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EU Commissioner Reveals He Will Ignore Any Rejection of ACTA 253

Posted by Soulskill
from the if-at-first-you-don't-succeed dept.
Dupple tips a story at Techdirt about comments from EU commissioner Karel De Gucht, who made some discouraging remarks to the EU International Trade committee about the opposition to ACTA: "If you decide for a negative vote before the European Court rules, let me tell you that the Commission will nonetheless continue to pursue the current procedure before the Court, as we are entitled to do. A negative vote will not stop the proceedings before the Court of Justice. ... If the Court questions the conformity of the agreement with the Treaties we will assess at that stage how this can be addressed." De Gucht also spoke about proposing clarifications to ACTA if Parliament declined to ratify it, which, as Techdirt points out, doesn't make much sense: "Remember that ACTA is now signed, and cannot be altered; so De Gucht is instead trying to fob off European politicians with this vague idea of 'clarifications' — as if more vagueness could somehow rectify the underlying problems of an already dangerously-vague treaty."
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EU Commissioner Reveals He Will Ignore Any Rejection of ACTA

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  • As an American... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Das Auge (597142) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @05:21PM (#40458443)
    As an American: at least he's honest about it. My politicians just issue bald-faced lies.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Moheeheeko (1682914)
      Thats because if they did that here, people have GUNS.
      • by lennier (44736) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @05:42PM (#40458777) Homepage

        Thats because if they did that here, people have GUNS.

        And your politicians have nukes. Your move.

        • by cpu6502 (1960974)

          When the merd' hits the fan, the soldiers will refuse to nuke Americans. The gun owners will ultimately win.

          • by Luckyo (1726890) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @06:18PM (#40459277)

            No worries, these people will be labeled something among the lines of "terrorists, pedophiles, liberals, wing nuts" or whatever other term will be deemed valid and hostile enough by spin doctors writing speeches for modern leaders.

            Then most of the sheep will happily nuke the "enemies of the state" into the oblivion.

            • by Kokuyo (549451) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @02:25AM (#40464031) Journal

              I concur. I think it was at the beginning of the last century that people in Switzerland were protesting against the government. This is a direct democracy, please remember this when I tell you that the MILITIA was ordered to open fire... and they did.

              So a government directly appointed by the people used a militia formed of the people to kill the people. Never underestimate how much of a mindless weapon a soldier can be become, even with relatively little training.

          • Will the soldiers be told who they are nuking? Can the launch operators see what their missile is targeted at, or can this information be faked?

            Imagine a soldier gets the news that N Korea just nuked S Korea and Japan, and is ordered to launch his nuke, which then just happens to 'miss' and hit California.

            • Will the soldiers be told who they are nuking? Can the launch operators see what their missile is targeted at, or can this information be faked?

              Pretty much, no. The information can't be faked. The launch officer is the last guy in the chain that knows his bird's target.

              Note that this is also pretty much irrelevant for ICBMs, since retargeting them is NOT quick. And you really can't do it without the cooperation of the chain of command.

              Who won't. Cooperate, I mean.

              Imagine a soldier gets the news that

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by publiclurker (952615)
            then they'll just use something a little less powerful than a nuke, but a lot more powerful than your strap-on manhood.
          • by qeveren (318805) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @09:30PM (#40461529)

            Soldiers are trained to obey orders. I wouldn't bet your life on "US soldiers won't fire upon US civilians", since they've happily done so before.

          • by dunkelfalke (91624) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @05:52AM (#40465067)

            Stanley Milgram disagrees with you.

        • by BMOC (2478408)
          Uh, did you just suggest that a politicians response to assassination would be to nuke a town in his own country? What is this, the 1970s? Governments have much cleaner things to use against troublesome populations in this modern age, like identity theft and eminent domain.
        • Red Dawn.. nuff said
      • by MrHanky (141717)

        Wrong. It's because people have the vote. Being honest won't get them (re-)elected (and breaking their promises won't get them shot, and have little impact on their electability). The EU commissioners have no such democratic problem.

      • by Velex (120469) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @06:21PM (#40459307) Homepage Journal

        What's that got to do with it? Why would gun owners invoke the 2nd Amendment to defend a bunch of long-haired hippies who want to steal American Property?

        Especially after acquiescing to the Patriot Act and airport scanners that administer a dangerous dosage of radiation as a routine measure?

        No, my friend, I'm afraid that I've yet to see the 2nd Amendment get invoked for any other reason than to kill brown people and fags except maybe the Civil War. And after the New Deal, the reasons for the secession of the Confederate States look like gripes that could be solved over an afternoon tea.

