Boing Boing 

Hilary Clinton to world governments: the world will divide into "open" and "closed" societies based on their Internet policies

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has repeated her view that the world's governments should respect Internet freedom, telling the Brasilia Open Government Summit that the world is dividing into "open" and "closed" societies characterized by their attitude towards net freedom. It's a laudable sentiment, but as they say, "We know you love freedom, we just wish you'd share." After all, America is one of the world's leading exporters of Internet censorship and surveillance laws (in the form of its intervention into copyright laws, as well as instigating unaccountable, secret copyright treaty negotiations like ACTA and TPP. They're also the world's leading exporter of Internet surveillance and censorship technology, thanks first to the US national requirement that telcoms companies buy equipment that allows for direct police surveillance, and the aggressive sale of this surveillance and control technology to the world's dictatorship by US firms.

​Speaking at the inaugural meeting of the Open Government Partnership in Brasilia, she said countries could only become more secure and peaceful if they were open. "In the 21st century, the US is convinced that one of the most significant divisions between nations will be not between east or west, nor over religion, so much as between open and closed societies," she said.

​"We believe those governments that hide from public view and dismiss ideas of openness and the aspirations of their people for greater freedom will find it increasingly difficult to create a secure society."

It's particularly galling that Secretary Clinton made these remarks even as the US Congress is poised to pass CISPA, which establishes a national US regime of censorship and warrantless surveillance.

Open or closed society is key dividing line of 21st century, says Hillary Clinton

(Image: Clinton Rally 90, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from kakissel's photostream)

New EU ACTA reviewer also recommends not signing it, calls ACTA a threat to civil liberties

ACTA is the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, an extreme, far-reaching copyright treaty drafted in secret by industry and government trade reps, under a seal of confidentiality that even extended to Members of the European Parliament, who were not allowed to see what was being negotiated on their behalf. In February, the EU rapporteur (a member of the European Parliament charged with investigating pending legislation and presenting it to Parliament) for ACTA handed in his report and resigned as rapporteur, concluding that the treaty was a disaster for privacy, fairness and human rights, and that the process by which it had been negotiated was hopelessly corrupt. He recommended that the EU reject the treaty. He said, "I condemn the whole process which led to the signature of this agreement: no consultation of the civil society, lack of transparency since the beginning of negotiations, repeated delays of the signature of the text without any explanation given, reject of Parliament's recommendations as given in several resolutions of our assembly."

Now, a few weeks later, David Martin, the new ACTA rapporteur has echoed those earlier recommendations, again telling the EP to reject ACTA, saying "The intended benefits of this international agreement are far outweighed by the potential threats to civil liberties." Here is the conclusion from Mr Martin's report (PDF):

Unintended consequences of the ACTA text is a serious concern. On individual criminalisation, the definition of “commercial-scale”, the role of internet service providers and the possible interruption of the transit of generic medicines, your rapporteur maintains doubts that the ACTA text is as precise as is necessary.

The intended benefits of this international agreement are far outweighed by the potential threats to civil liberties. Given the vagueness of certain aspects of the text and the uncertainty over its interpretation, the European Parliament cannot guarantee adequate protection for citizens' rights in the future under ACTA.

Your rapporteur therefore recommends that the European Parliament declines to give consent to ACTA. In doing so, it is important to note that increased IP rights protection for European producers trading in the global marketplace is of high importance. Following the expected revision of relevant EU directives, your rapporteur hopes the European Commission will therefore come forward with new proposals for protecting IP.

Euro MP David Martin dismisses anti-counterfeiting treaty (Thanks, TRW!)

(Image: Acta of the death #stopacta, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from tangi_bertin's photostream)

Understanding TPP, ACTA's nastier, more secret little brother

On TechDirt, Glyn Moody covers the highlights of a new report by Carrie Ellen Sager of infojustice.org that compares the provisions in ACTA, the secretly negotiated copyright treaty currently up for adoption in Europe, the USA and other countries; and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a more extreme, more secretive version of ACTA being negotiated by various Pacific Rim countries.

On "Technological Protection Measures" TPP has two nasty turns of the infringement screw:

TPP goes beyond ACTA by applying provisions on technological protection where circumvention is carried out unknowingly or without reasonable grounds to know.

and

TPP goes beyond ACTA by explicitly limiting the possible limitations and exclusions to the TPM circumvention rules, while ACTA gives a country free reign to create exceptions and limitations it finds reasonable.

