More on secret copyright treaty: your kids could go to jail for noncommercial music sharing

Michael Geist sez, "According to the official agenda, in a few hours the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement talks will continue on the Internet provisions and then move into the criminal provisions chapter. It is worth highlighting the ongoing criminal provisions as well. As previously leaked, the U.S. and Japan supplied the initial text for this chapter. Their proposal included extending criminal enforcement to both (1) cases of a commercial nature; and (2) cases involving significant willful copyright and trademark infringement even where there is no direct or indirect motivation of financial gain. In other words, non-commercial infringement could lead to criminal penalties. Plus, jail time for unauthorized camcording of films and even for fake DVD and CD packaging."

ACTA Negotiations, Day Two: What's On Tap (Thanks, Michael!)


  1. k i have to scream here….what the fuck….why is this even going on…are we living back in the time of royalty times where we are the peasants and have no voice?? How are they getting away with this…who is allowing this…WTF!!!! Which percentage of population is actually supporting this moronic move!!!

  2. Well poop. “no direct or indirect motivation of financial gain”


    I thought the entire point of copyright was so that I didn’t take your work and pass it off as my own to profit off of it. Since when did it get stretched to keep me from PUTTING IT ON MY COMPUTER SO I CAN WATCH/LISTEN TO IT ON MY OWN TERMS WITHOUT NEEDING THE DISC?

    I *really* need to make a phone call.

    1. I agree with those asking “what can we do”? If we don’t even know *who* is making this treaty, how can we tell them we neither want it or want to support those who take part in it?

  3. Will we get to jail the CEOs if we catch them stealing (sorry, copying) the happy birthday song at their family party?

  4. We are living in those times.

    A look at the health care debate going on in the US right now is very revealing. It appears all but the Progressive caucus is pro-corporate, putting their interests before ours.

    For the US at least, the order of things is people, their self governance, and business, where government permits business and sets the rules of engagement so that the society is well served by it operating. This is a net gain, and the justification for all of that is that we may better enjoy our liberty.

    A mistake has changed that. In the US, corporations have the same status as people, making our government, “their” government too, and they are stronger than we are, have more money than we do, live longer than we do, don’t have the needs we do, can kill and consume one another, and the list goes on and on and on.

    Now, the reality is that we are second class, despite being the source of the power corporations now wield.

    This is why the airwaves no longer have a public interest, why news is infotainment, why we have poor trade policy exporting all our skill to cheap places, and why this copyright treaty is happening the way it is.

    Of course we are pissed. Of course it’s wrong. And of course there are better ways to do it.

    But, the companies want steady revenue, and they want it at the maximum level possible. We create the wealth through labor, they feed and grow off of it, rendering us as cattle, who must be fed, clothed, and maintained, but we are not to be appeased at all, and they “feed” best, when we are at our lowest cost, compliant, and not innovative, but under their direction.

    We are, after all, the creators. We could create something that trancends them, or modify the law, killing them and those who feed off of them. The corporate parasites sell us off, much like the humans myth of vampire worshipers who allow the undead to feed, in return for shelter and information and protection.

    Those corporate parasites know they can live well by doing the corporation good, while screwing us, and that’s just how it is.

    I fear without some serious reform, a lot will be lost. I also fear we may never reach the point of reform, for the power they have gained is enough to prevent it now. Hope that isn’t true.

    Whatever YOU might think, that is the way of things. We do not have a majority mindshare in the government, and as long as that is true, we will suffer like all minorities suffer.

    Interesting perspective no?

    1. Anonymous #5 has it exactly right. We have created fictitious persons and given them rights. The portrayal of the banker’s supposed helplessness in the face of The Bank’s hunger in Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath is, to my mind, one of the best artistic depictions of the problem.

      Corporate entities are by their very nature amoral (not immoral–they simply have no consideration for morality whatsoever, which is, to my mind, more frightening than outright evil). They shield the individual humans of which they are composed from the consequences of that amorality.

      At the same time, attempts to reduce the influence of corporate lobbying in government is decried as trampling on “free speech.” Supposedly, the free speech being trampled is that of the shareholders. But shareholders are individual humans, and retain their voices regardless of whether corporate representatives haunt the halls of Congress or not.

