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U.S. Penalizes Ukraine for Abetting 'Piracy' 671

Posted by michael
from the communists-a-little-too-free-for-us dept.
The Politech mailing list has a note and follow-up on new trade restrictions levied against Ukraine, since they haven't complied with the U.S.'s demand for 'an optical media licensing regime.' John Gilmore's response puts the issue in perspective. Update: 01/03 23:08 GMT by M : The RIAA has a press release about the trade penalties and response to Gilmore.
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U.S. Penalizes Ukraine for Abetting 'Piracy'

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  • Looks like the US... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by UberOogie (464002) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @04:30PM (#2780829)
    ... is going after targets it can afford to bully. I'd like to see them try that with China, or India.

    • by Gaccm (80209)
      actually according to the article, china already has it implemented.
    • by Lobsang (255003)
      I want to see trade restrictions against China for instance. I want to see people complaining that they cannot buy plastic goods for $1 apiece in Wal-Mart or K-Mart because of the recording industry. Ukraine is easy. Let's see how it works out with China and the Suburban mothers writing complaint letters to their congressmen.
    • by ergo98 (9391)

      Bullying would be if the US set-up a military trade embargo around a country, however for the US to impose tariffs or to limit trade between THEMSELVES and another country isn't bullying whatsoever. It isn't every countries right to do business with the US, and the US has the right to revoke the ability any time they want. Don't like it? Sell your stuff somewhere else.

      I find your comments about China and India odd: The US is _EASILY_ in the power position with both of those countries (although, as another poster mentioned, what WILL they do without $1.99 tupperware), and they are hardly power houses. Both are so economically disadvantaged anyways that a far more powerful example would be Germany or Italy, or something of that sort (i.e. population!=power).

    • by weave (48069) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @06:09PM (#2781556) Journal
      It's a different issue altogether. With China, we don't mind granting full trading rights. If the Chinese government practices human rights abuses against their own citizens, it's their own internal business.

      But if some foreign country's citizens cause a theoretical loss to a U.S. company, then that's an entirely different matter.

  • Double Standard (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zmokhtar (539671) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @04:30PM (#2780830) Homepage
    I'd like to see the U.S. implement something like this before they go shoving it down other people's throats.

    If don't want something here in America, why should we want it for countries abroad?
    • Re:Double Standard (Score:3, Interesting)

      by BlaKnail (545030)
      It's not a double standard. Any CD-R manufactured in the US is given a serial number that has the potential to be traced. The Ukraine is printing CDs that would be untraceable, hence the gov't want to extend its protective eye over foreign manufactured goods, and if they don't comply....push huge taxes and tariffs on them.
  • does this work? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Syre (234917)
    The US wants every replicating machine to put a tracking number on CDs showing what machine made it.

    I don't see why a bootlegger couldn't just put a fake number anyway.

    Will requiring some number to be added to CDs (not even a serialized number, just a number) really do anything? I don't see why it would.
  • The US had requested that the Ukraine implement the "optical media licensing regime" that would prevent piracy of things like DVDs. Ukraine didnt comply, so the US levied a tariff on important things like oil, shoes, and paper imported from the Ukraine to put pressure on the Ukraine to implement that "optical media licensing regime"
  • by Bonker (243350) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @04:32PM (#2780852)
    Sayeth Gilmore...

    Next thing we'll have telephone answering machines recording what phone numbers people are calling from....video libraries recording who
    borrowed each book and when.....Internet ads that track and record who saw them...hotel room doors that record every time each person goes in or out...cellphones that report every move we make to the authorities...tollbooths that record every car that goes through them... guards in every airport demanding to see 'our papers' before we are permitted to travel in our own country...


    Hmmm... Caller ID machines, Doubleclick.net, and Electronic, DB controlled locks at hotels and Post 9-11 'random checks' at airports.

    Gilmore's being sarcastic, isn't he?

    Remember that the U.S. stoped being 'Of the people, for the people a long time ago'. It's been 'Of the corporate interest for the corporate intrest for quite a while... at least since the Vietnam War, (The Johnsons had a significant stake in Bell Helicopter, which profited outrageously from the war) and probably before, but I'm not a good enough history student to tell you how far back.

    I know a 'Sherman Act' would sure as hell never make it out of committee in today's congress.

    Well, when it gets too repressive, now I know where I can go. They speak Russian in the Ukraine, right?
  • by Wire Tap (61370) <(ten.bbcitnalta) (ta) (anisirf)> on Thursday January 03, 2002 @04:33PM (#2780863)
    Is this just another example of the All Powerful United States flexing its mighty iron fist around smaller countries that have almost no means by which to fight back?

    Or, is this a legitimate action? Why not protect people who work hard to make their intellectual products? Does information really want to be free, and, if it does, should it be? Who is to decide?

    I often find myself torn between these two schools of thought, as I believe that the IP could be integral to the lives of those who do not have the resources to pay for it, but, then again, does that justify the essential theft of such IP? Chairity theft, perhaps?

    It's all very complex. Any opinions? I'd hate it if the US hurt more innocent people, only because of something as seemingly insignificant as IP law.
    • While this may seem like a bully move (the US *is* obviously using its power to its advantage) it's legitimate to go after such things - most people completely disregard the notion of copyrights. It wouldn't be shocking to see people in other nations such as Ukraine not just disregard commericial software licenses, but also open-source licenses like GPL as well. It's potentially a greater issue than just people copying Windows, etc.

      They may be using Ukraine as a sort of gateway to Russia for future pressure, since Russia has just as big a problem with illegal copying of software (I really dislike the term "piracy").

      I don't really agree with what is being proposed here with tracking numbers on media, but I do think steps should be made to try and curb the rampant disregard for software licenses.
      • As long as they don't export them to the US, it's none of our damn business. The Ukraine is a "sovereign nation" and the only laws that apply are their own. If they choose to not implement idiotic IP laws, not only do I say more power to them, but humbly ask if I could apply for citizenship there.

