back to article Most EU states sign away internet rights, ratify ACTA treaty

Representatives of 21 of the EU’s member states, including the UK, have signed off on the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) – the European version of the US SOPA and PIPA rolled into one and cranked up to 11. Only Cyprus, Germany, Estonia, Slovakia, and the Netherlands have held off on signing the treaty …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Goodguys 1, pirates 0

    It should be obvious that civilized nations are going to continue to ramp up the punishment for piracy and prosecute those who feel they are above the law.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And you're happy turning over your privacy and full rights to free speech in the name of 'stopping piracy', are you?

      I'm all for dealing with content duplication, and taking appropriate measures in dealing with those who obtain content illegitimately. That said, it should not be done at the cost of compromised privacy, the feeling of being guilty unless proven innocent (because let's face it, you're never again going to be considered innocent *unless* proven guilty, the best you can hope for is guilty *until* proven innocent) with the assumption that everyone is out to steal content until there is evidence to the contrary.

    2. ElReg!comments!Pierre

      @ Morris D (AKA AC 27th January 2012 00:07)

      Say, are you running for the "most downvoted commentard ever" prize, or what?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Is it just me

        I can't help but wonder how you got his name. I'm guessing you have access to the database or admin panel? Does ElReg take privacy seriously?

        1. Shades

          @AC (27th January 2012 04:06 GMT). Re: Is it just me

          ElReg!comments!Pierre didn't need access to the database. El Reg does take privacy seriously. So much so that El Reg even shopped themselves to the ICO when they emailed my, and many other peoples email addresses to 3,521 other El Reg readers.

          It was I, not ElReg!comments!Pierre, that "outed" the AC commentard being referred to as "Morris D" after spotting a comment over at The Inquirer on a similar subject...


          MPAA opposes SOPA blackouts - The Inquirer (

          "What a joke

          These foolish blackouts are a waste of tiem. They will be as ineffective as the "occupy" protests were. The world ain't going to allow piracy to go unpunished so the pirates might as well get in touch with reality. It's very simple: pirate and be punished.

          posted by : Morris D., 18 January 2012"


          The Register to publish other sites' blacked-out content in SOPA protest · The Register Forums (

          "Stupid protests

          Posted [by Anonymous Coward] Wednesday 18th January 2012 17:43 GMT

          These stupid protests just like the occupy protests are a waste of time. Governments will continue to crack down on priacy so the pirates might as well face reality. SOPA may have been a poorly written attempt to stop piracy but there will be more legislation and the laws and punishment will get tougher. The socially challneged pirates seem to only understand prison sentences so they'll get their chance to participate in the game of life, soon."


          Notice a similarity?

          However, I would hazard a guess that ElReg!comments!Pierre is also basing his labelling of the AC above being "Morris D" due to the following:


          Kiwis collar Megaupload kingpin, Anonymous exacts revenge · The Register Forums (

          "A prison cell awaits you

          Posted [by Anonymous Coward] Friday 20th January 2012 01:59 GM

 and his supporters who hack should know that a prison cell with their name on it awaits. This should be good media fodder for a couple years as the clueless get hauled off to prison."


          In response to which I again suggested the AC commentard is the same AC commentard who had also posted to the Inquirer using the moniker "Morris D". Take a look at the above comments, those quoted in this post, as well as the one that started this thread, the rhetoric is exactly the same. This is why the connection is being made that this serial commentard is "Morris D".

          So no, it wasn't ElReg!comments!Pierre, nor was it result of a data breach that the AC commentard has been "outed". It was me, and, for the record, I don't have access to El Reg's database or admin pane either!

          Interestingly "Morris D" has not posted a comment, using that moniker, on The Inquirer since I made the initial connection here on El Reg.

        2. Ian Stephenson

          I imagine it's just a guess.

          Juist from the RIAA-sockpuppet-like(can I copyright this dual hypenated word?) posts of Morris D.

      2. Shades
        Thumb Up

        @ElReg!comments!Pierre. Re: Morris D (AKA AC 27th January 2012 00:07)

        I'm glad I'm not the only one seeing the connection!

        1. (AMPC) Anonymous and mostly paranoid coward
          Big Brother

          Bad AC, get your virtual jack boots on but mind the wobblies

          So Frank Zappa was right, soon we will ALL be dancing to the tune of the Central Scrutinizer.

          I would post a link to this excellent song to make the point but don't want to be sued or imprisoned by ACMorris and his faceless legions. So you will have to find Joe's Garage yourself, and then listen to the first track and title song (quite prescient)

    3. Thing

      I don't remember surrendering control of the the streets to Tescos...

      .... to combat shoplifting, so I certainly am not going to surrender control of the internet to combat piracy. Nor do I remember giving customs agents the right to confiscate/destroy any goods that I might carry through the border 'just in case' they have been shoplifted.

      It's amazing what laws you can get passed if throw enough hookers at the right people.

    4. The BigYin

      @AC at 00:07

      If they passed a law that said you had to beat yourself in the face with a meat tenderiser, you'd applaud it as a way to remove aesthetic discrimination whilst you pound yourself and your family to a pulp; wouldn't you?

      This law is wrong.

      1. Ben Tasker

        @The BinYin

        Probably whilst slating those who didn't as criminals.

        1. Paul_Murphy


          Or unpatriotic etc. etc.

          As per the quote from Hermann Goering

          “Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” -- Hermann Goering

          Only it's not 'an enemy' that's being fought, it's 'the pirates', most of whom are engaging in a most human instinct if sharing things.

          What's particularly frustrating is the fact that artists (you know the people the MPAA etc are trying to help) will thrive on getting their name known - if new people never find out about them then the artist is limited to a virtually fixed set of fans.

          In most cases piracy helps the artists get their names out to the highest number of people, thus ensuring a steady uptake of new people seeing them and being interested in their stuff.

      2. Sketch

        @the Big Yin

        Can you explain why it is wrong?

