back to article Polish lawmakers don Guy Fawkes masks to protest ACTA

Over 30 Polish lawmakers held up paper replicas of the Guy Fawkes mask, made famous by both Anoymous hacktivists and the Occupy movement, during a protest in parliament of their country's signing of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), the EU's highly controversial online-piracy legislation. The parliamentarians …


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  1. Andrew Moore


    "paper replicas of the Guy Fawkes mask, made famous by both Anoymous hacktivists and the Occupy movement"

    but no mention of Alan Moore's/David Lloyd's 'V for Vendetta'???

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge


      That's where the "copyright protected" parting shot comes in.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      WE SHALL

      hold your hand and sleepwalk you into censorship because we know what is good and what is not good for you.

      We know this because we are in charge. We do not need to consult you because we know better.

      Your opinion is not wanted because you would not understand. We are in charge so we can do what we want.

      Listen to your betters or we will punish you until you understand that you should not question us.

  2. laird cummings

    Excellent. Glad to see there are some legislaters that 'get it.'

  3. The BigYin

    I for one am disgusted

    How dare these elected officials stand-up for democracy and due process. It is repugnant and perverted in the extreme.

    The unelected councils met, the money was paid, the deal was done. It is high time that these SERVANTS learn their place and do as they are told!

    Free speech? Free speech? Europe's economy is in the toilet and this shower stand-up for free speech? Where is the profit in that? No profit, no taxes. Work it out, retards!

    And as for taxes, if countries like Luxembourg and the UK were not doing so much to reduce taxes (thank you, Mr. Hartnett) the economy would be in an even worse state. High taxes means less profit which means fewer jobs. Work it out!

    Dear god, it makes my skin crawl to think of their be-suited thieves standing up for people's right to make duplicates of what they have bought. If people don't buy the same thing four times, WHERE IS THE PROFIT?

    ACTA is a just a righteous law that will enshrine and protect the profits of hard-working and innovative companies. Without those companies you will have NOTHING. Learn what side your bread is buttered on.

    Copying is theft. Moving that file onto your HDD is THEFT! Nothing less. You should be in jail! Each copy of a file costs a starving artist their next meal, you heartless, hearless bastard. I hope you can sleep at night with the suffering you cause!

    ACTA for profit!

    ACTA for jobs!

    ACTA for life!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I thnk...

      You're ACTAing up a tad overly, old boy.

      ...and just to cover all the bases here...

      Of course, if you're serious, then you need a quick kick in the nads, writ large. The proposed regulations would do more harm that good, and are an ill-thought-out load of bull that will deliver nothing but grief in both the short and long term. Have you noticed the similarity in places to SOPA and PIPA, perchance?

      AC, purely because of the Guy Fawkes mask *grin*

      1. The Fuzzy Wotnot

        @AC 21:34

        And thank you proving why politicians get away with what they do when a huge majority of the population are now as desensitized to sarcasm, satire and irony as you are. I think it was was fairly bloody obvious was supposed to be satire!

    2. flearider

      and which company do you work for .????

      bring the prices down to what the should be and more would buy .. hence why online tunes are more popular ..

      and speaking of bought and sold .. yes are politicians were... lobbying another word for bribery

      1. Vic

        > and which company do you work for .????

        Struggling with this irony thing, huh?


    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @The BigYin

      Jeebus! How heavily do you have to lay it on, before some people's irony detectors register?

      1. irish donkey


        Sometimes you need to spell it out for people </sarc>

      2. Semaj

        Is it like Rain on Your Wedding Day?

        Sarcasm is not irony.

    4. Andus McCoatover

      Where is Adolf..

      ..when we need a decent Polish government (or a more appropriate mask? I'd have just used a black marker pen with a few strokes on my upper lip)

      Kudos to TheBigYin

    5. Levente Szileszky

      Thanks God for ACTA: now it's clear this entire backstage-EU process is CORRUPT & BROKEN...

      ...and even normally pro-EU people like me cannot escape reality.