        And as for the accusation that they disregard the GPL, I find this ridiculous. It's only in a country like this, that a corporation like M$ might want to violate the GPL. Some "russian software pirate" loses nothing by pointing a customer toward the source code, or burning it onto a second CD for them (and charging them a fee for costs). You have some serious issues.
      • And it is perfectly reasonable for countries (Russia for example) who's laws state that making a back-up copy is perfectly legal to demand that the US force software makers to make sure their products are copyable. The US isn't the whole planet, nor is it the world government.
      • by wfrp01 (82831) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @05:14PM (#2781142) Journal
        ...Russia has just as big a problem with illegal copying of software...

        ...steps should be made to try and curb the rampant disregard for software licenses.


        Isn't a bit of a leap to presume that the laws of the United States prevail for the rest of the planet! You are talking about sovereign nations!

        Except that powerful corporate interests defended by the United States would have these countries bend to their will. Who's the 'pirate', 'thief', 'criminal'? Yeah, sure, let's put a little downward economic pressure on the economic might of the Ukraine. Evil, evil, evil, greedy bastards. That's all I can think of to say.

        While the world's exemplar of freedom becomes a police state, and a world police state at that; former police states embrace freedom. Interesting times, indeed.
    • You said:

      Why not protect people who work hard to make their intellectual products?
      Unfortunately, this action doesn't do that. The artists got screwed when they signed the contract before they recorded the album/film/etc... This action serves to protect the leech class. Even then, it doesn't really protect them unless all Ukranian manufacturers are strictly pirates. With the ubiquity of CD burners, I doubt that to be true--what need is there for a centralized pirating operation when all the equipment has been decentralized?

      In summary, this is just yet another instance of the U.S.A. bullying a small country (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Panama, Grenada, Lebanon, Somalia, Cuba, Colombia, ad vomitum...) so leaders of other small countries can see what happens if they don't comply when asked. Such a leader gets to choose between "Sign this piece of paper" or "get assassinated by the CIA or a CIA-supported group and vilified posthumously by American media". Frankly I'm amazed that the Ukraine is standing up for freedom.

  • by Deagol (323173) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @04:35PM (#2780877) Homepage
    From the article:

    "Reader, in case you didn't know, every color Xerox machine and color laser printer prints the serial number of the machine on every page they produce, covertly hidden in the output, under a long-standing private "arrangement" with the US Treasury Department. I have been unable to confirm whether this is also true of black-and-white xerox machines."

    I'm as paranoid as the next PGP-using, hard-drive encrypting, tin-foil-hat-wearing guy. BUT... I have a really hard time buying this, and I cold not locate any creditble documentation on Google.

    Anyone have any good links?

    • Yes. [slashdot.org]
    • by wolf- (54587) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @04:54PM (#2780993) Homepage
      [1] http://www.jj-johnson.com/copiers2.htm
      [2] http://www.jj-johnson.com/copiers.htm
      [3] http://www.c-prompt-dev.com/bulletin.0119.htm
      [4] http://www.naqp.org/staging1/press/copier_fraud.ht ml
      [5] http://www.parascope.com/articles/0197/xerox.htm

      Back in late 1998, a fella by the name of Michael Castle, I think he was a republican from the north east, said that his committee was considering tagging laser printers the same way that color copiers are already tagged. Search yahoo or google looking for color copier references instead of laser printers, might help a bit in your results.
      • I find this rather amusing. Wouldn't the logical solution to this problem be better security features in the currency?

        Seriously, if colour copiers are that good, what's to stop somebody from just stealing one, or buying one with cash (and false ID if required)?

        It's actually pretty nifty what security features the new Euro has, I bet the U.S. treasury could adopt some of those while still keeping the classic Slashdot theme for American dollars.

      • Bullshit. All these two-bit sites (the ones
        that aren't already broken links) talk about
        how it's the law, but none of them seem to
        be able to come up with the law in question.
        The US Code is a public document, gentlemen;
        if it's the law, point us to the section, please.
        The ACM forum cited by a Slashdot article named
        in another post talked about how it was "common
        knowledge" in the copier community, but couldn't
        manage to come up with the actual *names* of
        anybody claiming this, or any relevant primary
        sources (frankly, I would've expected better of
        the ACM). Until I see something better than
        this, I'm not impressed.

        Chris Mattern
    • Interested readers seeking background information on this subject may enjoy this 30-page excerpt [academicpress.com] from Questioned Documents: A Lawyer's Handbook by Jay Levinson, from Academic Press [academicpress.com].
  • by nochops (522181) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @04:36PM (#2780888)
    And here we (USA) go, getting right back into the swing of things, just like pre 9/11/01.

    I find it fascinating that people like the Bush family can't figure out why America is globally hated.

    "Sorry, you are not allowed to have strong encryption, supercomputers, nuclear weapons, shoes, food, oil, etc. Why? Because we are the USA, and we said so........"

    (...a few years later...)

    "Boo-hoo....I don't understand why these people are so mad at us...I don't understand why they would blow up our landmarks..."
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 03, 2002 @05:20PM (#2781191)
      "Boo-hoo....I don't understand why these people are so mad at us...I don't understand why they would blow up our landmarks..."

      Here's a theory: The European elite have successfully shifted the blame for most of the messes of the developing world from their own colonial excesses and hasty post WWII withdrawls onto this vague notion of US hegemonic isolationist imperialism. Consequently the US gets blamed for getting involved and not getting involved simultaneously.
    • Globally hated? What bullshit. That's why we have the highest amount of legal and illegal immigration per year? Because people hate us?

