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Thousands Take To the Streets To Protest ACTA 217

An anonymous reader writes "The protests against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement continue to spread in cities across Europe. The protests began in Poland, where thousands have taken to the streets and opposition politicians have worn Guy Fawkes masks in protest against the country signing the agreement last week. The scenes from Poland and France are remarkable, demonstrating the widespread anger over the decision to join ACTA. A full rundown of protest plans can be found here."
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Thousands Take To the Streets To Protest ACTA

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  • by erick99 ( 743982 ) * <> on Sunday January 29, 2012 @03:42PM (#38859021)
    These protests are short-lived and I wonder if they end up doing any good. I am against ACTA and I have called my congressman as has my son to ask him to not support it. Interestingly, he knew little about it and wanted information. We had a fairly long call. At the end of the call he said that he would not vote for it. How many others in congress are not aware of what's in this bill? Protesting is well and good but I think making phone calls, emails, etc. are also very, very important. We can get to folks in congress one phone call at a time and put ACTA out of our misery.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 29, 2012 @03:47PM (#38859053)

      Even if it doesn't change anything, symbolically its HUGE.

      Remember how the media tried to downplay Occupy Wall Street as just a money issue? Well if something as technical as ACTA/SOPA can mobilize people, what does that say about sitting governments and future elections?

      • by qbast ( 1265706 ) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @03:53PM (#38859093)
        In Poland both media and politicians are already trying to downplay it too. Either as bunch of thieves who are worried that gold days of getting stuff for free are going to end or as bunch of easily manipulated young idiots who don't even know what they are protesting.
        • Yet another problem is that while tens if thousands "like" the event on social sites and promise to protest, there is only a hundred to a few hundred who actually come and do.
          Media has a field day saying that "would-be-protesters" do not walk their talk.

          Main influence could be that young people try to defend their freedom (=internet) during the next elections - if they remember about it in 3.5 years time.

        • Isn't the main problem with ACTA that it's surrounded by so much secrecy that most people in fact do not know what it is, and as a consequence actually ARE manipulated young idiots who don't even know what they are protesting?
      • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @05:22PM (#38859629)
        The media didn't downplay, they outright ignored. Worked too. The cops moved in and busted some heads and the whole thing fizzled out. Occupy Wall Street wasn't about a few anti-1% protests. It was about changing America's economic narrative: e.g. work hard and play by the rules and you'll succeed. It was about letting the 99% know the deck was stacked against them; and that no matter how hard they worked they'd keep losing ground. The American Ruling class figured that out right quick and squashed it.
        • I think the decision to start Occupy right as winter was moving in might possibly also have had something to do with it fizzling out during winter.

          The whole movement has simply presented itself with an insurmountable challenge. As it's put a few posts down, there's an element that's attracted to Occupy like a magnet - communists and anarchists mainly, but also scenester douches who "were totally there, man" - who at once make it impossible to take Occupy seriously because they give the corporate media a
    • by Osgeld ( 1900440 ) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @03:53PM (#38859091)

      see thats the problem right there, they dont know, but will happily vote for it cause bubba next to them supports it and maybe they got a little money to pad their wallets as well

      its pathetic that people have to call them to inform them how to do their effin jobs

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 29, 2012 @04:02PM (#38859153)

      The problem is that ACTA is being touted as executive agreement which the president has already signed. IIRC a bunch of senators were even denied access to the ACTA negotiations as a matter of "national security." Obama has essentially given congress the finger.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 29, 2012 @04:07PM (#38859185)

      Yes, these protests do something. They show people that they are not alone in their anger towards the politicians who are selling them out. When the Swedish Pirate Party formed, it showed people in other countries that proper representation of the internet affine generations is possible, and Pirate Parties formed in other countries. People no longer believe that they are tiny minority whose interests are being trampled. They see other people who think alike. When the German Pirate Party made it into the senate of Berlin, it created a turmoil among the incumbent parties. A flurry of "me too" promises resulted and the parties which had ridiculed the Pirate Party before the election tried to suck up to the "new" voters. It hurts to lose a couple percent points of the votes to a new party. The protests in Poland may well remove people from office, as they're not just about ACTA, but about Poland's signature in violation of the decision of the expert commission of Poland's parliament. The anger is also about the USA's meddling, and ACTA will cause the USA to lose some standing in the world, this time not amongst the countries which it already perceives as enemies, but among "friends".