      The fact that the ACTA rapporteur has quit in protest and publicly aired his "DISGUST" (sic!) of the blatant disregard the actors have shown towards even the most basic democratic principles of the EU should give EVERYONE A PAUSE AND SCRAP ACTA. NOW, while it's still NOT TOO LATE.

      ACTA = CORRUPTION and STOPPING TECHNOLOGY and FREEZING MARKET DEVELOPMENT, preserving the status quo, nothing else. It's not a surprise that ACTA is heavily pushed by PARASITES LIKE RIAA and MPAA.

      The faster we get rid of these parasites the better the artists get (ergo society will be better off as well.)


    Someone should email that picture and caption to Lamar Smith.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So ...

    Time-Warner holds the Copyright on the Face Powder Plot as well ?

  6. Chronigan

    You know what would be nice? A civilized discussion on how to properly remunerate creative individuals so that they can earn a living. Without the theatrics from both sides. Maybe then we could actually solve the problem.

    However I don't think most activist want to actually solve the problem. For then, what would they be? They would have to stop saving the world, stop pretending to be heroes, and be ordinary people again. There are definitely many problems in this world, and protesting can bring attention to them, but after that, you need to actually try and come up with a solution that is mostly equitable to all parties involved.

    And the industry is no better, despite record profits they continue to claim the sky is falling. Unable to comprehend why people might not want to see the 500 million dollar piece of shit they just produced. They refuse to accept the reality presented to them.

    The artist in the middle just wants to make a living and have people enjoy what they have created.

    I'm tired of it all.

    1. Vic

      > However I don't think most activist want to actually solve the problem.

      I can't begin to express how wrong is this belief.


      1. Chronigan

        If an activist would put forward a solution that takes into account the needs of all the parties of what ever cause they are protesting for or against, it would go a lot further to solving the issue than dressing up and marching with several thousand others. We get it, there is a problem. Now be realistic about what you can do to solve it and have a dialog with the opposition so that you can understand their concerns and they can understand yours.

        But nobody with a strong opinion or belief is willing to do that. They are righteous and their opponents are monsters or loons, and that's the way all sides see whatever issue they are fighting about. For big content, the activist are all pirates looking to steal from them. For activists, big content want to invade their privacy and stifle free speech for the eviloz.

        So they either like it. Or our to stupid to figure out the basics of conflict resolution.

        There are a few cases where that's not the case, I remember a documentary where the EPA worked with fisherman to resolve problems of unwanted catches. How did they do it? They went on the boats, studied the methods of the fisherman and came up with solutions that improved their catch quality with out hurting the bottom line.

        Neither side is willing to do that kind of work on issues like this. For both sides it's all or nothing. So the cycle will continue.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          1) Use the existing protections. 2) Provide legal alternatives that don't suck.

          Problem solved.

          The trouble is that the few very big media companies refuse to do either - though Ultraviolet may possibly become the latter.

          Further notes:

          A) DRM only pisses off the customers who own the legally-paid for copies and has no effect on infringement. Stop making the 'legally paid for' version less valuable than the 'ripped off' version.

          DRM fundamentally can't work anyway, stop wasting your time and money.

          This did actually use to be the case. The real VHS and the early DVD legal copies were high quality, while the infringing copies had heads in the bottom of the frame, crap colour and sound.

          Now, the legal versions have long unskippable crap at the beginning accusing you of theft (even though the offence is infringement, and you paid for the damn thing!) at the beginning while the infringing copies don't.

          Some of the infringing ones I've seen were higher quality encodings than the 'real thing'!

          B) Respect copyright yourselves. If I am not allowed to copy your stuff, you are not allowed to copy mine.

          "The Artist" appears to have knowingly and deliberately infringed a composer's copyright, called out on it by BBC Radio 4 a few weeks after the UK release!

          Almost every news and current affairs channel abuses works placed on the internet. ("From YouTube" is not attribution, and non-commercial includes you.)

          Watch TV and films for a year and you'll find a myriad of copyright infringements. There's probably enough in a single studio's annual output to keep a team of lawyers busy for decades!