      Way to troll.
    • Perhaps it wasn't just any landmark. It was a landmark with and interesting name. A name that has inspired people around the world to organize and demonstrate how much they adore it.

      There were lots of landmarks. Many of them would have been easier targets. What they picked were the WTO and the Pentagon. (OK, the World Trace Center. It sounds pretty much the same, and I wouldn't be surprised to find out that it was the same. But it certainly sounds the same, and that's what's important for PR.)

      They didn't pick the Sears Towers. They didn't pick the Statue of Liberty. They picked something that spoke to what they felt was significant. Well, yes, and it was flashy, abhorrent, and would wind up spread all over several front pages for months. But there were other choices. And after an earlier attempt on the WT Towers I'm sure that it was a more difficult target, and they choose it anyway.
    • I find it fascinating that people like the Bush family can't figure out why America is globally hated.

      I find it fascinating that people such as yourself can only see evil in the United States and our elected leaders.

      America hated all around the world? Or is it just you? What I usually find is that the anti-America world is jealous of America. It's easy to hate when you have envy in your soul. Just think about it. America is just a little over 200 years old and it has eclipsed every country and culture since the dawn of man. Germans, Japanese, Italians, English and French have been on terra firma much longer than us "Arrogant Americans" but are any of them the world's one and only "Super Power"? Of course not, if they were, they would have never needed America to bail them out at different points in recent history.

      Don't worry, the Bush family understands that America is hated by evil, envious factions, that is why the current President Bush is pounding the stuffing out of one terrorist regime and preparing a giant can of whoop ass for Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia and possibly the PLO. That hatred is bred from resentment of our success and will be eliminated by the products of our success.

      "Boo-hoo....I don't understand why these people are so mad at us...I don't understand why they would blow up our landmarks..."

      I really hope you are not an American and just one of the envious little foreign twits mentioned above. If you are an American, I would like you to walk around my neighborhood in lower Manhattan spouting that line. I think seeing the faces of my fellow grieving neighbors would do your childish heart some good as you look at the giant hole in our skyline. Blaming America for the 9/11 atrocity is the equivalent of saying a woman deserved to raped because of what she wore.

      Do you think that 3,000+ Americans and people from 80 different countries deserved to die at the hands of 19 rich, spoiled, Islamic brats lead by a multimillionaire turban wearing whack job? That these well off, well educated middle class men really attacked America because we persecuted them by allowing them to drink alcohol, visit strip clubs and fly first class in our country even though some were here on expired visas. It wasn't a landmark that was attacked, JERK , it was people.

      But count your lucky stars that Slashdot is in America so small minded, hateful, little twits, such as yourself, can spout off any sort of anti-American nonsense you want with the only retaliation against you being called a small minded, hateful, little twit.

      • Whups... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Stoutlimb (143245) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @06:16PM (#2781613)
        I just travelled to the USA. I saw first hand a huge amount of blind ignorance and arrogance when it comes to anything beyond your borders. Sad thing is, is that these nice Americans didn't even realize how offensive they are being. I thought to myself "One of these days, they're going to upset some foreign country so bad, that the USA will get a collective punch in the nose right back."

        Whups, that already happened... Very sad, and not excusable. If a kid insults enough jocks at school, he's gonna get beat up. Sad, unexcusable, but there definately are preventative measures that could be taken.

        I hope you learn the correct lessons. Being the toughest kid on the block shouldn't mean it's ok to thoughtlessly offend anyone you care to. Americans do this far more than they understand. It's time to re-learn the age old skill of diplomacy, understanding, and consideration of others.
      • by Skuld-Chan (302449) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @06:43PM (#2781784)
        I don't want to justify terrorism - and I won't but....

        You might want to take a US History class - truth is most of these regimes we end up dealing with - like Afghanistan were in fact "made in America" - the Taliban and Bin Laden - trained to fight the "evil empire". Iran? Well they were pissed that we helped prop up the sha of iran because the person who was going to replace was a bit too leftist (IE a commie!). I think they still want his assets back. 1969 - Cuba - Fidel Castro and his team overthrow Bastist - why? Because he was a ruthless dictator - why would the cubans vote him in? They didn't - the US put him there. Same with the dictators in South America, Mexico, Indonesia, the Phillipeans - just about every place there is unrest and strife we had our hands in.
      • You're equating having the greatest supply of lethal weaponry (ie being the world's only superpower) with being the world's best nation. Don't do that, you'll go blind. Ethics and power aren't necessarily (or even frequently) inextricably linked. Nor are ethics and money, or ethics and corporate success.

        Secondly, there are parts of the world that have very good reason for hatred of corporate America, as well as for US foreign policy, shaped as it is by corporate America. Don't dismiss this as envy, because it ain't. Even some of us in the comfy west, in countries that support the US, and enjoy the same lifestyle made possible by the exploitative values of corporate culture, can see and deplore the viler excesses committed in the name of profit.

        Thirdly, I find it ironic that you claim that all those who hate the US are evil, envious factions, and then immediately go on to list a few areas where the US is currently thrashing the bejeesus out of the locals. Those areas are not threatening the US. Why then should the US want to shaft them, and don't you think some of those locals might understandably feel a trifle piqued that the US is throwing its (very heavy) weight around in a quarrel that's not really its concern? You can talk about justice and all if you like, but there are too many counter-examples, of fights where the US has supported the side that's clearly *unjust*, for that to be credible.

        And no, those people in New York did *not* deserve to die. There's no justification for that atrocity. But they're not the only ones. Others are dying, in equally objectionable circumstances. And I think western governments owe it to everyone to ensure that such a situation doesn't happen again, and one of the most effective ways of doing that is to prevent the circumstances leading to it: that is, by trying to understand *why* those guys were driven to do such a thing (note that understanding does not == justifying). Calling them names does nothing: if the hatred continues, those that follow will just find other ways to achieve the same end.