        1. The BigYin


          I'll pick two points, just for starters:

          1) ACTA was negotiated behind closed doors, if it hadn't been for a few leaks there would have even less known. This is wrong in any democracy.

          2) The further entrenchment of DRM is also (e.g. forcing ISP to remove DRM counter-measures) is, IMHO, wrong.

          There are of course, many more. Point 1) is probably the most important by far. No law should ever be passed in a democracy without judicial oversight. Period. Point 2) just happens to really grate my carrot.

        2. laird cummings

          @ Sketch:

          I can do it in one quote:

          "Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power."

          Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack (1738)

          Franklin's aphorisms apply to Europe as much as they do to the US, or to Brazil, or China, or anywhere else humans live - OWN your own power, do not let it be stolen!

          Woo! Now I'm feeling all fired up and revolutionary!

          Think I'll go down to my nearest center of Gevernment Oppression, and overturn a few more pieces of nasty legislation!

    5. Stuart Moore

      Re:Goodguys 1, pirates 0

      "we're going to need a bigger button"

    6. LarsG


      FREEDOM 0

  2. Chris 3

    Hyperbole cranked up to 12

    "the European version of the US SOPA and PIPA rolled into one and cranked up to 11."

    Have you actually read it. I've had a read and it doesn't appear that way.

    At least if you're going to shout 'the sky's falling in' in a news article actually quote the passages you find objectionable and explain why. If there's a good case I'm more than happy to lobby my MEP, man the barricades etc.

    1. yossarianuk

      Please see these articles

      ACTA is very very bad.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        I am nitpicking here BUT....

        If you want to give people evidence of something "bad" then give them the whole story. NOT merely the part of what you want them to read. (I know they can scroll up and read; as said I am nitpicking here).

        There is a risk but quite frankly I think there's an even bigger risk with all the contradicting protests. One claims that "the current draft of ACTA would profoundly restrict the fundamental rights and freedoms of European citizens, most notably the freedom of expression and communication privacy" while the other claims that: "ACTA would create unduly harsh legal standards that do not reflect contemporary principles of democratic government, free market exchange, or civil liberties. Even though the precise terms of ACTA remain undecided, the negotiants' preliminary documents reveal many troubling aspects of the proposed agreement".

        'Freedom of expression' or a statement which doesn't 'reflect contemporary principals' ?

        issues like these have very little public interest unfortunately. And when several groups start spouting several opinions which all end at the same place its only more damaging that doing good.

        We have seen this happening with the "European vote" for personal encryption some years ago. Why haven't we learned anything from that yet still think we have what it takes to address major topics ?

      2. Jiminy

        Watched the anonymous video explanation and there description of Counterfeiting is sooo bad

        Fair enough, the intrusive monitoring is very bad, but you can't claim that there is nothing wrong with making copies of someone else's work and distributing it without permission

        Claiming that it's not stealing because the original is still there is not a good enough justification for pirating music and movies

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Seriously, what the hell is your point? Copyright infridgement is already illegal.

          1. Blofeld's Cat

            Copyright infridgement?

            "infridgement" ?

            Are you saying they should freeze copyright, or that they should all just chill out?

          2. Charles Augustus Milverton

            Fortunately that time honoured tradition of beer infridgement is still totally legal.

      3. Chris 3

        My case exactly

        Link 1: No content, merely the assertion that: " Initial reports indicate that the treaty will have a very broad scope and will involve new tools targeting “Internet distribution and information technology.”

        Great. "Initial reports" - well how about looking at the final treaty?

        Link 2: the letter from EFF et al "states that "the *current draft* of ACTA would..." - so again not referring to the final text.

        Link 3: Seems to date from around 2008 or possibly 2010:

        "While little information has been made available by the governments negotiating ACTA a document recently leaked to the public entitled "Discussion Paper on a Possible Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement" from an unknown source gives an indication of what content industry rightsholder groups appear to be asking for..."

        I keep seeing this stuff quoted time and time again. Stop posting OLD LINKS talking about OLD DRAFTS. If you want me to get on to my MEP a properly reasoned critique of the actual agreement.

        1. Arrrggghh-otron

          @Chris 3

          The treaty has been negotiated in private. It's as if those involved don't want the public to know what it contains...

          Any drafts we have seen have been leaked.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          The sad thing is there's a more recent draft of ACTA which postdates the EFF scare story by quite some time. It's not that easy to find though (lost link, sorry). But it didn't sound very scary to me. Mostly it was just "member states COULD implement X,Y or Z if they so choose". No MUST, not even SHOULD. The EFF line is that ACTA implements things at a federal level across Europe with no dissent allowed, but they're paranoid Americans and don't understand that that's just not how Europe works. Frankly I'd be happy if the Americans would stay the fuck out of European politics and get their own house in order.

    2. Yes Me Silver badge

      This agreement needs work

      This bit looks OK:

      "Further to paragraph 1, each Party’s enforcement procedures shall apply to infringement of copyright or related rights over digital networks, which may include the unlawful use of means of widespread distribution for infringing purposes. These procedures shall be implemented in a manner that avoids the creation of barriers to legitimate activity, including electronic commerce, and, consistent with that Party’s law, preserves fundamental principles such as freedom of expression, fair process, and privacy."

      However the criminalisation of any method of bypassing DRM technology is odious. This agreement needs work.

      1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

        > This bit looks OK:

        No, it bloody well doesn't. It is the same old trick all over again (last seen with the so-called European Constitution and its token Human Rights section). The "illegal" activities are so broadly defined as to really mean "anything we might think of after the fact" while the protection section is so vague as to be ignorable in ANY real-life case. That is VERY bad practice as the real meaning of the thing -can't be brought to call it a law- is left to individual case evaluation. The ordinary citizen has _litterally_ no way of knowing whether what he is doing might fall foul of the law (fair use and freedom of expression, among other thing, are not defined in any enforceable way); and the lobbying groups with deep pockets have all latitude to influence the rulings, be it by clever media manipulation or by, erm, more "direct" methods. Laws were initially meant to AVOID abuse of the ordinary defenseless citizen by the Big Strong Guys. This kind of "laws" actually openly FACILITATE this kind of abuse.

