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Posts Tagged ‘New Zealand’

Sign The Wellington Declaration

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on April 14, 2010

Frodo holds a hobbit pipe on the stairs cut into the hill in front of Bilbo's House, from Fellowship of the Ring, New Line Cinema

InternetNZ organized PUBLICACTA to give the public an opportunity to critique the ACTA proposals on Saturday, 10 April 2010, 2 days before the ROUND 8 A.C.T.A. negotiation being held in Wellington NZ right now. This round of ACTA concludes Friday. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the A.C.T.A. process will finally be opened up and made transparent.

Failing that, with luck the next incarnation of A.C.T.A. could well be leaked. After all, New Zealand is the land where Peter Jackson brought the cinematic Lord of The Rings to life… certainly it’s a land of mystery and magic, and a place where people know the importance of fighting against the dark forces of Mordor.

The Wellington Declaration

Preamble

The participants at the PublicACTA Conference of 10 April 2010 respectfully submit this, the Wellington Declaration, to the parties negotiating the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), for their consideration during the Wellington round of negotiations.

Consistent with the European Parliament’s Resolution of 10 March 2010 on the Transparency and State of Play of the ACTA Negotiations (P7_TA(2010)0058), ACTA should be limited to an Agreement regarding enforcement against counterfeiting (the large scale commercial production of illicit physical goods).

The first part of the Declaration deals with general matters and principles.

The second part of the Declaration deals with some of the specific points under discussion in Wellington.

Part One: General Matters and Principles

Preserving the Internet

We recognise that the Internet has enabled creativity and innovation, the sharing of knowledge, citizen engagement and democracy, and is an engine of economic growth and opportunity. This is the result of certain attributes of the Internet: its open protocols and its generativity; the fact that anyone can connect and anyone can build new applications, and find new uses without discrimination. ACTA should preserve these attributes.

Forum for the Negotiations

We note that the World Intellectual Property Organisation has public, inclusive and transparent processes for negotiating multilateral agreements on (and a committee dedicated to the enforcement of) copyright, trademark and patent rights, and thus we affirm that WIPO is a preferable forum for the negotiation of substantive provisions affecting these matters.

Purpose of ACTA

We note that the purpose of copyright is to encourage creation & distribution of works for the public good, by allowing creators a limited opportunity to control their work. ACTA assumes that this is under threat, and further protection must be developed. We call for a clear statement of the problem that ACTA is designed to solve, with independent evidence to support it.

Process

ACTA’s process must change:

o  Transparency

We declare public scrutiny and accountability to be important aspects of life in a free society. We call for full transparency and public scrutiny of the ACTA process including release of the text after each round of negotiations. Governments have been unwilling to respond to specific concerns raised by the public. Public scrutiny will help to ensure the Agreement has no unintended consequences and has maximum positive benefit.

o  Impact Analysis

We believe that Governments should not sign ACTA without an independent impact analysis covering economic, social, environmental and cultural impacts of the agreement on their respective countries. Such analysis should be published well in advance of any agreement being signed, so it is open to public scrutiny and consideration of its thoroughness.

o   Participation

We call for wider participation in setting the agenda and scope of ACTA. The negotiation and consultation process must enable full participation and informed input into reviewing and developing drafts. All governments must be invited to be part of the negotiating process. Input must be sought from affected sectors such as Education, Health Care, Arts & Culture and Information Technology, NGOs, and consumer rights groups.

Local Flexibility
We affirm the importance of local flexibility and the need to preserve a nation’s tino rangatiratanga and sovereign rights to adjust copyright, trademark and patent law to reflect local culture, preferences and conceptions of the public good.

Part Two: Specific matters for the Wellington Round

Should the negotiations continue to deal with wider copyright, trademark and patent issues, we call on the parties to take account of the following matters:

Exceptions and limitations

We declare that ACTA must address exceptions and limitations, such as fair use and fair dealing, to maintain the balance that is fundamental to copyright.

Technological Protection Measures

We note that ACTA is an Agreement to, among other things, enforce copyright interests. TPMs concern access and control and so should be beyond the scope of the Agreement, because existing copyright law is sufficient to address infringement. TPMs should not be protected: copyright works should.

In the event that ACTA provides legal protection for TPMs, such protection shall go no further than Article 11 of the WIPO Internet Treaty. TPMs should not infringe on or limit the rights of users to use or access copyright material in a manner that would be permitted without the TPM.

Preserving civil procedures

Frodu wears the ring on a chain round his neck.

We declare that ACTA must not override or supplant domestic civil procedure. Those accused of infringement must have the benefit of robust consumer protections and safeguards, and access to due process.

Privacy

We declare the importance of maintaining people’s right to privacy including user details, personally identifiable information, IP addresses, and similar information. The Agreement should not require or permit such information to be disclosed to third parties without due process and judicial oversight, and nor should it limit or derogate from any existing data protection or privacy regimes, nor introduce surveillance.

Intermediaries

We declare that ACTA must recognise that intermediaries, such as ISPs, web site hosts, and search engines, are central to enabling people to derive the benefits of the Internet. Their role must be protected and encouraged.

Intermediaries who do not initiate or direct the content on their systems or networks must have the benefit of safe harbours that are not predicated on enforcement obligations designed to address third-party infringement.

ACTA must not mandate secondary liability standards.

Frodo has sting raised but the Rinwraith hasstopped the blade in its hand.