        Your internet tough guy argument fails. Even after all the shortwave saber rattling I used to believe in and follow when I was growing up, the American people remain hopelessly cowed.

      • by no-body (127863)

        Thats because if they did that here, people have GUNS.

        Total BS - it's hypnotized by money, brainwashed by TV, the guns are just some toy to make boys look a bit more macho. The upper guys do what they want and no gun has any effect whatsoever at this point in time.

        Things would look very different otherwise.

        Holy GUN - yeah, BS!

    • by BMOC (2478408)
      It's not a lie if they don't read the legislation in the first place. Incompetence is the simpler explanation.
    • by girlintraining (1395911) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @06:27PM (#40459395)

      As an American: at least he's honest about it. My politicians just issue bald-faced lies.

      He's not being honest because it's virtuous; He's being honest because there's no consequences for him doing it. Our politicians lie their asses off when it suits them just like yours. He just knows there's no fight left in the general population. Don't go getting funny ideas about how our politicians are somehow special... they were bought and paid for same as yours, and probably by the same people.

      • As an American: at least he's honest about it. My politicians just issue bald-faced lies.

        He's not being honest because it's virtuous; He's being honest because there's no consequences for him doing it. Our politicians lie their asses off when it suits them just like yours. He just knows there's no fight left in the general population. Don't go getting funny ideas about how our politicians are somehow special... they were bought and paid for same as yours, and probably by the same people.

        Speak for your own population. If the French don't like something they're out on the streets in their, quite literally, millions.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @05:21PM (#40458447)

    EU nations to citizens: "We voted against it, what more coupld we do?"
    EU nations to RIAA: "Ok, it's passed, pay up."

  • by kwark (512736) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @05:21PM (#40458455)

    ACTA will be ratified in some form because it will be resubmitted again and again till the lobbyiest succeed. This happened before with the EU constitution, it will happen with ACTA and it will happen in the future for many more treaties/laws.

  • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @05:23PM (#40458473)

    is anyone surprised?

    the amount of power held by those that ACTA favors outweighs the amount of power held by those against.

    rulers gonna rule. who'd have thunk it?

    (I'm not in favor of ACTA, not even close; but I don't really hold up much hope when this much greed is involved, mixed with this much 'can-do' power to pull it off.)

    this is a people problem. a scalability one. do our governments 'work' for us anymore? in the modern times, with mass communication now possible, are any of our systems really working? it does not seem so!

  • by metrix007 (200091) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @05:24PM (#40458487)

    This is the type of thing when you have something resembling a country, but that is not in essence a country, which has non of the protections or checks and balances that a state should actually have.

    Democracy at the EU level, kind of a joke.

    • by I cant believe its n (1103137) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @06:40PM (#40459515) Journal
      The vice president of the European commission Margot Wallström: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cvcdsj3ZWkg&feature=player_embedded [youtube.com]
    • by Hentes (2461350)

      Of course there are protections, the most important being the democratically elected EP which will say the final word on ACTA.

    • by Elldallan (901501)
      Only the European Parliament can enact laws and ratify treaties and the Parliament is democratically elected.
      The European court of Justice has the same oversight powers as the US Supreme Court.
      So the real difference is that the EU is a huge seething pile of bureaucracy and getting anything done takes forever.
    • by sociocapitalist (2471722) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @03:53AM (#40464473)

      This is the type of thing when you have something resembling a country, but that is not in essence a country, which has non of the protections or checks and balances that a state should actually have.

      Democracy at the EU level, kind of a joke.

      You say this, and yet democracy seems to be working better in Europe than in what is supposed to be a democratic America. In both cases you have a collection of States that make up a super-state. In the US, the States retain many powers that the Federal government is not allowed to fuck with. The same is true for the EU.

      The EU has a multiplicity of political parties in each country, all of which are democratically elected, with the European Parliament being directly elected and with a rotating presidency of the EU itself that shifts to a different country every six months power is never focused too long in one place.

      The countries in the EU provide checks and balances to each other, quite without meaning to. Because of the different interests that each country has, it's difficult for any given policy to be pushed through even by the strongest country or even set of countries in the Union.

      So how, exactly, is democracy at the EU level a joke?

  • by Skinkie (815924) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @05:24PM (#40458503) Homepage
    Is this guy actually saying that the lobby has bought into the European Court system? And democracy doesn't count anymore?
    • by 0123456 (636235) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @05:37PM (#40458705)

      Democracy has never counted in the EU because the majority of the people of Europe have never wanted a bloated, centralised state where bureaucrats in Brussels tell them what to do.

