Posts tagged Copyright laws
Posts tagged Copyright laws
EU parliament throws out anti-piracy pact
The European Parliament rejected by a wide majority the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), an international copyright deal which, critics say, threatened internet freedom.
Only 39 lawmakers voted in favour of ACTA on Wednesday; 478 rejected it, while 165 abstained, killing off the EU ratification process. This might give an incentive to other signatories to also walk out, forcing the renegotiation or the outright abandonment of the agreement.
The conservative European People’s Party (EPP), the largest group in the EU assembly, unsuccessfully tried to postpone the vote until the European Court of Justice (ECJ) delivers a verdict on whether ACTA really poses a risk to civil liberties.
"No emergency surgery, no transplant, no long period of recuperation is going to save ACTA: it is time to give it its last rites, it is time to allow its friends to mourn and for the rest of us to get on with our lives," British socialist David Martin, who drafted parliament’s opinion on ACTA, said before the vote.
"Rejecting the ACTA flat out, without trying to address concrete concerns, after years of negotiating, does nothing to handle the serious threats to European jobs and enterprises ACTA intended to solve," EPP member Christofer Fjellner complained afterwards.
By contrast, lawmakers from the Green group, which campaigned vigorously against the deal, waved banners saying “Hello Democracy, Goodbye ACTA.”
The agreement had been signed by Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore and the United States, as well as by the EU and its member states. It establishes global standards against counterfeit goods, non-licensed generic medicines and online piracy.
Pictured: The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement has yet to be ratified and has stirred controversy across the globe [Reuters]
With echoes of Sopa, critics charge that bill will overturn US privacy protections in government attempts to track hackers
Washington looks set to wave through new cybersecurity legislation next week that opponents fear will wipe out decades of privacy protections at a stroke.
The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (Cispa) will be discussed in the House of Representatives next week and already has the support of 100 House members.
It will be the first such bill to go to a vote since the collapse of the Stop Online Piracy Act (Sopa) in January after global protests and a concerted campaign by internet giants such as Google, Wikipedia and Twitter.
The author of the new bill, Mike Rogers, the Republican chair of the House intelligence committee, has said it is aimed at tracking the nefarious activities of hackers, terrorists and foreign states, especially China. But its critics charge the bill will affect ordinary citizens and overturn the privacy protections they now enjoy.
Opponents fear the way it is currently drafted will open up ordinary citizens to unprecedented scrutiny. The bill uses the wording: “Notwithstanding any other provision of law,” a phrase that if it became law would trump all existing legislation, according to critics.
In one section, the bill defines “efforts to degrade, disrupt or destroy” a network as an area that would trigger a Cispa investigation. Opponents argue something as simple as downloading a large file – a movie for example – could potentially be defined as an effort to “degrade” a network.
The bill also exempts companies from any liability for handing over private information.
"As it stands the bill allows companies to turn over private information to the government and for them to use it for any purpose that they see fit, all without a warrant," said Michelle Richardson, with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). "For 40 years we have had legislation about wiretapping that protects people. This would overturn that and make a cyber exception."
Privacy advocates are especially concerned about what they see as the overly broad language of the bill. As people increasingly use services like Skype and other internet telephony services, Twitter and Facebook to communicate, advocates fear the bill is a land grab that would give US authorities unprecedented access to private information while removing a citizen’s legal protection.
Pictured: Wikipedia joined other major sites in going dark on 18 January to protest Sopa, but so far internet giants such as Wikipedia and Google have remained silent on Cispa. Photograph: Rex Features
After major opposition, Brussels has referred its anti-piracy treaty to the European Court of Justice to rule if it complies with the EU’s fundamental rights and freedoms. Critics have said the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA, will curb free access on the internet. Thousands protested across Europe earlier this month.
Protests drag down Europe’s SOPA
Hollywood heads for another defeat as the online world rejects an anti-counterfeiting proposal
“I will not take part in this masquerade,” wrote the European Union’s special rapporteur for the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, as he tendered his resignation last month. Since then, opposition to the international pact on so-called intellectual property has swelled. The popular fervor that thwarted the Stop Online Piracy Act in the United States has gone global.
Thousands marched in the streets of Europe last weekend, with protests reported in Budapest, Paris, Prague, Vilnius, Transylvania and beyond. Bulgaria has pulled out of the process of signing ACTA, as the agreement is known. Latvia has called for greater consultation. Poland has suspended its involvement. And Germany is holding off, as are the Czech and Slovak governments. Hollywood had expected a neat and tidy ending to the years-long negotiation of a new global copyright regime. What it has gotten is something as complex as a Fellini film.
How did we get here? In 2007, the United States, along with Japan, Switzerland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Korea and the 27 EU member countries began, in near total secret, to work out a policy on piracy and bootlegging that would stand separate from existing international trade bodies. The hope was to synchronize enforcement against counterfeit goods, from knockoff Viagra to black-market electronics to faux Nike sneakers.
But as the world has gotten a peek at ACTA over the years, it’s how the agreement would govern the Internet that has gotten the most attention. The agreement has raised concerns that travelers will have their laptops and MP3 players searched at border crossings for illicit copies of movies or music, or that Internet service providers will be forced to crack down on customers suspected of using their bandwidth to trade files.
Pictured: Internet activists protest against the international copyright agreement known as ACTA, (Credit: AP)
Bulgaria and the Netherlands join Poland and Germany in refusing to ratify Acta, citing privacy and human rights issues
Support for Acta in Europe is waning as both Bulgaria and the Netherlands refuse to ratify the international anti-piracy agreement.
Bulgaria will not ratify the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement over fears it will curb freedom to download movies and music for free and encourage internet surveillance, economy minister Traicho Traikov said on Tuesday.
More than 4,000 people marched in the capital Sofia last Saturday calling on parliament not to ratify the act. Similar rallies drew thousands of protesters across eastern Europe, as well as in Germany, France and Ireland.
Pictured: Anti-Acta protestors in Sofia. Bulgaria is the latest European country to back off from the controversial pact. Photograph: Nikolay Doychinov/AFP/Getty Images
Acta protests: Thousands take to streets across Europe
Thousands of people have taken part in co-ordinated protests across Europe in opposition to a controversial anti-piracy agreement.
Significant marches were held in Germany, Poland and the Netherlands against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (Acta).
Around 200 protesters gathered in central London outside the offices of several major rights holders.
Demonstrators argued that Acta will limit freedom of speech online.
However the agreement’s supporters insist it will not alter existing laws, and will instead provide protection for content creators in the face of increasing levels of online piracy.
The treaty has to date been signed by 22 EU members, including the UK, but has yet to be ratified by the European Parliament. A debate is due to take place in June.
Pictured: Marchers in London gathered outside British Music House, home to several major rights holders.
Thousands march in Poland over Acta internet treaty
The government says protesters will have their say before the treaty is ratified in Poland
Thousands of protesters have taken to Poland’s streets over the signing of an international treaty activists say amounts to internet censorship.
Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s government signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement in Tokyo on Thursday.
The treaty, known as Acta, aims to establish international standards to enforce intellectual property rights.
But critics say it could curb freedom of expression, and government websites have been hacked in protest.
This Is Important, You Should Watch It of the Day: Salman Khan offers the most succinct and straightforward rundown of how the language in SOPA’s current iteration leaves wide open the possibility that, despite its ostensible intention to block foreign sites trafficking in pirated content, completely legal websites operating inside the United States could easily be labeled “enablers” of “U.S. property theft” and subjected to crippling sanctions that would effectively shut them down.
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