      2. The BigYin

        @Yes Me

        "However the criminalisation of any method of bypassing DRM technology is odious."

        Bingo. I buy a BluRay (say), I have an HTPC. It makes sense to me to get the movie on to the HTPC so I can watch it from my TVs/PCs. Or maybe I want to transcode it down To do this I need to by-pass the DRM.

        I am now a criminal.

        For what, exactly?

        I am not going to share it with 10 brazillion people or start my own disc fab or something.

        I own a few pieces of equipment that have had their security measures by-passed. I do not illegal with these either, they just now perform functions the original designers never intended.

        DRM is nothing more than an obstacle to fair use. By-passing should not be a crime (as DRM should not exist to being with). Making many copies of the by-passed material is already a crime. Why do we need ACTA, SOPA, PIPA et al?

        The current laws are perfectly adequate (in fatc, the current laws go too far, but anyway...). They managed to take down Megaupload with current laws (and deprive goodness know how many people of their own material - but who care about the public?)

        1. Richard Wharram


          If you trusted your files to Kim Dotcom (or Kimble as he used to be known) then you should have known better. The guy was the biggest twat on the internet even back in the 90s and would spend hours and hours cheating at Quake and Quake 2 and then DDOS'ing people who criticised or beat him. Do some research on who you give your money and files to.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Democracy at its finest :(

    Censurship of the net under the guise of piracy and the likes. In time the govenments amend these acts to suit their politcal whim.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      How can you up or down vote a post that doesn't even make sense?

      1. laird cummings
        Thumb Down

        @AC 2012 07:57 GMT

        Easy - downvote it for being inchoerent. :)

  4. jonfr

    Forward it to ECJ

    If everything else fails. Forward the ACTA to ECJ. As I find it in my opinion that ACTA breaks several EU treaties by default. That way it should be possible to kill ACTA in simple manner.

  5. ElReg!comments!Pierre

    Heh. The French on the side of Good. Would you believe that.

    Funny to say the least, as under the current administration the French (gov) tried use their presidency period to pass a EU "law" making the operator of a wireless network criminally responsible for the acts of any person who would gain unauthorized access to said network. Read: yo granny's going to jail if someone posts kiddie porn -or indeed copyright-infringing content- after cracking her WEP. No further proof needed. Thankfully that never went through. The French observer's move is a welcome change (disclosure, before you ask: although I've been living overseas for quite a few years now, my passport still says "French").

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. ElReg!comments!Pierre

      Downvoters, please expand

      I'd genuinely love to see what I got wrong in this post. I'm French, so I might be a bit thick; please explain. Or go get screwed, your choice; I don't really mind the downvotes, I'm not running for class president.

      1. Grease Monkey Silver badge

        No you're not thick. You just didn't read the article. The French are one of the 21 states who ratified the act. So how do you put them on the side of good?

        1. Nick L

          Clarifying: one good French guy, not France as a whole...

          A little bit of confusion to which "French" Pierre is referring to. Not France at large, but the French EU Parliament Member that resigned in protest...

          From TFA:

          In an unprecedented move, the French European Parliament member assigned to monitor the treaty proceedings, Kader Arif, resigned in protest at the signings

          Hope that helps resolve ambiguity.

        2. ElReg!comments!Pierre

          OK, bad title

          I should have typed "A" French.

      2. Shades

        It was probably...

        ...Morris! ;)

      3. Yag

        Logical explanation : you are downvoted because you are french, the historical ennemy of everything british :)

    3. Bob J.

      But note the UK!

      After Cameron's weighty protestations about signing the financial pact subjecting nations' budgets to EC oversight, on grounds that that denigrates the UK's sovereignty, he approves this "treaty" that eviscerates the privacy rights of British subjects without any remorse. In a digital world, that's more of an extranational intrusion on citizens' privacy than are green-visor types in Brussels looking over a stale budget. Talk about hypocrisy of the highest order!

    4. John Hughes

      Not "the French"

      A French socialist MEP.

      Sarko is C Bruni's sock puppet.

      Good thing he's on his way out.

  6. heyrick Silver badge

    Fuckwits 1 - Fucktards 0

    MegaUpload got clobbered, file share sites are in a panic, and so are some of the big uploaders.

    Funny, this was done *WITHOUT* SOPA, ACTA, and the like. How was this possible? Oh, wait, we HAVE existing legislation. We don't need corrupt politicians to sign in powers to big media to act as judge/jury/executioner based upon an accusation and the rather flimsy "evidence" of an IP address.

    1. laird cummings
      Thumb Up

      Preach it, brotha!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They can't run or hide

    Pirate and pay the price.

    1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

      They can and will

      Innocent tech-illiterate citizens, on the other hand, will be thoroughtly screwed.

      This is Andrew Crossley's methods turned into law. Mafia-like racket being made the norm. Big victory indeed...

    2. Shades

      Oh Morris...

      ...neither can you!

  8. Blofeld's Cat
    Black Helicopters


    I'm going off at a bit of a tangent here, but...

    Has anyone else noticed how all manner of counterfeiting, file copying and the like is now almost always referred to as 'piracy'.

    I assume this is one more example of TPTB trying to demonise something they wish to destroy.

    The idea is essentially very simple, and relies on the general public being unaware they are being manipulated. For example, the FBI described Dillinger as 'public enemy number one' to stop people treating him as a folk hero.

    The Internet being portrayed as a haven for child pornographers, pedophiles and terrorists is another example.

    In this case, copying music from a CD to an iPod seems perfectly benign, so TPTB have had to introduce this tenuous connection to seagoing crime to make it appear bad.