          C) Stop extending copyright every few years.

          Cut it down to something reasonable - long enough to make a living, short enough to actually give back to the next generation of artists. Just like you were inspired and re-imagined previous works, your children should get the same leg-up without being ripped limb from limb by zombie copyright holders.

          When many of these works were made they expected to get 15, 25, or 50 years out of them. Not lifetime+50, lifetime+70 or whatever it is today.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A civilized discussion would require rational people on both sides. The *IAA have proven on multiple occasions they are a lot of things, but rational isn't one of them.

      The copyright holders are stuck in the same problem the patent layers are. They are so far down the rabit hole created by the reality distortion field all they money they have creates that they just plain do not see reality.

      "The artists are starving!!!! we loose billions!!!"

      Last I checked, they were claiming to be loosing more money each then the industry is worth as a whole. If that doesn't strike you as a reality distortion field, I don't know what is.

      Annon, for obvious reasons

    3. ACx

      Yeah, just make stuff people want to buy enough of. Simple.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There are two spoilsports not joining in, in that photo of the Polish parliament; one is reading a magazine and the other seems distracted by a miniature pool table, floating in front of him.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's worth remembering...

    ...that Guy Fawkes wasn't some kind of freedom fighter and that the reason behind 5th November bonfires is to celebrate his being captured, tortured and executed.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And just like the "occupy" protests...

    ...the paper plate faces will do nothing to help society. Time to get real.

    1. Shades

      You really do love...

      ...those downvotes don't you Morris!

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Time for some ACTA branded products?

    First proposal - large, shiny steel toe-capped boots with ACTA grip tread, sort of like Vibram (TM) on walking boots but the whole tread rather than a puny logo.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can anyone who knows how

    copyright both "ACTA", and the phrase "Anti Counter-fitting Trade Agreement".

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Can't, as they already exist.

      Too short for copyright anyway.

      They might be trademarkable but they already have a recognised usage so you couldn't do that either.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One more juicy piece of info.

    Recently, a parliamentary working group has agreed on a critical advisory regarding the ACTA. This occured because several members of the group (mostly from the ruling coalition) were absent.

    Sometime later, an employee of the US embassy called the Parliament demanding explanation of how this was possible, because according to her calculations the votes didn't add up.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The masks actually...

    ...look better than most of the clowns actual faces.

  15. Tapeador

    Giving politicians a bad name

    bunch of fucking cynical freetard bastards -this isn't proper policy, this is pandering to thieves who destroy markets involving intellectual property. For hunger - for shame. Fucking cretins.

    Talk about lack of integrity for the political process - this action of those parliamentarians illustrates a model of politics, utterly bound up with the cowardice of serving the illegitimate self-interest of sections of the voting population - which needs to be confronted and rejected, rather than pandered to per these bastards.

    1. Graham Marsden


      If that was supposed to be irony, I suggest you take some lessone from The BigYin...

      1. Shakje


        I don't think that was supposed to be irony, I think that was Bono.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So Sad

    Some folks don't have a clue in the world.

  17. httpss

    remember, please

    that this may prove to be only the thin edge........ This entertainment cabal have a wide and varied 'presence' and don' t seem to mind at all if their actions prove to be widely unpopular.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Popularity don't pay the bills

    You gotta pay-to-play. It's that simple.

  19. Drew V.

    Question: why Poland?

    It's not the only country protesting ACTA, but why are the Poles seemingly taking a lead? What makes copyright and intellectual such a passionate subject in a country not exactly known for its content industries?

    Or, is this not really about ACTA or copyright, and is it just a case of the opposition having seized an opportunity for confrontational activism against the government - in other words, just another the-gloves-come-off, symbolic battle in a long series of heated battles? It wouldn't be the only democracy in Eastern Europe where the left feels so bullied that political culture as a whole has deteriorated like this (Hungary comes to mind).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Why Poland ?

      They make a lousy Empire chunk, a terrible colony, and a proud culture. They do math like the Russians and are good engineers like the Germans

    2. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Lech Wałęsa ?