The second of those is particularly troublesome, since it reduces the scope for signatories to introduce more balanced copyright laws even if they wanted to.

Where TPP Goes Beyond ACTA -- And How It Shows Us The Future Of IP Enforcement

Ron Wyden (D-OR) wants Obama to submit ACTA to Congress

Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden has demanded that the Obama administration receive Congressional assent before signing the USA up to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a wide-reaching international copyright treaty that was negotiated in secret (even Congress and the European Parliament weren't allowed to read the treaty drafts as they were negotiated). Wyden argues that the Obama administration's position -- which holds that the president can unilaterally bind the US to enact and maintain legislation -- is at odds with the constitution. In Wired, David Kravets speaks to Sean Flynn, a legal expert, about the dispute, who sides with Wyden, and quotes the US Trade Rep Ron Kirk maintaining that Congress has no role in this trade negotiation.

Wyden's demand is embodied in a legislative proposal to amend H. R. 3606 (the JOBS act), whose purpose is given as "To prohibit the President from accepting or providing for the entry into force of certain legally binding trade agreements without the formal and express approval of Congress."

“It’s a huge deal whether Congress signs it or not,” said Sean Flynn, an American University, Washington College of Law intellectual-property scholar. "The reason it is a big deal, because this is what this agreement does, it tells domestic legislatures what its law must be or not be. These type of agreements are the most important to go through legislative approval and go through a public process and commenting on what the norms are of that agreement. The reason, it locally restricts what the democratic process can do."

Copyright Treaty Requires Congressional Support, Senator Says

Danish trade minister and ACTA booster apologise for bogus piracy numbers

Here's a clip of a Danish TV show discussing ACTA, which Denmark has fiercely advocated in favor of. It starts with the head of a rightsholder society and the Danish trade minister quoting dodgy statistics about the extent and cost of piracy, and then demonstrates that these statistics are patently false, and finally, brings out those responsible for quoting them and gets them to admit their errors. Priceless.

You can see both the Danish Trade Minister and the head of a Danish music rights organization (and famous Danish musician) Ivan Pedersen appear on a TV show below (with English subtitles). On the show, a well-informed presenter focuses on how both of these ACTA defenders claimed that 95% of music downloaded in Denmark was unauthorized, and carefully shows how that's simply false -- and then gets both of the ACTA defenders to admit that the numbers were wrong.

Danish Trade Minister Apologizes For Using Bogus Industry Numbers To Support Pro-ACTA Argument

Michael Geist's magisterial ten-minute ACTA takedown

Michael Geist sez, "As protests in Europe against ACTA have grown, skeptics have argued that most criticisms are based on misunderstandings or incorrect information about the treaty. This week, the European Parliament held its first public workshop on ACTA. I appeared on the lead panel and received ten minutes to demonstrate why the agreement raises major concerns on process, substance, and likely effectiveness."

Michael Geist at the European Parliament INTA Workshop on ACTA 01.03.2012 (Thanks, Michael!)

What the US government tells European parliamentarians about ACTA

Sulka sez, "A Finnish MEP (Anneli Jäättenmäki) visited US and got told that given ACTA has been prepared entirely outside of Congress and isn't ratified, it's probably not legally binding towards US. The process has also been similar in other countries (Finland included), so it's questionable if the treaty has any power."

I visited Washington in the European Parliament, the Liberal andCentre Group Presidency with the beginning of the week. We met with U.S. Congressional representatives and financial experts. One of the most talked subjects had anti-counterfeiting agreement, Acta.

We heard some unexpected information. U.S. Congress senator responsible for ACTA foreign trade committee chairman Ron Wyden, said he'd tried to find out if Acta is binding towards US or not. Congress has been kept outside of the process for forming the treaty, and the senator has received no response to his inquiries.

We also got to hear that the U.S. government does not intend to give Congress a vote on the agreement as it would collapse in Congress, which is a pretty worrying rationale. According to the U.S. law, Congress always deals with international agreements.

The U.S. government characterized in a reply to Wyden that ACTA is a bilateral trade agreements and as such has no effect on U.S. law. The big question remains as to whether the Acta at all binding on the United States.

