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U.S.: No ACTA Transparency Unless Other Countries Cave on Substance

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Monday April 12, 2010
The U.S. Trade Representative issued a release just prior to the launch of the New Zealand round of ACTA negotiations that has left no doubt that the U.S. is the biggest barrier to official release of the ACTA text.  The full text of the release is couched in terms of improving transparency, but is really a thinly-veiled shot at the European Union's public demands for release of the text.  The U.S. statement:

"In this upcoming round of ACTA negotiations, the U.S. delegation will be working with other delegations to resolve some fundamental issues, such as the scope of the intellectual property rights that are the focus of this agreement.  Progress is necessary so that we can prepare to release a text that will provide meaningful information to the public and be a basis for productive dialogue.  We hope that enough progress is made in New Zealand in clearing brackets from the text so that participants can be in a position to reach a consensus on sharing a meaningful text with the public."

Note what the U.S. is actually saying - resolving scope of the treaty (the E.U. is seeking a broader scope that includes patents) and removing square brackets (the sources of disagreement) is needed to reach consensus on sharing text with the public.  Yet there is no reason to link ACTA transparency with the substance of the treaty.  The text of the treaty can be released without regard for the level of agreement on substantive issues.  Yet unlike most other ACTA countries that have called for transparency without condition, the U.S. has set conditions that effectively seeks to trade its willingness to release the text for gains on the substance of the text.  The only thing needed to reach consensus on sharing the text with the public is for the U.S. to give the go-ahead.  This statement indicates they will only do so for a price.
Comments (108)add comment

pat donovan said:

grunt
it means 'our plans to locked down the web till users pay for form, delivery and content and ANYONE doing ANYTHING we don't get paid for is thrown under a bus'
political sites were the first locked out. (that's free speech, people) now ANYTHING that connects to money will get locked up.
money, power and fame are their priorities.
packrat
April 12, 2010

Anon-K said:

...
"The text of the treaty can be released without regard for the level of agreement on substantive issues."

Michael, while I agree that there is no particular reason, this is simply a bargaining position. The US wants certain things from ACTA. Other countries want transparency in the negotiations. Either the US is willing to give on transparency in return for considerations on some of their demands, or they are trying to use it as a poison pill (although I suspect it is the former). This may, of course, backfire on them and others simply walk away from the negotiations...
April 12, 2010

Eric L. said:

RE: Anon-K
"others simply walk away from the negotiations..."

One can hope. I would love to see the U.S. force ACTA on themselves alone.
April 12, 2010

Dan said:

One Thing I Don't Understand...
What happens if a country pushing for transparency unilaterally releases its copy of the treaty?
April 12, 2010

Anonymous said:

Ha!
Walk the hell away. This is no longer a negotiation, this is the U.S. dictating terms.
April 12, 2010

Andrew said:

ACTA Transparency
At least they haven't claimed that the content of the treaty is copyrighted and they are scared that people will pirate copies of it!
April 12, 2010

Anon-K said:

@Dan
Since the current treaty is at draft, from the transparency perspective there isn't much to be gained. However, presumably they would face retaliatory action from the other negotiating countries... it could also affect their ability to negotiate other treaties.
April 12, 2010

Crockett said:

...
Looks like the "coalition of the willing" are on their own again.
April 12, 2010

StompinObasans said:

Then they can take their treaty back
werent they the ones who prepared it and pushing it to other countries ?

i mean, what kind of ridiculous position is this, like a spoiled child ? 'i brought this proposal, i want you all to accept it. but i dont want anyone to see it. if you want anyone to see it, you have to accept it'

you dont see this even in kindergarten.

Eu will win on this. all what u.s. tries to push is contrary to european ideals.
April 12, 2010

Anonymous said:

We don't want it either
You can find Americans in support of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and do so pretty easily, I'm one of them. However, do not lump us in as people who support this ludicrous ACTA, or the freaking DMCA. Both are total crap, and I dont think you can find a single american outside one the the so called AA's (RIAA, MPAA, etc) who think this is a good idea. Yeah, we write our congresspeople, yes, we write to the president.
If you internationals want the truth though, you contributed to this. The whole world was in love with Obama, and paid little attention to his RIAA pawn of a running mate, Joe Biden. Yeah, you supported this nonsense. You may not have had a vote in our elections, and our voter turnout is awful, but you, the rest if the world, helped validate american's opinons on the ticket, and in effect, had a small part in getting him, and biden, elected. Now we all feel the horror togather.
April 12, 2010

Anonymous said:

What U.S. really really said...
Mr Geist has a point. To it sounds like a last cry of death: The U.S. knows the ACTA treaty is going to fail and they're just trying to go down with dignity (for as far that's possible).
April 12, 2010

Anon2 said:

...
"I dont think you can find a single american outside one the the so called AA's (RIAA, MPAA, etc) who think this is a good idea."

So "The Worlds Greatest Democracy" doesn't really work like one ...
April 12, 2010

Anonymous said:

@Anon2
At the EU hearing some guy from the chemical industry spoke up and asked why ACTA wouldn't change laws. In his opinion ACTA wasn't going far enough.
April 12, 2010

WhoAmI said:

It's all in the name...
Who names their child Nefeterious??
April 12, 2010

Anonymous said:

Correction
"So "The Worlds Greatest Democracy" doesn't really work like one ..."

