Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

EU Politician Says ACTA Is Dead

Alexander Alvaro, a member of the European Parliament, has issued a statement to Billboard stating that he expects the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement will be rejected by the European Parliament.

The agreement is currently be reviewed by the Committee on International Trade. Additional information can be found here.

Bulgeria and Holland Put ACTA On Hold

Mashable.com reports that Bulgeria has decided to put their ratification of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement on hold “until it sees a clear and unified European stance on the treaty“. And Holland has decided to study ACTA further to determine if this agreement violates their country’s privacy legislation.

Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia have also recently decided to reconsider their ratification in response to public protests.

Latvia Says No To ACTA / Bill C-11 Update

Latvia is the latest European nation to stop their ratification of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. And it appears that Germany wants to hold off on signing in response to the public protests in their country.

Unfortunately Bill C-11 has progressed through the first and second reading in the House Of Commons here in Canada, with little to no response to the overwhelming opposition to the digital locks provisions and SOPA like website blocking.

The public has spoken, both in the public consultations on Bill C-32 and with recent letters and petitions against Bill C-11.

It is clear that Canadians do not want contradictory policies on private copying and SOPA like enforcement of our Copyright Act. Over 32,000 Canadians have signed the Openmedia.ca petition, including yours truly. And 74,000 “liked” the petition on Facebook.

It is a matter of record. Members of Parliament have received letters and emails conveying concern about or opposition to several provisions in Bill C-11, yet the current government has failed to address this correspondence.

This bill was rushed through it’s second reading in the House of Commons today, with little time for debate, and is up for review by a committee, who will analyze and amend the bill.

Hopefully they will notice how contradictory the technological protections measures are and amend them accordingly.

RIAA Responds To Protests

Well, a RIAA spokesperson had responded to the SOPA and PIPA protests in the NY Times. And of course, it’s the same old rhetoric.

Apparently he thinks everyone that opposed the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act were either severely misinformed or want everything for free.

Of course RIAA are doing their best to “inform” people of their spin, that the industry is suffering. And by “inform” I mean suing Americans and foreigners willy nilly. But it is obvious that the public is not buying their claims.

For two decades every expert in the industry has stated the music industry would shift from physical formats to digital. But they resisted, to their detriment, and wish to continue resisting even when international music sales are growing substantially.

It’s obvious that they’re crying foul on behalf of the manufacturers, who will be unable to capitalize on format shifts in the past.

These manufacturers, many of which are owned by the labels, profited from format shifting, when people upgraded from vinyl to 8-track, from 8-track to cassette and from cassette to CD. And if they had their way they’d get a royalty whenever someone copies a recording to a device.

This is an industry that thinks that because you aren’t paying to copy your legally purchased mp3s to your mp3 player that you are a “thief”. That you are just like those pirates that mass produce CDs and DVDs and sell them in pawn shops, farmer’s markets and online.

No ? Then why are these people lobbying the current government in Canada to disallow private copying of copy protected works with Bill C-11 ? Why are attempting to push a levy mp3 players in Canada ?

We’ve heard the excuse that some people use the internet to download mp3 files illegally. But have they ever produced a study proving the majority of these illegally downloaded recordings end up on mp3 players ?

Of course not.

They don’t want to distinguish previewing and private copying from illegal downloads. They’d rather just use one word, “infringement“, to gloss over the issues and call pretty much everything piracy to get their way with the technologically inept politicians.

Some members of the industry are also currently attempting to obtain royalties for the 30 second previews retailers posts online in Canada, in order to disqualify music downloads as “fair dealing” research for Canadians.

The Stop Online Piracy Act, Protect IP Act and Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement impose RIAA‘s views in regards to fair dealing and private copying on foreign nations.

They circumvent the democratic processes of nations who have established their own legislation on these subjects and an undue influence in regards to policy is imposed on nations that are undergoing copyright reforms.

It is obvious that the inflexibility of ATCA in regards to fair dealing and copy protection is causing the current government in Canada to refuse to alter Bill C-11 in accordance to the public’s wishes.

This proves that our political process has been polluted by foreign interests and SOPA/Protect IP like legislation in the United States could further undermine Canada’s democracy and sovereignty.

When Bill C-11 was introduced as Bill C-32, the Canadian Bar Association openly questioned the workability and purpose of some of the provisions, including the fair dealing and technological protection measure provisions.

They also questioned the need for additional legislation to address unauthorized distribution on the internet, so there is clearly a disconnect in-between the people of Canada and the legislation’s proponents.

This is clearly the case in the United States as well.

Second Thoughts On ACTA In Europe

Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia have had second thoughts on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement and have suspended their ratification in response to the demands for public consultation on this international trade agreement.

Though Canada has ratified the ACTA on October 1st, 2011, public consultations are still listed as ongoing according to the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada web site. And several older submissions are accessible by clicking here.

Several key portions of ACTA were also addressed by the 2009 copyright consultation submissions.

ACTA – The State Of Play

The above is a 33 minute keynote address by Micheal Geist on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement and the lack of transparency in regards to the international negotiations taking place in regard to this agreement.