      When EU citizens vote wrong, they're forced to vote again and again until they give the right answer.

      • by Kjella (173770)

        When EU citizens vote wrong, they're forced to vote again and again until they give the right answer.

        Or they just ignore it. In 1994 we in Norway had a referendum and the people rejected EU membership despite an overwhelming majority in favor in parliament. What did the politicians do? Sign an EEC agreement which means 5000+ EU directives have been passed into Norwegian law. And then the politicians complain about the lack of influence and access because we're not real members, acting like it's our fault. Yeah because since we had the audacity to say no the politicians had to buttrape us. Totally our faul

    • by timeOday (582209)
      No, I gather that's just the flamebait summary of it. Apparently the issue is that it falls to the European Court of Justice to rule on whether the treaty is consistent with European Law. If not, he concedes they'll have to modify ACTA to make it conform. Meanwhile the EU International Trade committe has taken it upon themselves to have their own vote, but that is apparently not binding at this stage according to the bylaws of EU governance.

      Spinning this as a repudiation of democratic principles is jus

      • by Elldallan (901501)
        It is not so much that the EU International Trade committe has taken it upon themselves to have a vote, they act as an advisory to the EU Parliament and are supposed to recommend either passing or rejecting the proposition, every committee(they are made up of members from EU parliament) of the EU that oversees an area affected by ACTA is supposed to leave a recommendation based on how ACTA will affect their area of responsibility, it is a normal part of the process.
    • by Mashiki (184564)

      There is no democracy in the EU. It's what a group of select "leaders" tell you what you can have, it's just a soft dictatorship controlling regional territories.

    • He is saying a legal way has to be found to leave the treaty. Currently he doesn't see one.

    • by Tough Love (215404) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @07:32PM (#40460217)

      The European Commission is distinct from the European Parliament. European Commissioners have established a pretty good reputation for themselves as being for sale and not accountable to their constituencies. European Parliament nominally holds the real power, but democracy in Europe often turns into an uphill battle against corrupt commissioners.

      The European Commision is also the main promoter of legalizing software patents in Europe, against the express wishes of the European Parliament.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nachtkap (951646)
      I follow the decisions of the highest German Courts, and to a lesser extend the European Courts, with passing interest. I have to say that I cannot recall a single instance that I found one of their decisions even a little bit unacceptable. Literally every time that I thought politicians totally went off the rails, along comes the highest Courts with a "oh no you don't".
  • by garcia (6573) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @05:25PM (#40458519) Homepage

    I realize this is Slashdot and eye-catching headlines tailored towards inciting the rabbleâ"rousers are the norm (yes, my UID is low) but are we somehow missing the headlines where political leadership (from any country) actually stand up for the rights of their citizenry instead of the business?

    I rarely see politicians, on any side of the coin, standing up for the rights of the electorate and instead only see that they support business interests. These people must get elected somehow, and yes I realize there are possibilities that the electorate has no true influence here but it's improbable at least for now, so why the hell do we continue to put up with them doing this?

    I've been disgusted for years by their actions but do they ever really stand up for The People and say, "no matter what we're going to do X even if you say no"?

    • by lennier (44736) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @05:48PM (#40458857) Homepage

      do they ever really stand up for The People and say, "no matter what we're going to do X even if you say no"?

      Sometimes a popularly elected government comes into power and both promises and honestly intends to act against business interests, sure.

      That's called a "rogue state" and we have CIA drone strikes to deal with them.

    • by Loughla (2531696) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @05:57PM (#40458989)

      How do they keep getting elected? What other choice do we have? When all sides of the issue are bought and paid for by the same people, what, seriously, what choices do we have? It's not that they don't represent us, it's that they represent where the money is coming from.

      Think about it - to a politician, $1 = 1 voice. So, I have around 10,000 in savings. If I give all of that, my voice becomes stronger than my neighbor's, regardless of where I stand. I can influence media, I can influence protests, I can send letters. My neighbor can't do any of that, because he's just trying to make it to supper tonight.

      From their point of view, the politicians are representing The People. It's just that the money involved is so freaking skewed that The People are no longer represented fairly in these initial steps. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if (in the US at least) our representatives are truly at a loss as to why their approval rating is so low. I hope I did a good job of explaining my views on that. It's hard to get into words sometimes.

      I know that none of that may transfer into this instance in the EU, but I believe that the same rules apply there. Money = power, power = money. The commissioner probably sees the interests groups with the most money, and probably believes that they represent the general public's views.