The European Commission assumes that Acta is binding on the signatory countries. ACTA's credibility is seriously at stake if its signatories can apply it as they see fit.

The EU Commission and the European Parliament have given ACTA to the EU Court of Justice for review. ACTA was negotiated in secret, and the parties have failed to tell the agreements content. It is right that the agreement's effects of fundamental rights of citizens are being reviewed.

This Agreement shall come into force only after ratification of the European Parliament and all Member States. Now the ratification of the Treaty appears to be rather distant matter.

Actasta uusia yllätyksiä

Danish band claims collecting society prevented them from playing anti-ACTA gig

The Danish band Qu'est-ce Que fuck? claims that they were prevented from playing an anti-ACTA gig by KODA, a Danish rights-management society. They claim that KODA deliberately put a number of bureaucratic hurdles in their path, with the final straw being a demand that the band be paid 4,000 Kroner for their appearance (which was beyond the means of the organisers), despite the band's assurance that they would only perform their own material.

Our so-called guild KODA and the Aarhus police have done everything they could to prevent our performance today, and they succeeded.

The requirement of KODA's hand to the organizers of the demonstration was that we should have at least 4000 dollars for appearing today. 4000 crowns as organizers of today's demonstration obviously have not had time to travel when a claim was made yesterday, and as you know, not exactly make money by organizing popular protests.

We have tried to explain KODA that we want to play our own compositions free to support the event, but we had not.

We suggested them so that we could improvise the entire concert, avoiding rights issues at the event. This was not an option.

We do not feel that it is in our best interest to deny us the chance to play our music to the public!

We are not artists because of the pursuit of profit and regelrytteri. We simply can not help but create music.

Naturally, we believe that all people are entitled to payment for their work and musicians, we know that the problem lies in the piracy of our music or sharing our videos on youtube.

Koda away censoring free music from Aarhus' demonstration against the ACTA (Google Translate)

Koda bortcensurerer gratis musik fra Aarhus’ demonstration mod ACTA (original in Danish)

Boing Boing's Beschizza talks Megaupload, ACTA, and torrent justice on RT TV

[Video Link]

Boing Boing's managing editor Rob, not Bob, but Rob, Beschizza speaks on the Russian television news network RT about Megaupload, ACTA, the global copyfight wars, and the high-flying hijinks of Kim Dotcom.

US Trade Rep doesn't know what "transparent" or "lobbyist" means

The US Trade Representative claims that the Trans-Pacific Partnership, closed-door copyright treaty being negotiated in even greater secrecy than the notorious ACTA, is "transparent." Actually, he says it has "unprecedented" transparency, because an advisory group is allowed to see it under nondisclosure, and they're not lobbyists at all. Except they are. And except that the norm for copyright treaties used to be UN treaties, negotiated in full public view, not closed-door arm-twisting marathons where the US Trade Rep and a bunch of industry goons threaten foreign nations into signing onto agreements that even the US Congress couldn't pass into law.

Record industry lobby attains chutzpah singularity

IFPI, the international recording industry lobby, has gone on the offensive to save ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, an unprecedented international copyright agreement negotiated in secret (so secret that even Congress and the European Parliament weren't allowed to see it). In recent weeks, popular protests against ACTA have grown, and many nations are pulling back from ACTA.

IFPI doesn't like this. In fact, it says that popular demonstrations calling for substantive treaty negotiations to take place in the open "silence the democratic process."

In this statement, IFPI is using the term "democratic process" in a highly technical, specialized manner, citing a little-understood definition: "a process undertaken by corporate lobbyists and unelected bureaucrats without public oversight or transparency."

Another specialized vocab use that's interesting is the word "silencing," which, again, is used in the rare technical sense of "marching in the streets in thousands-strong throngs asking lawmakers to oversee and publicly debate international agreements."

Over the past two weeks, we have seen coordinated attacks on democratic institutions such as the European Parliament and national governments over ACTA. The signatories to this letter and their members stand against such attempts to silence the democratic process. Instead, we call for a calm and reasoned assessment of the facts rather than the misinformation circulating.