    Unfortunately for TPTB, my dysfunctional mind only conjurers up an image of somebody with a skull-and-crossbones emblazoned three-cornered hat, eyepatch and peg leg, tapping at a computer keyboard with their hook, and mumbling curses past a cutlass in their mouth

    (Removes tinfoil hat)

    We now return you to your scheduled programming.

    1. Bob J.

      Bring it up to date: vicious black people in rubber boats toting AK-47s and RPGs, attacking defenseless cargo ships off the coast of Somalia. Why, they're the very next thing to terrorists! Which of course, digital "pirates" eventually will become once they're so libeled and labeled. This is a very slippery slope.

  9. Robert Heffernan

    Steam Model

    The major root of the whole problem of internet piracy of copyrighted content really is the fact that the MPAA/RIAA and associated global arms are stuck in an old and unworkable business model. The heads of this business are old fat-cats who are too happy with their fingers in their ears yelling 'LA LA LA LA LA' to block out the chorus of the internet crying out for change.

    The old model guaranteed high profits, and loads of industry control because the means of distributing content were often limited to moving physical property from place to place. The duplication of film stock and audio recordings was limited to certain companies authorized to do such work.

    The advent of the home VCR and even the cassette tape were the first stage in the loss of control of content distribution, you could connect two VCRs or tape players together and make as many duplicates of the content as you wanted. It was a time consuming process and the MPAA/RIAA didn't like it but not much could really be done, and the rates of piracy were still relatively low mainly due to the time required and loss of quality in the duplicates, so this didn't force the industries into a rethink of their business model.

    Fast-forward a couple of decades and the rise of the Personal Computer and the Internet was such a fast and wide reaching thing that the MPAA/RIAA didn't have time to really look at and arrive with a new business model. They just stuck their heads in the sand and hoped it would go away. It didn't. The PC and Internet made it possible to almost perfectly duplicate the original copyrighted work in an extremely short time, with very little quality loss, and made distribution of these duplicate works extremely easy and fast. The MPAA/RIAA tried to sue as many people as they could but it turned into a PR disaster, such large and powerful organisations picking on little Johnny in his mothers basement, and in some cases, little Johnny's mother.

    It is high time that the Film and Music industries finally conceeded defeat and came up with a new modern business model that will make everyone happy. My idea is this...

    Steam, from Valve Software.

    It's the perfect idea for this kind of content access and distribution. Sure it will require some small tweaks to make it apply to Video and Audio files, but the idea is just the same. Sure there is stuff like iTunes but they are hold-overs from the tightly controlled (DRM) distribution model of old, and they need to be scrapped.

    A studio needs to make their works available within the 'Steam' style framework where a user's content library is stored in the system. Newly released content is made available from a central server but as it gets downloaded, the system starts using a P2P model where once there is a critical mass, the central server basically becomes a backup for the P2P version of the file. As for the purchasing of music or films, you access the store, you pay a small amount of money, say a couple of dollars for an album, or maybe $5 for a feature film. You get a perpetual license to the content, if you loose it you can just download another copy from the P2P pool, you can freely copy the file to other systems and access it whenever and whereever.

    Then the store can have deals on content. Like all the bond films? Instead of paying $300 for DVDs of the whole thing, you can pay like $50 and get all of them. Is it the holiday season? 30% discount on all the crappy holiday season films. Want to keep the Cinemas in business? All latest released stuff still gets screened at the Cinema but keep your ticket which has a redemption code for a free or heavily discounted digital copy of the movie from the Store.

    The whole issue is pricing the content at a point where everyone thinks 'Meh, it's only a few bucks, i'll buy it" the same thought process can be seen with movies that didn't do so well at the box office in the bargain basement bin at the local shopping complex. "Some Crappy Movie for $8, it was an ok movie, i'll grab it for $8, no big deal" The bonus of doing the content distribution digitally instead of over physical media is with the Store/P2P approach is that the Industry doesn't have to pay or pays almost nothing for distribution, it's pure profit. Where as the $8 DVD in the bargain basement bin still has to pay shipping, manufacturing, wages, etc up the line and will make almost no money in the end.

    Then comes the added benefits from the Store based approach. Have a single unified store. Sure it will be a monopoly but if it represented the whole of the global content industries, the cost of running the thing can be shared easily, thus making the running cost of it for any particular company rather small, and leaving them with even more profit. It also avoids market segmentation with people having content on multiple services. Also with the monopoly store approach, there is a guarantee that the store will always exist, thus keeping everyone's purchases 100% safe forever. The game stores (Like Steam) have a problem of if the parent company shutters the service what happens to the user's legally purchased content. This is a non-issue for a global, industry-wide service.

    Next comes the metrics that could be data-mined from each user in an anonymous fashion. They could work out what films/music people like the most and produce more of that type of content, thus fueling more sales.

    This is something I thought of for about the whole of 20mins, why is it so hard for the content industries to come up with something like it!

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. BrownishMonstr

      TL;DR: Discount code for films wouldn’t work so well because the tickets or license to watch the film(s) would then be huge. Streaming films wouldn’t work so well because of limited bandwidth and speed. Though big budget films may not be as awesome as indie ones, they are the ones that bring big bucks to the investors and do tend to fund indie films that could otherwise be a loss. Everything below says what’s mentioned in this paragraph at least once with quite a lot of bantering and digressing. Why not delete what’s below? Maybe you’ll enjoy my bantering, maybe not. Either way, I ain’t all for the new laws, especially if they restrict freedom and so on. But I don’t quite agree with you, though it could hold true for the future.

      Hmmm I'd disagree with getting a discount code for a digital copy when watching the film in the cinema. Sure, it'd be lovely, but it's just not viable—unless you're going to raise the ticket price to cover the cost. Part of the money from the ticket goes to the cinema—so maybe a discount code could work, but then they're just going to be increasing the price of that license to watch the film on whatever medium you desire, a medium-wide-license so to speak.