      Or he's just a dick. One or the other.

    • by cpu6502 (1960974)

      There have been several /. stories about the EU acting against a corporation and in favor of the customer. Like the browser choice screen in Opera v. Microsoft.

  • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @05:30PM (#40458579)

    That appears to be how the European Union operates. The Constitution was rejected, so they turned it into the Lisbon Treaty. The Irish rejected the treaty so they held a second vote 6 months later, so they could get the "yes" vote desired. In Denmark they canceled the election and just acceded to the treaty automagically.

    NOW it appears they'll use the same approach with ACTA: It matters not how the EU Parliament votes, we'll just rewrite it and submit it a second time or third time until we get a "yes". Of course the U.S. ain't much better: TARP failed the first time so they rewrote it and tried a second time. When the Supreme Court rejects a law as unconstitutional, the Congress simply passes the law a second time (minus the objectionable bits).

    • by mhajicek (1582795)
      That's why I think there needs to be a punishment (like jail time or at least impeachment) for any lawmaker who proposes or votes for any law that is later found to be unconstitutional. As it is there is no liability on the part of the lawmaker.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by PGC (880972)
        It should be considered treason : therefore punishable by death.
    • by Translation Error (1176675) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @06:31PM (#40459429)

      When the Supreme Court rejects a law as unconstitutional, the Congress simply passes the law a second time (minus the objectionable bits).

      And the problem with this is what, exactly?

      • When the Supreme Court rejects a law as unconstitutional, the Congress simply passes the law a second time (minus the objectionable bits).

        And the problem with this is what, exactly?

        Most likely it's the NEW objectionable bits they snuck in without mentioning it.

    • by MobyDisk (75490)

      When the Supreme Court rejects a law as unconstitutional, the Congress simply passes the law a second time (minus the objectionable bits).

      They don't actually bother to pass the law a second time. There is no need to. When the Supreme Court uses judicial review, it merely sets a judicial precedent on how to interpret that section of law. It has no power to nullify the law itself.

    • by DRJlaw (946416)

      The Irish rejected the treaty so they held a second vote 6 months later, so they could get the "yes" vote desired.

      You object to this, why? Because it was the same treaty (if you ignore the concessions that Ireland sought after the initial rejection)? Because it was only 16 months (not 6)? Both? Does it matter that turnout was six percent greater [wikipedia.org] the second time around, and that the vote swung from slight (53%) to robust (67%) majority from the one to the other?

      I mean, you're either implying some serious

  • Typical Europe. Bar Nigel Farage, who is the Chuck Norris of politics, it's like watching monkeys at typewriters. A model parliament should be like in Star Trek dammit!
  • by DickBreath (207180) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @05:35PM (#40458663) Homepage
    So if it doesn't matter what the outcome of the vote will be, then why bother to have one?
    • by 0123456 (636235)

      So if it doesn't matter what the outcome of the vote will be, then why bother to have one?

      PR. You can't just tell people what to do, you have to pretend that they're telling you to tell them what to do.

      • He didn't even do that, though, he said it's going through regardless of what they want.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @05:39PM (#40458741)

    ...is that only the Commission may propose law to the Council.

    The Council must vote - usually by qualified majority - for almost(*) all laws to pass. And the ordinary legislative process means that, since Lisbon, Parliament gets to veto most proposals.

    But once the law has been adopted, there is no way for Parliament to even propose, let alone pass, further legislation to amend or repeal the law. By contrast, the UK has one overriding law - the Westminster Parliament cannot bind itself. But the European Parliament /always/ binds itself.

    The only potential salvation is that the Court of Justice may declare a law to be invalid - for example, because the EU exceeds its jurisdiction under the Treaties. But not simply because the people don't like the law. Even then, getting rid of CJEU judges is nigh on impossible, so a corrupt gaggle stay around until one by one it's time for them to be replaced (by agreement of the governments of member states).

    (*) Creation of competition law is delegated to the Commission.

  • by Digital Vomit (891734) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @05:42PM (#40458769) Homepage Journal

    It's become crystal clear over the years that it is everyone's moral imperative to ignore copyright law.

    That is the only way we, as a society, are going to conquer the science-and-arts-crippling concept known as "intellectual property" and move forward as a civilization.

    • by Jeng (926980)

      Just because a nut job "can't kill all of us" doesn't mean I won't seek shelter when he opens fire.

