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EFF and PK Reluctantly Drop Lawsuit For ACTA Info 150

Posted by kdawson
from the ours-to-know-and-yours-to-find-out dept.
mikesd81 notes a press release on the EFF website that begins "The Obama Administration's decision to support Bush-era concealment policies has forced the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Public Knowledge (PK) to drop their lawsuit about the proposed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). Federal judges have very little discretion to overrule Executive Branch decisions to classify information on 'national security' grounds, and the Obama Administration has recently informed the court that it intends to defend the classification claims originally made by the Bush Administration. ... Very little is known about ACTA, currently under negotiation between the US and more than a dozen other countries, other than that it is not limited to anti-counterfeiting measures. Leaked documents indicate that it could establish far-reaching customs regulations governing searches over personal computers and iPods. Multi-national IP corporations have publicly requested mandatory filtering of Internet communications for potentially copyright-infringing material, as well as the adoption of 'Three Strikes' policies requiring the termination of Internet access after repeat allegations of copyright infringement, like the legislation recently invalidated in France. Last year, more than 100 public interest organizations around the world called on ACTA country negotiators to make the draft text available for public comment."
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EFF and PK Reluctantly Drop Lawsuit For ACTA Info

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  • Yay! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Another victory for transparent democracy

    HIP HIP...
    HIP HIP...
    HIP HIP...

    Why no HURRAHs?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Chains we can believe in!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 21, 2009 @04:53AM (#28408991)

    ACTA will mandate software patents, criminalization of copyright infringements, censorship lists, data retention. States that today resist such measures due to local democratic pressure will be able to cite "Obligations under International Law" as an excuse to move towards eFascism. The goal is to send 4chan, piratebay, and anyone else who offends the powerful to jail.

    This is a major campaign in the war on the future, by the past. Winning this war will push the digital majority towards adulthood.

    Bring it on, I say!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Sooner or later it's all going to come down to whether you are willing to risk death for your cause as the Iranian protesters are. Do you believe that the sociopaths in $COUNTRY's legislative branch (in America, the chief executive is but a puppet) are going to cry crocodile tears rather than spend the contribution money to remodel their bathroom?

      You will die an honorable death, dishonored and labelled a terrorist.
    • by mwvdlee (775178)

      Am I understanding this ACTA thing correctly; is this a law that cannot be judged?

      • by erroneus (253617) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @06:59AM (#28409545) Homepage

        It's an international treaty. This is a major sign of the global dark forces at work, some say. Perhaps it's not that Obama is catering to the interests of those who want this, but rather that he has no choice but to capitulate or has no courage to fight it. One thing is certain: we will never know. But the non-government invite list is rather telling of what is to come. Perhaps the movie "Idiocracy" isn't such a stupid movie after all.

        • Hey, that movie was a great comment on today's civilization. I would call it an important film.

      • by Elektroschock (659467) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @07:05AM (#28409567)

        There is still a way to get the document, the EU Public Access to documents reform [europa.eu].

        I wonder if the Swedish Presidency will move forward with this.

        • by Kalriath (849904) *

          Wont work. That law only applies to EU documentation, not member state documentation. You would not be able to use it to gain access to a treaty which, say, the UK has signed.

          Also, most countries who have the document have been directed by the US government to treat the document as a matter of national security (this is the excuse given by the NZ government to an OIA request for a copy), which for some reason is excluded from every Official Information Act in existence.

          • It would be rather interesting, though, if one of the other countries with a copy decided to ignore the US "OMG National Security Sooper Sekretz!" directive and we got an end-run around them there...

            I know, it will never happen. For all the people who like to badmouth us, their own bosses seem wonderfully willing to bend over to our own overlords...

          • ACTA = EU Commission DG trade as negotiator authorized by the EU Council.

            Of course they at the Council secreatriat will use Art 4 exemptions.

            You just need to fix the Art 4 "international relations" examption so that it does not apply to regulatory trade agreements.

    • Still fighting? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by siloko (1133863) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @06:43AM (#28409503)

      This is a major campaign in the war on the future

      Am I the only one who thinks the war is already won? You can not put the majority of a country's population in jail. The culture of the internet has already changed the game and no matter how many laws are passed, lawsuits are won, technology and attitudes are already ahead of those that seek to put the genie back in the bottle.

      This just smacks of desperation. The powerful seem to be busy enacting policies which they hope will change attitudes whilst the rest of us are busy ignoring them and getting on with our lives.