      Drew V. asked:

      "It's not the only country protesting ACTA, but why are the Poles seemingly taking a lead?"

      Perhaps it's the fact that a lot of Polish people can remember (or their parents remember and tell them) the change that came from people like Lech Wałęsa and don't really want to go back to how things were in the 70s ?

      1. Drew V.

        So if I understand correctly, you're seeing a connection between the censorship of the old communist regime and the proposed internet rules? You may have a point there.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So does El Reg pay Time-Warner every time an Anonymous Coward scribbles a sentence or two?

    Regarding Poles fighting, take a look at Kosciuszko Squadron; or read how Hitler & Stalin, then Stalin & Churchill carved Poland up in "A Question of Honor: The Kosciuszko Squadron: Forgotten Heroes of World War II".

  21. P. Lee

    Isn't this the whole reason for the EU?

    Isn't the EU designed to make it easy for business by overriding country-specific decision-making?

    Of course, when it started, business meant making and distributing things. Now that Europe doesn't produce much, its all about stopping things from being produced.

    But here's a little note to the protection organisations. I know this fight is your whole reason for being, but even if you managed to stop piracy completely, people still would not be buying your clients' stuff. The kids are spending their time on facebook and on their ps3's (except in my house - here they get books and dolly's tea parties) and your movies are almost always a disappointment.

    If I took the family (2+2) to see a children's film it would cost $68 at my local cinema in suburban Melbourne. No, that isn't imax or 3d or anything like that. Compare that with $90 for Skyrim (yes, even with the overpriced australian market) offering rather more than 90 minutes of entertainment and you begin to see why the film industry is going down the tubes. Or compare with portal, qube, sonic, all under $10.and could be played by anyone. For that cost, we can all go ice-skating for the entire day in a place where it is 35-40C outside. I can't think of any reason at all to imagine that cinema is worthwhile entertainment and the pricing makes me downright antagonistic even before any stupid laws are passed.

    1. Vic

      > Isn't the EU designed to make it easy for business by overriding

      > country-specific decision-making?


      The EU has some serious problems, but if you compare it to, say, the US, it's far friendlier to individuals than is our westward friends...


    2. Drew V.

      Bit of an accident of history

      When Europe began to politically integrate, the only thing all the national politicians could actually agree to integrate was the internal market and trade (military and security was off the table because of NATO and Britain, for everything else they just couldn't find a consensus). From the start, those were the most powerful competences the European Commission possessed: markets and trade.

      As a not quite intended result of this, after successfully having created the single market, the EU grew to become an avatar of liberalization, advocating privatization and free trade in all things. Psychologically it's only natural for EU institutions to get caught up in the things that one does the best, that one is respected for, and to derive a world view from them.

      But at the same time, and for the same reasons, it also became a powerful consumer protection agency, which is why we are now better off in that area than on the other side of the Atlantic.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What foolishness

    Is someone holding a gun to your head making you purchase music or go to the theatre? I didn't think so. Using thus type of ignorant logic to attack the RIAA or MPAA's Biz model or rationalize piracy is futile.

    1. Vic

      > Is someone holding a gun to your head


      That's why I have no problem in not buying music, and not going to the flicks.

      > Using thus type of ignorant logic to attack the RIAA or MPAA's Biz model

      > or rationalize piracy is futile.

      And that's where your rant falls over.

      The **AA's business model is disastrous in spite of my choices.

      And I don't attempt to ratiionalise copyright infringement - which I maintain is wrong, and should not happen.

      But I'm still not buying their shit. Because it is shit.


  23. Crisp

    Recording artists already make an obscene amount of money.

    Recording artists already make an obscene amount of money, why do they need more?

    What other industry could you get paid in perpetuity for a one time piece of work? I don't carry on charging people for software I wrote ten years ago, so why should these lazy bastards get to do it?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "Recording artists already make an obscene amount of money, why do they need more?"