Actually, its a republic, and no, it doesn't exactly function like that either...those who do vote in the US are usually too dumb to do so, examples are easy to find, like the reporter who went through Harlem asking people how they felt about a policy John McCain proposed, but saying it was from Obama.....the Harlem residents said they loved it and Obama...yeah, those are the types voting, why should congress have to worry about answering to intellingent constituants? There are enough idiots voting to keep them in office...Yet any call to limit the right to vote leads to people basically claiming treason, or human rights violations, and brings international attention against it. Don't get me wrong, even though I may disagree with Obama, and many people in the US, I love the US, and wouldn't live anywhere else even if they paid me. We of course, have room for improvement, and I think we need to manage international expectations of us a little better. I am fairly certain that living outside the US, you have no idea how the political system here works, and definatly don't understand us as a people. There is a reason though that most people who live here temporarily, quickly attempt to become permenant residents. It really is a great country, with a lot of great people, such that you won't want to leave once you live here for a few years. You'll understand and appreciate the system, and the American views on international politics (or rather, the many views on international politics, and the debates that ensue). Without that, all you know is what the news organizations report, or how our government affects your daily life, and what they teach in school, which clearly, isn't correct since as I stated, we are a republic. That news, and schooling is a far cry from knowing what it is like to be an American.
That said, I will still say, I hate the DMCA, and the ACTA needs to die....quickly....I sure hope that other countries walk away from this fallacy of a treaty...yes, we need to curb pirating, hardware copying, IP theft, but we don't need to make the worlds communications networks and devices a police state over these issues...
April 12, 2010

Anonymous said:

Authors Position
Forgive me if I'm being ignorant, but, the text of this article reads, like a bigoted response to international negotiations, by the author, who is using this as an excuse to blame, bash, and put down, the US. Admittedly, I don't know much about the ACTA, but either it'll get agreed to, or it won't. If you want to display your hatred, dislike, malcontent, or other bigoted rants, do so openly, and without an excuse. Oh wait, nevermind. Not allowed to do that in Canada. They dont believe in free speech.
April 12, 2010

Anonymous said:

@Authors Position
Hmmm... let's see... he makes a statement. Quotes a statement to prove his statement. Then draws a conclusion based on the quote. I would say it's pretty much based in fact, not in bigoted anti-U.S. sentiment. The fact of the matter here is that the U.S. Trade Representative is flat out saying "Once the negotiations are over, we will release the text".

And yes, there is free speech in Canada. Would you happen to be a follower of Ann Coulter by any chance? Your statements appear to be as misguided as her own.
April 12, 2010

Anonymous said:

reply to @Authors Position
Ah. Okay. I stand corrected. Free speech is alive and well in Canada. Alright. Is this author involved, in the negotiations, of this agreement ? No. He doesn't have first hand knowledge of what is really happening. He has publicly available knowledge of what is happening. That said, I'm not a follower of Ann Coulter. If I could selectively remove people from my TV set, she'd be at the top of the list. I am, however, a resident of the US, and the authors tone in this article offends me. That's alright. I don't mind. I get offended all the time. But lets take this further down the road. Lets have everyone, from every country, all over the world, writing articles blaming others for not furthering their own personal agenda. An entire planet of armchair quarterbacks.

How will that fair for the international negotiation process ?
April 12, 2010

Anonymous said:

re: reply to @Authors Position
I am also a U.S. citizen, albeit expatriate, but I stand firmly with the author. The U.S. is preventing transparent international negotiations.
April 12, 2010

Dan said:

Artifical Wealth
I sometimes wonder if the whole ACTA/IP/copyright reform is fundamentally about creating artificial wealth in America, so that they don't have to address their national debt issues. It seems to me that the goal here is to establish a legal, economic, value to a quantity of information, the bulk of which is controlled by Americans. Once established, the value of said information (IE music, movie) can now be artificially inflated or deflated, in order to manage wealth-to-debt ratios. It seems reasonable (to me) that "information wealth" is being morphed into the primary Keynesian influence in America - rather than print/destroy currency, or manipulate interest rates, the value of information will be altered to fit the economic circumstance.
Given the above as true, this would bode very poorly for Canada, as our economy is based firmly on real, physical, natural resources. In the relative economic global market, our relative wealth would be significantly undermined. The fact that the bulk of this new "information wealth" appears to be manipulated beyond our control can only result in less control of our own economy. Personally, this feels like an assault on our sovereignty.
April 12, 2010

Troofie said:

What hate?
I don't really see any hatred pointed towards the US in the article.

There obviously is some "stern" criticism towards how the USTR is using transparency as a carrot, and obfuscation as a stick; but that's just what's happening.

Where exactly is the knee-jerk anti-Americanism?
April 12, 2010

Anonymous said:

re: reply to @Authors Position
>> The U.S. is preventing transparent international negotiations.

The US is not preventing transparent international negotiations. The people involved in this particular agreement, who are hopefully working in the best interests of the US, as the other countries representatives are hopefully working in their nations bests interests, are currently not disclosing that which this author feels they should. Hence, this article full of negativity, targeted towards the position of the US at this time.

The author is a legal scholar, with a personal interest in the law, and he wants to look inside the terms of the agreement, and the fact that he can't has upset him.

I'm a computer programmer. I'd like to have the source code to the latest release of Microsoft Windows. Does that mean I can righteously slander and/or paint Microsoft in a negative light simply because they won't do that wish I desire them to ?

