Poland on ACTA

Polish presidential advisor claims that protestors against ACTA have been “manipulated”.

From above link:

“I’d prefer the young would protest against the govenment not accepting the act about the prohibition of using claymore mines. “-said Kuźniar. He also mentioned that he’s surprised of the fact that so many young people have hit the streets, because he’s thinking they wouldn’t do this if they have read ACTA.

Anyone who wishes to read the final text can do so here in English, French or Spanish. Shall we see if people will be disinclined to taking to the streets after reading the official text.

I would also like to point out that all amendments to ACTA will be done by a specially created committee and their decisions will be free from public review and Judicial review. This will effectively create a framework that operates independent of the current judicial frameworks because ACTA proponents believe that the current process is handicapping their ability to enforce ACTA on an international scale. If this doesn’t worry you, I do not know what will.

ACTA will kill free software. DRM media will no longer be able to be played on free software players. Distribution channels for free software will be brought into question due to the threat of them also being used to transfer copywrited materials. To quote the above source, “It creates a culture of surveillance and suspicion, in which the freedom that is required to produce free software is seen as dangerous and threatening rather than creative, innovative, and exciting.”

Remember back when Microsoft killed Netscape by bundling Internet Explorer with Windows and not allowing the bundling of third party browsers? Imagine a world with that sort of limitation on competition due to companies exercising their right to protect their IP. It is scary and ultimately bad for the consumer.

ACTA allows for criminal investigations and searches on individuals without the need for probable cause, which undermines the presumption of innocence. You know, stuff like this would have been unlawful before.

ISPs that comply with ACTA will be provided with safe harbour from any legal accountability for the habits of their users, however those that do not comply will be afforded no such safety. Really, what ISP can afford not to monitor usage of their users now? iiNet would sure have a hard time in the courts a second time around.

ACTA may not end up killing the global economy, but it sure as hell will shoot it in the foot. Without distribution channels and with the loose definitions of copywrited and counterfeit materials, the age of software innovation may well be over.

The age of privacy was said to have died with Facebook. Not a social norm, says Zuckerberg. Though with Facebook you had the option to not use it.

With ACTA there is no such option.

Still, do you think those youths in Poland were overreacting? All things considered, for those without training in Law, Economics or even with an interested in open and free software (which relies on the ability to modify and learn from code that was created by others) would likely have a hard time considering this without being manipulated with parties interested in either side of the debate.

Having said that, I think the whole issue hasn’t been represented well enough in a way that will help people understand what the long term consequences of something like ACTA would be. And even countries like Ireland have tried their hand at something like SOPA.

Just read up on ACTA and be informed.


Not out of the woods…

SOPA and PIPA are out of the picture for now. Everyone, the internet has won a major battle in the fight for freedom and openness! However, the war is far from over. I am sure some of you by now have heard of ACTA, an international trade agreement that is being developed in secret and in some cases by non elected special interest groups.

Really, this could spell the end of the internet as we know it. It could kill innovation by limiting what others can do with already developed products, ideas, sentenes, you name it. How can we progress if we are not allowed to make itterative improvements to technology? How will free press survive if news and other articles can be copywrited by one particular media outlet?

This is going to kill off the majority of global industry for the benefit of a very very small number of people and entities that are clinging desperately to an outdated business model. There is something admirable in their tenacity, but really could you not try to end the world while you are at it?

Congress dismissing their lack of understanding of a fundamental part of the modern economy in an almost flippant manner by stating “I am not a nerd” shows an utter lack of respect for the kind of power they are toying with.

ACTA shows that lack of disrespect on an almost global scale. I know I am going to see if I can write to my MP demanding to know why such a dangerous agreement is being negotiated in secret, and why Australia is a part of it at all. If the government is intent on killing a massive job creation engine, I’m sure the tax payer is not going to want to pick up the pieces for them, and I definitely doubt JSA and DES are going to be happy with that as well.