    • by Stickerboy (61554) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @06:13PM (#40459209) Homepage

      It's become crystal clear over the years that it is everyone's moral imperative to ignore copyright law.

      That is the only way we, as a society, are going to conquer the science-and-arts-crippling concept known as "intellectual property" and move forward as a civilization.

      Thank you, I agree wholeheartedly!

      - GPL violator

      More seriously, the concept of intellectual property is neither crippling nor backwards. I think everyone but the entertainment media/attorney complex would agree that copyright can be useful if scaled back to 15 years or so and ending extensions. Same with vigorously limiting the scope of patents. And I hope you can see how trademark law can prevent public confusion.

      • by steelfood (895457)

        For starters, let's stop calling it "intellectual property." Because thought is the property of no individual.

        Let's call it copyrights (the right to make copies), patents (limited monopolies), and trademarks (brand identifiers).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @05:49PM (#40458887)

    i'm from belgium (was now living in colombia)
    but Karel has a long dirty history of accepting bribes, dirty cash and laundering money
    Belgium is this moment even more corrupt then sweden, those ministers have sold every possible governement building to 3th parties
    they dont own the kings palace for example anymore but they rent it instead !!!!
    there is an anti piracy organization called "sabam" there are big rumors and the chance is very big that they paid or going to pay Karel De Gucht for getting ACTA up
    this means they will be able to suck more blood and money out of their victims legaly but in a more dark sinister way
    sabam already pushed it that far you cant tell for example storytales from books to your children without paying the copyright fee to them and ofcourse they pay nothing to the original authors

    • by Kentari (1265084)

      I'm from Belgium and still there (quite happy about it and not planning to leave). The royal palaces are property of the state and managed by an entity called the 'Koninklijke Stichting', they have not been sold. There has been a spate of sale and lease back crap by the previous government, though. De Gucht is not unbespoken (tried for insider trading and tax evasion) but corruption is not on the list. How much I dislike Sabam and wouldn't be suprised if they actually would try that, this is nothing more th

  • Fear (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DaFallus (805248) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @05:54PM (#40458943)
    Its been said that governments should fear their people, and not the other way around. What do our governments have to fear from us nowadays? Some people might put up a fight, but the overwhelming majority just sit back and go along for the ride.

    I hate to say it since we're supposedly living in more civilized times, but maybe if more politicians who obviously have no interest in actually representing the people (not corporations) they "represent" were brutally assassinated, the rest would get the message. I may be wrong, but it seemed to work for some in the past...
    • by Creepy (93888)

      The US government will have plenty to fear if they don't boost taxes, paying off debt, and funding total obligation. National debt of 15 trillion? It will take time, but we can dig out of that. Total Obligation with Obamacare [freebeacon.com] is estimated at around $82 trillion and growing? Terrifying - that is well over the GDP of the WORLD. Economists say debt-to-GDP is 1:1, I say debt to tax income is 7:1, and that is if we applied all of it just to paying debt, which we can't because 84% of the budget is immovable (Soci

  • There is no room for the will of the people in the Court of Justice.
  • by alexandre_ganso (1227152) <surak@surak.eti.br> on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @06:29PM (#40459417)

    Please, let him know that what he is doing is wrong and that the european people do not want this. Here is his contact information: http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/degucht/contact/ [europa.eu]

    Karel De Gucht
    Member of the European Commission
    BE-1049 Brussels
    Belgium

    By mail: Karel.DE-GUCHT@ec.europa.eu
    By fax: (+32-02) 29 80899

  • by pla (258480) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @07:32PM (#40460221) Journal
    Dear Karl:

    We the people (whether in the US or not) quite simply don't give a flying fuck about what you EU assholes decide to do or not do.

    We may not have a corporate death penalty, but we will continue to "steal" your content until you and your entire generation die the death of a thousand cuts, one... pirated... disc... at... a... time.

    In any case, five years from now the EU will have collapsed and all your expenditure of political capital on behalf of your corporate masters will have gone for nothing - "Nothing", like the worth of your sad, hollow life.

    Cheers!
  • If you read his speech what he really say is: Acta good!!, If you do not ask the court of justice, I'll do it and they will say it's good too!!

    Then I'll still have to ask you again, drats.....

    there are a lot of irritating things in his speech, but in a nutshell he still acknowledge that he has to ask the parliament.

    And of course if the ECJ tells him no, he will just be able to say ... ohhh bad judges, judges shouldn't make law, sulk, sulk,... (notice the US kind of pattern, about "low making judges are bad.

  • by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @09:51PM (#40461769) Journal
    Fuck You, Asshole.

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