  • by sabinm (447146) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @04:36PM (#2780889) Homepage Journal
    Isn't is ironic that the one tactic that drew the American colonies to revolt against England, America reuses again and again to gain leverage over countries dependent on American trade?

    The only thing that this will cause is Ukraine products being shipped somewhere else. This doesn't sound too good, since the former Soviet Union prevented OPEC from cutting production on oil, thereby giving us low gas prices ($.99 where i live)just one month ago!

    Hope this doesn't mean that my gas prices will go up to subsidise software companies' "right to innovate"
  • by EllisDees (268037) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @04:36PM (#2780891)
    We Love [riaa.com] it!
  • by drenehtsral (29789) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @04:37PM (#2780894) Homepage
    Funny that we'll impose terriffs against the Ukraine at the whim of the RIAA to protect the profits of Time Warner, but we won't lift a finger against China in the trade department even when they go around torturing and shooting political dissidents.

    I guess it shows what the U.S. is about, eh?
    • by mickeyreznor (320351) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @04:41PM (#2780920) Homepage Journal
      not to mention that china is practically the capital of copyright infrigement.
    • We don't go after China because China is a source of slave labor (essentially) for American business. You see, slavery was outlawed in the U.S. after the Civil War, but businesses still want to have slaves. We have to get them from somewhere, and China has about a billion of them.

      All business guys want (and all the politicians, journalists, etc. that they buy will support) is whatever makes them richer. They really, really don't give two shits about anything else.
  • Before everyone runs off to seek political asylum in Ukraina, do note that the authorities there have quite a lot to answer for. I've posted about that before [slashdot.org].

    But you know, the Ukrainians could throw those out, and that could help.

  • Frightening (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DarkZero (516460) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @04:41PM (#2780917)

    I know some people might say I'm overreacting, but this honestly scares me. Over the course of this week, we've given full trade access to China, despite the fact that it is a communist nation of the worst kind that openly hunts, tortures, and kills people for belonging to a religion that isn't sanctioned by the government or coming anywhere near defying the government's will, and we've punished Ukraine for abetting piracy.

    For Americans, we are now living under a government that cares far more about the profits of groups like the RIAA and MPAA than it does about human lives and our country's base freedoms. This week, it has rewarded one country for cruelty, torture, murder, and oppression, while punishing another for having a potential small effect on industry groups that make large contributions to political campaigns. The DMCA is a stupid and dangerous peace of legislation, and the SSSCA might fully qualify as evil... but these trade decisions belong to a whole new level of sick that nothing else on Slashdot has ever brought up.

    The most powerful government in the world openly caring more about profits than about human lives... welcome to the world of several of the dystopian future sci-fi novels you've read.

    • Re:Frightening (Score:2, Insightful)

      by okigan (534681)
      I really do not think things are like that.
      The US goverment (as all other goverments) is a big layzy beast, which does not move until is poked,
      What is REALLY scarry (and frightening as you noted)
      that some organization (RIAA and/or MPAA ???) capable
      influencing the goverment in such great extent
      (and boy as you noted the goverment moved pretty quickly).

      Still I think the frightening part is that organizations got the goverment in their pocket, and
      nobody talks about it !!!

      just my $0.02
      • Re:Frightening (Score:5, Insightful)

        by dillon_rinker (17944) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @05:00PM (#2781044) Homepage
        I really do not think things are like that.
        Really? Which part?
        - Totalitarian government in China
        - Human rights abuses in China
        - China recently given MFN trading status
        - Ukraine recently penalized for copying content

        I don't really care how or why any entity behaves the way they do. All that matters are actions. You believe that it is not the intent of any in the US govt to be evil. I believe that too. IT IS IRRELEVANT. Look only at the actions...from actions you can discern true intent rather than marketing messages. The intent of the US govt is exactly as the previous poster stated.
    • considering Ukraine's position geographically and geopolitically, one would think that the US might try to keep better relations with a country that after the Soviet break-up became the 3rd or 4th largest nuclear power in the world.

      And not like Ukraine doesn't have more important things to worry about, like the perpetual clean-up of Chernobyl and the sometimes volatile situation of Crimea desiring separation from Ukraine.

    • What would you rather we do? Declare war with China? How will that help us or the chinese citizenry?

      That type of foreign policy was a failure. The tact we use now is quite simple, we let you be a part of our success. We realize that a free market also can't exist without personal and economic freedoms constrained by certain laws(a legal system must exist to enforce contracts, etc), so if a country wants to truly be part of the success they need to adapt what they do to what we do.

      That is our current solution for China, and it is working. Similarly with Russia and a number of other nations. It's a slow process. Understand that many of these countries are centuries behind us in terms of their development. Few countries can turn around and redirect themselves as quick as say Japan.

      I've been an advocate for this type of coercion since the whole South Africa apartheid situation. Instead of boycotting and punishing, we introduce more and more of our successes and show what is possible. Punishment only creates resentment and slows the process towards freedom.
  • Well, now. The US is attempting to destablize a country. Or so it seems. Over what? Over some gibberish term? Over outdated copyright laws? The Ukraine is a nation of farming (last time I checked, could be different now), and this seems like a move to incite revolts and millitary governments. I wish we would wake up and smell the international coffee, which isn't "The Government Is Subservent To Corporations" Blend anymore. Please, for the love of god, don't destroy another country over something stupid.
  • The core issue (Score:4, Interesting)

    by syrupMatt (248267) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @04:45PM (#2780943) Homepage Journal
    Do companies operating under one countries legal structure gain the same amount of protection when operating (or having their goods sold) in another country?

    I find an interesting correlation here between "lassaie faire" business practices and the anti-corporation/IP movement. The movement wants corporations to recieve no help from the government for their business practices (IP, relief from economic hardship, etc), which are essentially leftist ideals. However, the fairly right ideal of lassaise faire essentially espouses the same thing, no? By all means correct me if I'm off base here.

