Today is the day of global protest against ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a copyright treaty negotiated in secret (even parliaments and other legislatures weren't allowed to see the the working drafts), and which many governments (include the American government) are planning to adopt without legislative approval or debate. ACTA represents a wish-list of legislative gifts to the entertainment industry, and will seriously undermine legitimate users of the Internet. It imposes criminal sanctions -- with jail time -- for people who violate copyright, including remixers and other legitimate artists and creators. ACTA requires governments to shut down legitimate websites whose users "aid and abet" copyright infringement, creating a regime of fear and censorship for sites that accept comments and other media from users and curtailing discussion and debate in order to maximize entertainment industry profits.

The arts should always be on the side of free expression. Creative industries should always be against censorship. This secret, undemocratic agreement that seeks to "preserve the creative industries" by imposing censorship and surveillance on the whole Internet lacks all legitimacy and should be rejected. If the entertainment industry wants laws passed to its benefit, let it use the same democratic mechanisms that all bodies use in free societies. Smoke-filled rooms and crony capitalism have no place in a free society.

Here is the form to contact lawmakers all over the world and tell them to reject ACTA. Many European nations -- including, most recently, Germany -- have halted their involvement in ACTA. The tide is turning. We won the SOPA fight. We can win this one. It's time that laws affecting the whole Internet took the fate of the whole Internet into consideration, and rejected the narrow interests of a single industry body as trumping all concerns about human rights, free expression and freedom of assembly.

You can embed this form in your own website, too.

Stop ACTA & TPP: Tell your country's officials: NEVER use secretive trade agreements to meddle with the Internet. Our freedoms depend on it!

For European users, this form will email every MEP with a known email address.
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  1. I emailed my MEPs personally yesterday, figuring it would be better to appeal to them individually and point out how ACTA affects their particular areas of interest and expertise, rather than using a mass-mailed stock message.

    One of them has already replied by promising to vote against ACTA (although I’m somewhat surprised to find myself agreeing with the former chairman of the National Front). I consider that a result.

  2. It is the whole social contract that needs to be rewritten.

    Edit: actually, it is being rewritten, by the few.

    1. I, for one, fully support our new overlords.  They clearly know better than the masses.  And no need for following rules contained in some outdated rag like the Constitution when that will just slow down the path to justice.  And, yes, I said the same thing about the previous overlords.  Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

        1. How does moving copyright violation from civil to criminal law accomplish anything?

          (BTW: The estimated “losses” due to copyright violation in the EU are less than 10% of what was spent to bail out the banks. And that’s with the content industry’s funny accounting. Again, how is this worth abolishing fundamental civil liberties and putting a bunch of people in jail for no good objective reason? Not to mention that the agreement as written could never generate more economic value than it destroys.)

          1. I’m no lawyer but right now you can be charged under criminal law. It’s all about scale, if you are making commercial sales of pirated material you can (and people have been) charged criminally. Don’t take my word for it  
            So for the parts of the world with large markets introducing criminal law could make a big difference. Also, I agree with you on economics in part but if you’ve ever taken Economics you know you can fudge the numbers either way. Regardless if I create something I want it to be protected everywhere where there is a market for my product. Which leads me to the real point of ACTA which is to create some standard of intellectual property controls for all countries interested in the world market.  In theory I think this is a good thing. Is there a possibility that governments will abuse this power? Well, yeah but that doesn’t mean we don’t need some standard of control. If that’s peoples fears than we shouldn’t have laws at all. Will it be perfect hell no but I think there are much more pressing issues than whether or not people can download Jersey Shore. My question is how does stopping people from linking media they don’t own a threat to freedom of speech? Not picking a fight I really would like to know what any one thinks. Personally I think that giving away music makes sense for spreading the word but I would like to pick when, where and how. 

        2. copying is NOT theft.

          Anything that can be copied endlessly…….  at zero cost is WORTHLESS ( literally )

          The internet IS a filesharing network….. end of…. technically if you can’t understand that then gtfo….don’t make any business models that work on/with the internet… just gtfo

        3. So you’re perfectly fine with denying pharmaceuticals to billions of people who can’t afford the outrageous prices multinational big pharma wants?

    1. No, it does not need to be protected as there should not be such thing. We should call it what it is – “a limited monopoly, granted to create artificial scarcity where none is present”. There is no “property” here, only a privilege that should be treated as such.

      1. Sorry I disagree. I believe that when I create music and record it, I want to be able to decide how people access it. I may want to give it away or I might want to sell it. Either way it is my creation and I should be able to decide how to profit from it, if at all. I do believe that many entities like the RIAA and MPAA are over reaching but control of access needs to be tackled. It’s not a privilege that I should be able to control access. It is my right, or at least that’s how our government and business community has seen it for over a hundred years. Just because technology makes it easy to avoid points of access doesn’t mean that precedence should fly out the window. 

        1. You have legitimate concerns; ACTA is not the solution, however. There’s no net economic benefit. None. Zero. Zilch.

          Even entire governments that are squarely in the pockets of the entertainment industry are starting to realize that they have nothing to gain from adopting an agreement that would require them to move stuff from civil to criminal law. Jailing people is not the answer (outside the US at least).

          1. first off I appreciate your decorum. Personally I’ll adapt to what ever circumstance because I am a musician before economist. If markets like China actually enforce copyright protection wouldn’t it mean more sales? Also, it could stop offshore sites providing content and therefore also drive more sales. And in addition if this market I’m in is really worthless wouldn’t the industry stop creating media and therefore people would have to find work elsewhere? Keeping in mind that media is one of the U.S. biggest exports and is one of the fastest growing as well? Remember I’m open minded…unlike some people who can’t intelligently discuss an issue and have to resort to childish quips.

