interweb freedom

(formerly Stop Usage Based Billing)

Posts Tagged ‘TECHDIRT’

ACTA remix: What is the Trans Pacific Partnership ?

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on August 23, 2012

ACTA logo

I’ve fought against ACTA for a long time in this very blog.

Often it seemed futile, as much as anything because no one outside a very small group of people even knew it was happening.

The secrecy was such that Canada’s elected representatives — our Members of Parliament — were not allowed to know anything about what was being negotiated. It was most certainly a very secret treaty. An indication of how abysmal ACTA was is that even under the threat of draconian penalties, the various drafts were too scary not to leak — all the way through the process.

In the Polish Parliament members of the libertarian ‘Ruch Palikota’ donning Guy Fawkes masks

With source material in hand, legal scholars like Michael Geist were able to study various ACTA drafts, and explain the legal language online so that people could understand the ramifications of this treaty that would change our lives. Concerned citizens formed organizations like the excellent La Quadrature du Net which served as a European clearing house for ACTA news. There was an Identica group where I learned about the latest ACTA news and I posted whatever I found there. Like many other ordinary people, I talked to people in my real life as well as sharing ACTA drafts and information on websites and blogs.

And so, over time, many of the worst bits were cut out of ACTA in the face of the negative opinion and outcry. Even so, after the last negotiation, there remained a few irreconcilable differences, and so it went unsigned.

Reasonable people might expect that to have been the end of it, but some months later, after what had to be a good deal of truly secret negotiations, some countries — including Canada — quietly signed the ACTA agreement. But it wasn’t over yet, it still required Europe.

Fortunately for the rest of the world, the European Union did not follow suit. Unlike North America — where most politicians had been kept entirely in the dark with the secrecy provisions in the heavy duty non-disclosure agreement — some EU politicans had been paying attention to ACTA, and enough awareness had been raised to generate an amazing outcry led by Poland.

“A demonstration was to be held there against a secret attempt to sign the ‘ACTA treaty’ by the Polish government, ostensibly to prevent piracy on the web, but in reality, to enable the introduction of the kind of censorship we had in the communist era, and now have in China, (the reading of private e-mails, the tracking of correspondence, the registration of visited web pages visited and network surveillance). Whilst these earlier forms of censorship were designed to perpetuate Communist ideology, those that ACTA would impose have been designed in the U.S. to allow the gradual takeover of states and governments by global corporations.”

— Paweł Łyszczyk, Szczecinian: Opinion: ‘Szczecin says ‘No’ to ACTA’

And amazingly, all the information sharing and Anti-Acta hullabaloo ultimately led the European Union to decline ACTA. Again, this should have been the end of the story, except that the special interests behind these oppressive laws are not about to give up so easily.

What makes the onslaught even worse is that many people are complacent, believing that ACTA—like the US SOPA— has been defeated.

But SOPA was remixed into CISPA and speedily passed into American law. And now, much of the ACTA language is coming back into the shape of other trade agreements, like CETA and the TPP.

The Ghost of ACTA?

Screen Shot : @laurelrusswurm  @majoleink Much ACTA language is being reused - parcelled out in other agreements... look at CETA, TPP

When I said that on Identi.ca the other day I was surprised to be challenged by a Twitter user called @ACTAwebcare:

@ACTAwebcare said:  @laurelrusswurm It's not true. Can you please remove this tweet?

Although I knew it was true, @ACTAwebcare may well have gone to Twitter with a complaint against me to get the Tweet removed. Since I always feel the best way to counter misinformation is with the truth, I responded with some back-up links, quoting reputable sources like:

TechDirt: Son Of ACTA (But Worse): Meet TPP, The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

Michael Geist: U.S. Intellectual Property Demands for TPP Leak: Everything it Wanted in ACTA But Didn’t Get

But the best was this line by line comparison of ACTA and TPP language done by infojustice.org TPP vs. ACTA – Line by Line

Setting up a Twitter account in an attempt to rehabilitate ACTA (and spread misinformation about it) is quite telling. Although ACTA may be officially gone, it is anything but forgotten. And we need to understand and fight  the dangers of its new incarnations.

The EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) has created the following Infographic to explain just what is wrong with the TPP.  It’s from an American perspective, but the consequences will be just as dire for the rest of the world.   Canada is clamoring to jump on this bandwagon, so we Canadians can write letters to our MPs too.