    (btw: sorry for the poli-labeling, but it helps to illustrate the constrasts in my point.)
    • It always strikes me as ironic when those who criticise copyright law are described as anti-Capitalist, in fact, the opposite is true. True Capitalists despise government intervention, yet IP law is pure government intervention.

      Those within these corporations remind me of school bullies who tease anyone who dares to tell their parents, yet as soon as their classmates gang up on them they are the first to go crying to mommy.

  • by RobertAG (176761) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @04:50PM (#2780970)
    "[Summary: In response to the Ukraine government's "failure to enact an
    optical media licensing regime that would preclude the piracy of such
    products," the U.S. government has levied 100 percent tariffs on
    Ukraine exports such as fuel oil, sneakers, paper, and diamonds. --Declan]"

    Do we actually BUY that much stuff from them? It seems most of these exports can find ready markets elsewhere. It seems the loss in trade is greater than any piracy could be. Any comments?
    • We won't be now.

      Their fledgling new economy has had it's legs cut out from under it by the RIAA and the recently elected US Government. Never let it be said we didn't warn you about how this cabinet would end up being pro-big-business. Microsoft, RIAA, Verisign, it just keeps coming.
    • It seems the loss in trade is greater than any piracy could be.

      If you think thats bad read on a little further. The estimated revenue from the tax every year is $75 million, the amount they estimate that this is costing in Intellectual Property losses to piracy. $75,000,000 lost because a little number isn't printed on a CD? Yeah, right. These numbers are useless, you can scratch them out with a pocket knife; I just tried it.
    • The Ukraine is a tacit memeber of opec a couple months ago, OPEC tried to cut oil production in response to the lower demand for oil. They needed a couple of countries to assent to this, as if they cut production by themselves, then only they would hurt and the other countries fill in the gap. Russia, Ukraine and other former Soviet countries rich in oil refused to participate in this oil cut backs and so our gas prices are at a 2 year low. (sorry don't have the url, but a decent search can pull it up). That means that if the Ukraine and Russia don't like this prohibitive tarriff on it's oil exports it can simply cut production w/the rest of OPEC and thus raise our prices for gas. Which means that indirectly *we* americans will be subsidising the IP lobby.
  • Both Ways (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Alien54 (180860) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @04:55PM (#2781007) Journal
    This is sort of like wanting everyone to obey USian laws without the US obeying theirs.

    It becomes a matter of disrespect for national self rule. Also it is a matter of foreign policy being dictated by greed of business interests, morte than anything else.

    I somehow like the old system where there always was a place on the planet that was outside the reach of the grasping hand of your local government. This is starting to go away now. Not yet, but soon.

  • by AgTiger (458268) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @05:00PM (#2781045) Homepage
    > There is a similar tracking requirement imposed on CD recorders (by
    > the patent licenses issued by Philips). It requires that each CD
    > burner record on the CD the serial number of the recorder, so that
    > every burned CD-R can be traced back to which individual CD-burner
    > recorded it.

    Now _this_ was news to me. I'd like to see this proven or debunked. Is this software driven, or done by drives' firmware when a burn is started? Is there any way to disable this?

    I don't mind my drive containing an electronic copy of its serial number for the purposes of identifying an individual unit with the manufacturer if I happen to need service.

    I sure as hell mind if my drive is disclosing that information without my knowledge or consent!

    As an example: John Doe works in a government agency, and notices some truly heinous and illegal activities going on with regards of that agency towards citizens of that government. John wants to blow the whistle, but he isn't stupid either. He anonymizes the information as best he can, cites several sources within the agency for the information in question, and writes it to a series of 5 CD-R's that he then sends to major newspaper editors in the hopes that they'll print it. CD-R's are the write-once/read-many diskette of the day, after all, and you don't have to worry about accidental magnetic erasure, so John thought he was being smart.

    The story gets printed, there's a huge public outcry, the agency gets investigated, and this goes all the way to charges being laid and a lot of very powerful people being made _very_ uncomfortable, and quietly swearing to find the mole and give unto him a share of the misery that they are going through.

    Fine, it's fictional, it probably has holes in it, and I've probably not drafted the perfect hypothetical scenario, but the basic gist of it is there.

    There's a lot of cases where accidental disclosure of any information that would allow the source to be accurately identified is a _bad_ thing. Admittedly in some cases it can be a good thing, but I'm leery of making it _too_ easy.

    Is there any way to prevent this little function from working correctly?

    1. Change the electronic serial number of the drive?
    2. Disable the routine that spits out a serial number?
    3. Disable the routine that writes the serial number to the drive?

    Rom microcode disassembly anyone? :-)
  • Ukraine has it worse with computers than does Russia. And back in Russia things are really bad with computers. Software piracy is not as big an issue in Ukraine because well... not too many people own computers, and those that do probably own old ones.

    Not saying that piracy isn't wrong but come on! Ukraine? That's just rediculous!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 03, 2002 @05:02PM (#2781060)
    Stop posting lameass "boy this sucks" complaints on Slashdot, and, if you don't like this, complain. Write your congressmen. Write your senator. Write the president. Heck, in the accouncement, there are three numbers you can call...

    Kira Alvarez, Office of Services, Investment and Intellectual Property, Office of the United States Trade Representative (202) 395-6864

    David Birdsey, Office of European Affairs, Office of the United States Trade Representative, (202) 395-3320

    William Busis, Office of the General Counsel, Office of the United States Trade Representative, (202) 395-3150

    (Me, I'd like to see some unbiased reports on this thing before making a decision, as neither Politech nor the RIAA seem like the best sources of information for something like this. But there's none of that being posted here, just loads of "me too!" posts. If you're certain its wrong, get off your "trying to be geeky cool" ass and do something...)
    • by argoff (142580) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @07:52PM (#2782280)

      Stop posting lameass "boy this sucks" complaints on Slashdot, and, if you don't like this, complain.