      _Some_ do but just as with footballers or comedians or painters or actors they are the minority. It is genuinely important to protect the income of the people at the start of their careers.

      This may be almost precisely the wrong way of doing that and indeed may not even be intended to do that but that's another story.

      "I don't carry on charging people for software I wrote ten years ago, so why should these lazy bastards get to do it?"

      It's tempting to suggest you are missing a trick there but I suppose congratulations are in order for writing something that never needed any support, maintenance or upgrade work.

      However a song generally isn't sold as a one-off bespoke object for a client - it is mass-produced and sold cheaply for as long as the audience wants it. If you're Paul McCartney that might be for a long time and the revenue might start to get to eye-watering level, but again the people at the top of the industry are not representative.

      A song only earns any money 'in perpetuity' if it is really, really popular on a national or international stage.

      It is absolutely right that the people who produce these works should be able to derive an income from it - almost no one has any problem with that, in theory at least.

      And as for Lazy ... well I am sure that just as in any industry there are those that work hard and those that slack off and if you are not in the former group you need to be bloody good indeed to get on. 'Lazy' is an easy tag to apply to people who do something that looks like fun.

  24. Chronos


    "Earlier this week, hacktivisits self-identified as members of Anonymous"

    Right, time to clear this up. Anonymous isn't a group or organisation, it's not exclusive to "hacktivists," it's not a script-kiddie collective and you can't be a member of something that doesn't exist. What it is is a badge you can hang upon yourself to identify with a cause, which may not be the same as someone else's cause when using the Anonymous moniker. Apparently, the Polish parliamentarians got this exactly right.

    If you support or oppose something that lots of other people support or oppose, don a V for Vendetta mask and you're all one of the same collective by discarding your identity and other opinions for this one issue. Unless you have two heads, ballot stuffing isn't a problem. It's really that simple - no violence, rhetoric or effort required apart from turning up. Stupid shit like "members of Anonymous hacked my cat-flap" really is nonsensical. Anonymous is a way to leave your own political views aside and join the greater good, to say "On this issue, I'm with the silent majority." It really is a subtle and elegant concept, which is why so many people just don't "get it."

  25. Grease Monkey Silver badge

    The two problems with ACTA as I see it are:

    1. That it's supposed to be a trade agreement, but what it really boils down to is a means of rationalizing IP legislation across all the countries that have signed up to it. In what way is that a trade agreement?

    2. Signatories must be extremely naive if they don't think that this is a way for the US to impose their copyright laws on the rest of the world. Come on, does anybody really believe that the US will adopt any IP legislation that they don't like even if every other signatory already has that legislation in place?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    these particular Polish "lawmakers"

    are just a bunch of opportunists. Like everybody else they jumped on the bandwagon to get something out of this whole mess. Unfortunately for them, it seems that their PR stunt got them nothing but the scorn of those people who they want to use, i.e. the young protesters. The leader of this... party ignored what happened to other politicians who had tried to hijack the protests and got booed and publicly called various... names. At one of the latest protests in Warsaw, he got jostled "a bit" and with some reluctance he was marched back to his car.

    And then, obviously, other opposition parties try to score their points and pour shit on the government, only to find out, to their shock, that on many internet boards people post links to media articles from last autumn, with neatly laid out results of how various parties voted on ACTA. And hey, most MPs of most opposition parties voted for it. Ouch.

    All in all, a huge "fail" for the whole establishment.

    And then - bang! - a phone call from "a lady from the US embassy who called the parliament office to find out details of how individual MPs voted at a commission, promptly convened in Polish parliament, which was to send a formal request to Polish PM to postpone signing of ACTA". This call was rather unfortunate and shows that somebody forgot to do their homework - the Soviet embassy always wanted a detailed report on how their Polish comrades had just voted in the parliament, to monitor for any instances of undesired deviation from the socialist democracy. Or something like that.

    Surely some of those MPs who voted against will have some explaining to do, if they happen to try to visit the land of the free now, or in 27 years time. As the saying goes: we don't forgive, we don't forget ;)

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