      That fundamental cognitive dissonance–amoral, immortal fictitious persons, who nonetheless have “rights”–is slowly driving the polity insane.

    2. Wow. I never thought about it that way, but it fits together: We live in a silent, real-life robot uprising whose enslaving substance is not of silicon and steel but regulatory and cultural. We built these machines of capitalism to make our lives better, but with no Three Laws to govern their interactions with humanity, their self-preservation code has turned them against us, co-opting countless humans who have been led to believe that what is best for the machine is best for them.

      Thus these corporate machines and their brainwashed human collaborators march against us, steadily, skirmishing here and there over the past century, but marching perhaps never so clearly as today. But this is a battle for hearts and minds — even the staunchest defenders of the machine need only understand that the corporate machines are here to serve us, not us them.

    3. Hear hear! But they will not go willingly into that good night of change and reform. Drastic things will have to happen first. I think never before in the history of man has there been a truly peaceful and amicable reform and change as you describe. Another word for reform and change is “revolution” which brings to mind a completely different means of achieving reform and change. Technically, it never needs to be that way, but you can expect there to be resistance from those who currently abuse power.

  5. Find the officials responsible for this piece of vampirism. Vote out of office next cycle. Rinse and repeat.

    1. Josh,
      I think the problem is, at least in the US were I currently reside, is that very few people who would actually do something different then what is currently being done would even run, let alone have even a small chance of being elected.

      I wish this were not true, and the reasons behind the lack of change in elected offices in the US is a debate that is amazingly broad and varied. But unfortunately, I personally, and I believe many would agree with me, that regardless of who would be elected to at the Federal level would do nothing to change the current problems.

      1. I agree. No one who deserves to be elected, or actually has strong, interesting and (gasp!) nuanced opinions on important issues has much hope of being elected. Or at least, not if they actually tell people what their opinions are. In that case, though, they’re untrustworthy and so don’t deserve to hold public office.

        Almost thought I’d found a way around that conundrum for a moment.

      2. Absolutely. But since the officials in power also control the laws that decide how they are elected, and major corporations with interest in keeping the system in place control what we see/hear/think, how are we supposed to break the cycle? What else can we do?

  6. The internet is dangerous because people share information and ideas! They need to kill it and make people fearful of prosecution if they use it so we don’t become illuminated to all the crap like this that is going on.


    Don’t they realize that the leading demographic for media such as movies and music are the ones that are also downloading it?

    Downloading is a great way to sample things you wouldn’t normally and THEN go out and buy what you like.

    Also, as far as movies go… I can either pay $10 to go to over crowded, noisy(little kids and such), less than comfortable theater. Or I can watch it at home lounging on my couch with the ability to pause if I need to grab food or use the restroom. When it comes out to DVD/Blueray, I could pay for disc which is easily scratched, lost, or otherwise rendered useless and is takes up physical space to boot. Or I can get the digital copy which I can archive what ever way I want on a Hard Drive that physical foot print is about equal to 1 DVD case, yet I can fit thousands of movies on.

    I would gladly pay $10 to watch a new release movie in the comfort of my own home

    I would gladly pay $20 for a digital copy of the movie once it is released.

    They just don’t tailor to what the public wants… monopoly… blah blah blah…

  8. You know, I’ve been enjoying the War on Drugs and the War on Terror, but they just didn’t turn enough of the population into criminals or justify the kind of intrusions into people’s lives that I’d really like to see. If only there were something more we could do to criminalize still larger segments of the population, support a massive enforcement bureaucracy (and a lucrative private prison industry) and strip away still more of people’s rights in the name of some vague principle or corporate special interest.

    Wait a minute, I think I have an idea …

  9. This isn’t a problem. I welcome even the most draconian laws against internet file sharing. It’s way too crowded now, and what needs to happen is that networks of compromised machines (think Spambots) become repurposed for P2P file sharing. End of problem.

  10. does this include politicians who use songs in ads without permission? that would make elections very amusing.