IFPI & Other Lobbyists Tell Parliament That ACTA Protests Silence The Democratic Process

Bulgaria and Netherlands back away from ACTA

More dominoes are falling in the global fight to kill ACTA -- Bulgaria and the Netherlands have joined Germany and many other EU nations in refusing to move further on the secretive copyright treaty that was negotiated without transparency, oversight, or civil society participation.

"I will table a proposal to the Council of Ministers to stop the procedure of Bulgaria's signing the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement," Traikov said.

The decision means Bulgaria will not take any action concerning Acta before European Union member states come up with a unified position.

Meanwhile, the Dutch Lower House has backed a motion from the Green Left party which says the Netherlands should, for the time being, refrain from signing Acta, according to a report at Radio Netherlands Worldwide.

The RNW report says that the parliament is seeking clarity about whether the treaty threatens the rights and the privacy of internet users.

On a related note, Redjade submitteratored this video shot at Saturday's anti-ACTA march in Budapest.

Acta loses more support in Europe

Read the rest

MEP who resigned ACTA role explains how the treaty will result in invasive border searches of personal devices, privacy-invading dissemination of public's personal information

Kader Arif is the former EU rapporteur on ACTA (the secretive copyright treaty pushed by the US Trade Rep) on Europe's behalf. He made headlines when he handed in his report on ACTA and his resignation as rapporteur, which damned ACTA as an undemocratic, overly broad and ill-conceived trainwreck. In this WSJ interview, Arif goes into detail on the problems that made ACTA utterly irredeemable, and Mike Masnick despairs at how Arif's successor in the EU is seemingly unwilling to stand up for the democratic principles that ACTA tramples.

First is the article 11 of the agreement, which states that the right holder has the right to ask for information “regarding any person involved in any aspect of the infringement or alleged infringement”. This article is worded in such wide and unclear terms that it leaves a great deal of room for interpretation. In practice, almost anyone could be linked to an infringement of intellectual property rights and face criminal sanctions under such a vague definition. It is our responsibility as legislators and people’s representatives not to leave it to a judicial authority to decide of the scope of an agreement which could affect people’s civil liberties.

The second is the issue of having travelers’ personal luggage searched at borders. ACTA foresees that the use of counterfeited goods on a commercial scale can lead to criminal sanctions. But here again no definition of “commercial scale” is given. Article 14 of the agreement clearly states that, unless contrary action is taken by one of the parties, it is possible to search people’s personal luggage, including small consignments. So if a traveler has on his laptop or MP3 player a tune or movie downloaded illegally, could he face sanctions ? How many tunes or movies would one need to set up a commercial illegal activity? In theory one would be enough… The problem again here is that ACTA does not give any clear indication. Besides the fact that it is an extremely sensitive issue to authorize for the search of all travelers’ luggage, and personally I am totally opposed to it, I see here a great risk for abuse and unjustified sanctions.

EU Official Who Resigned Over ACTA Details Why ACTA Is Dangerous; While His Replacement Seems Unlikely To Care

Pictures from Berlin's anti-ACTA protest


Walt74 sez, "Today about 10.000 people protested the ACTA treaty in Berlin, people in whole Germany went on the streets, 50.000 altogether. Here are my pics from the protests in Berlin."

Did you get pics at your local ACTA march? Post them to the comments!

ACTA-Demo Berlin, 11.2.2012 (Thanks, Walt74!)

TODAY IS THE DAY TO KILL ACTA

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.
Fight For The Future may contact you about future campaigns. We will never share your email with anyone. Privacy Policy

KILL ACTA

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.
Fight For The Future may contact you about future campaigns. We will never share your email with anyone. Privacy Policy


Tiffiniy from Fight for the Future sez,

Together, we beat SOPA in a huge victory for internet freedom. But this Saturday, internet freedom protests are breaking out in over 200 cities across Europe. Why?

Because the companies behind SOPA are using international trade agreements as a backdoor to pass SOPA-style laws

SOPA's supporters are pushing two agreements: ACTA and TPP1. ACTA would criminalize users, encourage internet providers to spy on you, and make it easier for media companies to sue sites out of existence and jail their founders. Sound familiar? That's right, ACTA is from the same playbook as SOPA, but global. Plus it didn't even have to pass through Congress2.