      • The US, as a country, doesn't have friends it has interests just like every other country on the planet. People complain about US meddling and then turn right around and complain about the US not getting involved in some cluster fuck of one type or another in some shit hole on the other side of the world. The US is stuck in the "damned if you do, damned if you don't conundrum" and I would prefer the "don't" option. Hopefully the US will start disengaging militarily from any conflict threaten does not direct

    • by scottbomb ( 1290580 ) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @05:11PM (#38859567) Journal

      He signed it months ago, as a matter of fact. Before all the publicity surrounding SOPA and PIPA.

      He's been doing a lot of that lately, ignoring the Constitution.

      Source: []

    • by Yvanhoe ( 564877 ) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @05:32PM (#38859679) Journal
      I call my European MP and he said he received tons of calls already. He was honest "we didn't do our homework on this yet, but we are already critical of it because of its part on generic drugs."

      Protests are not enough to withdraw a law, but they show that the issue is not minor either. There are tons of text being voted. More often than not, representative just vote along their party's line. When they see protests, there is a chance they will investigate a bit further. And when they investigate even a slight bit further, if they just google 'ACTA' they'll find a tone of things to be critical of.
    • by Forty Two Tenfold ( 1134125 ) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @06:22PM (#38859985)

      These protests are short-lived and I wonder if they end up doing any good. I am against ACTA and I have called my congressman as has my son to ask him to not support it.

      WE THE PEOPLE of POLAND didn't have time for that. ACTA was signed behind our backs. Some of us (myself included) sent letters to our ambassador in Tokyo asking not to sign. They all flicked us. There is a considerable number of us (myself included) who not only want ACTA rejected but also want the regime changed. Go figure.

    • by Kalriath ( 849904 ) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @09:09PM (#38860763)

      While you're at it, you might want to direct your congressman's attention to ACTA's sharper fanged big brother, the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement. TPPA makes ACTA look like fuzzy kittens in comparison - and that's only from the few bits we've seen leaked (the US government demands other negotiating countries protect it on National Security grounds). This particular one is particularly vicious in that it gives Big Pharma the right to sue government purchasing schemes that fail to "accurately reflect the value of the patents" in negotiations for bulk medicine supplies. It will single-handedly quadruple the cost of schemes like Medicaid in the US or PHARMAC in New Zealand (not sure of Australia's equivalent).

    • by Nursie ( 632944 )

      None of it matters at all.

      If the politicians have already decided, if they think they would stand to lose face in front of the politicians from other countries, they'll sign it regardless. Look at the Iraq war for an example. Over a million marched against that in the UK capital, did anyone listen?

      Hell no.

      A few thousand marching, writing to politicians, whatever, it's a blip they'll find really easy to ignore.

    • You, Sir, have done a better job than I of raising your son. I have three of those creatures. I swear, one is braindead. The second is plain stupid, and has the prison record to show for it. Only the third seems to be aware that there is a world out there. And, he isn't even interested enough in politics to get involved in ACTA, though I have done my best to explain it to him.

      Be proud of your son for having had the time and initiative to call your congress critter.

    • These protests are short-lived and I wonder if they end up doing any good.

      These protests might do a little good and kill some of these bills. The problem is that the bills keep coming. How long will people protest? They will eventually tire of protests and blackouts for each and every bill. The only answer is to stop it all at its source.