  11. Wow. While cutting ones nose off, does indeed spite ones face; it still is a stupid idea. People need to wake up and voice their opinions at the register, and stop buying cds, mp3s, dvds, blu-ray, you name it. Resist that urge to get the latest crappy pop cd, or the latest video game. Just stop buying them all together. Stop giving money to the organizations that would see you in jail for not consuming their product as they wish you would.

    On the same note, I would encourage purchasing directly from the content creators. You like music? Great buy it from the musicians, not the studios. Same goes for video games, computer programs, etc…

    …but being cynical, I know damn well this will never happen.

  12. Just when I thought Copyright was at a begrudging stalemate, an administration we thought was on our side turned the tables on us. The digital veins invigorated by technically illegal data sharing propped up a latent online power base that Obama exploited and is now hanging out to dry.

    The Copyright Industries have made a significant move. Let’s make our own:

  13. We are chasing the wrong criminals. I thought a crime was an act so wrongful that the state would have to intervene. Now I find that the worst crimes, like jeopardizing international legal systems in order to slaughter more cash cows, are hardly crimes at all, but lobbyism behind closed doors and international treaties.

    Greetings, LX

  14. I propose a Million Geek March on DC. Lets see how they treat the very people that voted them into power.

    This is NOT the Change I voted for :/

  15. Story has been submitted to as

    Follow the story and digg it up- pressure needs to be placed on the Whitehouse to shed some daylight on what is going on, and on Congress to start asking more questions.

  16. Next we can work on a treaty which requires that providers of roads also properly police vehicles to ensure that none of them are transporting any photocopies, videotapes of TV shows or pirated movies, burned CDs, or books of satire, not to mention pamphlets critical of Scientology. Anyone who builds a road needs to be responsible for what people do with it. While we’re at it, let’s make vehicle manufacturers responsible for policing copyright issues as well. Cars and roads make all kinds of illegal content trafficking possible, and the manufacturers should stop pretending that they aren’t complicitly benefiting from piracy.

    People who are accused of trafficking in content should be barred from traveling on roads ever again, of course.

    1. Why not encourage everyone to police everyone and dob them in if they see something dodgy going o… Oh, they’re already doing that.

    2. Be careful, there is many a true word spoken in jest. Don’t for a moment think that banning people from using the roads is not part of their plan, because if you think about it you know that it is.

  17. Since the MAFIAA are like dogs with bones and never seem to give up on their blind stupidity, I like to see them take this as far as they like. Please, imprison a few tween girls for Hannah Montana songs. Only then will society see the lunacy in their position.

    As long as everything is grey, they will keep at it, with their settlements and cutoffs and takedowns and youtube random muting. Only by letting them have their way for a brief period can we cleanse ourselves of them.

    <8) - Wyeth's in captcha!

  18. It’s very interesting how they think they could control Internet-access to P2P nets, where one can find a dozens of music and video. Or what they will do with such social networks like facebook or russian VK? I think they just need more donations to “cope” with the ptoblem, but they won’t do anything. As always.

  19. > U.S. and Japan supplied the initial text

    More specifically, the initial text was supplied by Disney, Sony, Murdoch, GE, Redstone, Time Warner(HBO/WB/TBS/CNN/New Line), Vivendi SA, and Terra Firma Capital Partners.

    Credit where credit is due.

  20. “I agree with those asking “what can we do”? If we don’t even know *who* is making this treaty…”

    You can vote out the politicians making them. I’d like to know why Obama is getting a free pass on this one. If it were Bush making secret deals about copyright treaties, you guys would be all over him. The president signs the treaties. The Senate ratifies them. It’s that simple. Vote the idiots out of office.

    1. “You can vote out the politicians making them.”

      Possibly. But I can’t vote them all out. And by the time votes come around it could well be law.

      We need something more immediate (for the MTV Generation, natch).

  21. I need them to explain to me the endgame. I don’t understand what there is to gain for them (companies, gov’t officials, any of them). They say, “Heyhey! Let’s criminalize even more of the population! Oh, it’s okay. They’re all impotent anyway– they just blog and comment and tweet about it, but eventually the novelty of it fades, and they tire out. Then we can get to our real goal which is…….” WHAT exactly?