      That could be very, very expensive—I much prefer the current model, pay for what you want when you want. It also means those tight on cash don't need to pay a huge price for a medium-wide-license and instead a small price for the DVD or Blu-ray, or whatever, copy. In the future, downloaded films are the way to go, but the current bandwidth and download-speed doesn't really cut it at the moment. I understand the point you're making though, their current model isn't suited for the internet age. I agree.

      You seem to be putting across that films are cheap to produce. They're frigging expensive. Sure, some of the budget might be going to heads-in-asses actors and directors who demand, or whose unions demand, a huge wage. But that's the way our crappy society runs, unfortunately. You’re putting across that pricing films low will mean more people will buy it. Possibly yes, but it might not generate as much ‘profit’, or whatever Hollywood banking calls that huge positive sum of money they get.

      As for what films people like, kinda the ones they are producing at the moment. Yes the big-budget Hollywood ones are kinda crappy but they bring enough money in to fund the smaller indie films which tend to be a loss, even taking into account Hollywood accountancy. If an indie film does do well, such as Terminator, then the sequels tend to be big-budget. Though some indie films are never released because they don’t agree to the Hollywood motto, or if are released aren’t really advertised well, such as the awesome Fight Club film. Hollywood is making films people like as a whole, that’s why they’re making huge ‘profits’. If you don’t happen like those big-budget films, then you’re taste is rare and doesn’t really make a good return, as awesome as it may be to you or me. By the way, I’m not questioning you’re taste.

      So yeah, the new laws may be bad, I’ve not yet read it, and if they are against our freedoms and whatnot, then I’m against it. But the current model kinda works, but then kinda doesn’t. [I’ll update/delete this post when after a nice sleep and some common sense]

      1. magnetik

        " It also means those tight on cash don't need to pay a huge price for a medium-wide-license and instead a small price for the DVD or Blu-ray, or whatever, copy."

        Eh? A month of unlimited movie streaming from Lovefilm / Netflix costs less than one Blu-Ray film. Where's this "huge" price you speak of?

        1. yossarianuk

          Re: magnetik

          Well hear in lies a problem...

          LoveFilm / Netflix haven't got a Linux compatible client (yet - although Netflix are making one)

          So what should they do ... Purchase Windows perhaps ? There is no way as that would fund a company that is actively supporting this hideous act (and the PIPA act.) - not to mention using patents generally to prevent innovation and competition.

          Everything about this act (and SOPA/PIPA) is all about censoring the internet and will damage society (like funding Microsoft)

        2. BrownishMonstr


          Unlimited Movie streaming from LoveFilm or Netflix may cost less than a bluray, but you haven't bought a license for a copy, you're just renting. What the OP (Robert Heffernan) said was to get a coupon for a heavily discounted or free digital copy of the film when you watch it at the cinema. If that was to occur then you're going to have a license to watch the film on different types of mediums (or media), such as the cinema and on PCs.

          Now, they're already sell films and then re-release them if a different type of medium comes out, but they want you to pay. So say you had Beauty and the beast on VHS, if it comes out on DVD they expect you to pay the full price, they will not give a discount just because you owned a license to watch it on a different medium. Likewise, if you download a copy because your copy on VHS isn't as clear or is lost, I doubt they'll treat you different to another downloader and who has never had a legal copy.

          So, if they did sell the license for you to own a copy of that film on different mediums, then expect it to be high because they already want people to pay several times for that film. That's why there's directors cut and extended versions and special anniversary versions, they want people to pay. It may not be nice but they're a business and expect them to squeeze money out of their customers at every opportunity.

    3. PT

      Steam model?

      I'm not sure I like the idea of having to store content I paid for in the "system" and just borrowing it from time to time. I prefer the idea of tangible property in my hands, that I can use at any time without reference to any other person and dispose of any way I please. I have CDs that are 20 years old some vinyl records more than 40 years old. I'd like to see the online storage that would hold my property safe for so long, free of charge, and let me take them to parties or lend to my friends.

      1. CD001


        Except that with the Steam model you download a copy to your local hardware - and you can re-download it onto any other hardware whether you own it or not as long as you're logged into your Steam account. The online servers basically work as a perpetual, access anywhere backup.

        For instance, I own Shogun 2: Total War - my mum doesn't. If I'm visiting my mum I could, if I wanted, log into my Steam account on her computer download S2:TW and play it there.

        But, yes, I still sometimes prefer the physical media and tend to buy CDs... but for games, well, there probably aren't that many games that you'll want to still be playing that you bought 10 years ago, let alone 20 or 40... and, as far as I'm concerned anyway, I think the pros outweigh the cons when it comes to Steam (especially when they have one of their sales on and you can pick up games dirt cheap; the original Mass Effect for £1.75 before Christmas for instance).

        1. Christian Berger

          The problem with the Steam model

          Once steam goes bust, I'll loose all my content. It would be the first eternal company.

          What I want is a DRM-free copy. I'll take care of the rest. Of course I'd like to buy it, but if I cannot, well I'll need to pirate.

          And why does the industry have a problem with that. Until the mid-1990s every format was DRM-free, and since then, pretty much every DRM system has been circumvented, one way or the other. The ratio of media which can be found of Piratebay probably is way higher for DRMed media than for DRM-free ones.

      2. CD001


        I'd like to see the online storage that would hold my property safe for so long, free of charge, and let me take them to parties or lend to my friends.


        Technically, if you read the copyright blurb on your CDs, they probably explicitly disallow one or both of those things ;) So really they don't allow (OK, give permission for) you to do that either.

    4. Robert Heffernan

      Replies to above points

      I understand the current hollywood model tries to squeeze as much money out of the consumer as possible, by having to re-buy the content when it comes out in a better format. It's this very act that is known far-and-wide and is part of the problem when it comes to piracy of content. It's the first thing that needs to change. The fact that directors, actors, etc make such huge sums from a movie actually gets offset by the fact that they can go years without income, not getting cast or called to make a movie, it's why you see so many actors and directors branching out into producer roles and such.