      • Re:Still fighting? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Meneth (872868) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @08:28AM (#28409885)
        Out victory may be inevitable, but the war isn't over yet. Until it is, it will continue to do damage.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by DarkOx (621550)

        That is the attitude that may cause us to loose. Freedom can only be obtained and maintained with vigilance. We must never think its impossible to be deprived of our freedom and must always remain wary of those who would seek to curtail it. The war is never over so long as overly ambitious and overly greedy individuals exist.

        • by siloko (1133863)

          Freedom can only be obtained and maintained with vigilance.

          Agreed. I'm not arguing against vigilance. I'm simply pointing out something which to me is a matter of fact. I have nothing against those who want to organise petitions and demonstrations, who write to their representatives, who post on slashdot etc., all with the aim of eroding apparently draconian intellectual property laws. But I think these laws will die anyway.

          Go and fight the fight and sleep better for it, it's just that from where I stand society will progress despite the laws and despite the dem

      • by russotto (537200)

        Am I the only one who thinks the war is already won? You can not put the majority of a country's population in jail.

        Yes, you can. You can turn the whole country into a prison and get half the inmates watching the other half. Read _1984_, or for a more convincing example, consider the German Democratic Republic (East Germany).

        • by siloko (1133863)
          Ok, well your first example is a work of satirical fiction. Granted there is something to be learntt from it but it is not a case in point. Your second example, though genuine, did not happen in a world where the internet abounds. This discussion has come about precisely because the internet has changed the game, precisely because the power that governments and corporations have over us is dwindling, and ACTA is an example of a panicked and defeated response to a society which is leaving the traditional pow
          • Your second example, though genuine, did not happen in a world where the internet abounds.

            And how well is the internet working in Iran? Or China?

            Falcon

            • by siloko (1133863)
              better than not having one . . . the information coming out of both of those countries is vastly more than before the internet. Granted it is not about to contribute to the overthrow of their respective governments but it has helped mobilise the opposition.
    • by pallmall1 (882819) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @06:49AM (#28409515)

      ACTA will mandate software patents, criminalization of copyright infringements, censorship lists, data retention.

      You don't really think Big Media supports Obama for free, now do you?

    • by Jurily (900488)

      Since when does the US care about international law?

      • by Znork (31774) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @10:02AM (#28410349)

        Since always. The government is just very selective about what international laws it cares about, and very picky about who it applies them to.

        ACTA is a typical example of forum shopping tho; when the interested parties cannot ram their desires through WIPO or even the WTO any more, they start up yet another forum. So of course the US is going to care; it's made to order legislation created outside the democratic process and perfectly usable against its citizens, without having to take much of the blame.

        It's the legislative process gone global, and moved out of reach of democracy.

      • Since when does the US care about international law?

        When it's useful, for exporting laws or evading opposition to desired laws.

      • When the US dictates the law. Of course it makes sure there're loopholes for it.

        Falcon

  • National Security? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by grahammm (9083) * <graham@gmurray.org.uk> on Sunday June 21, 2009 @05:02AM (#28409045)

    How can the non-disclosure of the terms of an international treaty be justified on national security grounds?

    • Because "national security" depends on America being able to control the world with our shitty pop culture.

      Foreigners are hooked on it. When they get it for free, our influence and our revenue streams, along with the ability to defend ourselves, go bye-bye.
      • Well, I can tell you, this changed nearly completely, since the beginning of the Bush era. Most people in whole Europe (NOT a country btw.) do not blindly side with the USA anymore. Even with the traditional media working hard to reinstate that state.

    • by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @05:26AM (#28409173)

      That could even be. If it was a treaty on, say, a common defense strategy, or a military proposal. Even a joint attempt to increase cooperation in crime fighting. But how can a treaty on COPYRIGHT be about national security?

      • by anonieuweling (536832) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @05:59AM (#28409311)
        It confirms their agenda.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by siddesu (698447)

        Propaganda and convenience. Hollywood's been manufacturing the propaganda for the US gubermint for a long time. Small wonder the gubermint will throw them a bone back when asked. And covering it under "national security" totally removes any need to _work_ to justify the law.

      • by Ocker3 (1232550) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @07:25AM (#28409637)
        because if we knew what they were putting in it, we'd start protesting like it's Tehran?
        • if we knew what they were putting in it, we'd start protesting...

          More like, if we knew about what was in it, we wouldn't get off our fat asses in Mom's basement and just whine about it in 140 character tweets. That's why the government can do this stuff.

        • because if we knew what they were putting in it, we'd start protesting like it's Tehran?

          You didn't start protesting like it's Tehran over things far worse and far-reaching than some copyright treaty.