    Not more money, of course. If money were the real goal, they would PAY ATTENTION to studies that say illegal releases of content INCREASES revenue.

    Government control? But control for control’s sake is stupid– I know it’s the wrong side to get this reference, but if you type Power Overwhelming into Starcraft, the game gets dumb fast. Complete control is moronic without a purpose.

    Are they so delusional to think that we can go back to a pre-internet time? Even if the internet gets effectively quashed, people will remember.

    Can someone please explain to me what they possibly think will happen?

    1. It is about money. Politicians are, at their very core, lobbyist. They are given contributions by different firms with different goals; those who contribute the most to getting the politician re-elected, those who give him the most gifts, well, he stands up for those firms interest as they have done for him.

      Our votes only count to see who is going to get the biggest paycheck in the end, NOT what is best for the general public.

      It saddens me to say, the American public has not had a true say in it’s governing body in a very long time.

  22. so I guess rounding up a million geeks to actually do something physical is a pipe dream..maybe they just twitter about themselves wanting to march.

  23. Couldn’t we find someone from these people’s families that are infringing on what they consider copyright. I’m sure someone can figure out a way to let them know their nephew will go to jail from the passing of this law

  24. I have a great idea… stop buying crap from the mult-national corporations that fund the lobbyists who drive these insane agendas. Shop local only. Take away the power with your wallet.

  25. Why not just go back to the good old days before file sharing online and let your friends “borrow” your cd? They can’t control that! Who want’s to borow my old Def Leppard tape?

  26. This sucks. I just reposted this article on my blog along with a few other awesome boingboing articles.

  27. To the guy who said “screw it” keep downloading and get arrested. I disagree about that being the right way to go about this. If you want things to change, stop consuming their products. Stop watching their movies and start making your own. Grab your videocamera, make a movie of your own, distribute online for free and tell everyone about the cause and your movie. That will destroy the companies. But when the movie industries come knocking on your door with a big fat check, are you going to take it or stick to the cause? That’s the point. Most people get bought out far in advance of ever being able to enact change. That’s why you haven’t seen anything change in decades.

  28. This is completely rediculous! It’s as if the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights doesn’t even exist. Or at least doesn’t apply to Obama. I’m sorry, but last time I checked, he was PRESIDENT Obama of the USA, not Emperor of the WHOLE DANG WORLD! If this stupid treaty gets put into law, I am going to take it to the courts, all the way to the US Supreme court if I can. After all, the exact words of the First Amendment of the US Bill of Rights state that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or ABRIDGING THE FREEDOM OF SPEECH, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

  29. I agree with the few here who think it will get a whole lot worse before drastic measures are taken by us who are oppressed by the big corporate interests.

    I for one, will be expecting secret meetings like the resistance fighters on V had to go to. I’ll bring the chips and dip!

    and cory, are you aware that those who believe in NWO and black helicopters like your style of journalism?

    take a look

  30. boingaddict- “Royalty” is right- I never really associated the class with the business model, but its an apt comparison. The business who “rule” the media are looking to “excommunicate” the peasants who disagree with them. But, as in medieval times, there will always be pirates. Argh, matey! Steal from the rich and share with the poor!

  31. There are a couple of points to consider in this discussion.

    1. It’s not just the USA, this is an international treaty. Boycotting the US, or attempting to oppose individual elected officials is pointless, this is supported internationally.

    2. They intend to require ISPs to sniff and filter content for anything that might be copyrighted content. Who’s watching you now?

    3. The points about corporations having the best of both worlds as far as legal rights are worth considering. They can excercise rights as citizens whenever convenient, but excercise other rights when those rights are not convenient.

    Copyright law domestically and internationally is out of control and has strayed far far away from its intention.

    Corporate power within the political structure has been growing unchecked since the industrial revolution.

    Fighting either directly is a losing battle. The ray of hope lies in the innovation of creatives: first, artists need to step away from big-media and engage in independently created and distributed works, creative common or otherwise to hold onto their own copyrights not handing them over to another entity for management. Secondly, the technical folks will keep innovating hacks around the enforcement measures, anti-snooping etc. Lastly, people need to stop feeding from the corporate well that endorses this support local and independent artists and endeavors.