      This sort of legislation is being funded and pushed by the big media companies who are afraid of losing their oligarchy. If we want to do something that will last, we need to limit their funding and rethink how we get our information and entertai

  • by kuleiana ( 629890 ) <> on Sunday January 29, 2012 @03:45PM (#38859043) Homepage Journal
    ACTA represents the end of political power as we knew it, growing up. ACTA, the NDAA, SOPA, PIPA, and the inconcievably invasive H.B. 2288 (which I am ashamed to say originated here in Hawaii) represent some of the best efforts by the 1% to control what we say and do, especially online. What hubris!
    • by thereitis ( 2355426 ) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @03:52PM (#38859085) Journal
      Can we also get rid of the counterfeit politicians who are selling out to big business?
    • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @03:53PM (#38859095)

      correction: the end of our *illusion* of being able to be represented and have a say in how we are 'governed'.

      I submit that mankind has been this way since we evolved from ooze. its always been about competition and conquest and domination. look at nature; we are not so different from animals, in this respect.

      our society, all over the world, is in constant conflict with wanting to be at peace with each other, while also wanting to dominate each other. such a delicate balance and its often not achievable.

      what has happened is that the filteration of this concept is being bypassed. people can directly read and understand what the powers 'up there' have in mind and how they view us surfs^Hserfs.

      overbearing rulers have always, always been the norm. what's changed is that we all, collectively, are *realizing* that.

      yes, it will cause class warfare. and that, too, has always been a continual struggle in the history of man.

      • by DigiShaman ( 671371 ) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @05:05PM (#38859535) Homepage

        And that is why the common man should have the right to bear arms. Tread on us will they?

        • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 29, 2012 @05:23PM (#38859635)

          That used to work back when guns were all about the same size.

          • You know, I've thought about this.

            Say a regime has a very large standing army. Call it 1% of the population, so a country like the U.S. would have about 3 million armed soldiers.
            The population is armed and unhappy.

            Your argument is that, since the general population isn't allowed heavier weapons (artillery, automatic rifles, etc.), the army will "win" in an armed conflict.

            Do you really think that all 3 million of those soldiers are prepared to fire upon their countrymen?
            Do you really think their big guns and

            • by green1 ( 322787 ) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @09:40PM (#38860943)

              If the numbers are truly on your side, the guns aren't necessary at all. If they aren't the guns can't help you.

              The problem isn't whether or not you have a gun. The problem is in convincing enough of the population to join you that the members of the armed forces see it as anything more than a few terrorists to put down.

            • by sd4f ( 1891894 )

              Soldiers are trained to follow orders, now they havn't completely perfected this, but in a nutshell, look at egypt and libya, a lot of soldiers did defect, but not all. Any US soldiers defecting would probably be court marshalled and executed if something like that were to happen, so unless a very large number of them decide to defect all at once, many of them would have to more or less put themselves up for effectively death.

              The best examples are the ex communist countries, romania was particularly bad wit

            • Do you really think that all 3 million of those soldiers are prepared to fire upon their countrymen?

              Well, if the civil war, with the death of some 625,000 was any indication, I would have to say it's quite possible.

          • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

            ... and before virtually every mainstream reporter started automatically condemning any violence (certainly any shooting). Basically, you fire a gun at an important person, and you get arrested and never allowed to partake in free society again.