      • by dissy (172727)

        But how can a treaty on COPYRIGHT be about national security?

        By _securing_ our _nations_ income by charging for the same item a few tens of times over and making it a crime if you don't willingly let them steal that money?

        Yea, no, its just BS :/

    • by ms1234 (211056) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @05:53AM (#28409281)

      You have to accept the EULA first. Then you can read it.

      • You have to accept the EULA first. Then you can read it.

        Not really - since the EULA includes a clause that forbids you from reading it.

    • by shentino (1139071)
      http://www.sjgames.com/secret.html

      Seriously though, we need some federal judges with a security clearance beefy enough to see this "national security" bullshit for what it really is.
  • Change... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by santax (1541065) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @05:03AM (#28409049)
    I could use some :(
  • by Godji (957148)
    I don't understand how it is legal to enact a law whose text is not public. Somebody please explain!
    • Re:WTF (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @05:23AM (#28409157)

      Oh, it will be made public. About 5 seconds before the vote so nobody, not even the senators (or congressmen, I don't know which is responsible for that in the US legislation) can read it. Or act against it. Or at least point out to those that should vote for or against it where the pits lie.

      Bluntly and honestly, if I was a politician, I'd be strongly against it on these grounds alone. If a law is suggested with so much secrecy, it can only mean that I'm going to be bullshitted into voting on something that I won't support.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by matsoo (1524273)

        That is probably exactly what will happen, and when people acctually gets a chance to read the law and start protesting against it, they already have a set of cosmetic changes ready to make it appear more resonable. It i exactly what happen with the last three laws that are supposed to protect us from internet terrorism where I live.

        We seen this happen quite a few times now, and still people in general does not seem to wise up to this after the fact "door in the face" tactic.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        About 5 seconds before the vote

        What vote?

        This treaty is so important, and so secret, that it will be enacted by "Executive Branch Decision."

        There are probably plenty of "secret treaties" already. We just don't know about them because, they are . . . well, secret.

        "Negotiating secret treaties with foreign countries." That sounds just grand.

        "Hey what law have I violated?"

        "Sorry, can't tell you. It's secret."

        The conspiracy folks will have some fun with this.

        • Well, SOME day it will be made public. This ain't a law that concerns nations or adds something on top of a law that already outlaws something. I.e. it's not a ban on nuclear weapons with more than 100MT yield (which would probably not affect a normal person because any nukes are already illegal for them). It's something that will affect us in some way.

          So eventually we will hear about it. When it's too late to actually do anything against it, of course.

        • Re:WTF (Score:5, Insightful)

          by frieko (855745) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @08:30AM (#28409897)
          The US can't enter into a treaty without Senate ratification, even if the president signs it. That being said, they might not look up from kissing Obama's ass long enough to take their paperweights off the 'yes' button.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Sparx139 (1460489)
        I'm not sure what the situation is in America, but the Australian Government seems to be covering its bases in this information page [dfat.gov.au], saying "This decision to participate in negotiations does not bind Australia to join any subsequent treaty" and "Taking part in the negotiations does not oblige Australia to join any resulting treaty."
        When the details do come out, and the public starts to scream about it, the Aussie government are likely to back away from it. I'd guess that other involved countries will take
      • They're paid to vote for it. Well, the Democrats are. Depending on the exact wording and how much it has to do with war and oil, the Republicans may be paid to be for it as well. Libertarians will hate it because no one is paying them.
      • by Reziac (43301) *

        And this differs how from the majority of legislation being passed today?? Do you really think it's ANY different for routine bills, which hide unpalatable special interest laws under 900 pages of impenetrable legalese, then are presented to Congress with only a few days to consider them??

        As downsizedc.org says, bills should both be single subject, and required to be read publicly and in full well prior to any vote. This should be equally applied to treaties, since they are effectively laws that We The Peop

        • Then why do we have those overpaid people in the big halls? I could hire a bum off the street to raise his hand when he's told to, doesn't take any special person to do that.

          Politician is the only well paying profession where you neither need any special training nor take any special responsibilities.

          • Re:WTF (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Reziac (43301) * on Monday June 22, 2009 @01:50AM (#28417307) Homepage Journal

            I'd say rather that politics is the only business where by default, the fox guards the henhouse, and the fox very often knows that business very well... of course, it's not the business you want experts in when the object is to maintain live hens.

            Lawyers (the majority of politicians being of that ilk) making laws will not make them for everyday and the common man, but rather for the courts, and for the corner cases that lead to loopholes, rather than for real life.

            In short, laws are made for lawyers, not for We The People.