      This attitude is half the problem, it implies that any tenable solution comes via working thru the system - what a crock! The only way people are going to get real results is thru outright civil disobedience of intellectual property law.

      When you just talk, that's all you're going to get back - bullshit. I am so sick and tired of self-proclaimed self-rightous clowns wanting me and others to direct our efforts to something so useless and so beholden to those who want to controll us. They would have Martin Luther King go on letter writing campaigns to klan funded congreeemen instead of gatherings and sit outs. No thank you.

      Anybody who wants some real results will get far better milage by defying copyright laws, putting freenet servers on their systems, and doing the things you like doing for and with "free" (as in freedom) software as much as possible.

  • To all the people griping along the lines of "It is so horrible for us to do this when we don't do the same to China/India/Russia..."

    If you really want to see the government do the right thing, call or write the politicians who did THIS, as well as their buddies, and commend them. Let them realize that the American people will support them when they do the right thing against smaller countries, and maybe they will start showing the courage to try pulling the stops against other nations guilty of human rights violations, which piss us off but do not hurt us economically. If all the politicians ever hear from people is "This sucks, these guys only do this to satisfy company X.," they sure as hell won't be willing to do something nasty just to protect the rights of some shmucks that they never deal with anyway.
  • What can be done? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by neoevans (179332) <neoevans@@@gmail...com> on Thursday January 03, 2002 @05:10PM (#2781115) Homepage
    As a Canadian citizen, I am fully used to taking it up the ass (I can see the Troll moderation already).

    No, really. We Canadians are taxed around 55% of our total income. Our own government (my province anyways) allows companies the right to a monopoly in areas like Home/Auto Insurance, Transportation, local Telco etc... and even worse, grants those companies the right to levy citizens, even if those citizens don't use the service provided by the company (eg. Bus tax on Auto-Insurance).

    I've always said that our governemt could not get away with, or even propose, the things they do here in any other country. The people wouldn't stand for it.

    What I want to know, is what Americans do when their government does something that obviously by the replies to this post, the people don't agree with. Do you guys just sit by and bitch about it like us Canadians?

    I've come to accept that nothing I do or say will change the vast scheme of the big-business take over in the world. I'm not rich enough to have a voice. I've written letters, petitioned my local office, even protested, nothing changes.

    So I ask in this case of the world's self-proclaimed big-brother pushing around yet another perfectly content country. What are American Citizens going to do about it?
    • What I want to know, is what Americans do when their government does something that obviously by the replies to this post, the people don't agree with.

      Ummm... move to Canada.

      Now that should put the whole IP debate in perspective. In the grand scheme of things, it isn't nearly as important as being sent off to die in a poorly run, ill-conceived overseas war.

      Do you guys just sit by and bitch about it like us Canadians?

      Continuing with the Vietnam example, we organize, protest, and occasionally riot. It's just that whether or not we can get Disney videos for the cost of the tape isn't that important.

  • Ask yourself this... did Ukraine's refusal to agree to these standards come from principled opposition to the suppression of free speech by multinational corporations... or from internal pressure by Ukraine's homegrown media piracy industry?

    I suspect the latter. Which sucks, because it's exactly what the corporate thieves are saying, and i'm not used to them telling the truth about anything.

    Either way, ordinary Ukrainians lose, not to mention Americans.
  • by BCGlorfindel (256775) <klassenk AT brandonu DOT ca> on Thursday January 03, 2002 @05:16PM (#2781150) Journal
    Before I offend anyone I just want to make clear that this truly is meant as a question and not an accusation.

    Disclaimer stated, are the citizens of a country considered responsable for the country's actions?

    Specifically should these sanctions be considered the fault of the average american who chooses not to prevent their own government from taking such actions?

    I see lots of people complaining about America no longer being for the people, instead for corporations. Does anyone else out there wonder if these same people have done even so much as to write a letter to their representatives making these decisions?

    Just some questions. Any one else have any thoughts?
    • by Lysander Luddite (64349) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @05:49PM (#2781386)
      How does a citizen prevent the government from doing anything? In a representative democracy about all you can do is vote. That is an extremely inefficient means of voicing dissent, especially in a situation like the US which is basically a one party system subservient to whoever raises the most money for their campaigns.

      One could demonstrate, but given history as well as recent trends, mass movements take a long time to develop and a lot of effort to sustain. Demonstrations reported on TV the past 10 years or so have been portrayed in a very negative light no matter what the cause. Not surprising seeing who controls the media.

      Things in the US and other mature democracies will not change in a significant way short of violent unrest with a clear leader and organized agenda. Even then it is doubtful change would last.

      Baby steps to get the US government responsive to its citizens are:

      1. campaign finance reform to remove the so-called two party system and increase third party viability

      2. a belief that government is actually responsive to the needs and desires of its citizens. The corollary of course being citizens be active in the political process.

      3. a belief that "market forces" are not always the best solution to a problem. You'd think that the events of 9-11 would pound this home, but the response of the government says otherwise.

      None of this wil occur in my lifetime, but it will occur. History is cyclical and repeats itself despite humanity's resistance.
    • by renehollan (138013) <rhollan AT clearwire DOT net> on Thursday January 03, 2002 @06:15PM (#2781599) Homepage Journal
      Responsible? That's debatable, of course. You can't have responsibility without the freedom to chose one course of action over another, and the American voter does seam rather impotent these days.

      Perhaps the question should be, "Will the citizens of a country be held accountable, to some outside standard, for their government's actions?" And to that, I think the answer is a resounding YES!

