back to article Don't panic over the secret copyright treaty

Secret gatherings of the world's governments are usually the stuff of fevered imaginings, but just one such gathering is this week generating its own fair share of paranoia. Some of the world's biggest economies are gathered in South Korea this week to discuss copyright law in secret. The plans they are coming up with are …


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  1. Tam Lin

    Democracry: DNF

    Paraphrasing Khrushchev, "We will bury you, and your lawyers will explain away the shovels."

  2. LordLethis
    Big Brother

    Don't panic...

    So - to summarize: We have nothing to worry about because the UK gov sold out long ago and implemented most of what leaked of ACTA already? Neat.

  3. Mike Scott

    No, Panic Now

    There are at least two perfectly valid reasons for immediate panic, which you do not address, rather disingenuously.

    The first is that it is likely that it will be too late to panic when the provisions of the treaty finally become public, as they will already have been agreed behind closed doors.

    The second is that ISPs will (allegedly) be required to "proactively" police copyright, which can only happen if prior restraint is applied to user-supplied content -- a very different situation from being required to respond to individual complaints after the fact, as is the case at present.

    You are dangerously complacent.

  4. BristolBachelor Gold badge

    Elected representatives for the elected, not for sale

    "The legislation banning technologies that break content encryption will also be bracingly familiar to UK residents"

    But I was hoping to use that the part of the copyright acts that says copying in order to use something is allowed (e.g. the output of your cd player is "copied" into an output from your amplifier to driver your speakers). At the moment, it is the only way that I can get the HD content from my HD Blueray discs out of my HD Blueray player onto my HD TV. If I don't use this potentially illegal technology, all I get out of my HD Blueray player is an HD message saying that I am not allowed to view the content.

    Now it seems it may get even worse.

    Why are our elected representatives not representing us to prevent the sale of items that do not deliver what they promise?

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Don't panic . . . until we know what's in it

    My only fear is that, by the time we do know, it might be too late.

  6. phulshof

    Not all of us live in the UK

    It's nice to hear of the sad state of copyright in the UK, but that does not mean that the rest of us are jumping to join you. ACTA takes the worst case scenario of current legislation, adds a bit on top of that, and makes that obligatory to all assigned countries. I for one will do everything I can to prevent that from happening.

  7. jake Silver badge

    Near as I can tell ...

    ... I just now wrote this, and as a result of hitting the "Post comment" button, I own the (c) on it.

    Anyone who doesn't like that can kiss my pasty white butt.

    Bottom line: Once you publish it, anywhere, you own it.

  8. hugo tyson

    ISP or Hosting Provider?

    "an ISP is told about a customer's copyright infringement or defamatory statement on pages it hosts" - that's not an ISP, it's an Internet Hosting Provider. Many ISPs are IHPs too. Point is, that's an entirely reasonable proposition - so long as due process and adequate proof is required before the page is removed. What's not reasonable is holding ISPs (not IHP) liable for something hosted on equipment that's only *connected* through the ISP. Common carrier defense and all that.

  9. Anonymous Coward


    When I was in Libya recently, I was in a computer shop, and the guy wanted me to buy some copies of a PC game(with online play) and ship them there. Because there were only counterfeit titles/movies available to purchase.

    This ACTA I believe is targeted more at developing nations. But we should watch out for dangerous clauses.....

  10. Not Fred31

    you what?

    "self-regulatory" graduated response exists in UK law?

  11. BlackMage

    Law is an arse

    Just because something is enshrined in UK law does not confer upon it the properties of being just or legitimate. RIPA and other supposedly anti-terror laws spring to mind. Copyright laws need significant change to reflect the fact that the marketplace has been irrevocably changed by widespread access to digital media. In the past, every time a new and disruptive technology has arisen (paper fed pianos, vinyl, radio, etc) and changed the marketplace the copyright laws have changed. This time should be no different.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Opinion piece indeed

    '..many of the provisions already exist in the UK... ' - What about those that don't? Why build upon an already broken copyright system.

    The UK has many ridiculous IP laws, the EU recently extended copyright and now this. The fact that the UK/EU has rolled over for various lobbies is no good reason for us to accept ACTA.