      • by kuleiana ( 629890 ) <> on Sunday January 29, 2012 @06:39PM (#38860067) Homepage Journal
        Mahalo for the correction/clarifications (esp. i.e. the *illusion* of being represented fairly, or at all, by our phony "representatives" in Washington, D.C., in the State Capitol, and the local governments); it's very telling that these people whom we have trusted for years, no matter what their claimed political bent, is ultimately serving as public relations agents for the top one hundredth of one percent of the wealthiest, internationally. Scams like our current taxation system, phony environmental "regulations" which actually *deregulate* and allow much worse pollution to occur, and anti-discrimination legislation which actually winds up *creating* hatred and resentment... In the past, we were simply told that we were not "holy" or "pure" enough; these days, we're not "law-abiding" or "in a high enough tax bracket". In the absence of scientific knowledge--when you could prevent people from knowing something by simply burning down the library [i.e. the Library at Alexandria] and hoping that no-one had managed to make copies of the books inside first--now these same facetious people are attempting to burn down vast swaths of the Internet simple because they do not like what people are saying. As the censorship of our free speech becomes more obvious, the illegal detainment of people like the brave (gay) soldier Bradley Manning and the mud-smeared heroism of Julian Assange and the overt actions of beautiful/talented programmers of Anonymous, including an new, inspiring wave of incredibly akamai (female) computer programmers becomes more relevant and more highlighted in the public eye. The more that the news cronies refuse to cover the thousands of daily protests involving thousands of Occupy demonstrators in thousands of locations around the world, the more important this type of thinking becomes in my mind. I just don't understand how these people keep going; I mean, when it comes down to it, the foundation of all those peoples' lives is only money. As a member of a sociopolitical party which by definition can only ever include: 307,000,000 people in the U.S. (times) .01% = 30,700 top wealthiest people in the U.S. 7,000,000,000 people in the world (times) .01% = 700,000 top wealthier people in the world; ...that's a huge minority. Especially once they start looking around at all the people they've screwed and continue to screw, pretty soon all their bankers, lawyers, buddies, gardeners and pals who make slightly to much less than them will start realizing who it is that's been messing with their finances, their medical health, their families, and their freedom in order to keep their bosses in charge all over the world. Deliberately. Deliberately. How long after this realization hits the supporters of the top .0001 (i.e. me and you and 99.99% of the rest of us on this Earth) will we tolerate these phony revolutions, these assassinations, these character assassinations, this mutual atta-boy backslapping and disgusting Real Housewives international jet-setting while the rest of us try to afford a single bag of poi (which now costs $9 in our local grocery store and is no longer affordable)? It won't take long for people to realize that this economic prison is just as illusory as the other ones those people have created for us to believe in and so peacefully slot ourselves into at their demand. I, personally, will be much more aware of political pandering to my liberalism, my homosexuality, my economic status, and I will not be supporting those who say one thing and do another. If Hawaii is going to start keeping track of every website that we visit from now on, I demand a list of every website that our public legislators visit, and those of the lobbyists who pay them. I want this "public record" to include those unexpurgated records of our highest politicians and religious leaders, alongside our own. Only then will people see how disgustingly filthy this system is, from bottom to top.
      • > I submit that mankind has been this way since we evolved from ooze. its always been about competition and conquest and domination. look at nature; we are not so different from animals, in this respect.
        You raise some good points but I must respectfully disagree with some of them.

        1. Are you aware of what civilization was like 20,000 and 12,000 years ago?

        2. While it is true that "you must kill something so that you can live" the world is becoming less about "us vs. them", and more "us AND them."

        3. You are

    • My biggest problem with ACTA is less about the agreement itself as opposed to how it was passed. The governments of the world hid the content of ACTA the best the could for as long as they could in order to try and sneak it through under the eyes of the people which they represent. The kicker of it is, by doing it as an international trade agreement, it effectively puts laws in place in all the countries which signed it while bypassing the normal law making processes. In effect, by making ACTA a trade agree
      • They demand you stay seated. They demand you don't speak without raising your hands. And if you break either of those rules, then you're a troublemaker.



  • by Strych9 ( 126433 ) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @03:52PM (#38859083)

    While artists and such do deserve a right to be able to make a fair shake on what they produce, why should patentable items only have a 20 year shelf life while a song have 100+ years of protection?

    This is insane.

    That should give the entertainment/content industry pause, if there was a strong united Internet demand for fair copyright terms.

    That should give some pause to those trying to hijack the production and distribution of ideas.

    • by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @04:17PM (#38859245)

      why should patentable items only have a 20 year shelf life

      You say it as if the moment a patent expires, any products covered by that patent become unprofitable to sell. There are a lot of counterexamples to this statement...

      if there was a strong united Internet demand for fair copyright terms.