TPP goes even farther than ACTA, and the process has been even more secretive and corrupt. Last weekend (we wish this was a joke) trade negotiators partied with MPAA (pro-SOPA) lobbyists before secret negotiations in a Hollywood hotel, while public interest groups were barred from meeting in the same building.3

Trade agreements are a gaping loophole, a secretive backdoor track that--even though it creates new laws--is miles removed from democracy. Trade negotiators are unelected and unaccountable, so these agreements have been very hard for internet rights groups to stop.

But now the tide is turning. Fueled by the movement to stop SOPA, anti-ACTA protests are breaking out across the EU, which hasn't ratified ACTA. The protests are having an impact: leaders in Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia have backtracked on ACTA.4 Now a massive round of street protests in over 200 cities is planned for this Saturday February 11th.

We're planning an online protest this Saturday to support the protests in the streets. Why? Because together we can drive millions of emails to key decision makers--and start tipping the scales like we did on SOPA.

Can you take part? Click here to get the code to run on your site!

We just built an ACTA & TPP contact tool, and it's not just a petition. It's code for your site that figures out the visitor's country and lets them email all their Members of European Parliament--the politicians who will be voting on ACTA in June--or the trade negotiators behind TPP. This direct contact between voters and their officials, driven by websites of all sizes, was instrumental in the fight against SOPA.

Kill ACTA

Romania's prime minister doesn't know why he signed ACTA, Czech Republic's out

The EU's Eastern European constituents have been under enormous trade pressure to sign onto ACTA, the copyright treaty negotiated in secret at the behest of the US Trade Rep and the entertainment lobby. There's widespread rebellion in Slovenia, Poland and Bulgaria, and now Romania's Prime Minister has admitted, "he did not hold any information on the circumstances in which Romania had adopted the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement." Meanwhile, the Czech Republic's reviewing its ACTA involvement.(via TechDirt)

Petition to uncloak secret copyright treaty

A welcome White House petition for our American readers' consideration: a request to make the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty negotiation more transparent. This bland-sounding treaty is, in fact, the successor to ACTA, negotiated in the strictest secrecy. A recent leak from the TPP smoke-filled rooms revealed that negotiators are considering regulating incidental copies made in buffers, a deep foray by regulatory fantasy into engineering reality. (via Techdirt)

Bulgarian MPs wear Guy Fawkes mask for ACTA session

Apparently inspired by the Polish parliamentarians who showed up for work in Guy Fawkes masks for the signing of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (a US-driven secret copyright treaty), members of Bulgaria's parliament repeated the trick.

The MPs say they support copyright laws, but oppose ACTA over its possible turning into an instrument to limit freedom of speech, to control internet use, and to turn into an obstacle for the exchange of information and knowledge online.

On January 26, the Bulgarian government signed in Tokyo the international ACTA agreement, vowing to make downloading content similar to forgery of brands.

The agreement was sealed by Bulgarian ambassador to Japan Lyubomir Todorov, based on a decision by the Bulgarian cabinet taken hastily on January 11.

Bulgarian MPs Wear Guy Fawkes Mask to Protest ACTA (via Techdirt)

Poland's Prime Minister wants to put the brakes on ACTA

Tomo sez, "Polish Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, announced ACTA needs to be reviewed and consulted with his ministers as well as internet community representatives. ACTA won't be ratified until all doubts will be explained. He added that that might mean the ACTA won't be ratified at all. In addition, he announced he wants to start discussion in European Parliament on freedom of speech and expression." (Thanks Tomo!)

London's anti-ACTA demonstration, one week from TOMORROW

JimKillock from the Open Rights Group sez, "Come to the London Stop ACTA Demo, one of many days across Europe protesting against the international attempt to impose SOPA and DEAct-style enforcement through anti-democratic treaty agreements. Make a donation and let us know you are coming! We are assembling outside UK Music's offices, as many of their members have been pressing the case for ACTA. You can also let us know you are coming here."

Slovenia's ambassador apologizes to her children and her nation for signing ACTA, calls for mass demonstrations in Ljubljana tomorrow

After Helena Drnovsek Zorko, Slovenia's ambassador to Japan, signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, she was deluged with emails from Slovenians criticizing her for signing onto the agreement, which encourages widespread network censorship and creates criminal penalties for copyright infringement. The ambassador read the agreement more closely and decided she agreed with the critics, and wrote an open letter of apology to her country for signing them up to the treaty.