      Sooner or later, if someone is pissed off by what you do, or what they perceive you as doing, they will seek to do you harm. You have a choice: refrain from the action that offends, or prepare to defend against the attack that will come. The choice depends, of course, on one's perception of risk and fair play.

      The notion of "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" certainly seams to be a good start at identifying "fair play" even as it can be interpreted differently by the parties involved. I am not a religeous person, but that mantra does seam to pervade many of the world's prevelent faiths and generally comes off as a "good idea".

      But, against that standard, I think we can agree that the U.S.A. has flexed its muscles in ways that it would not like to have flexed against it, and thus has violated that golden rule. Does it come as a surprise then that this pisses some people off? And that some of those who are pissed off might managage to express that by killing a few thousand people in a rather public and spectacular fashion?

      Right or wrong doesn't come into it: piss people off and you run an increased risk of dying. This does not mean that one should roll over for every tin-pot dictator, but it does mean that one should examine one's government's actions and decide if they truly serve one's best interests and security.

  • by 2Bits (167227) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @05:16PM (#2781152)
    Well, this kind of things suddenly become a horror to the US /.ers, just because the case has something to do with CDs, copyright, "piracy", RIAA, ... which are things that /.ers care most.

    However, the US government has been using this kind of economic imperialism tactics in almost every domain and industry to bully other countries, big and small (not that everything always works the way the US government want to, though). Unfortunately, a lot of those are not interesting to the typical /.ers.

    Well, get out of the US, talk to the honest people who are trying to do business with the US (which shout out loud on every roof that they are pro-free-trade, human right protector and freedom figther), and you will get really nasty horror stories.

    Maybe next time, you will think twice before electing (or letting the court appoint) a president. Or maybe you will get involved more too. And maybe, some days, the world might be better too.
    • by fishbowl (7759) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @05:27PM (#2781246)
      "Maybe next time, you will think twice before electing (or letting the court appoint) a president. "

      [cough]

      NEXT time?
      think TWICE?

      You're still operating under the delusion that people care enough to vote? That slashdot readers
      vote? That any statistically significant portion of ANY educated group bothers to vote?

      That's just *vote* mind you.

      Never mind that they don't inundate their representatives with hard, well-written correspondence. Let alone joining the party
      or truly participating in the process of representative government.
  • by why-is-it (318134) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @05:18PM (#2781171) Homepage Journal
    since they haven't complied with the U.S.'s demand for 'an optical media licensing regime.'

    I wonder how our USian friends would react to a demand that they create/alter some legislation to suit the needs of some non-US multinational? I guess things like national sovereignty only apply to superpowers, and the industries they represent.

    And why is it that when the it is decided that some sort of multi-lateral standard is required, why is the US standard is the one that almost certainly adopted?
    • by Havokmon (89874) <rick@h[ ]kmon.com ['avo' in gap]> on Thursday January 03, 2002 @06:27PM (#2781682) Homepage Journal
      "And why is it that when the it is decided that some sort of multi-lateral standard is required, why is the US standard is the one that almost certainly adopted?"

      Can you imagine if US standards of measurement would be applied to Science?
      Instead of:
      Meters you have Yards
      Milimeters you have Inches
      Centimeters you have eigths (and half the country can't do fractions..)
      Where the hell did a foot come from?

      Instead of Nanotechnology, you'd have pinkie toe technology.

      Would anyone have a clue as to wafer size?

      Sometimes when you see the U.S. coming, it IS best to just run for the hills, and it's NOT because of military might..
  • by Anonymous Coward
    GO UKRAINE!!!!!



    While I'm at it, I should call my congressman and senators
    even though I don't know they are. :)

  • So where can I buy a "Made in the Ukraine" CDRW?
  • About time. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LazLong (757) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @05:46PM (#2781365) Homepage
    I lived in Kiev, Ukraine for a year (95-96). Piracy of music and software was/is common and not considered unethical by the populace. There are laws against it, but they aren't enforced.

    While I am against market control to the extent that industry is trying with DVD's (region encoding controlling which discs you can play and from where you can purchase them), I do believe that protection of intellectual property is required to provide a more stable environment in which to do business. What is going on in Ukraine, and other countries such as Russia, China and the rest of Asia, is directly damaging to America's interests. We are providing the capital for the software development, and yet others are reaping the rewards, in effect stealing our labor and capital. This is wrong. If we were a rogue state that did not respect international intellectual property conventions/laws I would feel differently. However, we are one of the most strict enforcers of copyright/patent laws, and feel we deserve the same in return. (yeah, I know, our patent office is a joke, but this has nothing to do with enforcement of law). Difficult thing is, countries which do not respect international intellectual property laws tend to have little or no intellectual property themselves, thus it is to their immediate economic benefit to steal, and we can't do anything in return except impose tarrifs on their products.

    I do think Ukraine is being unfairly singled out, and that the main thieves of intellectual property, Russia and China, should have been targeted first. I can only think that this is due to the fact that Ukraine is one of the main recipients of U.S. foreign aid.

    Just to end on a personal note, I do find myself conflicted when it comes to punishing people for pirating Microsoft IP. It is a struggle between my love of country, and hatred of Microsoft's business practices, but in the end, love of country wins out.
  • Next thing we'll have telephone answering machines recording what phone numbers people are calling from....

    Caller ID

    video libraries recording who borrowed each book and when.....

    Library card

    Internet ads that track and record who saw them...

    Cross-site cookies

    hotel room doors that record every time each person goes in or out...

    Key cards

    cellphones that report every move we make to the authorities...

    Universal 911

    tollbooths that record every car that goes through them...

    E-ZPass

    guards in every airport demanding to see 'our papers' before we are permitted to travel in our own country...

    Flagged for search when paying cash

    ...in short, we'll be living in a POLICE STATE.