      Copyrights are dead and everyone knows it. Trying to enforce copyrights, as originally envisioned, is as crazy as trying to tell people that they are not allowed to drink their tap water. It is not going to work. In the worst case -- the one where we continue to have copyrights -- we need to turn copyright infringement into an offense that you receive a ticket for, like parking your car in the wrong place. The better alternative is to develop a new system for compensating artists and ensuring public access to arts and useful sciences.

    • by RazorSharp ( 1418697 ) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @04:20PM (#38859263)

      You know, you bring up a good point. If the internet community can try to fight with legislation of their own - legislation that would limit copyrights and extend fair use and public domain - then these media giants might find that they've awakened a sleeping giant. Not only should we be contacting our congressmen and telling them what to oppose, but we should also be telling them what type of changes we want made in regards to copyright.

      Even if the endeavor isn't successful, imagine how scared shitless the MPAA would be if we could get guys like Ron Paul and Ron Wyden to introduce a bill that would get rid of the Mickey Mouse Protection Act or other such nonsense. Furthermore, if we can convince guys like that to vocally campaign on these issues, it would do a lot towards raising awareness.

      • I thought the same thing. Offense is the best defense.

        But we have wide disagreements. Most people want to reform the system, not radically change it. Most reform ideas involve shortening copyright and patent durations, and scaling back what can be patented and copyrighted. I don't believe that will really solve the problem. We would still attempt to treat abundance as if it was scarce. Reform would be like reducing prison terms from 75 years to 14 years for crimes that shouldn't be crimes at all.


    • While artists and such do deserve a right to be able to make a fair shake on what they produce

      - what does that have to do with government enforcing copyright?

    • why should patentable items only have a 20 year shelf life while a song have 100+ years of protection?

      It's easy. For every patent with an owner who wants that patent extended, there are half-a-dozen other companies who don't want that patent extended.

      For every copyrighted book or song, there is a party strongly interested in extending the copyright of that item, but not too many who would profit by having it shortened. Copyright is easy to work around by making your own thing. Thus there are groups who really want their copyright extended, but there is no group who wants the copyright shortened (yeah, ma

  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @03:54PM (#38859099) Journal
    There are going to be about 4,000 geeks in Brussels next weekend for FOSDEM - I bet at least half of them could be persuaded to pop over to the EU parliament for a little bit of protesting...
    • do they pepper spray protesters over there?

      here's hoping sgt pepperspray [] is a US phenomenon, only.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Teargassing/pepperspraying a group of 2000-4000 protesting geeks MIGHT backfire somehow later on.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 29, 2012 @04:27PM (#38859299)

        No they don't ... they clearly don't ... Also some nice facts about Belgium:

        - It's not illegal to run from the police at all
        - it's not illegal to try to escape from jail (as long as you don't do anything illegal by doing so)
        - You won't get charged with "assaulting a police officer" if you "touch one"
        - You won't get charged for "resisting arrest" (unless you shoot some cop) by just "moving your hands on your face"
        - You won't get a 10 years jail sentence even if you punch one ... in the face !!
        - They don't use Tazers because it's been proven medically dangerous and useless (they're still able to arrest you normally)
        - They do have spray but not pepper spray , it"s some sort of CS gaz ...
        - Cops are not allowed to use firearms unless directly life threatened (and NO ... walking towards a cop who is saying "STOP" is not life threatening)

        Most likely cops in Belgium will just place some barricade ... and wait for the crowd to fatigue an go home.
        However ... if a protest becomes violent

        - They can arrest you without any charge for up to 12 hours (not anymore), it's called "Administrative Arrest"
        - They can use mounted police which you don't want to get in front of
        - They do use a lot of water cannons which are quite powerful
        - They do use tear gaz but very rarely because it pisses everyone off including the people living there and themselves

        Here is an example of a typical Belgian Protest "retaliation" from the Cops!
        As you can see , it"s quite "soft" and well ... humid , compared to US police ...