    The connectivity of the web allows us to begin to work around corporations as aggregators ideas and effort.


  32. Remember, remember the fifth of November,
    The gunpowder treason and plot,
    I know of no reason
    Why the gunpowder treason
    Should ever be forgot.

  33. I urge all artists.. Print, audio, video, sculpture, spoken word, comedians, and others to support an “open source art” initiative. Open source your work and put the mega-conglomerates out of business.

  34. hagbard, we should prohibit ANY and ALL photographic, sound and video reproduction. How many people carry permission to wear their AC/DC t-shirt in their wallet? Let’s be realistic: none. So better safe than sorry.

    In fact, I think we really need to return to the ancient traditions. anything resembling the communication of an idea should be strictly oral, and only from the author’s mouth. No graven images in this culture!

    Of course, by the time you’re eradicated any and all possible copyright violations, there will be nothing left resembling culture anyway. Ugh! RRRRgh! excuse me while I drag this deer to my cave and gnaw on its cold flesh.

  35. Don’t like what the creators of entertainment are doing? boycott entertainment. let the theatres’ popcorn go stale. let the spilt pop on the floor gather dust bunnies not your foot prints. download nothing. let itunes never get to 3 billion down loads. let the p2p networks go quiet. Let walmart electronics employees wonder where evreyone went. Just stop consuming everything digital. you have enough electronic entertainment today to keep you busy for a year. let them squirm. let them know they aren’t important. they are entertainment. they are disposable. a week of no consumption will make them change their negotiating.

  36. i am totally on board for this.

    Buy or build some musical instruments, get a journal and sharpen your pencil, stretch a canvas. Make your own culture and share it with your friends. Screw the entertainment establishment. They can keep it for themselves.

    As a matter of fact, don’t wait for some draconian copyright treaty to pass. Do it now. I do all the above for my own amusement and it is quite satisfying.

  37. There is only one way to stop this people, most of us live in a democratic society, VOTE OUT anyone who supports this. If you are unsure who supports it, write a letter or make a phone call to find out!!

  38. zandar, I’m afraid the dragging-and-gnawing method you used is the intellectual property of the Hunter Gatherers Association of America (HGAA). Consequently, we’re rolling a boulder over the mouth of your cave.

  39. To fight this, consider supporting the work of the Electronic Frontier Foundation at, and taking the time to contact your Senators and Representatives in Congress.

  40. The prisons aren’t big enough.

    And in other news, the publishing industry is at that same threshold the media industry was at when napster popped on the scene. Let’s see if they make the same mistake.

  41. If any of this becomes law, all we have to do is come out all at once.
    It has to start with the kids.
    What will happen when whole classes or schools step forward and openly admit: we all shared stuff on the net.
    The kids should talk to their parents and make them remember that they shared stuff too, maybe on different media, but still they did.
    The parents should back their kids and soon we would have at least two generations of the population sticking it up to the man. We all did it! Now what?!

  42. Picket movie theaters and music stores around the world. Pass out information, let the people know. Be like a sqiggy kid annoy the fuck out of everyone. If consumers see this everywhere they go, they will take notice and hopefully jump on the BAN-wagon.

  43. We The People decide the law. We are the governing citizenry.
    Laws that are made behind closed doors, without consultation of the public, but only those who stand to make money (including tax revenue) are corrupt. Every players name in this extortion scam should be exposed.

  44. What undermines the argument that services like youtube are a threat to copyrighted material is that outside the U.S., you cannot access hulu, pandora, or most of the youtube channels with copyrighted material. The technology already exists to protect copyright – we don’t need this law.

  45. if the current policy is that an isp or webpage has to take down content based on a claim of copyright infringment, regardless of the validity of said claim. why dont we start sending take down notices for all the content hosted by riaa members. either their content will constantly be pulled and their websites go down every day. or we will build a documented string of a biased policy if our notices are ignored. either way it makes them look bad.

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