    • Re:WTF (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 21, 2009 @06:48AM (#28409513)

      It's not a law, it's an international multilateral agreement. This is better than a law because it creates the obligation to enact law, without all the fuss of democratic discussion. There have been many examples, some good, some bad.

      In Europe the TRIPS agreement (which ACTA in part replaces, since TRIPS has been hijacked by troublesome BRIC - Brazil, India, China - countries) has often been used as an excuse for software patents: "TRIPS obliges patents on software and genes".

      Same in the UK with data retention: law was quashed by Parliament in 2005, then the Blair govt. got it pushed through the EU with minimum discussion ("terrorism, crime and child porn" was the justification), and then six months later got it through the UK parliament with almost zero discussion. 180-degree U-turn.

      ACTA is like this: "treaty-washing" of legislation that would never pass at the national level.

      Please put pressure on the EFF to restart this. It is a major, major threat to global Internet freedom.

      • BRIC - Brazil, India, China - countries

        "BRIC" is actually "Brazil, Russia, India, China".

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dissy (172727)

      I don't understand how it is legal to enact a law whose text is not public. Somebody please explain!

      It isn't legal.

      That hasn't appeared to be a requirement for our government to do something for some time now however.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 21, 2009 @05:24AM (#28409161)

    if it is anything like the bank secrecy act it is probably .... like what they do for money now, but applied to 'intellectual property'. and full of the following:

    specific indications of what should 'trigger' investigations of people, and/or their transactions, i.e., certain amounts of certain types of IP put through within a certain amount of time.

    requirements to 'report' all transactions over a certain amount to government authorities... ie in money its , say, 3,000 $... in data it might be, 1 terabyte or something.

    the illegalization fo trying to 'avoid' aforementioned 'reporting requirements'. IE, in money, if you separate out your transactions into smaller ones, it doesnt have to be reported to the government... its illegal, so... in data maybe they will say 'you cant split up a 5 TB file into smaller pieces to avoid reporting'

    requirements about proof of identity for anyone performing transactions of certain amounts. ie, you have to prove youre a citizen or something before you can transfer a large file, with a photo ID or some other proof.

    gag orders against all government and corporate employees who are responsible for reporting these suspicions to the federal government department in charge of the program. ie, these workers cannot discuss anything they report with anyone, including coworkers, or they will be in violation of law and subject to punishment.

    add in a bunch of international crap to this...

    maybe some standradization on what is in the reports... banks in the US have standard forms to fill out to report transactions over certain amounts to the government.

    there is also the state department list of countries you cannot trade money with or whatever. well, now they will probably apply that to data too, or something.

    who knows what other crazy shit they will put in here. it is absolutely ridiculous though to keep it a secret.

    the trouble is that Mark Felt types dont usually work in huge corporations... not a lot of leakers on the board of goldman sachs or microsoft.

    • by Mprx (82435)
      File size isn't all that useful, because the ratio of copyrights to bytes is so variable. Eg. downloading the Atari 2600 romset infringes a huge number of copyrights in a very small size.
  • Meet the new boss (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ReallyEvilCanine (991886) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @06:18AM (#28409373) Homepage
    Same as the old boss. Almost [youtube.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 21, 2009 @06:31AM (#28409445)

    He'll be better than GWB (heck, even my cat would be) but he still has orders to execute. For those who live under a rock, keep in mind that the US President decides absolutely nothing: he jumps when the Congress says to jump, and the Congress says "jump" when the financial/economic oligarchy that rules the western world says "tell him to jump". If we as a whole don't change tha way the economic world got corrupted until today (ie, corporations being more important than people) we shouldn't expect a single human, be it the US President, to do anything good.

    • He is the same as Congress, yet we voted the "other" party back into power. Funny that. If this isn't PROOF FUCKING POSITIVE that there IS no two-party system anymore, I'll eat my hat. Don't give him such a free pass, though. If you blamed Bush for anything in the last 8 years, you can't now NOT blame Obama for the same fucking things.

      There is no free pass. Obama has the bully pulpit (the press), and could conceivably do better if he were actually DIFFERENT from the last moron in charge. But it's c
  • by macraig (621737) <(mark.a.craig) (at) (gmail.com)> on Sunday June 21, 2009 @07:09AM (#28409581)

    ... did the Obama Campaign receive from IP holders? Was it a landslide enough to help him get elected, I wonder?

    Between having so many "friends of the RIAA" in the Department of Justice, VP Biden bragging that Big Media will love the new Copyright Czar, and this continued tight-lipped-ness about ACTA, I think it's pretty damned clear what Obama's REAL agenda will be for the next four years.