Access to the Internet
We declare that access to the Internet is increasingly necessary for participation in society.

Disconnection, account suspension, or limitation of service, have disproportionately negative consequences for civil rights. ACTA cannot require or allow that it be an acceptable sanction for copyright or trademark infringement.

Damages

We declare that damages:

  • must be determined only by competent legal authorities (such as courts) within each sovereign nation.
  • must be proportionate to the intent, and to the real and actual harm.
  • must not be implemented by means of a statutory damages regime.

Criminal liability

We declare that ACTA must provide a high bar for criminal liability. ACTA must not attempt to reframe personal use and private acts to fit a definition of “commercial” infringement.

ACTA must recognise the need for proportionate criminal provisions acknowledging the problem of large-scale commercial infringement, for profit, that is direct and intentional.

Done at Wellington, New Zealand on Saturday 10 April 2010.

Public ACTA logo

The Wellington DeclarationInternetNZ

Everyone, every citizen of every country, is invited to sign this Declaration.

[Note: Photo Credits:
New Line Cinema: The Lord of the Rings
http://www.newline.com/properties/lordoftheringsthefellowshipofthering.html
“The Eye of Sauron” photo by Amelie, on Flickr
http://www.flickr.com/photos/amunivers/199008242/
“The One Ring” and “Frodi vs. Ringwraith are photos taken by me at Future Shop’s Lord of the Rings DVD release party.]

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

U.K. Digital Economy Bill and the House of Lords

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on December 16, 2009

Criterion re-release cover art for The Ruling Class

"The Ruling Class" 1972 film

 

The Internet is the ultimate network, a tool that can allow people all over the world to connect and exchange information and assistance, making the world smaller by allowing us to understand one another.  Yes, I am idealistic, which is why I’ve stuck my oar in on things that I wouldn’t likely have even heard of in the pre-internet days, such as the political situation in other countries.

My family has lived in Canada for generations, but did not originate in the British Isles.   So although I grew up in a commonwealth country I don’t have that special reverence British descended Canadians seem to have for Great Britain.   However the U.K. is a part of our world.   I was prompted to write about their political situation in respect of the Digital Economy Bill.   In the same vein I passed along information about The Spanish Manifesto on the rights of Internet Users in A.C.T.A. is BAD.

Because even though I don’t have a direct interest in the laws of these lands, the world is interconnected in ways that it hasn’t been before.   As a citizens of the world everyone needs to do what they can to help one another.

The A.C.T.A. negotiation is serving to bring citizens of many countries together because of the damage that it will inflict on the world.  Although I don’t believe in condemning anything without knowing the facts, the facts of A.C.T.A. are being deliberately witheld from the populace.   More clearly than any of the leaked documents, this fact says that A.C.T.A. will be bad for all the citizens if the world.

Much as I enjoyed the entertaining 1972 film The Ruling Class, it is good to learn that the British House of Lords portrayed so entertainingly does not reflect the state of that institution in today’s Britain.   It seems that the Lords have been paying attention.   Instead of applying heinous punishments on the basis of unfounded accusations they look to be working to re-introduce the rule of law to the Digital Economy Bill through amendments.

Insert the following new Clause—
“Compliance with fundamental rights
In drafting or amending any code, laying any statutory instrument, or taking any other action under sections 124A to 124L of the Communications Act 2003 or under section 302A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, the Secretary of State must demonstrate before such action is implemented that he has considered whether such action is—
(a) necessary and proportionate to the goal of protecting and enforcing copyright, and
(b) that it appropriately balances the interest of rights holders and the interests of the public in due process, privacy, freedom of expression and other fundamental human rights guaranteed by inter alia the European Convention of Human Rights and the EC Charter of Rights.”

Clause 4
LORD RAZZALL
LORD CLEMENT-JONES
Page 6, line 5, after “infringement” insert “allegation”
Page 6, line 12, after “infringement” insert “allegation”
Page 6, line 16, after “infringement” insert “allegation”
Page 6, line 24, at end insert “; and
( ) includes a sworn statement by the person making the report that the information collected has been obtained in compliance with all relevant laws, including data protection and privacy laws, and by persons entitled to gather such information.”
Page 6, line 24, at end insert “; and
( ) includes a sworn statement and evidence that the person making the report owns the requisite copyright.”
Page 6, line 25, at end insert “allegation”

Digital Economy Bill: Amendments to be moved in Committee

At this point these amendments are merely proposed rather than a done deal.   It looks like they are moving in a positive direction.   Yet I’m sure that it would help for British citizens to continue to let your representatives, hereditary or otherwise, know your feelings on the matter.

and it certainly looks as though the plug won’t be pulled simply on the basis of a few unsubstantiated allegations:

“the internet service provider has received fifty or more copyright infringement reports about the relevant subscriber from the copyright owner for that period.”

Digital Economy Bill: Amendments to be moved in Committee

And it would probably also be a good idea to continue to sign the talktalk petition

I find it interesting that so much copyright law is being contemplated and launched in so many countries around the world (Canada, Italy, U.K., Australia, New Zealand, etc.) at the same time as the uber-secret A.C.T.A. negotiations are talking place.   Could it be that the governments involved in the A.C.T.A. negotiations are in fact attempting to get their copyright laws freshly laid as a preliminary defence against the day when A.C.T.A. comes to bear on them?   I wonder.

Thanks to British blogger Glyn Moody.

STOP Usage Based Billing

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