    Shill piece indeed.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If they're doing nothing wrong they have nothing to hide

    If the treaty wasn't bad, it wouldn't need to be negotiated in secret among the subgroup of countries with strong copyright lobbies.

    Also why has an anti-counterfeiting treaty morphed into a DMCA+? Presumably they were supposed to be negotiation counterfeit issues, not copyright issues! What the hell happened there, if they weren't hijacked by the usual copyright lobby??

    Seriously, if they think they can grow the economy by strengthening copyright, then they're deluded, and we're down the path of "need to grow the economy = increase prison sentences for copyright violations", which is not a viable path to the future.

    Even if todays penalties are set quite low, tomorrow's will need to be harsher as they try to save all these jobs that are 'lost' by copyright infringement. (Having swallowed the bogus claims of the copyright lobby, they can never save those jobs that were never really lost no matter how punitive they set the penalties).

  14. asiaseen

    Why criminal?

    I generate copyright material and would be mightily pissed off at anyone absing that copyright. However, I have grave doubts that this should be a criminal matter - it should be dealt with in the civil courts if it has to come to law. of course, I know the reason is that the music industry et al have lobbied hard to make it so because that means that the taxpayer as to cover the cost of any enforcement.

  15. Red Bren

    What's in it for the consumer?

    A ban on "regionalisation" of CDs/DVDs/BRDs with differing release dates and pricing?

    An open market in downloadable content?

    An end to the £=$ exchange rate used by certain companies?

    I doubt it.

    I did like the statement that signatories "would have to create a 'laundry list' of penalties to deter people from infringing copyright on a commercial scale." That would rule out most P2P file sharers as they don't make a profit.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother


    Diary 9th.Nov 2015

    Since the passing of Article 42 allowing all communication to be monitored I have been completely off-line. With the introduction of compulsory iSpy OLED lights I cannot have mains power any more, paraffin and candles are in short supply. Everybody is being watched.

    I'm writing this with an old pencil as all the pens have DNA ink nowadays.

    As I refused an Honest Citizens Cash and ID card I cannot buy anything, all cash has been made illegal and bartering rabbits is getting harder. Fish are scarce.

    My only hope is to stock up my boat and sail away, I'm hoping that I can reach Iceland if the weather allows.

    If anybody finds this diary washed up then may God help you.


  17. Chris007

    @ Anonymous Coward 11:06 6/11/09

    you sir are a seer of the highest order

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    counterfeit goods

    ....are what should be discussed as counterfeit alcohol and pharmacueticals do cause real harm.

    Sadly or happily depending on your point of view, that download of Lost or some other TV show is unlikely to kill anyone.

  19. Britt Johnston
    Thumb Down

    world to UK opinion-reheaters

    There are reasons why those outside the UK should be concerned, not complacent.

    1) since a good legal framework is missing so far, progress from a pioneer would be welcome - if it makes progress on the full basket of issues

    2) every state that goes down the wrong dead-end has to be hauled back with a treaty

    3) other states may just wait, since something inscrutable is being hatched in an important country

    4) yet other states may give up looking for a balanced solution, citing the UK lead

  20. Paul 4

    the right of those doing the negotiating...

    "That the proposal is not a part of an existing structure means that the usual rules of transparency and reporting don't apply. Up to a point that is the right of those doing the negotiating, but it does make people suspicious, and it does allow speculation to grow unchecked."

    Why? They are not negotiating a contract, they are negotiating laws. I don't know know if the big companys have un-due influence, but why should they have access to something I don't? In a democratcy I have rights as a voter, a company has no rights in and of it self so why do they get access to these talks?

  21. hugo tyson

    counterfeit goods?

    @jeremy 3: Agree about poisonous booze and pharma* (sp?) and indeed poisonous food is also a possibility. And a real problem worthy of the word counterfeit.

    People mustn't conflate those real problems with a "gucci" or "YSL" bag for 10 quid, a 20 quid "rolex" and so on at the Sunday market, where anyone buying it knows damned sure it's a cheap copy, else it wouldn't be that price. Given that *everyone* knows this, I fail to see how prosecuting anyone about it is in the public interest, yet TPTB waste time and money, and cause no end of public confusion by mixing up these cheap *harmless* copies with, say, meths to drink or fags that will kill you (sooner).

    I suppose the law could insist they be called Guuci or YSJ or Rollex, or Ferrarri as is traditional...

