Tuesday, June 10, 2008

ACTA = OMG Scary

Well, it appears the United States government has decided to stop being a country of the people, for the people and by the people. Instead, it has chosen, along with the governments of other nations, to become the paid thugs for Big Entertainment.

This week, they have been in secret negotiations to grant border guards the right to scan your laptops, ipods, media devices for infringing material and confiscate or destroy them without due process of right of appeal! What does a border guard know of intricacies copyright law? How will they know the difference between mp3 files from your CD collection and content downloaded illegally? Or is the whole point to criminalize ripping files from their CD collection? Is this Big Entertainment's way around the "fair use" doctrine which has so far protected the activity? If you don't believe me, see for yourself how utterly terrible this treaty is.

There was no public outcry for this. There was no public opinion consulted on the validity, necessity or terms of this treaty. No, this treaty is based on outcry by corporations afraid of change, based on inaccurate data they themselves generate. It is the result of consultation with only one side of the complex and PUBLIC discussion that has occurred lately on copyright. It was intended to be negotiated entirely in secret and presented to the American people as holy international writ.

More importantly, it is a supremely bad law that is based on a 20th century perspective of copyright. A perspective that this paper makes abundantly clear has no bearing on reality in a digital age. The technological ignorance of CEOs of entertainment companies and our elected "leaders" is going to lead to a terrible set of laws which protects no one, helps no one and criminalizes every single person with digital media on their computer.

Our politicians are such amazingly gutless sell-outs. And, the entertainment industry apparently thinks it is completely reasonable to criminalize every single one of their customers world-wide. I wonder how many of them have degrees in Constitutional law or, hell, even copyright law. More importantly, I don't recall electing any entertainment CEOs to office. Just because something is good for the Entertainment Industry's tired, out-dated business model does NOT mean it is good for the United States, its citizens or any other country in the world.

Go here to read more....but only if you have a strong stomach.

(I actually wrote my Senator about this one...that's a first for me. But if we get copyright reform wrong, it sets a really bad precedent for the other technological changes coming this century)

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