As Gabe Newell said once, “Piracy is a service problem.” If you want me to buy your shit, release it in all markets. With Blu-rays we have seen a decline in region coding, which was an attempt at market segregation and pricing control. However, we still have not seen an end to market segregation, with certain products not available in all markets. I know I’d buy Antichrist on Blu-Ray but it’s locked to Region A and I’m not in Region A! Lost Sales!! YAY!!!! I’ve attempted to buy albums on the iTunes store, but they are not available on the Australian iTunes store. The list, beyond my own personal experiences, goes on.

The model is flawed, their service is atrocious, and they want us to pay for their backward thinking. They bitch and moan about a 7% loss in revenue due to piracy and their lobbyists with their deep pockets have potentially killed off an upcoming industry (see above link).

If they can already shut down sites, the introduction of an agreement that could destroy privacy, freedom of expression, net nutrality, multiple points of view in the press, innovation and a large part of the global economy seems just a tad unwarranted.

Your countries have already signed the agreement.

This is making me sad, so I will leave it off there. I just need to keep an eye out for news about ACTA and find out what I can do to help prevent it.

MPAA on SOPA Blackout

“It’s a dangerous and troubling development when the platforms that serve as gateways to information intentionally skew the facts to incite their users in order to further their corporate interests.”

So says MPAA CEO Chris Dodd.

Really, this doesn’t strike you as the pot calling the kettle black, Mr. Dodd? I believe utilising the MPAA as a platform by which to further corporate interests in the Movie industry while sacrificing the freedoms and security of netizens is an ultimately fruitless and incredibly insulting thing to do. This course of action is made all the more insulting by the fact you or the people you represent cannot see past any short term “gain” to think of the very real damage you would be causing with such a bill.

I do not understand how Wikipedia shutting down for one day in a peaceful protest is a more dangerous development than a bill that will allow HOLLYWOOD to decide to turn off a site because of content that they do not agree with.

Why should Hollywood be Judge, Jury and Executioner? Why should content creators, small companies, blog hosts, journalists, video and picture sharing sites, and social media be afraid of people who are so out of touch with the reality of the situation, they really think potentially shutting down websites like Boing Boing or Livejournal could or would ever stop someone from accessing pirated material?

Why can’t somebody just get them to stop making horrible movies all the time?? to be fair, this has been a problem with the film industry since time immemorial.

I understand that piracy is a legitimate concern, but I do not wish to live in a world where decisions about content availability on the internet are dictated by the interests of Corporate America. I trust an open source of information like Wikipedia over the MPAA any day.

The Oatmeal has spoken!
(image sourced from theoatmeal.com).

If The Oatmeal says it, it must be true!

Hello world!

This is my first post on WordPress. Oh boy, what a time to join the fold. SOPA and PIPA are knocking on our door(s) and threatening to change the face of the internet and global economy as we know it.

Of course, I remain largely uneducated about the way of economics. For all I can comprehend it is an ancient and mystical art that involves numbers and animal spirits and stuff. But from my readings into the subject, I have been led to believe that the safest bet for international trade and investment is the US Dollar. So in my layperson’s understanding of things, the legislation would shoot the US economy in the foot by:

  • Stifling Startups;
  • Breeding fear and inaction in companies;
  • Restrict freedom of expression and journalism;
  • Severely restrict innovation; and
  • Putting an end to the job-creation potential of the internet
Also in my layperson’s understanding of things, this would do bad things to the US dollar, which will do bad things to the rest of the world.

Please, strange old people in government that remain insulated from the functioning of the 21st Century World, I beg you to reconsider something with such far reaching consequences. The world cannot be held randsom to the will of the Entertainment industry! Think not of your personal pockets and think of the pockets of the Nation you are meant to represent.


I would like to hope that January 24 will bring news that common sense prevails and that SOPA and PIPA are no more.

Make your voice heard.

Those not in America, make your voice heard too! Together we may be able to save ourselves from ourselves.

I will hopefully be able to get into a less SOPA oriented groove with this blog and have lots of fun on the Free internet!