The ambassador calls on Slovenians to converge on Ljubljana tomorrow, Saturday, Feb 4, to protest ACTA.

I signed ACTA out of civic carelessness, because I did not pay enough attention. Quite simply, I did not clearly connect the agreement I had been instructed to sign with the agreement that, according to my own civic conviction, limits and withholds the freedom of engagement on the largest and most significant network in human history, and thus limits particularly the future of our children. I allowed myself a period of civic complacency, for a short time I unplugged myself from media reports from Slovenia, I took a break from Avaaz and its inflation of petitions, quite simply I allowed myself a rest. In my defence, I want to add that I very much needed this rest and that I am still having trouble gaining enough energy for the upcoming dragon year. At the same time, I am tackling a workload that increased, not lessened, with the advent of the current year. All in line with a motto that has become familiar to us all, likely not only diplomats: less for more. Less money and fewer people for more work. And then you overlook the significance of what you are signing. And you wake up the following morning with the weight of the unbearable lightness of some signature.

First I apologised to my children. Then I tried to reply to those acquaintances and strangers who expressed their surprise and horror. Because there are more and more of them, I am responding to them publicly. I want to apologise because I carried out my official duty, but not my civic duty. I don’t know how many options I had with regard to not signing, but I could have tried. I did not. I missed an opportunity to fight for the right of conscientious objection on the part of us bureaucrats.

Full Text Of Slovenian Ambassador's Apology For Signing ACTA [via Techdirt]

US trade rep and hotel caught lying about confidentiality of secret copyright treaty meeting in Hollywood

If you follow Boing Boing, you're probably passingly familiar with ACTA, the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a treaty negotiated in secret, comprising a kind of wishlist from the entertainment industry, pared down rather a lot after a series of leaks. The sequel to ACTA is TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, yet another secret copyright treaty with many of the same participants.

A coalition of civil society groups got wind of an upcoming TPP meeting in a Hollywood hotel and decided to rent out a function space in the same building so they could hold a public information meeting on TPP during the session. According to Techdirt, the US Trade Representative had the hotel cancel the civil society groups' reservation. The hotel claimed that the reservation was being canceled due to "a confidential group in house" and that "we will not be allowing any other groups in the meeting space that day."

Except that this turns out to have been a lie. When the civil society group called up and asked to rent a function room for an unrelated event, the hotel was happy to rent to them.

And, needless to say, the MPAA was able to get access to the TPP negotiators, who were escorted on a "multi-hour tour of 20th Century Fox Studios last night."

Hollywood Gets To Party With TPP Negotiators; Public Interest Groups Get Thrown Out Of Hotel

Straight dope on Canada's new copyright law, ACTA, and SOPA

Michael Geist sez, "In recent days there has been massive new interest in Canadian copyright reform as thousands of people write to their MPs to express concern about the prospect of adding SOPA-style rules to Bill C-11. The interest has resulted in some confusion - some claiming that the Canadian bill will be passed within 14 days (not true) and others stating that proposed SOPA-style changes are nothing more than technical changes to the bill (also not true). Given the importance of Canadians speaking out accurately on Bill C-11, ACTA, and the TPP, I've posted ten key questions and answers to sort through the claims. They point to the fact there is serious concerns with the bill as currently drafted and that it could get much worse if content lobbyists get their way."

Ten Key Questions and Answers About Bill C-11, SOPA, ACTA, and the TPP

Polish MPs wear Guy Fawkes masks to protest ACTA

The streets of Poland have erupted in protest on the eve of the country's signing onto ACTA, the secretive copyright treaty that is being rammed through many European Parliaments this year. Members of Parliament showed up for work wearing Anon-style Guy Fawkes masks to show their disapproval.


After the signing, protesters rallied in the Polish cities of Poznan and Lublin to express their anger over the treaty. Lawmakers for the left-wing Palikot's Movement wore masks in parliament to show their dissatisfaction, while the largest opposition party — the right-wing Law and Justice party — called for a referendum on the matter.

