back to article European revolt over ACTA treaty gains ground

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) treaty, signed by most European countries last week, may not be a done deal after all, as governments across the continent face a storm of protest. One of the signatories, the Slovenian ambassador to Japan Helena Drnovsek Zorko, has issued an unprecedented public apology (it's …


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  1. laird cummings
    Thumb Up


    Let's hear it with the uppity people of Europe!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I go jail now

      I gave old mp3 player with 5000 song on it to nephew in return for washing car! Exchange had value, I got clean car.

      Now I go to jail.

      Nephew aged 14 also go jail for receiving copyrighted materials and using them.


    2. Graham Wilson

      @laird cummings -- Yes but did you notice who are saying it?

      It's funny how ACTA, SOPA-type treaties seem to start or have most support in English-speaking countries (and the most yes-men in parliament too).

      Can anyone imagine these statements coming out of a member of an English-speaking parliament?

      Not bloody likely, methinks!

      1. laird cummings

        I'll happily learn Polish

        If that's what it takes.

  2. Kurgan

    A little too late

    It's a little too late, isn't it?

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re Kurgan

      No it isn't too late.

      Just look at what happened in North Africa in 2011.

    2. AdamWill


      No, for two reasons. Which I'll split into two comments, thanks to The Reg's boneheaded 2k character limit on comments. Thanks for defeating anyone's chance to have a substantial conversation or develop an argument correctly, El Reg! Much appreciated.

      One, ACTA is an international treaty: it's a gentlemen's agreement between multiple nations that they will implement legislation of a particular character. It is not *in itself* binding legislation in any nation. The fact of ACTA being signed on its own does not actually outlaw anything. In order for it to be implemented in any country, that country still has to pass national legislation following all normal procedures for the country. So, in countries with a vaguely functioning democracy, whoever controls foreign policy can arrange the signing of whatever international treaties they please, but if there is not the necessary support in parliament (or the local equivalent) for the corresponding national legislation, it doesn't mean a damn thing to the man on the Clapham omnibus. There would be various diplomatic ramifications for the failure to live up to the obligations of the treaty, but that's just too bad for the foreign office. There's no kind of formal mechanism to enforce the implementation of treaties like ACTA, no international court or other body (yet) which can override the governmental processes of sovereign nations in this kind of way. Most countries have not yet even proposed, let alone passed, any kind of national legislation to implement ACTA, so there's still plenty of opportunity to oppose it at a national level.

    3. AdamWill

      No, Pt. 2: No-er

      Continuing the exciting story!

      Two, as noted in the story, the way things are set up in Europe is such that the European Parliament (which is a genuinely democratic assembly, believe it or not, though precious few Europeans bother to vote for it) gets a binding vote on whether EU member nations should be obliged to sign ACTA. That vote hasn't happened yet. If the EP votes against adoption of ACTA, then EU nations aren't obliged to sign up for it. It seems like there's a reasonably high chance this might happen...and if you have an MEP, you can write to 'em and marginally increase that chance. So do it. (I'm not entirely sure but I think it's still possible that EU members could unilaterally choose to sign up to ACTA even if the EP rejects an EU-wide ACTA agreement, but we can burn that bridge when we get to it).

    4. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      @A little too late

      Not yet. The first step was to get a treaty 'agreed' behind closed doors, after all you don't want the people to actually have any input on how they will eventually be governed, do you? That has been done, bar some pekey leaks of what was discussed, only the big media should be party to that sort of thing.

      Next you get it signed as an international treaty, and given the drones in power are only too happy to do this without question that has gone quite well. Other than the odd pesky frog speaking out and actually resigning against this new order, etc.

      Finally you pressure the EU countries via lobbying in to passing laws to implement ACTA's aims. That is much easier than you think, just find some country like Spain that is struggling financially and get the USA to threaten repercussions if the don't:

      Or failing that, wine & dine a few sleazy politicians (Baron Mandelson springs to mind, much to my inner disgust) and job done - they tell the public they "must" do it for reasons of international law and use the party whip to get it passed.


      1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        Of course, dealing with the problem by working with people and encouraging them, rather than treating the majority as criminals and lecturing them at the start of each DVD, etc, pressuring for business-specific odious laws, etc, is a better way.

        But who would do that?

  3. Fibbles

    Did Scotland leave the UK whilst I wasn't paying attention?

    1. ScottAS2

      Haven't read a paper all day...

      Aww. You got my hopes up there.

      Not to worry, though. That nice Mr Cameron is busy generating votes for the "yes" campaign, mainly by opening his mouth.

    2. cosymart

      Yup geography not a strong point with author

      Counties: the UK, Britain and Scotland

  4. ElReg!comments!Pierre

    Border checks

    I can see an exciting bump in the "counterfeit good seized" statistics... as any track on your mp3 reader that you would have ripped from a CD you own would qualify...

    Same as for movies that you would have ripped from your legally-owned Blu-Rays onto an external disk, for convenient transport on vacation...

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      The most odious aspect of all the ACTA copyright-related stuff is not the possibility of border checks on media, but the criminalisation of DRM-circumvention.

      That bodes very badly for the future. One of locked-down computers all in the name of DRM laws, and not unscrupulous profits from vendor lock-in and competition reduction, you understand.

  5. heyrick Silver badge

    Logical disconnect

    Hang on a mo, so if you rip a DVD to a portable device (gee, look, I have a copy of Amélie on my phone. 'cos the DVD player sure ain't gonna fit in my pocket!), then you are a *criminal* and doubly so if the act included any DRM circumvention...

