back to article European Parliament prez slams ACTA 'in current form'

The recently elected president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, has criticized the current ACTA treaty, saying it provides little protection for the rights of individual users. "I don't find it good in its current form," Schultz said in an interview with Germany’s ARD television station on Sunday. The current treaty …


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  1. irish donkey

    Write to your MEP

    It only takes a minute

    here's the link :

    although we are getting used to our politicans ignoring us in the UK. Almost 1 million people marched against war in Iraq. Guess what we still went to war looking for phamtom WMD's

    Sort of gives a justification for annoymous when our elected leaders ignore us. Nice to see the Europeans standing up against MegaCorp. Pity our leaders are on all the payrole

    1. Graham Wilson

      @irish donkey -- Sure write, but I reckon the problem's now too big.

      The problem of politicians promising one thing then doing another has been around forever but for English-speakers, it's reached a highly refined art form since 1774 when--AFTER he was elected--politician Edmund Burke gave a speech to the electors of Bristol.where he defended representative government over just being an electors' delegate (to convey wishes to parliament).

      This was the greatest cop-out speech of all time for politicians, it meant they didn't have to represent electors directly but they could represent their own views on national interest grounds which overrode local parochial interests. Fine in theory, but....

      Today, what this translates into is that business, international interests and lobbyists take precedence over the concerns of electors. Effectively, your votes probably only amount to about a third of what they should.

      Democracy isn't working well for the little person--we've seen this all to often when governments change as it's business as usual with, at best, a new paint job.

      For English, speakers (UK, US, Aust., Canada, NZ etc.) it's been a case of too soft for too long, we've now lost the ability to protest effectively. But Eastern Europe has much more recent memories.

      Frankly, in the current political climate, I don't think we've either the will or guts to fix it.

      I hope I'm wrong.

      1. irish donkey

        you are most likely correct

        but we must still try.

        Otherwise Anonymous is our only recourse.

        Naive Fool. Proverbs 14:15, "The simple one believes every word, but the prudent person looks well to his going." In other words, he trusts people without weighing either the wisdom of their words or the goodness of their motives.

        1. Graham Wilson
          Thumb Up

          @irish donkey - - Right.

          Right, but trying and being effective means lots of people complaining. To the average Joe, 'actor' and 'ACTA' may as well be the same thing. One has to admit that even to people who read these columns, this stuff is pretty boring.

          Those who push such laws/treaties rely on this stuff being boring, even most politicians who vote such legislation in do so because their party tells them to vote that way. If you are a vested interest group and you are determined enough, it's pretty easy to get the law changed because of the apathy of the rest of us.

          In the end, I think the only thing Anonymous will achieve is notoriety. 'Notoriety' may get everyone interested, if this doesn't happen then nothing will happen--other than that the ACTA mob will win easily.

          P.S.: Even if one or two countries hold out, in the end they'll be blackmailed--threatened by the majority--by not getting some other matter through the EU. This is how bully-boy diplomacy works within the EU. Oh, and those countries who vote against measures, their diplomats don't get to go to in-group parties (simply, it's hard to be outside the group).

      2. PyLETS

        @Graham Wilson

        Your take on Edmund Burke is unconventional I think, but I don't see turning representatives into unthinking robot delegates with no room for conscience as a very good solution to this problem. If direct democracy is what you prefer fine, but who then is going to decide the questions on which we all will be able to decide the outcome directly ?

        As an example of this, where MPs have had a different take to voters on the death penalty for a few decades, ask a group of people whether they favour the death penalty for sadistic child murderers and most people will say that they do. Ask the same group of people how many of them are willing to take on the job of hangman and few if any will be willing to take this degree of responsibility for putting their preferred outcome into effect. But given probability of differences of outcome depending upon how a question is framed, what right do we have as voters to expect politicians to do jobs on our behalf which we are unwiling, on grounds of conscience, to do for ourselves ?