      As for the store using a streaming model, that's a definite no-no, it's still a hold-over of the current 'we-must-have-total-control' mentality of hollywood. While there are internet markets that have caps on downloads and data is priced by the gigabyte, streaming will not work, doubly so to people on very low bandwidth limits. The service must be download based. You buy it, it starts downloading a copy to your local machine. Once there, there is no issue with burning the file onto DVD or Blu-Ray for those that like to have a physical copy. If you ever damage your disk you can just re-burn it. If you want to take it to a friends house, you can take the file, and watch it (with your license) if your friend likes it, they can copy the file to their system, buy it from the store, and not have to re-download it.

      The whole system will cause a big change in hollywood, especially concerning money but it's a change that is needed, the current system doesn't work anymore. They will make less per copy of the content, but they will get more sales of the content and the cost to distribute content will become essentially free, so the money lost in the supply chain will dry up (which sucks if you work in the supply chain). Besides, using Avatar for an example, the film cost $250,000,000 to make which is quite a large sum for a single movie. They only needed to make that sum back plus a modest amount extra to make it worthwhile. They made $2,782,275,172 which is such an obscene amount of profit (in fact it's a little more than the GDP of Guam), and where did it all go? In to some fat-cat's bank account.

  10. ACx

    Oh nice one this. We get these laws and each nation state will simply blame Europe. Brilliant. No, its a work of genius.

    Wow, I now believe we actually have less democracy than the US. I apologise America. Serves me right.

    1. 0_Flybert_0

      apology accepted

      "At least EU parliamentarians get to debate the issue – the Obama administration claims that no democratic vote is required on the treaty since it an “executive agreement”.

      Since when does Obama have squat to do with the EU parliament ?

      most Americans don't accept Obama's interpretation of our laws, why would any in Europe give a rats ass about his opinion of EU law ?

      1. John Hughes

        You (like the Reg journo) don't understand

        ACTA is not an EU law.

        ACTA is a multinational treaty

        *EVERYONE* is going to sign up for ACTA, not just the EU.

        Didn't you notice they were signing it in Japan?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not smart enough to quit while behind

    Oops, they did it again.

  12. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. Gritzwally Philbin

    Who Has the Power Here?

    You can always vote with your wallets next time Hollywood - or whomever - wants your business, and just *refuse* to spend your hard-earned.

    Let them know why you won't buy as well.

    It is entirely THAT simple. Who's up for a pint, down the corner pub instead?

    1. Thing

      You can also vote...

      ... and I will not be voting for a government that ratifies this next time around.

      1. fajensen
        Black Helicopters

        How will you do that? When one checks the voting record in a representative democracy, one will find that all parties - including "the opposition" - always vote in unison on controversial legislation, specifically to defuse voter retaliation (The voting record in general bears little semblance to the opinions presented in the media).

        In Britain and the US, the incoming government will just carry right on with whatever got the last government kicked out. Democracy is a sham!

        1. Ocular Sinister


          Two words: Pirate Party

          1. Eddie Edwards
            Thumb Down

            The Pirate Party needs to work out where it stands on a wide variety of serious issues - for instance, the installation of air conditioning on the outside of buildings to combat global warming. Until then, the long-standing problems with the system of Western democracy can only be solved by the Monster Raving Loony party.

            1. A J Stiles

              Air conditioning units on the outside of buildings

              You may have meant this as a joke, but such devices already exist. They are called "air source heat pumps", and the heat extracted from the outside air can be used for space or water heating inside the building.

              Since one kilowatt of electricity can move heat from place to place at a rate of three or four kilowatts, and ends up as another kilowatt of heat on the output side, it means you are effectively getting heat for somewhere between one-quarter and one-fifth of the price of the electricity you would have used to produce it.

              That works out cheaper per kilowatt-hour than mains gas; and, assuming the price of gas increases more quickly over time than the price of electricity (which is reasonable; since gas is a finite resource, not all power stations burn gas and more electricity is going to be generated sustainably in future), is likely to become more economical over time.

        2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          What we have is a Representative Democracy

          You are represented by the person who obtained the majority vote in their (your) constituency.

          Not only can you not vote for your MP or MEP at the next election, you also have the ABSOLUTE RIGHT to lobby them to hear and your concerns, and if sufficient interest is expressed to convince them, act on the concerns. Obviously there are limits (don't go stalking your MP, use the surgery process and letters and email), but you should give it a go sometime. You also have the same right to lobby members of the upper house when legislation passes to the House of Lords.

          What breaks this is the Party system, that imposes a whip on the way that they vote. In my view, there should be no such thing as the party whip in Parliamentary votes, and MPs should be free to vote in line with what a majority of their constituents want. This would, however, make passing legislation and running a government much more difficult.

          Unfortunately, it is necessary to have a representative system for all but the most important issues (where you have a referendum), because the great unwashed masses (and in fact, many of your MPs) are really not interested in the minutia of day-to-day government. When was the last time any of my fellow UK citizens even bothered to watch the BBC Parliament channel, let alone read Hansard or attend parliamentary sessions, and this is often the most interesting bits!

    2. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      "You can always vote with your wallets next time Hollywood - or whomever - wants your business, and just *refuse* to spend your hard-earned."

      The problem is that they just show that their income is decreasing, and say that it is because of the pirates, and hence even more draconian laws are needed (oh, and here have another prostitute, senator)

  14. Stuart 25

    Death of Democracy

    Just goes to show how pointless our 'democratic' system is.

    A wide ranging treaty that, like all the previous treaties we have been stuck with, is going to be interpretted so as to require new laws. Laws that will be rammed through the UK Parliament because they will be 'required' to conform to this treaty.

    I seem to recall that the Irish government is being sued by the Music Mafia because their laws don't match the industries interpretation of other EU treaties.

    And in this whole process our so called representatives have done absolutly squat to engage with us the voters.