    ...yet US border control can happily image your harddisc for later examination, this disc likely containing commercial software that they now have a copy of, yet this isn't theft? Don't tell me "they won't use it", that excuse wouldn't wash for peons. Fact is, they made an unlicensed copy, why is neither here nor there...

    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      US border control

      Didn't you get the memo? They can do anything they like. Now bend over; this will hurt as much as they want it to

  6. Levente Szileszky


    Finally, it's not too late to act...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I guess ACTA compliance will be enforced

    Not just at physical borders but the electronic sort, it would by simple with a software load on the internet routers to check the validity -paid-for-ness- of the datagrams shuttling through. I wonder who will provide the signature database that ALL compliant countries will be made to use. I for one welcome our data-grokking overlords!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As a diplomat, she only gets to do what she's instructed to do. Fine, I'll buy that.

    As a citizen, though, one in the thick of international dealing to boot, it's not nearly good enough. Not being aware of the pernicious nature of the treaty, of its undemocratic, non-transparent, in fact deliberately obscured dealings and meaning, is quite inexcusable for someone in that position. Or any politician active at a national level, for that matter.

    She's got remorse now, and admitting that in public should at least get our support. But far too many still push ahead. How is it that so many who should know better still haven't caught on the scam on citizens' rights and democracy that's being pulled here?

    1. Turbo Beholder

      It's simple, really:

      Want to go with in - sign it. Don't want - retire from the position demonstratively. Want to pretend being more stupid than is posible to get the job in the first place - sign, then ask "oh, wait, what it was?"

  9. M.A
    Thumb Up

    In the article it claims

    300,000 have signed a petition I have just checked and as of now 1,569,422 have signed. If you want to add your name that's where to go.

    1. Gannon (J.) Dick

      Not in

      I'm an American so I won't sign it.

      Now, I want to be clear that I'm *not signing* on behalf of 25 million Texans. If you've never thought about how crowd sourcing democracy really works ... A Saturday Morning neighborhood meeting in Sidney has 25 million half-drunk-on-Friday-night Texans in attendance. Not good for democracy.

      So, we'll be quiet while the EU does its thing. And you're welcome, Australia.

  10. Tony Paulazzo

    If you wanna 'boycott Hollywood' - I've also put a link to the petition. Time this shit got real. Only two members so far :-)

  11. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    > Europe

    > Proclaims that it wants to usher in the "information economy" and "progress".

    > Tax-feeding drones sign random intellectual property shit proposed by lobbyists [financed among others by intellectual property reimbursement schemes]

    > Making any prospects of the "information economy" go buh-bye.

    > But at least proud that it's not being controlled by Big Business like the Ameurricans are.


  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Wow... article on IP which doesn't use 'freetard' as a synonym for 'someone who doesn't want fair use dismantled or someone who doesn't want to hand arbitrary power to private entities to impose criminal sanctions on individuals, unchecked by courts.

    Congratulations, Reg! Keep it up and your IP coverage will start to look like news instead of biased, foamy-mouthed vituperation. I love you very much and you do a wonderful job. (Added to counteract total-hate-to-Reg quotient calculated by mods.)

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    welcome to the cyberpunk fantasy realm.

    ..Now bend over, and take it like a man.

    The Anonymice are beginning to make sense. Ineffective, yet mildly useful.

  14. packrat

    region 1 censorship zone

    it isn't too late to stop this idiocy. Iceland is dumping the full-payback and and socialized losses.

    Monsanto is getting it's poisonous, non-nutritious and expensive food-like substances banned.

    cilmate change is getting driven into some (fair thick) NA oil-slciks.

    Japan's (current= 05-02-2012) flu epidemic is starting to hurt them and demonstration world-wide pollution problems.

    The clerks that want to alter PI and stop evolution (The NWO is actually a couple fast steps back.)

    with paperwork shuffles are getting sense beaten into them as they attack their own customers.

    this might work out... if we scream hard enough.


  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    unfortunately, the lady ambassador displays

    severe symptoms of bipolar disorder. If she gets paid for signing things she doesn't agree with, well, put up or shut up. And if she's soooo distressed about it, hell, lady, 100 years ago a professional civil servant would have left a short resignation note and put a bullet through his head. But hey, this is 2012, the age of "likes" and twitt-twats, so let's not be too harsh, a short resignation note would do. But wait, this appears too much to ask, this professional public servant chose NOT to resign, instead she chose to bitch about it by issuing a public apology and making fool of herself with this statement: "I signed ACTA out of civic carelessness, because I did not pay enough attention". But I do promise you, my dear citizens, next time, I shall be more careful and I shall pay a little more attention, and if I see something I don't like, I will not sign it, nosir, I will personally shove it up the arse of my boss, the prime minister of Slovenia, oh yeah!

    btw, the above has nothing to do with ACTA, of course! ;)

  16. mhenriday
    Thumb Up

    Many things may perhaps be said about the course chosen

    by Helena Drnovšek Zorko, the Slovenian ambassador to Japan, but compared to our Swedish ambassador, Lars Gunnar Axel Vargö, to whom the signing of this abomination of a treaty seems to have been merely a matter of business as usual, Ms Zorko is a true heroine. Kudos !...


  17. CheesyTheClown

    I grew up surrounded by polish jokes...

    as an American of Polish descent, I grew up surrounded by Polish jokes. We were referred to as Pollacks, a derogatory name used by people of limited intelligence. Isn't it a bitch that all these years later, it is only the Polish showing the soundness of mind to stand up for our rights? Isn't it a bitch that if ACTA gets stopped, it will be thanks to the people accused of being stupid?

    People, you should prepare yourselves to eat your words.

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