I think not.
April 12, 2010

Patrick said:

...
@above, the release of the document is for the public interest not for a single lawyer. Are you that arrogant that you haven't seen what's actually in the leaked drafts? It's terrible and could effect laws of many different countries. I am a programmer as well, your analogy does not correlate to this in the least bit (lack of logic is a bad trait for a programmer sir). Your talking about a multinational corporation (microsoft) vs international trade negotiations (ACTA) where 2 billion+ people have a stake in whatever comes out as an "agreement". The US is entirely preventing it's release, nice try though.
April 12, 2010

William Donnelly said:

Huh?
Your missing the point. The federal government put in place by the states is dictating the terms. The united states is a plural of all the states. The states themselves are now the federal government's bitches, and are no longer considered sovereign since the last civil war. I hope that clears things up.
April 12, 2010

Anonymous said:

re: ...
I, sir, am not the one being arrogant here.
Resisting the temptation to flame you as you have me, here is my response to your statement.

The negotiations, and the outcome thereof, are in the public interest. Everything that happens on planet Earth, is in the public interest. This does not mean, however, that the public has the right, to be informed, of everything that happens on planet Earth.

Your government, my government, and the government over there, do not tell everything to everyone who asks, simply because they asked. It doesn't happen. It has never happened. It never will happen. The expectation that you or I, should be informed of every work in progress at every step is ridiculous.

That said, by your logic, I should now be writing blogs about how the nation of OogaBooga sucks, because they wont give me their bank account numbers so I can transfer funds to the Save The Worlds Breasts Cancer Foundation. Surely this legislation will affect me, as it does you, and I'll concern myself with it, as soon as its actual legislation, and not a draft.

If I don't agree with its contents, I have my own nations representatives to blame, and I won't be writing articles about how the people of OogaBooga screwed me over under the pretense that I am an expert and I know it was their fault, because I said so, and they have no good reason for it.

If the author wants to do the public of planet Earth a real service, he'll focus on the content of the legislation that he has analyzed, logically, thus far, and not point fingers and lay blame at the participants of the negotiation process, as if their actions are supported, or even known, by the population of the nation on whos behalf they are negotiating.

Nice try.


April 12, 2010

Bill Poser said:

republics and democracies
"Actually, its a republic". The US is both a democracy and a republic. The two are not distinct.
April 12, 2010

Dwight Williams said:

...
Walk away for now, Messrs. Harper, Cannon, Clement et al.. This is unilateral dictation of terms. The rest of the human race - not to mention a very large chunk of American citizens whose positions I respect - have their dignity and human rights to preserve here.
April 12, 2010

Bill Poser said:

false analogies
The person or persons named "anonymous" arguing that the US is not preventing transparency have presented several false analogies. No one is arguing that governments are obligated to release every bit of information that they possess. Some information must be kept confidential either for the security of the government itself or for the privacy of individuals and companies with which the government deals. The point is that the terms of an international agreement do not fall into these categories, and in the case of this type of agreement, there is no other basis for secrecy (as there would be, e.g., for some military matters).

Another false analogy is that between ACTA and Microsoft. Microsoft is under no obligation to release its source code because it is a private entity, not a government, and its source code is arguably not of sufficient public interest. The governments negotiating ACTA, on the other hand, are public institutions, responsible to all of us, and the matters being negotiated are of considerable public interest. The two cases are not at all comparable.
April 12, 2010

Jason K said:

Simple Answer
The price others need to put on the table, is that they either make it public, or countries like Canada will leave the negotiations. This is NOT about US interests, there shouldn't be a price to pay for transparency. The US is still acting like it's an economic power, when it's not. What arrogance!
April 12, 2010

Anonymous said:

Final Comment
"The text of the treaty can be released without regard for the level of agreement on substantive issues."

I'd like you to think long and hard, about that statement. The author feels, that international treaty contents, can be released to the general public, without regard for the contents, or whether or not anyone agrees to the contents, that he would like released.

Think about that for a moment. Try to frame it in your mind. Perhaps a small analogy will help.

You, and your business partner, are negotiating a contract for a business deal that you are trying to complete. If the deal goes through, your family will get to eat. If it doesn't go through, your family and your partners family starves.

The text of the document isn't complete, and you and your business partner are not in agreement on it yet. Do you:

A) wait to tell your family the deal is done, but not signed, until ALL PARTIES INVOLVED IN THE NEGOTIATION are in agreement

or do you

B) tell your wife you made $500,000 ... the deal is done ... your business partner gets $200,000 ... which he hasn't agree to yet ... before the other company has agreed to it ?

Come on people. Seriously. I'm all for transparency. But I would be foolish and naive, no matter how much education at an institution of higher learning I have received, to think, that everyone, everywhere, tells me everything, truthfully, honestly, and openly, simply because I asked for it, and it is equally foolish, to expect, a group of international negotiators, to release the contents of all documents, as they are typed, before they are agreed to by all parties involved.

If this is all you have to complain about in life, then you are doing really well. Worry about proposed laws, after they are actually proposed, considering, noone has asked you personally, to be involved in the proposal.

And put yourself in the position of a negotiator. Do you want to answer 50,000 phone calls, and respond to 150,000 letters, on a document you are trying to finish, before it's even finished ?