    All of you fools that thought Obama was the Messiah screwed-up: you voted for Judas instead. The real Messiah might have been Dennis Kucinich, and coincidentally he got crucified... both by the DNC *and* voters.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by vivaelamor (1418031)

      I'd never even heard of Dennis Kucinich (though I'm not american so cut me a bit of slack), just looked him up and although I would agree with most of his policies, I think the big vote killer is his anti-handgun stance. On a purely populist level it would mean the campaign would mostly be spent trying to explain to americans why it would be justified and on a more political level it contradicts some of his other policies from the view of a lot of liberals. I think the main reason Obama got such widespread

      • by macraig (621737)

        Kucinich is the one man in our Congress who had the balls to stand up and try to start impeachment proceedings against culpable officials of the last administration; he risked his own political career to do it. His own party leadership publicly vowed to oppose his effort. Obama, a member of that same party, has refused to support an investigation.

        It's funny to me that the greatest amount of political courage and ethics is concentrated in such a diminutive man. IMHO, in terms of ethics he's a giant compar

      • Obama got widespread support because almost everything he said was such that everyone could interpret it as meaning that he intended to do what they thought he should do, even when they talked with other supporters who thought he would do the diametric opposite.
    • by True Grit (739797) *

      The real Messiah might have been Dennis Kucinich, and coincidentally he got crucified... both by the DNC *and* voters.

      What we *really* need is to get people to stop thinking that only the Presidency makes a difference. There is no Messiah, its the 60 votes in the Senate that controls all.

  • 'state secret' 'bush era policy'. we dont give a crap. this thing is not something related to internal affairs or security. its being FORCED on every country. and it affects citizen's individual rights, personal freedoms. if american legal system is SO stupid as to allow a law that no citizen has seen to be forced upon citizens, europe isnt that stupid. it will be sued and obtained in europe, and probably Eu will pull the plug on it.

  • Meet the new boss... (Score:3, Informative)

    by PinchDuck (199974) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @09:46AM (#28410239)

    Change you can believe in, but not really expect. Thanks for limiting our freedoms and working for big business, Democrats! You're just as bad as Bush.

    • Change you can believe in, but not really expect. Thanks for limiting our freedoms and working for big business, Democrats! You're just as bad as Bush.

      Worse, actually. His Water-Walking Holiness is continuing to embrace the damage Redneck Nero did, and adding his own into the mix.

      Yay downward spiral. How do you say "Hello, World" in chinese?

  • adoption of 'Three Strikes' policies requiring the termination of Internet access after repeat allegations of copyright infringement

    Now, on the face of it, that sounds terrible, but think about it: it could be so much worse than we imagine, that it's actually better. So there's little or no penalty for false allegations (I'm sure Big Content, doing massive numbers of allegations, wouldn't stand for penalties when they do so poorly), and you don't actually have to prove infringement, just allege it. So it's sort of like the middle eastern countries where you can divorce your wife by saying "I divorce you" three times. Except instead

  • When purchasing products, I have never really considered the fact that it may, or may not be, copyrighted.

    When the day comes that copyright violation is a criminal offense, I will be looking for that little mark on products AND AVOID THEM LIKE THE PLAGUE.

    Why? Because I don't want to take the risk of jail time just so I can buy a product. I know that may sound reactionary, but think about it. How many times have you heard of people being jailed for violating a law unintentionally? Am I to know and understand

  • by cc_pirate (82470) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @03:38PM (#28412889)

    The EFF shouldn't drop this. Judges CAN call the Executive out on fraudulent claims of 'National Security' at least to the point of reading what it is that is supposedly classified for 'national security' reasons. When he reads it and finds out that it is just a draconian IP rights treaty, he can allow the trial to continue.

    People pooh pooh this and pretend they can't shove the genie back into the bottle when it comes to the net, but it wouldn't be hard at all. Are YOU willing to go to jail to avoid having your net transfers searched? Are YOU willing to go to jail to prevent having your laptop searched at the US, European and other borders?

    Most people aren't.

    Sadly, I almost see the reasoning for doing this. At this point the US is no longer a manufacturing nation. Most of our GNP is from 'information' work. If we allow that to be devalued our GNP will be much lower than it could be, which means less fancy fighter jets, etc for the defense industrial complex... This is almost 100% certainly the reason this thing is 'classified'. And this will almost 100% be the reason our 'representatives' vote it into law over all our objections.

  • If the contract that gives our government the authority to govern is ignored, then isn't that grounds for ignoring the laws illegally imposed? Of course, this means civil war... *sigh*

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