        No really :) Protesting in Belgium is OK. It's not yet a Police State at all compared to the USA

      • by gerddie ( 173963 )

        do they pepper spray protesters over there?

        That and water cannons, results here [].

  • by ad454 ( 325846 ) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @03:58PM (#38859113) Journal

    Why do corporations contribute so much money to politicians in western nations? Because they except and get a 10-fold return on investment, by having laws, tax policies, regulations, and government purchases catered to their wishes.

    Protesting only value in the political equation, is its dollar value against the advertisement and other media costs needed to negate it. (Note that SOPA was only stopped, when Google, Wikipedia, and others put the equivalent of hundreds of millions of dollars of advertising against it, and not but grass-roots protests alone.)

    The only reasonable way to stop ACTA now would be to get some major corporate support on board and/or generate a signifigant bribe fund for politicians that would be greater than the amount the media company are bribing with.

    • by gmuslera ( 3436 ) *

      So the way to fix the corrupt politicians is to corrupt them even more? Wasnt most of the western nations democracies, where the politicians are elected? There is where you should get rid of them. And if you have enough people behind that, you can even try to promote anticipated elections to get rid of them sooner.

      At least that should work if enough people is aware and in a real democracy. US isn't by now, so there is no hope in that front.

    • by RazorSharp ( 1418697 ) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @04:28PM (#38859303)

      This is the argument for apathy, and it's wrong. Protesting isn't just about results, protesting is about standing up for what's right. Regardless, I do believe there are positive results - right now we, along with many others around the world, are discussing an issue that may not have occurred to us, or we may not have known about, had it not been for a group of Polish protestors.

      Money isn't everything. That's just a defeatist attitude. It's the type of attitude that, by accepting injustice as inevitable, is complicit in it.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Those opposition politicians in Guy Fawkes masks are mostly from PiS (Prawo i Sprawiedliwo - law and justice) party.
    Most opressing, conservative, supposedly catholic bunch of political scoundrels.
    Can you feel the irony?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Not any more ironic than the fucking corporate media giant and SOPA/PIPA supporter Time-Warner making bank on all those Guy Fawkes masks being sold to people who are protesting the dominance of corporate influence over their governments.

    • by zAPPzAPP ( 1207370 ) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @05:01PM (#38859515)

      Are you sure?

      According to my news sources, the faction that showed the masks are called "Ruch Palikota".
      They are being described as "left wing, liberal" and seem to have a tendency for publicity stunts like this.

      • by qbast ( 1265706 )
        Who cares. Both of opposing parties tried to suck up to protesters without much luck. Kaczynski (leader of PiS) lost all credibility when he admitted that he did not really know what ACTA was about when his party negotiated it, neither he does now, but he is of course sure that government is wrong. Palikot (leader of RP - second opposing party) was shouted down and physically forced back to his car when he tried to join protesters.
      • You're right, parent is wrong. Janusz Palikot's crew are the ones in the masks. PIS also opposes ACTA, but I think that's mainly because the ruling party supports it.

  • by MelodicMotives ( 724089 ) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @04:10PM (#38859205) Homepage
    Does it concern anyone else that Americans seemingly couldn't be bothered to actively protest this very same legislation with any level of ferocity here in the states? What will it take to get us upset enough to leave our collective couch, do you think?
    • by future assassin ( 639396 ) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @04:22PM (#38859273) Homepage

      Because when was the last time the US or Canada had occupying forces on their land or had had their cities flattened by invading forces. When was the last time they actually fought for their country like say Solidarity movement did in Poland, never. People have had life too good here for a long time so they can't be bothered...

      • The Confederacy was occupied from 1865-1877. Atlanta and Columbia (SC) suffered some damage from Union forces.

      • 1812, the Americans invaded Canada, and in return the Canadians invaded the US and burned down the White House, just as a reminder not to do THAT again.

