was able to read this inspirational online petition offered by the Mexican internet freedom fighting group OPENACTA.

“Sharing knowledge and information without profit is never smuggling, countefeiting or piracy. ” — OpenActa petition

With the assistance of Google Translation and a dash of common sense, I offer my amateur translation here:

Petición de Transparencia re: #ACTA para el Senado de la República

From 25 to 29 January 2010, the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property was the host of the 7th Round of Negotiations of ACTA (Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement by its initials in English) at the Fiesta Americans in the city of Guadalajara.

Despite repeated demands by the international community and specifically of Mexican citizens to make public the negotiations and reveal the text of the treaty, so far, the agencies involved in these negotiations have ignored our demands for transparency, information, and openness of debate regarding the ACTA, intellectual property and the right to information of all Mexicans.

Through this petition we demand that the Mexican Senate ask the administrative entities responsible for negotiating the ACTA in our country to publish a detailed report of that meeting as soon as possible.

We also require a public hearing by the administrative representatives of ACTA negotiations with the competent authorities of the Senate, to meet the urgent demand of the public to remove the unfortunate opacity over two years of negotiations of this treaty being negotiated secretly on behalf of all Mexicans.

Finally, on receipt of this request we kindly request that the Senate make its position on the matter and communicate the steps to start a public debate about absolutely the entire contents of the ACTA text proposed, and which is an essential component of citizenship.

Sharing knowledge and information without profit is never smuggling, countefeiting or piracy.

Thanks for your attention.
OPEN RECORD

Sincerely,
Citizens of Mexico

OPEN ACTA online petition

Bravo to the Citizens of Mexico and OpenActa.

Possibly because the details of A.C.T.A. are so heinous, but even the rigorous non-disclosure agreement has been unable to prevent leaks.

BoingBoing logoCory Doctorow reported the latest on boingboing as well as offering this handy concise breakdown of the A.C.T.A. problem in Internet Evolution: Copyright Undercover: ACTA & the Web
Coffee Geek Crest
Michael Geist breaks the latest leaked document into understandable bits in Michael GeistACTA Internet Chapter Leaks: Renegotiates WIPO, Sets 3 Strikes as Model

Finally, word from yet another part of the world New Zealand’s Coffee Geek: Recent ACTA content leaks   It seems that the folks in New Zealand are also unhappy at the very thought of A.C.T.A.

Previously, laws in democratic nations were drafted according to the societal norms and ethics of the countries, not handed down from above like tablets from heaven… not in democratic nations anyway.

Posted in Changing the World | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

 
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