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    I'm not panicing, but....

    As a citizen of a democracy, I have deep interests in what my legal rights are on the ever-increasingly important internet (which supplies me with many of my cultural/entertainment needs, my business network, many of my communications with the outside world (I'm on VOIP, so if my ISP shut me down because of alledged involvement in copyright infringment I would be largely incommunicado) much of my shopping/commercial relations.

    With my dependence on the internet in mind, secret negotiations between governments with industry participating/monitoring the talks scares the heck out of me!! Who is watching out for the average citizen in all this? I would hope that this is going to end up in front of the U.S. Senate for "advice and consent" but if the secret treaty blows will it then be too late to put together a grass-roots coalition in time to stop the treaty from being ratified in the Senate?

    Black helicopters, because they are com......WHAT DO YOU MEAN THE TERM "BLACK HELICOPTERS" IS COPYRIGHTED??!!

  23. Gannon (J.) Dick

    Panic, no.

    I'm taking this directly to the League of Nations as soon as their Charter is ratified in the US.

  24. Anonymous Coward

    Scary Times

    > Also why has an anti-counterfeiting treaty morphed into a DMCA+? Presumably they were supposed to be negotiation counterfeit issues, not copyright issues!

    As you probably know, that's just because the word "counterfeit" serves as a handy distraction.

    Also, the fact that the UK is well on its way to fascism doesn't make the ACTA alright.

    Oh, and Islam is definitely in the Top 3 Most Insane Things In The World Now, and you have _lots_ of it within your borders. Since you're a moderately straightforward publication, please do something, anything, to raise awareness!

  25. Jeff Lewis

    I think the author misses something...

    His point is that provisions that have leaked are ok because they're already in place in the UK. There are two problems with that view:

    1) Other countries in that group (like Canada) do NOT have those laws. Signing this agreement would significantly change their copyright landscape, and do so outside of the normal democratic process.

    2) It would make reversing those laws in countries that have them even harder to do since it would no longer be simply a matter of repealing an act - but also renegotiation or dropping out of an international agreement/treaty.

    The fact that this process is opaque and yet subtantially affects people who have no say in the process, while leading to a situation where correction of the outcome by normal democratic means will be difficult, should automatically render the process invalid.

    The problem has and always will be that the IP stakeholders cannot find a way to sell their case to the public, and in a democratic system, the public ultimately gets its way. So rather than accept the reality of this situation (and possibly find some compromise, or find a better way to bring the public on their side), they're attempting to bypass the democratic process.

    And that's simply not a good way to do business.

  26. Michael Nielsen

    Time to start the fight

    Question your politicians about their affiliations with the copyright laws, create political parties which oppose those laws, and vote these people into power, so that they can repeal, and weaken these criminal organisations who are trying to bring in draconian laws.

    I say criminal organisations, as in Denmark they have detained, and interrogated kids under the age of 13 years, without the presence of the social authorities, nor a legal guardian, these children were subjected to methods which even the police is not allowed to use.

    The copyright organisations don't care about civil rights, they don't care about anything but their cash stream, and they will bend, break, or change any laws that block their way, and the politicians in all countries, seems to be controlled by these organisations, one comes to wonder if they're on the payroll? Especially when you consider that these organisations get away with interrogating minors without the presence of a legal guardian, nor the social authorities, without criminal charges being levied on the organisation, nor any kind of government action.

    I'm sorry if it sounds like conspiracy, or the like, but the fact that none of the copyright groups are willing to use criminal prosecutions, and only civil law (where you do not have the protection of being innocent until proven guilty), and they just have to claim that you did it, and you have to prove that you are innocent - there has already been many such cases.

    This needs to stop before we end in a world where freedom was a thing of the past, I'm not arguing for allowing the theft or free copying of everything, as people have the right to the work they create, but each and every one of the laws being passed breach civil liberties, and privacy rights, and parallel (in a scary way) all the laws that totalitarian governments are so fond of.

  27. Neoc


    "But if they look closer they will see that many of the provisions already exist in law, at least in the UK."

    What has *that* got to do with anything? The fact that it already exists as Law in the UK does *not* mean it's a good idea. From what I've been reading, the last few years have seen plenty of stupid laws being introduced in the UK.

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