    Shouldn't that be present tense?
  • by mikethegeek (257172) <blair.NOwcmifm@comSPAM> on Thursday January 03, 2002 @06:46PM (#2781805) Homepage
    It really pisses me off that we will get tough on Ukraine for not genuflecting to the American IP cartel (RIAA/MPAA), yet just days ago, grant PERMANENT most favored nation trade status to China.

    China, after all, is a country that murdered enough people in the 20th Century to make Hitler look like an amateur. It's a country that forces women to have abortions, that jails religious leaders and condems them to death, that wants to hide it's citizens from the Internet...

    Not only that, but just last year, China forced down a US plane over international waters, KIDNAPPED airmen, and tried to ransom them.

    China is FAR more deserving of 100% tariffs than is Ukraine. But then, Ukraine isn't home to American megacorp sweatshops, and doesn't willingly supply slave labor to man them.

    When will it end? How do we fight a war against the corporate IP cartel? How far will our government let it go?

    The way I see it, all the way to the world of "Demolition Man" or "Rollerball", so long as our sheepizens keep voting for the same old parties.

    Bending over for corporations is a bi-partisan effort. Both parties do it almost equally.
    • by Sentry21 (8183) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @08:56PM (#2782614) Journal
      Not to nitpick, and I don't necessarily agree with forcing abortions, but if you had a country with a billion people in it that was smaller than the US, Canada, or a half-dozen other countries, you'd want to control population rates too.

      Not only that, but just last year, China forced down a US plane over international waters, KIDNAPPED airmen, and tried to ransom them.

      Well, there is debate as to whether it was intentional or not. Me, I don't know either way. That being said though, the plane did land on Chinese soil and were taken away. Sure, they had little other choice, but if they're in China, they're in China.

      Contrast that to the US, who has, several times, executed foreign nationals without even letting them speak with a consular representative, and whose population and many poilitical figures have mostly decided that the Al-Quaeda members that were attacking the US's values do not deserve those values, which clearly sends the message that 'American freedoms are for Americans only'. If the US really believed in equality for all before the law, there wouldn't even be a debate. I'm surprised they're even considering a trial, it'll be a kangaroo court anyway.

      --Dan
  • by igrek (127205) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @07:33PM (#2782180)
    Originally I'm from Ukraine and have somehow mixed feelings about the piracy issue. Just some comments:

    1) Yes, the piracy level is really insane there in Ukirane. The price of "a software" is $2 per CD. No matter what it is - Windows, Oracle, any games, etc. Just $2, and you can buy it in kiosks at any shopping mall, near almost every bus stop, etc. The situation with music and video is similar. Most of the music now is in MP3 format, so 1-2 disc set covers all the albums of an artist. The discs also contain an MP3 player (Winamp usually) plus album lyrics, pictures, etc. The same $2 per disc.

    2) I talked to some people selling the pirated stuff. From what they told me, almost all the software CDs are made in China. The video and audio discs usually come from Russia, China and Bulgaria. Not Ukraine.

    3) Average monthly salary there is about $50-100; individuals could not buy the licensed software anyway. It's not an excuse, of course; JFYI.

    4) Ukrainian companies is different story. They do buy licensed software. I'd say, the piracy level in corporations there is on about the same level as here in the US.
  • by JustAnotherReader (470464) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @08:43PM (#2782546)
    Reader, in case you didn't know, every color Xerox machine and color laser printer prints the serial number of the machine on every page they produce, covertly hidden in the output, under a long-standing private "arrangement" with the US Treasury Department. I have been unable to confirm whether this is also true of black-and-white xerox machines.

    I once spent 6 years of my life fixing photocopiers (Thank god I write code now). I can say that the comment above is absolutly not true. The technology used in all black and white photocopiers, and in all color copiers that use toner rather than a photographic process, does not have a high enough resolution to accuratly embed a serial number into the "pixels" of a copy.

    It's hard enough just to get the black areas dark enough and the white areas bright enough much less having to worry about modifying individual pixels.

    Moreover, most photocopiers work by shining a bright light on the original and using the reflected light off the page to effect the static charge on a selenium covered drum. The original is not scanned, modified, and re-broadcast onto the drum.

    The new digital copiers do scan the original one time and then use a laser to "print" the page on the drum from memory, but then you have to ask yourself:

    1. Is the serial number embedded in the pixels? If so then how do you know which pixels if the source document is always different?
    2. Is there an actual serial number printed in microscopic type on the border of every page? If you believe that then photocopy a dollar bill and look at the resolution in the resulting copy. Do you still believe that your copier can print microscopic serial numbers on every page?
    3. The serial number of a copier is based on the frame, not the motherboard, drum, lens, or any other part of the machine. Photocopiers are parts hogs. We were constantly replacing circuit boards. There is no way a single serial number could stay mapped to a single photocopier's electronics.

    It's unfortunate that Gilmore makes these outrageous claims in an otherwise well thought out article. It seems to push him from the "well-informed protector of our rights" to "crackpot". I wish he would write about what he understands instead of resulting to conspiracy theories. There is enough evil in the RIAA without having to make up conspiracies.

  • Contact Information (Score:3, Informative)

    by LarsG (31008) on Friday January 04, 2002 @09:01AM (#2784533) Journal
    In case someone feels like telling the USTR what they think about this:

    http://www.ustr.gov/about-ustr/contactustr.shtml

    By Telephone:
    USTR Individual Offices [ustr.gov]
    USTR Public Information Line (TOLL-FREE)
    1-888-473-USTR (8787)

    By Mail:
    United States Trade Representative
    600 17th Street, N.W.
    Washington, DC 20508
    United States of America

    By E-Mail:
    questions regarding information on our site can be directed to contactustr@ustr.gov. (Your e-mail will be directed to the appropriate office.)

Whenever people agree with me, I always think I must be wrong. - Oscar Wilde

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