        2. don’t want people to share copies of something you made ?
          even tho they can be copied endlessly for no cost ?

          It is your RIGHT…. not to make something that is worthless.

          YOU CANT make money from the internet ? …. well gtfo
          Go play a few gigs or something…..
          or is that too much like real work ?

          1. wow your angry and assume a lot about me. I do believe this might be a pattern for you, that is making blind assumptions. I see your gift of anger and I gladly decline. Have a nice day ANoiXoNA. Since for some reason I am unable to respond appropriately I’ll have to respond here to your comment below. Only time will tell… No one is stopping you from creating your own media and disseminating it across the web. So how are your rights threatened? Seems to me you can’t download shows or link them big deal. You could always write something that expresses yourself and exercises your freedom of speech. Oh wait you probably couldn’t considering your inability to write complete sentences. Also I do not seek the higher ground nor claim it. Merely continue to pursue a level ground fair to all. Also research the history of radio broadcasting and the adoption of the FCC which I feel is a much more applicable case study for comparison. There are far worse things to be upset about in this world than someone stopping you from downloading vendetta. I respect your opinion but I would have to disagree. I believe intellectual property is worthy of accepting its existence and our protection. Once again we will see and you getting upset helps no one and in fact makes you look stupid. So once again have a nice day :)

          2. @facebook-100000173570989:disqus 

            You are the one who disregards actualities of reality.
            replicated endlessly @ no cost = worthless

            I do not believe in your IMAGINARY Property
            you can’t make me believe
            ( i don’t believe in fairies either… strange )
            The internet is the most democratizing …… human connecting invention ….  EVER made

            BUT  censor , limit it’s use ….and disregard any technological advancement ….. just so that …. some ….. who want to use imaginary property rights… can cling on to old business models … all to earn a few bucks ?

            the bulb made candles practically  extinct

            Should you create laws for that….  “”problem”” ?
            Get a new business model already…. evolve or die.

            All your  “”moral high-ground”” belong to us

        3. You absolutely have the right to decide what is done with your work, as the creator…Until, of course, you have it published in some format. As soon as an idea is no longer yours, it belongs to the masses. Such are the properties of culture (which, by the way, is what copyright was intended to further, not the lining of your pockets.)

          You want to keep an idea, a creation, to control what is done with it, keep it to yourself. That’s your right, and really your only right as a creator.

        4. I believe that when I create music and record it, I want to be able to decide how people access it.

          If you’re that obsessed with keeping control, then don’t release it.  Frankly, it’s hard to imagine good art coming from someone so focused on controlling distribution.

        5. @ I believe that when I create music and record it, I want to be able to decide how people access it.

          Oh, not at all. You should maybe have some control on how others profit from your music, but definitely not over how consumers access it, unless it involves actual property damage (like breaking into a store and stealing a CD). Once a work of art is out there, it constitutes a chunk of culture, which means messages (emotional, aesthetic, verbal), archetypes, tropes, that are copied, mixed and relayed in every day conversations, in everyday life. If you claim you should have control over this process, you implicitly assume you should have control over how people communicate, how they talk, what they do in their homes (are they copying mp3s? Are they enjoying music with their friends?). To claim you should have control over such behavior is an astonishing level of entitlement. The fact that you have created something does not make you special. Everybody creates something, contributes something, helps somebody. And art is nothing exceptional.

          1. First off I’ve been remixing material and performing and releasing material for years now so I am not the enemy. I am sympathetic to the diffusion of ideas, technology and media. I know that there will always be people trading and sharing and I am 100% in support of that. You hit the nail on the head when you stated ” You should maybe have some control on how others profit from your music, but definitely not over how consumers access it, unless it involves actual property damage (like breaking into a store and stealing a CD).” The only control I’m worried about is others selling my music and profiting from my work. I don’t care if “consumers” get their hands on my music, that would actually be awesome because then at least that is one more person listening.  Once again I just wanted to hear all points of view on the issue and that’s why I posted in the first place. Once again I agree completely about the importance of freedom of communication. To take it even further I think that people should be able to link and stream to their hearts desire as long as they are not charging for access in the process. People have been making copies of music since the ability to record sound was available and some artists still managed to make a living. 

  3. A quick and dirty translation into French of the text, if any French bump into it here:
    « Je vous demande de voter contre l’ACTA et de communiquer autour de vous sur les sévères problèmes de ce traité. Le langage délibérément vague du traité nous enfermera dans des lois de propriété intellectuelle obsolètes empêchant les démocraties de mettre à jour leur cadre légal afin de saisir de nouvelles opportunités économiques et sociales. Ce traité criminalise des remixes faites par des usagers simples d’internet si elle atteignent une « échelle commerciale » (art 2.14.1) ce que de nombreux vidéos amateurs sur YouTube ou autre atteignent. Le traité criminalise également des sites légitimes les rendant responsables du contenu mis en ligne par leurs usagers (‘aiding and abetting’ art 2.14.4). Pire, le traité permet une mise à l’écart permanente des processus démocratiques en donnant pouvoir à un « comité ACTA » de « proposer des amendements » sans votre avis (art 6.4). En d’autres termes, vous ne savez pas ce pour quoi vous votez. Le mouvement global contre la loi des EU SOPA a montré que la liberté sur internet est un enjeu crucial qui devrait appartenir au processus législatif de chaque pays. Vous devriez voir ACTA comme une tentative par une poignée d’entreprises de passe outre le processus démocratique et vous devriez voter contre. Merci ! Je reste à votre disposition pour répondre à vos éventuelles questions. »


    pity the authors of ACTA respond to nothing but naked force.

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