You don't. No human does.
April 12, 2010

Chris said:

It's not the US.
It's corporate interests, with the corrupt US Trade Representative Ron Kirk in their collective pocket.
April 12, 2010

Anonymous said:

GAH
An analogy you don't understand, does not make, a false analogy. It just means you don't understand it.
April 12, 2010

Patrick said:

pseudo code for the logic impaired.
for (int x=1; x>=TotalNegotiating, x++) //count the countries involved in acta, note the countries who are for and against transparency
{
if (country[x]trans = true)
{
releaseDocuments++;
}
else {
secrecy++;
noteCountry[x]=countryName[x];
}
}
if (secrecy >= 1)
{
for (int y=1; y>=secrecy, y++)
{
System.out.println("Country: ",noteCountry[y]," doesn't want transparency.");
}
}

If your having trouble understanding the basic summary prof Geist has provided to you "anonymous" maybe this will help, since of course you claim to be a programmer. Hopefully this will be more native to you.
April 12, 2010

Captain Hook said:

translation
Anonymous said:

"The US is not preventing transparent international negotiations. The people involved in this particular agreement, who are hopefully working in the best interests of the US, as the other countries representatives are hopefully working in their nations bests interests, are currently not disclosing that which this author feels they should. Hence, this article full of negativity, targeted towards the position of the US at this time."

which translated and summarized means: "The US is preventing transparent international negotiations"
April 12, 2010

The Jackel said:

I find it... cute.
I am just reeling at how the The U.S. Trade Representative issued a release while the Wellington Declaration was "stated" to be given on same day.

I think something provoked a reaction.
April 12, 2010

Anonymous said:

re: Patrick said:
That is some sweet pseudo code Patrick. Now, would you please provide evetyone, the instructions, to download all the source code you have ever written, all the documents you have ever written, all the documents and source code from companies you have worked for, whether completed or not, because you believe in transparency.

Anxiously waiting for the URL.
April 12, 2010

Captain Hook said:

Anonymous, you just don't get it!
Transparency is not about making everything public. It is about making public, things that SHOULD be public. The process of creating laws is suppose to be a public process, just as the process of enforcing them is suppose to be a public process. In a democratic society the business of government is suppose to default to being public, and if it is ever done in-camera, that needs to be justified.
April 12, 2010

Anonymous said:

re: Anonymous, you just don't get it!
Oh, I do get it Captain Hook.

"The process of creating laws is suppose to be a public process, just as the process of enforcing them is suppose to be a public process."

The process, is public. The document, when completed, will be released, so the public can comment on it. Completed, in the previous sentence, means, when all parties involved have agreed its completed enough to be released.

What other definition of transparency do you want ? You want the document draft proposals to be released, in between every keystroke, whether or not, the member nations agree the keystrokes are correct ? If so, that would be an absurdity that you yourself are not willing to comply with in your own life. If you are not willing to adhere to it in your own life, how can you expect others to adhere to it ? No sane human would.

This authors article, does nothing more than lay blame on the last party to agree its completed enough for public release, and places that blame simply because its the last party.

If all parties involved don't agree its completed enough for public release, only 2 things can possibly happen. A) It'll never get released or B) changes will be made before its released.

Whats the issue ? Seems to me, the issue, is really, "Oh those people over there wont do exactly what I want them to do, exactly how I want them to do it." ... Join the real world.


April 12, 2010

Anonymous said:

re: Anonymous, you just don't get it!
Captain Hook, I've forgotten to mention, which I feel it's necessary to add to the conversation, that the very act of a committee, releasing a draft proposal to the public, causes the public to read it, and assume that its fact.

It's a long URL, but its a study that indicates people initially believe to be fact, that which they read, automatically, simply because they read it.

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:jzxx5BRcHo0J:www.spring.org.uk/2009/09/why-you-cant-help-believing-everything-you-read.php+psychology+believe+what+they+read&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a

>> "This meant that only when given time to think about it did people behave as though the false statements were actually false. On the other hand, without time for reflection, people simply believed what they read."

Given that fact that people are pre-disposed to automatically believing to be fact, that which they read, simply because they read it, has implications when it comes to releasing draft proposals of laws to the public, as well as when writing articles commenting on the release process of said draft proposals.
April 12, 2010

anoni-mouse said:

...
obviously our mister anonymous programmer believes in the ultimately noble and omniscient government.

The rest of us think that elected representatives can be lobbied to support positions detrimental to general public.

or that we have RIAA/MPAA/Patent shill amongst us.
April 12, 2010

Anonymous said:

re: Anonymous, you just don't get it!
Given the psychological predisposition of people to believe what they read, simply because they read it, has implications for the process of transparency.

According to the author, "The text of the treaty can be released without regard for the level of agreement on substantive issues." From a legal perspective, this is true. The text could be released without being legally binding.

However, the authors position ignores the previously stated psychological predisposition of people to automatically believe that which they read, simply because they read it.

If we are to agree with the authors position that documents that affect the public, should be released to the public, "before there is agreement on substantive issues", then what we are advocating is that the government, and international committees of governments in this case, should release documents, to the public, whether or not they are accurate, knowing, the public is predisposed to believing them to be accurate. This definition of transparency, would cause more public outcry and more public confusion than already exists.

If we are to agree on a lesser ideal type of transparency, one where our representatives agree, for the most part, on the contents of documents, before they are released to the public for comment, knowing the public will believe them to be factual, and provide the necessary and constructive feedback, that will add value to the process, then there will be less public confusion concerning proposed agreements.

I advocate diligence concerning the factual nature of documents, before releasing them to the public, so that the public is factually informed on the issues which are important for them to comment on.

