Not In Our Name: ACTA defeated!

ACTA was supposedly brought in to protect artists but it would have done more harm than good. Thankfully it’s been killed in a vote in the EU with 478 against and only 39 for.

Strasbourg, July 4th 2012 – The European Parliament rejected ACTA by a huge majority, killing it for good. This is a major victory for the multitude of connected citizens and organizations who worked hard for years, but also a great hope on a global scale for a better democracy. On the ruins of ACTA we must now build a positive copyright reform, taking into account our rights instead of attacking them. The ACTA victory must resonate as a wake up call for lawmakers: Fundamental freedoms as well as the free and open Internet must prevail over private interests.


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How TPP affects NZ artists and what the US wants our police to do next

Copyright in New Zealand (image courtesy of Wikipedia )

Last week the CFF attended a Stakeholders Briefing on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a treaty that will affect copyright in New Zealand, the United States and other nations. New Zealanders have just spent in excess of $600,000 to develop an enforcement regime (apparently for the benefit of Rihanna) in the Infringing File Sharing Act, but more changes are on the way that affect public and artistic rights.

Summary of TPP copyright issues

1. The negotiations continue to be secretive even by WIPO standards. Some documents won’t be released for at least four years after the agreement is signed.

2. The US are pushing for New Zealand to adopt:

  • Internet termination for households, businesses, and organisations;
  • A policy for the NZ Police to prioritise copyright enforcement even at the detriment of other police work;
  • The effective removal of Fair Dealing rights by expanding the protectionism of DRM/TPMs, including criminalising the bypassing of DRM/TPMs when exercising legal rights;
  • Allowing copyright holders the ability to ban parallel imports of copyrighted material (eg DVDs), denying New Zealanders the right to purchase overseas content;
  • An expansion of copyright duration to: death of the author plus 70 years, or 105 years from date of publishing for sound recordings and film.

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Due To Public Pressure ACTA Text To Be Made Public

CW Magazine reports that due to public pressure the text of ACTA is to be made public next week, saying: “A controversial plan to crack down on online piracy and counterfeiting will be opened up to public scrutiny for the first time next week [...] Negotiations over the past two years have been conducted in secret. Leaks of the draft text have sparked a public outcry, mainly because of how the text deals with online copyright infringement [...] they don’t plan to reveal their individual negotiating positions”

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The Wellington Declaration on ACTA Released

A goal of Saturday’s PublicACTA meeting was to reach a consensus on what artists, technologists and the wider public want from ACTA – an international copyright treaty. After a lot of discussion a document was released yesterday and already over 1000 people have signed the petition to show support for artistic and public rights: “The Wellington Declaration agreed by yesterday’s PublicACTA Conference has now been released [and] can be found at: [...] members of the public can find a link to a petition where they can sign their support of the declaration. “I urge everyone interested in protecting their digital rights online to sign this petition and endorse the Wellington Declaration”

You can also read the Wellington ACTA Declaration in Spanish and German.

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CFF’s Government Submission on ACTA, Copyright, and Fair Use Online

Our submission’s introduction reads “Today, a large proportion of interactions with copyrighted material involves personal use through personal computers and devices with internet connections. It is fair to say that, in turn, a proportion of these interactions involve infringement of copyright. Understandably, there is much debate as to how to interact with the new paradigm of creation and distribution that the internet represents. Some have responded to this new digital era by seeking to extend the scope of copyright, and the methods of its enforcement, so that existing ways of creation and distribution are protected, if not privileged. We do not share this view.”

Download Submission (PDF)

Why ACTA isn’t just about copyright enforcement

Over at Jon Penney has written an excellent article about how artistic remix rights (what under New Zealand law calls Fair Dealing defenses) are eroded by DRM. Digital Restrictions/Rights Management is like a brick wall in front of legally purchased content that attempts to block legal or illegal use of material. Penney writes, “ACTA may create substantive a new civil and criminal offence— and indirectly conferring new “access control” rights on copyright holders they do not current possess— despite its pretensions as an “enforcement only” treaty.  Indeed, even putting aside current New Zealand law, ACTA is supposedly limited to enforcing copyright and intellectual property, not technology measures or access control.”

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Recent ACTA Leak Points to ‘Guilt Upon Accusation’ (and NZ Officials Give ACTA Briefing Today)

Later today CFF will be attending an MED/MFAT briefing on ACTA. With a recent leak of the full text of ACTA Tech Liberty raises 5 points about where the international debate is “USA wants internet-account termination; Japan is unconvinced by the need for anti-TPM laws; The treaty attempts to establish a global standard for awarding costs; NZ does not require evidence to justify seizing infringing goods; Nobody can agree on the scope”.

Bogus ‘Piracy’ Studies Incites Fear, Calls For Reduction in Internet Speed

Juha over at CW writes, “Ahead of the Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement meeting in Wellington, we’re starting to see commissioned studies that predict digital devastation of jobs and industries unless… unless what exactly? We go back in time and snip everyone’s internet access? Would that keep record company and movie studio profits high and trade unions happy as their members’ jobs in film and music industries are safe? Lace such figures with a dollop of fear — job losses for instance — and there’s a moral panic of sorts being created that politicians feel they have to act on”

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Clare Curran asks if ACTA will overtake NZs Copyright Law

Over at the RedAlert blog Clare Curran asks “Like the exact location of the meeting, the text of ACTA is a secret. We don’t know for sure what’s in it, but the latest leaks suggest that a goal of ACTA will create an extra-governmental body that effectively controls copyright law around the globe, with little input from the governments or the people they represent. The leaks suggest a new organisation would be set up to manage ACTA after it was implemented, tasked with continuing to update ACTA’s rules – sort of a parallel organization to WIPO which is part of the UN.”