        I'm entirely against ACTA myself - but that doesn't affect my views on the delegate/representative question. If what you want to achieve is to reduce the undue influence of professional lobbyists on the process then legislate lower legitimate ceilings for poticical campaign contributions and require greater accountability for income streams and gifts for representatives by all means. And if what you want to achieve is less influence by controllers of mobile capital through awarding jobs to countries with laws which favour their interests the most, you might want to consider local currencies combined with transaction taxes as partial or parrallel replacement of the current tax regime.

        1. Graham Wilson


          The pol science arguments are more involved than I've alluded to here, however...

          The fundamentals of my argument are that the Burkean position has no constraints on it whatsoever. A politician gets into power promising emphatically to do A,B & C for his electorate but he cannot be held accountable in any way by anyone until the next election. Link this to the granularity of the two/three party system and you'll find that you may still have to vote for him at the next election, like it or not.

          What you say makes sense but put aside the matters you mention in para 3 for a moment, they're basically motherhood issues (of the auditing kind if you like). What's missing is a fundamental requirement for him to attend to matters of his constituency and to do so with the same level of importance that he'd tackle party matters etc. Essentially, if he now chooses to deal with lobbyists etc. then he can simply lower his priority for dealing with individual human beings and prioritize corporate and or internationals interests.

          Grant you, my hyperbole has the politician as a delegate in a direct democracy, which too can be very disconcerting, especially when the country is divided. We need to reign in a politician's freedom to follow either his party's and or his own policy in preference to the general will of the citizenry (his own constituency and all others too).

          The present system is just too flexible in present complex environment and to fix it, it needs formal strictures to be put in place and constitutional changes to underpin them. (My personal view is that we need to review, renew and strengthen the covenant between citizens and government, that's what are the rights and responsibility of citizens and what do we expect government to do.)

          Obviously, discussing the intricacies is outside the scope of this post.

  2. Graham Marsden
    Paris Hilton


    ... how can the President of the EU Parliament be right when we've been told on El Reg that we're just being masochists for objecting to ACTA??

    1. Killraven


      I know. So weird to read a piece like this without seeing criticism at "freetards". (disgusting term)

    2. dotdavid

      It's almost like El Reg writers all have their own opinions and are allowed to express them in their articles!

      Stop this nonsense forthwith.

      1. Anonymous Coward 15

        And then they don't allow comments! (Naming no names)

  3. stupormundi


    A very reasonable article. I have no complaints.

    I might have much more to say if comments were turned on for the Andrew Orlowski articles about this topic :)

    1. Steven Roper

      Which is exactly

      why he doesn't turn on comments for IP related articles. Andrew has a very pro-IP viewpoint and he is well aware that the majority of the readership doesn't share his opinion. He calls everyone who doesn't adore the principles of DRM and consumption control "freetards" but lacks the courage to allow any public debate of his statements.

      Likewise, some of the mod team here also seem to be fairly protective of Andrew, since about half my posts that are critical of him don't get published. I give this post a 50/50 chance of making it past the mods, depending on which one approves/disapproves it...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Which is exactly

        Somewhat off-topic, Steven, considering that Andrew is not author of this article.

        We switched comments off his stories while we were trying out our new auto-modding tech. We are now ready to switch comments back on.

        Andrew writes about very contentious subjects - particularly copyright and environment. He is a contentious writer and his work can annoy people. Fair enough. But he attracts a lot of abuse - he has even been threatened a lot of times. That's why his colleagues might feel protective of him.

  4. whybotherme

    television news coverage

    "An estimated 25,000 people braved sub-zero temperatures – Celsius, that is – in Germany to register their disagreement with ACTA, while another 4,000 took to the streets of the Bulgarian capital, Sofia. By contrast, an estimated 200 people demonstrated in the UK."

    Was there any coverage on this on the UK new casts, either before or after these demonstrations. I did not see any on the Beeb, but admit I don't watch it daily.

    However, the nightly new cast at 19.30 on la Une (RTBF, Belgium) carried quite reasonable coverage of the demonstrations against ACTA.

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