Transparency for transparencies sake, without regard to the psychological nature of man, will not serve man ... it will only serve to burden man more.

April 13, 2010

oldguy said:

Anonymous just doesn't get it..

Can you point to any facts that Mr Geist has gotten wrong?

If not, exactly what is your problem? If the facts are embarrassing, then address the root cause of those facts, the US ACTA negotiators.

Your arguments are not clearly formulated. They drag inappropriate analogies into the discussion. There is a clear "my government knows what is best for me" attitude running through them. You have a very low opinion of the "people" that government is supposed to represent.

I think the problem here is one of embarrassment. Or blind faith.


There is subtle aspect to "secret" international negotiations. If the public only sees the final result, it is easy for any of the negotiators to say "we didn't insist on this, the others did". But if the process is open all the way through, you can clearly see each country's positions and issues. It will still be a negotiation, but there is no going back to your own people and insisting you were "forced" into a position that you in fact advocated for. Something that your own people wouldn't have wanted.

There is no national security issues involved here, nothing that demands such secrecy. So why is the US insisting on such? The only thing that makes sense is if the US negotiators are trying to pull a fast one, not on the rest of the world, but on their own people. If this is the case, I can easily see why Mr Geist's comments here would be "embarrassing".

April 13, 2010

oldguy said:

...
"Given the psychological predisposition of people to believe what they read, simply because they read it, has implications for the process of transparency."

Translation: People are stupid. Government negotiators are smart.

Wait.. What was that again?
Who is the con artist here, and who is the mark?

April 13, 2010

Anonymous said:

re: oldguy
>> "Can you point to any facts that Mr Geist has gotten wrong? "

No, but I will provide for you that which has been communicated as fact, which is indeed not proven fact, as that was my initial issue with the article.

Authors statement 1. "has left no doubt that the U.S. is the biggest barrier to official release of the ACTA text"

Just because the US is not yet in agreement, does not mean that the US is "the biggest barrier" to official release of the text. Equally possible, is that another party, is demanding a thing that the US rep cannot agree to while doing his duty to act in the best interests of the US. Such is the nature of negotiations. Multiple parties acting in their own interest, attempting to create that which all self-interested parties can agree to, that causes the process to be less than simple.

Authors Statement 2. "The full text of the release is couched in terms of improving transparency, but is really a thinly-veiled shot at the European Union's public demands for release of the text. The U.S. statement:"

"Couched" ... definition ... "to arrange or frame" ... also ... "to express indirectly or obscurely" Either definition that applies, if actual fact, would require the author to know the motives of the participants of this negotiation. Do you know the interior motives of others ? Can you possibly know the interior motives of others ? No .. you can only speculate on them, to whatever degree of accuracy.

"is really a thinly-veiled shot" ... really ... where is the proof that this is a thinly veiled shot, or an actual issue yet to be negotiated to the point of agreement. Authors negative point of view, not fact.

Authors statement 3. "Note what the U.S. is actually saying..."

The author would have you believe he knows what the entire US nation is thinking. Look out Yuri Geller ... your job is in jeopardy.

Authors statement 4. "there is no reason to link ACTA transparency with the substance of the treaty" ... substance of publicly released documents, that affect the public, that the public is expected to comment on, as previously discussed, has everything to do with transparency ... Unless you want your government releasing documents that are not factual to you, so you can read them, and believe them to be fact.

Authors statement 5. "the U.S. has set conditions that effectively seeks to trade its willingness to release the text for gains on the substance of the text"

Duh. They want it released after its agreed to. Why is this so hard to comprehend ? Do you give documents to customers before they are accurate ? If so, please don't contact me regarding business matters.

Authors statement 6. "The only thing needed to reach consensus on sharing the text with the public is for the U.S. to give the go-ahead. This statement indicates they will only do so for a price."

The US is not yet in agreement. What is the price in question ? The changes necessary to agree to it. Same situation every government rep that has ever negotiated anything with another government has had to face. You can't agree to, and release for comment, that which you don't agree with, to be released for comment, and in order for that to change, a change has to be made.

So oldguy, I'm not at all saying the author has gotten his facts wrong. I'm saying, that he has included in his commentary, a significant amount of text that is not actual fact.

Thank you for proving my previous point about people believing that which they read, simply because they read it, without first contemplating that which they have read.

ps. "Private" matters, are not necessarily "Secret" .. The document is private, until its made public. That is how all public documents begin life, as a private document. Secret, on the other hand, would be a document that is never given to the public for comment, which is not the case here.

April 13, 2010

Anonymous said:

oldguy ... wake up
The fact that people are predisposed to believing that which they read, initially, without having invested enough time in reflection of that which they have read, before believing it to be fact ... IN NO WAY ... translates ... to "People are stupid. Government negotiators are smart."

Its just a fact of human behavior to be considered. I personally, don't have much faith in government employees to do that which is in the best interests of the public. Is it because I'm a nut job and the government is out to get me ? No. It's because a government negotiator is a government negotiator, and he/she lives in a world that is not the same world the public lives in. This is why, the proposal, will be released, after its agreed to, to the public for consideration, after its an actual proposal. Until then, its a work in progress.

I'm content to allow it to progress, without demanding every human on the planet be involved before its time for them to be involved.
April 13, 2010

Anonymous said:

re: Artifical Wealth
Dan, you have a good point about intellectual property treaties and enforcements, creating wealth, but I disagree with your statement that intellectual property or information wealth, is artificial.

