Sunday, January 22, 2012

SOPA/PIPA-Related UPDATE: We're Still Doomed (International Edition)

Just because SOPA and PIPA are over doesn't mean our online rights are safe by any means, and in fact are being assaulted on all sides and in all nations. The same entertainment industry groups that think you people are deluded fools for complaining about the "not-dead-only-resting" bills are pumping insane money and influence into trade treaties negotiated in absolute darkness (thanks entirely to the American representative at the talks) that not only will cram all of their goals into every corner of the free world, but also would also effectively override the existing laws of all the countries who sign (including the US) in the process, all because they're afraid you might steal a movie.

This is a disease that the MPAA, the RIAA, and the IFPI want to make into a pandemic. And it might actually happen.

Read up on these. They're guaranteed to ruin your day...but hopefully they'll also motivate you to never stop defending your rights.

ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, EFF link) has been in the works since 2007, and representatives of the executive branch (i.e. the White House) have already signed it, although Sen. Ron Wyden (the same man who is behind the saner OPEN Act and a potential fillibuster if PIPA hits the floor) claims that if ACTA is ratified without going to the Senate, it might violate the Congress' Constitutional authority to regulate international trade, and thus it might be possible to throw it out on a technicality. "The executive branch lacks Constitutional authority to enter a binding international agreement covering issues delegated by the Constitution to Congresses' authority, absent Congressional approval." The European Parliament hasn't signed yet, but intends to before the deadline.

TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement; EFF link): Again, we're dealing with leaked drafts here, but this treaty takes everything that terrified you about SOPA and PIPA and adds an extra dollop of scary clown on top of it. Do you live in a country that passed laws which went out of their way to try and avoid all the mistakes of US intellectual property laws in the Internet age? Well, this is a direct assault on your country, because every last one of those mistakes is entrenched in this treaty, and if signed, they will be compelled to comply.

The real jawdropper from the EFF brief: Countries are obligated to "treat temporary reproductions of copyrighted works without copyright holders' authorization as copyright infringement." "Temporary reproductions"? They're talking about time-shifting, aren't they? The right guaranteed to us in America after the Sony vs. Universal Supreme Court case? Forget about rolling back the tech industry to a pre-Internet state, they want to roll it back to a pre-VCR state.

How is any this acceptable on any level and compatible with the things Americans claim to stand for? It isn't, which is why it's being done in absolutely secret non-disclosure way in the hopes that we won't even know what hit us until it's far too late. The only conclusion I can come to: The entertainment industry is openly hostile to individual liberty and national sovereignty. They must be stopped at all costs. The old business models are dying in a hurry, and the moguls figure if they're going down they're taking the rest of us to Hell with them. If we don't draw a line in the sand, they're going to keep taking and taking until they've taken everything, because the past decades have proven they won't be happy with anything less than everything they've ever asked for.

The tech industry--which on these issues is our industry--needs to stop rolling over for these shenanigans before they roll into a grave. And the next time you catch somebody making a self-congratulatory speech about how progressive Hollywood is, you owe them a punch in the mouth.

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