Thursday, January 26, 2012

EU signs ACTA, global internet censorship treaty

Rady Ananda
Activist Post

Today, the European Union and 22 member states signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced. They have now joined the US and seven other nations that signed the treaty last October.

This signing ceremony merely formalized the EU’s adoption of ACTA last month, during a completely unrelated meeting on agriculture and fisheries, reports TechDirt.

Though initiated by the US, Japan is the official depository of the treaty.

Removal of the Three Strikes clause, in which users accused of three counts of piracy would be barred from the internet, paved the way for the EU to adopt ACTA last month.

Related to ACTA, a chapter in the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) “would have state signatories adopt even more restrictive copyright measures than ACTA,” reports the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Both ACTA and TPP were developed without public input and outside international trade groups, like the World Trade Organization and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Leaked cables published by WikiLeaks in 2009 exposed early drafts of ACTA, resulting in a firestorm of controversy. Those cables, coupled with later releases, showed that ACTA negotiations began in 2006 and were controversial even to participating states.  An historical summary of the treaty’s progress through December can be found here.

ACTA Violates Magna Carta and US Constitution

Like PIPA and SOPA, two domestic internet censorship bills that prompted major websites to blacken their name or website in a Jan. 18th protest, ACTA allows accusers of copyright infringement to bypass judicial review.  Lack of “due process” makes these bills and ACTA unconstitutional and violates the Magna Carta, a charter signed in 1215 on which most Western law is based, including the US Constitution.  It is often cited as the most important legal document in the history of democracy.

(The USA PATRIOT Acts, Obama’s assassination program, and the National Defense Authorization Act that allows indefinite detention are among many recent laws passed in the US which directly breach the Magna Carta.)

“The Constitution states only one command twice,” explains Peter Strauss of Cornell University Law School, further elaborating:

The Fifth Amendment says to the federal government that no one shall be ‘deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.’ The Fourteenth Amendment, ratified in 1868, uses the same eleven words, called the Due Process Clause, to describe a legal obligation of all states. These words have as their central promise an assurance that all levels of American government must operate within the law (‘legality’) and provide fair procedures.

Not only due process, but US adoption of ACTA also violates Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, which provides that the president “shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur.”

The Senate never voted on ACTA.

During the Jan. 18 internet blackout, Darrell Issa (R-CA) introduced OPEN, (H.R. 3782, the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act).  Heather Callaghan points out that even though OPEN targets foreign-based websites,

[T]he bill’s wording is wide open to pursue American sites. Just one example: when describing an infringing site, it starts with those ‘that are accessed through a non-domestic domain name,’ but continues in section (8)(A)(ii) for any site that ‘conducts business directed to residents of the United States.’

As this slew of internet censorship bills and treaties make their way into law, “the United States fell 27 places on the Reporters Without Borders tenth annual Press Freedom Index of 2011 to 47th overall,” reports Activist Post.

Today’s signatories included the EU, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Last October, Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore and the United States signed ACTA.

Though involved in early ACTA negotiations, Switzerland and Mexico have not yet ratified it.  However, “Since the agreement remains open to signature until May 2013, it is possible that other states may make a move to join it as well,” said Maira Sutton of EFF.

Rady Ananda is an investigative reporter and researcher in the areas of health, environment, politics, and civil liberties.  Her two websites, Food Freedom and COTO Report are essential reading.

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stevor said...

So, now NDAA can be used to put people in prison for violating ACTA. That's just what O'Bummer wants to do if he can't declare particular people to be "terrorists"!

Anonymous said...

I waive all copyright on the following, if there is any, and that is a Movie, Book, or a Comic on the theme of Kim Schmitz or Kim Dotcom of MegaUpLoad who is adored by many as being a hero or martyr who saved the internet.

There should also be Kim Schmitz or Kim Dotcom paraphernalia like toys, comics, songs, etc, and he can be the leader of the Free Internet Global Movement.

It could be that he may become a figure like jailed General Secretary of the National League for Democracy Aung San Suu Kyi, and Dignitaries can pressure America to release him and that they want foreign Doctors to provide care for him.

American and Eastern European Human Rights Activists can stage vigils and protests at the jail, if he is kept in detention, and possibly Julian Assange and others like Anonymous can do what they can to curb Government Corruption and Lies that can only flourish because of unwarranted Censorship.

I wonder if Hollywood would like to make hero Movies, and because of Ronald Reagan, we know that the supposed Communists in Hollywood were just good Actors, or even B Grade Actors like Ronald Reagan.

Just copy and paste the Western carefully long thought of written script on Aung San Suu Kyi and others, and change the Countries and dates and the name to Kim Schmitz or Kim Dotcom, or my favourites are Captain Kim or Big Kim, because he has a Big Heart.

He will need your help to pay his legal bills, and so that he can help you safeguard the internet, and so you should buy the Book, the Movie, the Paraphernalia, Denote to the Campaign, and help Kim to safeguard the Interment and help keep the American Government more Honest, and slightly less Dictatorial.

Anonymous said...

Treaty?? Wha Treaty?? Wee Don NEED no Steenking Treatys Eh Hombre!

Anonymous said...

Hillary?? Wha Hillary? Wee Don Need NO Steenking Hillary, eh Hombre!

Anonymous said...

yet more terrorist are being created

Anonymous said...

few thoughts about this bills:
1. what if hackers be using your ip address ?
2. it is too easy for one to frame others such as government could easily frame sites that speak of truth such as wikileaks, etc ...
3.piracies been around way way back even before the internet exist so this is just a lame excuse to total control of the internet.
4. Democracy's governments been persuading people to fight off their terrorist/communist's rulers n yet they are slowly but surely becoming one.
5. what is next ? they will probably come out with a land's law that punish people got caught with piracy 3 times on land will be ban from walking/roaming the street?

Anonymous said...

the people of the world need to stand together to boycott all medias such as watching and buying. let's start out with one week then extending it til' they get the people's message that they cannot be acting like a terrorist/communist's ruler.

Anonymous said...

One world government requires a one world censoring web solution to get the WWW (world wide wire tap ) genie back in the bottle

Anonymous said...
Power in numbers
We need to keep speaking out and protesting
More petitions more organized protests!!

Rady said...

comment by Anon January 27, 2012 12:16 AM is too freakin funny!

and tragic. it'd be a great tragicomedy.

Kim Schmitz (or Kim Dotcom) is the latest victim of the infowars.

balbeck said...

It is a shame.Japan for me is nothing from this moment.

Rady said...

UPDATE: European Parliament Official In Charge Of ACTA Quits, Denounces The 'Masquerade' Behind ACTA
La Quadrature

Jan. 26, 2012: Kader Arif, rapporteur for ACTA in the European Parliament quit his role as rapporteur saying:

”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.”

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