I know there is a segment of the population of Earth, that believes "Information wants to be free." It makes for a catchy t-shirt slogan, but not much more. "Information" doesn't want anything, people want things. If people want information to be free, that's fine. It is something they want. But regardless of whether they want it to be free or not, the act of collecting and managing information has a significant cost, as well as, a significant value for those that can make use of it.

So far as the US national debt, it will be addressed, one way or another, since it won't simply disappear on its own. Quantities of information, already have economic value, so long as people adhere to a capitalist system. The people who make IT hardware, create IT software, manage databases of information, etc, all have to be paid, their families have to eat and be clothed and housed, same as any other worker, in any other industry, unless you want to abandon all those things.

So far as attacks on your nations sovereignty goes, I seriously doubt this is it. If you, and your nation, believe, you have a right to information, created, paid for, and controlled by others, then that is your belief. I support your right to adhere to your belief. But it would simply be, your belief, not your right to the property of others.

If the information producing industries ( music, movies, software, databases, etc ) are expected to provide their services for free, to anyone who wants them, simply because they want it, then the people working in IT industries, should be given free houses from the house builders, free clothes from the clothes makers, free food from the farmers, etc. so they can continue providing you with free information products.

Come paint my house, and I'll give you the right to use my software. If you aren't willing to work and pay for my software, that I worked and paid expenses to generate, then I'm not willing to give you the benefit of its use, for free, because I'm not provided with the infrastructure and resources to generate it, for free.
April 13, 2010

oldguy said:

...
1. Just because the US is not yet in agreement, does not mean that the US is "the biggest barrier" to official release of the text. Equally possible, is that another party, is demanding a thing that the US rep cannot agree to while doing his duty to act in the best interests of the US.

If you have been following the various negotiation positions and leaks, the US is the only one that doesn't support unconditional release of the text. While there may be other "possible" demands from other governments that do not relate to transparency, those positions will become obvious if the text is released. I really don't see how a "demand" from another negotiating government should affect the US position on unconditional transparency. Logically, it should only strengthen it. Since the US position is conditional, it logically follows that there is something the US negotiators do not want released until the points are cleared. Conclusion: the US negotiating position is still apparent in the documents as they stand, and it would be embarrassing for them to be released until these points are "resolved" to the point where the advocate identity is masked.

2. Can you possibly know the interior motives of others ? No .. you can only speculate on them, to whatever degree of accuracy.

Exactly. And how would unconditional transparency affect this? Make things better or worse?

3. The author would have you believe he knows what the entire US nation is thinking.

Not at all. He is only stating what the US ACTA negotiating position is saying. Is he wrong in his interpretation? How?

4. Unless you want your government releasing documents that are not factual to you, so you can read them, and believe them to be fact.

Why would they be released as "fact"? Come on, anybody who cares can dig up the leaks if they want. Nobody treats these leaked documents as "fact". The implication here is that people are too stupid to discern the difference between negotiation positions and fact.

5. Duh. They want it released after its agreed to.

Why? Does this relate to your implication in point 4? This isn't a business negotiation, but if you want to draw a parallel, the negotiations certainly wouldn't be done without updating and consulting the principles, in this case the US public.

6. The US is not yet in agreement. What is the price in question ? The changes necessary to agree to it.

Circular argument.

You are missing a major point here, it is not the agreement that many people worldwide are advocating to see, it is transparency in the negotiation process itself. We all know the agreement won't be secret, but the fact that the negotiation process itself is done in secrecy is an issue. A secrecy that the US negotiators are insisting on, transparency is conditional on a final agreement. The US position itself is circular.

April 13, 2010

Anonymous said:

re: Artifical Wealth
It's not so hard, for one to think "I can just copy this movie so easily. It's just a bunch of 1's and 0's. I'd like to watch it, but not if I have to pay for it." It has become quite trendy to think this way, and follow this logic.

But to produce that movie, costs alot of money. Actors, lawyers, movie theatre owners, concession stand workers, printers, publicists, website bloggers, carpenters, studio management, bankers, vehicle manufacturers, oil producers, etc etc etc ... you name it, an industry probably incurred an expense to produce that movie.

The same goes for software. Nations, for example, with say, a mining economy, that produce the raw materials, that get transformed into electronic components, that create computers, that programmers use to create software, that creates a demand by customers who run the software, to purchase computers, to more efficiently manage the production of some other product, all have an interest in seeing to it that the value chain remains intact.

If the goal is to have fewer computer programmers, producing less software ... then devaluing the software they produce is a fantastic idea. Not paying them, and inhibiting their ability to survive in a capitalist world, is a great way to bring about their extinction, same as everyone fixing their own car, is a great way to close down all the local automotive mechanic shops.
April 13, 2010

Anonymous said:

oldguy
You want transparency in the process of agreeing to that which is to be made public, for public comment, so that it can be altered before it is signed into law.

In other words, you want to be involved in the process of negotiating a thing that you then want to comment on. And you call my arguments circular ?

Lets take your ideal of absolute transparency to the limit. Lets make everyone, everwhere, answer every question, anyone may have, at any time. Nothing will ever get done. You will bog yourself and your nation and your fellow mankind down while trying to make everyone, everywhere, happy, and informed, of everything.

This ideal is diametrically opposed, to the manner in which human beings, as well as other animals, behave, in order to support a large population. Large populations, of any species of life, on this planet, ultimately lead to specialization. That is why their are negotiators, trying to agree on a document, which will then be presented to the public, instead of, calling everyone at home, and asking them their opinion, in order to generate a document, that they will then ask their opinion on.