EFF infographic

In conclusion, I’d like to leave you with Member of European Parliament Marietje Schaake’s final words on ACTA


What is the Trans Pacific Partnership Infographic by Electronic Frontier Foundation and Lumin Consulting released under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States (CC BY 3.0) license

Advertisements

Posted in Changing the World | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Celebrate Software Freedom Day

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on September 17, 2010

Saturday September 18th is

a graphic sun rises over a green hill

All around the world people will be celebrating Software Freedom Day on Saturday. The idea is of course to both celebrate and raise awareness of Free Open Source Software issues.

I believe the first software freeing license was the GNU General Public License

Free Software Foundation is probably the heart of the Free Software movement which is defined by Richard Stallman’s Four Freedoms.

Free Software Foundations line drawing of the GNU mascott/logo

Free software is a matter of the users’ freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. More precisely, it means that the program’s users have the four essential freedoms:

  • The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
  • The freedom to study how the program works, and change it to make it do what you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
  • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
  • The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3). By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

A program is free software if users have all of these freedoms. Thus, you should be free to redistribute copies, either with or without modifications, either gratis or charging a fee for distribution, to anyone anywhere. Being free to do these things means (among other things) that you do not have to ask or pay for permission to do so.

GNU: Richard Stallman’s The Free Software Definition

Saturday september 18 2010 softwarefreedomDOTorg Celebrate the day Software Freedom Day
These revolutionary concepts, like any good idea, have crossed over into other areas, such as copyright. As corporations work to lock creative works under increasingly restrictive copyright law, creators of art and music, like creators of software before them, have been offered the chance to achieve freedom from the chilling effects of the repressive copyright through Creative Commons licensing.

Creative Commons licensing is growing. There are branches around the world, like our Creative Commons Canada, which allow creators to license their creations in the way that they want in conjunction with their own country’s copyright law.

Tomorrow I’m hoping to attend the Software Freedom Celebration being put on by KWLUG and Kitchener-Waterloo Chapter of Ubuntu Canada and the the Working Centre being held in Kitchener’s Kwartzlab hackerspace.

Visit the Software Freedom Day website to find out what cool Software Freedom Celebration is happening in your neck of the woods.



Other Important free software links:
Tux the Penguin is the Linux Mascot

operating systems

We’ve all joked about how evil Windows is for years. And now Apple seems to be striving to be the Big Brother their ads used to decry. Is it any wonder that more and more people are switching to GNU-Linux operating systems?

I’m in the process of switching to Ubuntu, which is currently the most popular distribution. But there are scads of them out there. The ones I can name off the top of my head are Debian, KDE, Fedora, Linux Mint, Red Hat and Arch. Naturally Wikipedia can give you a more comprehensive list of GNU-Linux distributions. The safest bet is to select the distro that whoever gives you computer support knows best.

balloons

microblogging

Identi.ca is a free software microblogging service, based on the StatusNet software. It is possible to connect Identi.ca with the proprietary Twitter service and the data flows into Twitter, but, being proprietary, Twitter does not share well. (For this reason people like me who use both services tend to post from Identi.ca, simply broadcasting to Twitter. The problem for me has been that replies from Twitter don’t reach me, although switching from Windows into the Ubuntu free software operating system allows me to use Gwibber to connect the two services. Because the software is open, people can set up their own StatusNet servers to precisely serve their needs.

In a world of 140 character limites, URL shortening is important too. You can’t go wrong with ur1 generator. The cool thing is that even when your URL is shortened, hovering over it in Identi.ca allows you to see where the shortened URL will take you.

preservation, advocacy & reporting

TechRights is an excellent resource on breaking free software issues. Following Dr. Roy Schestowitz on Identi.ca or on Twitter keeps me up with the latest.

UK Tech Journalist Glyn Moody is one of my best resources for open tech issues. His blog Open … clarifies important issues like ACTA and the UK legislative fiasco known as the Digital Economy Act. I’ve learned about a few Canadian issues first from Glyn Moody, who I follow on Identi.ca and on Twitter

A few other groups advocating for Internet Freedom worth mentioning are:

And since special interest groups are trying to use copyright law to suppress Internet freedom, these are some excellent Canadian copyright resources as well:
NO Canadian DMCA

Anyway, that should do for starters. 😀

Happy Software Freedom Day!



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

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 »