    1. Chris 3

      No - start lobbying your MEP

      The Agreement needs to be ratified by the European parliament. If enough people feel strongly enough about ACTA and can put together cogent objections this could be an *excellent* issue to get the Parliament to flex its muscles. It just needs a concerted public push.


  15. This post has been deleted by its author

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    And we know what they want, they want more for themselves and less for everybody else!

  17. Big Al

    "Kader Arif, resigned... saying that the EU was trying to have as little public debate on ACTA as possible, and that right-wing groups were trying to ram it into law with no oversight."

    As opposed to most things the EU does, where they have as little public debate as possible and the left wingers try to ram it into law with no oversight?

    How shocking.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Far out

    ACTA is about much more than copyright-violations. It also means that the most restrictive policies on copyrights and patents will be enforced globally regardless of local laws. Countries that currently don't endorse patents on software or business-processes are now fair game for US patent trolls. Commercial software companies will be able put a ban on freecode throughout the ACTA area through claims of patent infringement without having to disclose details.

    1. Sketch

      Perhaps you should try reading it before passing assumptions off as fact

      Article 3 - section 2

      "This Agreement does not create any obligation on a Party to apply measures

      where a right in intellectual property is not protected under its laws and regulations."

    2. laird cummings

      As opposed to European Patent Trolls, or Patent Trolls of any other stripe..?

  19. Grease Monkey Silver badge

    There are obviously questions over whether this act is even legal. I know people are saying it should have been put to public consultation, but that's not the problem. Most new legislation in most countries never goes to any form of public consultation.

    The legality of this particular act is not under question because of the way the act was developed, it is questionable because many of the nations who ratified it did not debate it in parliament. Check the constitutions and laws of many of the countries that ratified the act and you will see that they are quite clear on the fact that nothing can pass into law until it has been debated and passed by parliament (two houses in many cases). So until it goes through those processes it is not law in those countries.

    Of course the problem is that somebody would have to launch a successful challenge on those grounds in each of those countries. That might be difficult.

    1. Chris 3

      It's a trade agreement

      Nothing gets passed into law.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    everyone should have their rights protected

    Fair use, privacy, due process and copyright time limits need to be made clearer and fairer to the paying public and citizenry. We have a moral responsibility to content creators but this shouldn't be unlimited to the cost of everything else.

  21. The BigYin


    It's about the only option left!

    Copyright infringement is bad, ok? But I doubt the problem is as big as is made out.

    Infringement could be cut drastically by the majors simply providing the public with the service they want. No DRM, no region locking, fair price, multiple codecs (for those who can't transcode).

    Yes, some companies will go to the wall.

    Yes, some artists will see a massive fall in pay.

    Yes, many people will lose their jobs.

    So what?

    Many new companies will appear.

    Many artists will see an increase in pay (they should not have more of a direct link to their fans).

    Many new jobs will be created.

    Our culture will no longer be held hostage to corporate interests.

    I still credit the EU with at least some level of honesty on how ACTA was bought and paid for by corporate interests. It gives me that extra urge to vote Pirate the next time I get the chance.

    Thinking about it - as ACTA has had zero public and democratic scrutiny, could there be an appeal lodged?

    1. The BigYin


      "they should not have more of a direct link to their fans"

      should read

      "they should now have more of a direct link to their fans"

      And I see there is at least one anti-freedom, anti-speech downvote already. Nice.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A lot of people here are taking the "it's stealing even if the original is still there" high ground.

    A question, though...

    If someone invented one of those replicators in Star Trek, would you have some sort of problem with that too?

    "Replicating food is killing the supermarkets, and it's illegal!"

    1. Daniel 4

      Not necessarily my personal position, but...

      "If someone invented one of those replicators in Star Trek, would you have some sort of problem with that too?

      "Replicating food is killing the supermarkets, and it's illegal!""

      All joking aside, Monsanto would probably be filing suit before the replicator even cooled off, so I'd guess that yes, they would. There is plenty of I.P. in physical products. Whether or not some of the associated "rights" (see Monsanto for example) should have been granted or be enforced the way they are is a different question.


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The Music Industry would get there first

        You could after all simply input the pattern for the latest release (and hopefully the Justin Bieber of the day will cause the replicator to explode) and replicate your own CD.

        Of course by then someone will have patented "the act of introducing various notes into ones voice whilst adhering to a tempo" so no-one will be allowed to sing without license anyway!

        A/C cos at work, so as I can't use the Icon;


        / \

        / \

        / JOKE \

        / ALERT! \

        / \


        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          The forums removed my carefully placed formatting

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. Uncle Slacky
            Big Brother

            Yes - Thoughtcrime!

            As title.

          2. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

            PRS licence

            No, it was a guitar shop that PRS demanded royalty fees from because they said anyone playing a piece of music while testing an instrument constituted a 'performance'. The story was originally reported on the Macckelsfield express in 2005 but the story is no longer on their website

            It's very similar to the way Warner Bros wanted the 'merkin girl guides to pay royalties for "Happy Birthday to you" when it was sung at a camp file. HBTY generates 2M$ for warner despite the dodgy copyright claim, the biggest source is from the film and TV industry because the insurance on a production usually requires that litigation be avoided by paying all permissions fees.

            The full story here:-


            The greed of the copyright mafia knows no bounds.

            1. The BigYin


              If you sing the PRS want your money (or will try to get it) BBC Story

              There have also been cases where agencies similar to the PRS (whatever the one in Germany is called) have pressed for fees, despite the music used being Creative Commons and within the bounds of the license.

              These buggers would charge you each time to recollect part of a movie/song if they could.

  23. Coofer Cat

    Now is the time to talk to your MEP

    Visit Write to Them: and email your MEP asking them which way they intend to vote, when asked to ratify ACTA. Briefly/gently suggest you're not in favour because you're concerned it criminalises the wrong people (no need to rant at this point!).

    Await a response from your MEP. Write to Them will ask you if they have responded two weeks after you contact them - if they haven't responded yet, repeat the first step.