You may feel you need to be informed of everything that is going on. But as soon as you are granted the right to be informed of everything at every step, then everyone else will also receive the right to be informed of everything at every step, and absolutely nothing will ever actually get done.

Kudos for attempting to wrangle power from the government that you gave power to. The only real world method for that, that I can see, is to go and get a government job, and put yourself into a position of power. Then come back and tell us how you managed to keep everyone informed of everything you do at the time that you do it without delay, or edit, or fault while at the same time keeping your job.

April 13, 2010

oldguy said:

...

"I'm content to allow it to progress, without demanding every human on the planet be involved before its time for them to be involved."

That is all well and good. But it doesn't exactly square with:

"I personally, don't have much faith in government employees to do that which is in the best interests of the public."

It affects every person in the negotiator's country. While it isn't everyone on the planet, it is still a significant amount of people. Nobody is asking to be on the negotiating team, what they are asking for is transparency.

You might be quite willing to let the negotiators have a free hand to decide what is in your interests without paying attention, that is your right. But don't try and force that position on the rest of the people, US citizens or other countries. I want to see, and so do many others. If you aren't interested in the negotiations itself, you can always ignore them. But I don't have a choice.

"The fact that people are predisposed to believing that which they read, initially, without having invested enough time in reflection of that which they have read, before believing it to be fact"

Well then, just what does it translate to?

That is an old study, back before the internet, and even then it didn't give the same conclusion that you have espoused. Style of presentation was part of the study as well, and it had recommendations to avoid the result you have concluded as "fact".
There is a certain percentage of the population that is susceptible to this behaviour, but it isn't enough to even make a generalisation.

April 13, 2010

Anonymous said:

oldguy
You have once again proved my point. I provided the entire study to you. I provided the link to the entire text. That is the transparency you demand. What did you do ? You simply denied its validity, without providing evidence to the contrary. You injected opinion and stated it as fact. Which is the very behavior you are saying didn't happen.

Wake Up.
April 13, 2010

oldguy said:

...
"You want transparency in the process of agreeing to that which is to be made public, for public comment, so that it can be altered before it is signed into law."

Ignoring the obvious point you made earlier about divining motivations (you are wrong), the fault with this is?

"In other words, you want to be involved in the process of negotiating a thing that you then want to comment on. And you call my arguments circular ?"

Ideally, I would want to be involved in the positions the negotiators were to take at the table, before they even started. That didn't happen. From what I can see, that didn't happen anywhere. Since my views were not considered (or even asked for!), at the very least I want to know exactly what is presented as "my views", or anybody's views for that matter. But I am denied even that.

"This ideal is diametrically opposed, to the manner in which human beings, as well as other animals, behave, in order to support a large population. Large populations, of any species of life, on this planet, ultimately lead to specialization. That is why their are negotiators, trying to agree on a document, which will then be presented to the public, instead of, calling everyone at home, and asking them their opinion, in order to generate a document, that they will then ask their opinion on."

If this is what you believe will happen, you haven't been paying attention the last 10-15 years. This is NOT what will happen. It will NOT be put to a vote. In fact, this is particular agreement is slated to be put into place in the USA by executive order.

"Kudos for attempting to wrangle power from the government that you gave power to."

On the contrary, I am doing my best to make sure they continue to represent MY interests. There is way too much influence represented by the lobby groups (in Canada and the USA), this is one method to counteract this, or even the appearance of overriding lobby influence.

April 13, 2010

Dan said:

re : Artificial Wealth
@Anonymous - The reason I would apply the term artificial to the value of information, is because there are no natural barriers to contain it. Unlike, say, coal or soy beans, which have limited supply, information is something which an be mass-produced for a cost so low, as to be zero, and can distributed infinitely. Traditional capitalist markets cannot accommodate for infinite supply, nor a duplication cost of zero; capitalism is limited to "competition for limited resources". This value, this wealth, in the current capitalist market, therefore, has to be artificially maintained. Infinite supply of a piece of information, in an unhindered information-flow system, has led me to believe that information "products" transfer the burden of determining price squarely on to the consumer; information "value" is inherently a demand-based notion - if we, as consumers, feel an information product has value, we pay what we think it is worth.

But what we have with ACTA et al, is the creation (or, maintaining) of supply-side economics. Predetermined price, limited distribution/use, and enforcement of rules which have very little to do with competitive business. In my eyes, this process is all about creating new wealth from a market that is actually losing significant value through natural, technological progress. I think it's fair to say that capitalism was succeeding in that market, making it better-faster-cheaper, until those affected decided they didn't want their profit margin adversely affected. So really, how much wealth are we talking about? Billions? Tens, hundreds of billions, of magical new money? Based on whose determination? Not ours (Canadians'), I'll wager. It's a number that I am keen to hear before too many politicians are smiling about ACTA. Even a ballpark figure would be a good contribution to transparency. I think it would be good to know how far countries, who have managed their economies responsibly, will be allowed to drop on the relative global economic scales, if something like ACTA passes.