    • by Nugoo ( 1794744 )
      Wasn't it because hardly anyone knew about it? The ACTA negotiation process was incredibly opaque. Hell, even some of your senators were locked out of the loop.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 29, 2012 @04:10PM (#38859207)

    I'm glad there are people in the world voicing their opinion.

    People in America seem to make infographics, complain on message boards, shout in slashdot comments... anything, as long as they don't have to get up from their computer desks.

    Are you scared of pepper sprays? Europeans clash with the police and aren't afraid to get a little hurt to express their anger towards draconian legislation.

    That is why when RFID chipping comes to America, people will take it.

  • As always people are not being logical and are not looking at the root of the problem, which is the fact that copyrights and patents are enforced by government in detriment to the individual rights of the people in the first place.

    • by kanweg ( 771128 ) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @04:26PM (#38859291)

      It would be nice if people stopped conflating the two.
      Copyright: World wide by default
      Patents: Only valid where it is applied for (IF granted) . In view of the cost, most patents are only applied for in 1 country/jurisdiction.

      Copyright: No cost to the copyright holder
      Patents: Applicant must draft costly patent application

      Copyright: Never ends in your lifetime or that of your children
      Patents: End when the proprietor stops paying the renewal fee and in any case within 20 years.

      Copyright: Even for DRM where the work will never enter the public domain
      Patents: The applications are publicly available (for the treasure trove on just about any topic, see for exampole [] for everyone world wide (including developing countries).

      Copyright: Has to be original (low bar)
      Patents: Must not only be New, but also Inventive (very high bar; sure, some bad stuff slips through but there are review process/opposition procedures to weed them out if someone is bothered by one). The invention must be described in a way in which an ordinary person skilled in the art can work it (or the patent is null and void).

      So, while the patent law is crude, it is working. You don't think that applicants would provide the long explanatory texts that patent applications are if they had no chance of getting protection for their invention, do you?
      Copyright law, I agree with you: No balance between society and copyright holder. And the balance is shifting in the wrong direction too. If you conflate the two, you make it harder to get something done about copyright law.


  • by Digital Vomit ( 891734 ) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @04:12PM (#38859217) Homepage Journal
    The only thing politicians value more than money is their own life. As terrible as it is to consider, this is really the only avenue to effect change that the electorate has.
  • []
    The most important part is Section 5: "Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights in the Digital Environment" at page 15

  • by kurt555gs ( 309278 ) <kurt555gs@ov i . c om> on Sunday January 29, 2012 @05:54PM (#38859821) Homepage

    America is truly the land of sheep! President Obama used an "executive order" to invoke ACTA here, where constitutionally the Senate is needed to ratify treaties. I'd say that is a clear violation of his oath to uphold the Constitution. Nobody here seems the least bit concerned about losing their right to free speech. Sure, SOPA/PIPA are postponed, but they will be back. Meanwhile in Poland, thousands take to the streets to protest their voices being silenced by the ACTA treaty. Maybe they remember the old days under Communist rule and don't like the same thing coming back with a different face. Wake up America!

  • ...the old days of TRIPs, UCC and WCT are definitely over: quietly dealing in back rooms, and the news ended up on the 3rd page of the business section in the newspaper. Today, people are starting to notice. People are realizing how this directly affects them. People are becoming involved.

    A lot of commenters predicted this would happen; Tarkin (RIAA/MPAA) kept on tightening his grip, and now systems are about to start to slipping through his fingers. And it's about time, too.

  • Do the thousands protesting ACTA in Europe really think their government or the RIAA/MPAA cares that they're protesting? Do they think that their protests will give politicians and their corporate owners one moment of pause? I don't care if there were millions protesting, SOPA, ACTA, ProtectIP are all coming, one way or another.

    It's time that the people learn who's boss

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The Aliens are creating a documentary

    "Look at these primitive animals out in the streets worshiping their gods. That white mask that they wear is a symbol of what they believe to be the rain god, they are protesting the lack of rain in the region so that they can better provide for their farms".

"There is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress." -- Mark Twain