Poland signs copyright treaty that drew protests (via JWZ)

(Image: downsized thumbnail snipped from a photo by Alik Keplicz/AP)

Chief EU ACTA sponsor quits in disgust at lack of democratic fundamentals in global copyright treaty

Kader Arif, the EU "rapporteur" for ACTA (a copyright treaty negotiated in secret, which contains all the worst elements of SOPA, and which is coming to a vote in the EU) has turned in his report and resigned from his job role, delivering a scathing rebuke to the EU negotiators and parliamentarians, and the global corporations who are pushing this through:

I want to denounce in the strongest possible manner the entire process that led to the signature of this agreement: no inclusion of civil society organisations, a lack of transparency from the start of the negotiations, repeated postponing of the signature of the text without an explanation being ever given, exclusion of the EU Parliament's demands that were expressed on several occasions in our assembly.

As rapporteur of this text, I have faced never-before-seen manoeuvres from the right wing of this Parliament to impose a rushed calendar before public opinion could be alerted, thus depriving the Parliament of its right to expression and of the tools at its disposal to convey citizens' legitimate demands.”

Everyone knows the ACTA agreement is problematic, whether it is its impact on civil liberties, the way it makes Internet access providers liable, its consequences on generic drugs manufacturing, or how little protection it gives to our geographical indications.

This agreement might have major consequences on citizens' lives, and still, everything is being done to prevent the European Parliament from having its say in this matter. That is why today, as I release this report for which I was in charge, I want to send a strong signal and alert the public opinion about this unacceptable situation. I will not take part in this masquerade.

European Parliament Official In Charge Of ACTA Quits, And Denounces The 'Masquerade' Behind ACTA (Thanks, David!)

Stop ACTA: secretive treaty will bring in the worst of SOPA through trade obligations

ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, is the notorious, unprecedented secret copyright treaty that was negotiated by industry representatives and government trade reps, without any access by elected representatives, independent business, the press, public interest groups, legal scholars, independent economists and so on. Time and again, the world's richest governmental administrations (only rich countries were in the negotiation) told their own parliaments and congresses that they could not see what was in the treaty, nor know the details of the discussion.

The European Parliament was one of the bodies that asked its administration to share the treaty discussions with the elected members, only to be turned down. Cables in the Wikileaks dumps showed US officials orchestrating this secrecy because they knew how unpopular this one-sided, heavy-handed copyright treaty would be. Freedom of Information requests to the Obama administration confirmed that the reason for the secrecy was the experience in transparent negotiation at the UN, which resulted in an uprising by developing nations, who saw stricter, more expansive copyrights as a means of extracting rents from the world's poorest people.

Now the European Parliament is being arm-twisted into ratifying ACTA, which contains many of the worst provisions that Americans rejected in SOPA and PIPA. We need your help and input to resist this terrible, dirty, punishing treaty from coming to Europe.

Stop ACTA!

Previous BB coverage of ACTA (Thanks, noc314!)

White House petition to end support for ACTA

ACTA is a secretly negotiated copyright treaty that obliges its signatories to take on many of the worst features of SOPA and PIPA. The EU is nearing ratification of it. ACTA was instigated by US trade reps under the Bush Administration, who devised and enforced its unique secrecy regime, but the Obama administration enthusiastically pursued it. This White House petition asks the administration to withdraw its support for the treaty. (Thanks, Horn55!)

Polish anti-ACTA site

For Polish readers: StopACTA.pl is your clearinghouse for action in the Polish fight against the punitive ACTA copyright treaty.

US copyright lobby to Canada: pass our stupid laws or we won't let you into the suicide pact!

Michael Geist sez, "The U.S. government just concluded a consultation on whether it should support Canada's entry into the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations. The TPP raises significant concerns about extension of copyright and overbroad protection for digital locks, so staying out might be a good thing. However, the IIPA, which represents the major movie, music, and software lobby associations, sees this as an opportunity to force Canada to enact a Canadian DMCA and to implement ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. It has told the US government to keep Canada out of the talks until those laws are passed, adding that any exception to protect Canadian culture will not be included in the TPP."

TPP is the second coming of ACTA, the last round of incalculably evil, back-room copyright shenanigans. This seems like a pretty big miscalculation from America's copyright-pushers: "If you don't pass the crazy, awful copyright laws we've demanded, we won't let you be a part of our suicide-by-copyright-pact." Say it ain't so!

US Copyright Lobby Wants Canada Out of TPP Until New Laws Passed, Warns of No Cultural Exceptions