    If your MEP says they support ACTA, point them at any number of internet resources that intelligently argue that it's a bad thing, and most importantly, tell then that in the next MEP vote, you'll be making a deliberate effort to ensure that you don't vote for them or anyone in their party, and that you'll do your best to influence your friends and family to do the same thing.

    I'm not deluded enough to think this will make any difference on it's own, but after the 10th letter along these lines, even the most shabby MEP may start to think about this being a vote-loser, which could see the end of their time on the gravy-train known as the EU parliament. Since this whole effort will take you about 10 minutes, it's got to be worth a try.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Attitudes mostly

    Am I the only person who thinks it's unreasonable for people to take something they aren't entitled to, just because they disagree with how it's being sold (often a cover excuse for 'I'm taking it because I can').

    If Lucas decides to issue unmolested versions of Star Wars, but they will be sold only at a small market stall in a monastery in Tibet - then honestly that is his right, and the only right potential viewers have is to make the choice between going to Tibet to buy it, or not buying it. There is no entitlement to digital distribution because that's what you want. If you don't like content producers model, then simply don't consume the content.

    I can understand why content producers are royally pissed with piracy, if I published a book and people simply started copying and distributing it, I personally would feel they were stealing from me, regardless of the semantics of the word/argument. As it happens some repair guides and code I've written in the past, were released into the public domain - but the key point here is it was my content and my choice to release it in that fashion.

    The culture of entitlement needs to end, it actually reminds me of the people who expect benefits without trying to find work. "We" (being the collective consumers) are not blameless. The content industry was upset enough when people were using double tape decks and VCRs to copy albums and films, what did you think would happen when content was passed out like candy? "Oh! You're right, this film in fact cost us nothing to make, so you can give it away for free :)" No, that's not how it works.

    Aside from that - yet more typical EU/political underhand behaviour - try to push something through while people aren't looking, give unprecedented power to companies who were already protected by the law to begin with. Hopefully it will be struck down before ratification as all technical solutions to non-technical problems should be.

    1. Paul_Murphy

      Well - how about this as a thought experiment.

      Just because <Lucas> produced a film called <Star Wars> should he be able to control who gets to see it?

      I can see arguments along the lines of certain films not being suitable for certain age groups, and who knows maybe that will be expanded to include other 'warnings' i.e. an icon of sad leprechaun 'contains an anti-Irish joke!'

      But should 'content' be deliberately denied certain people? and who gets to decide - and why?

      It seems to me that <Lucas> should be excited that people wanted to see his work, not attacking the 'wrong sort' of people for watching it.


    2. NumptyScrub


      "Am I the only person who thinks it's unreasonable for people to take something they aren't entitled to, just because they disagree with how it's being sold (often a cover excuse for 'I'm taking it because I can')."

      I actually agree with you up to a point, it is indeed sad to see more and more people feeling entitled to do as they please when they quite blatantly know it is not right.

      However, please note that this view of "entitlement" is only valid if you are a member of the public. Government agencies also believe they are entitled to look at anything and everything, and the content creators can go fish if they object. I cannot refuse to let the police look at my hard disk, even if it contains copyrighted materials where I am both the content creator and copyright holder, and I specifically request them to cough up for a license to view the data. They will obviously not pay, I quite literally have both no say in the matter, and if I do refuse I am actually committing a crime (assuming I have previously encrypted the data, ie. "employ a technical measure to prevent copyright theft", and then refuse to give them the method to bypass this technical measure).

      Why is it a crime for me to bypass data protection mechanisms, and *also* a crime for me to employ data protection mechanisms to protect my own data? If one section of society has unfettered access to any and all data whenever it feels like it, is it really fair to prosecute other sections of society for adhering to the same belief?

    3. AgeingBabyBoomer

      Nothing to hide, nothing to fear.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This protest seems a good idea

  26. skevmeister

    Sold Down The River By A European Non Elected Body - I just Don't believe it

    You wouldn't be able to writ eit really you wouldn't. 2012 or 1984?

    Beer because you should always have a couple of beers and a bag of peanuts. Softens the warp travel.

  27. Crisp

    @AC 12:49

    A little surgery would fix that. A quick slice of the surgeons knife and all that IP that's been copied into your brain can be removed.

    (I actually wished that was possible after seeing The Phantom Menace.

  28. Anonymous Coward

    Saved me some cash!

    Thanks EU!

    After the SOPA-related shenanigans of the past few weeks, and the discovery that the UK and NZ [amongst others] are now lickspittle servants of the FBI, I had been planning on moving the half dozen or so domain names I own from the '.net' to '.eu' TLD and also moving one of the VPSs I rent from the US to Europe –not because I'm up to anything particularly illegal online, more as a sensible precaution against accidentally posting something that earns me five to ten, in the state pen in Moosejaw Creek, Arkansas.

    I was even considering stumping up the cash deposit necessary to become an officially approved .eu domain name registrar, reckoning that quite a few other people would be seeking safer harbours for their websites, these days.

    Well, today's revelation that the EU is just as craven to the interests of the movie and music industries, as the US has put the kybosh on that idea. Oh well. At least I've saved myself some cash and the hassle of reconfiguring a handful of websites over the next few weeks.

    1. laird cummings

      Wrong country

      Moosejaw is in Saskatchewan, Canada.

      Which would be an equally dismal place to spend some quality incarceration time, if for somewhat different reasons.

  29. David 45

    Just where are are we going?

    Are we not all living on the same planet? What annoys me greatly about all this net legislation is that whatever the so-called politicians decide, it will also effect them and their families. Ah - but of course, they are all squeaky-clean and would never contemplate pirating anything!

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anti ACTA marches sweep Europe

    Poland and France have already had huge marches and many other countries, including the UK are planning joint marches for 11th Feb. See for the planned London one.

    SOPA, PIPA, ACTA TPP ( - they just do not know when to stop trying to take our freedom.

This topic is closed for new posts.