Now, the "right" to information for free? That seems equally unreasonable. It's the other extreme of this circumstance. We have total control on the ACTA side, and complete unhindered access on the other. Clearly, there has to be a shift in the mindset of consumers as we forge into the information age. As I said, the burden of determining price, is now the consumers' obligation. Patronage of the creator must be practiced, it is the keystone to capitalism with information, and the means to conduct this efficiently should be on the global economic agenda, not the artificial controls which are currently being proposed. I know, it's a bummer that information creators (say, musicians) may no longer be able to become millionaires off of a single piece of work, but markets change, economies evolve, and if your niche is affected, you either roll with it or move on. The rest of the workers in the market are expected to do just that, why not IT & digital entertainers? If it's what you do, and you're good at it, people will respond in a way that affords you to continue doing it, but perhaps not in as grandiose style as you would prefer.

So, let me use your software, and if it is as good as you claim, I'll paint your house. Or how about I repay with a copy of my album, which anyone can download? Which of those payments has more value to you?


April 13, 2010

fudmer said:

human being
ladies and gentlemen:
The cap and trade bill HR 2454 just passed the US house and has moved to the Senate S. 1733, and S. 2877. [requires each "family home" to have a seal of approval on it?] These bills and international agreements and treaties all seem to be promoting the business of controlling all physical assets from one interplantary tower.
The method seems to be to capture the asset into the rule of law [ROL] and then to obligate the owner into maintaining the ROL-captured asset to standards establlished by the global community.
Once physical assets are ROL-captured in "nowhere town, nowhere country" the ROL-captured asset becomes completely identifiable to anyone anywhere in the world; not by physical inspection, but by reference to the papers [or digital file] which describe the particular ROL-captured asset.
Thereafter, the process [paper money/free air credit]izes, packages and securitizes the ROL-captured assets into 'derivative packages'. Thus the value in your home, encoded on a piece of paper or into a digital file, enables traders to trade it without buying it or selling it". Your home has been made into a trading derivative and you have been obligated to keep it up to standards acceptable to the traders.
Everything domestic becomes, after packaging, an object to be traded on the international markets. These all seem to be the functions of ATCA, DCMA and the war on terror. The commonality is found in the global communization of all of the assets owned by the human's of the world and the subjection of those human owners [to pay the bills to keep the owned assets pristine for the global markets] so the traders can reduce or anticipate their risks.
The assets owned by humans are left in place, but derivatives of those assets are monetized, securitized and traded by the global trading profiters, all without benefit, but at substantial cost, to the human owner and user.

It really seems a shame that humans will stand by and allow a few greedy persons to use the power of the nation state system and the international collections of nations to control the volume and price of each breath each human takes while living on this earth.
April 13, 2010

StompinObasans said:

To anyone who insists that there is relevance in between patents and innovation :
Thomas Jefferson, founder and longtime director of the american patent office disagrees :

"Accordingly, it is a fact, as far as I am informed, that England was, until we copied her, the only country on earth which ever, by a general law, gave a legal right to the exclusive use of an idea. In some other countries it is sometimes done, in a great case, and by a special and personal act, but, generally speaking, other nations have thought that these monopolies produce more embarrassment than advantage to society; and it may be observed that the nations which refuse monopolies of invention, are as fruitful as England in new and useful devices."

http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/a1_8_8s12.html
April 13, 2010

Anonymous said:

re: re: Artificial Wealth
Justify it however you like. The duplication cost of the software, has nothing to do with the cost of developing it. Given that I created the software, I say you cannot have it for free. You cannot use it and make up your mind later. Pay me cash money for it, or go away. Those are the terms under which I make my software available. If you don't like those terms, you can create your own software. Any attempt to force me to create software, under terms other than those, will simply cause me to stop producing software.

How about you paint my house, and if I like the job you did, I might pay you. Or even better, how about you work for me 40 hours a week, and if I approve of the job you do, I might pay you.

You are not willing to work under those terms. And I will starve to death, before I work under those terms at your hands, Dan.
April 13, 2010

Captain Hook said:

Hey Anonymous
How about if we put a fund together to pay for your time to develop the software and then you release it for free? Or how about you embed some advertising in it, or customize it to work will with some particular service and we get the advertiser or service provider to pay you, and you release it again for free? Or how about you take my code for free, add some new features that another person needs, then release it for free yet again? That person who needed those features can pay you this time.

My point is that the artificial markets that copyright protection creates is but one means of monetizing the creative process. Until now we have relied upon it almost exclusively. There are many others. Perhaps instead of strengthening copyright to try to force this business model to work where it is not appropriate anymore, we instead recognise that copyright is less useful than it use to be, and use it only where it still is reasonably efficient. We then allow some of these other models to take a bigger market share.

The problem with ACTA and the DMCA, is that they impose a significant cost in terms of privacy, free speech, and loss of control of private property, in order to prop up a system that, has worked well in the past, but is less useful now.
April 13, 2010

Anonymous said:

re: Hey Anonymous
Captain Hook, I couldn't agree with you more, concerning the various creative methods available to finance, produce, and distribute software. There are indeed, multiple methods available, to the market place, and they are being used as we speak, to develop software and finance it.

However, my point to Dan, is not about "all software needs to be produced this way, or that way" ... my point is about, my software only, and his perception that it has no value, therefore, he deserves a copy for free.

He claimed there are no natural limits to the development of software, and he couldn't be more wrong. A single programmer, education and training aside, only produces so many lines of code on average per day, and he needs life support to do that. Same as a house painter, or car mechanic, or any other person who works for a living to produce a marketable product.

The number of valid lines of code I type per day, is a natural limit. I dont impose it on myself. If that were the case, I would remove this limit, re-code a free copies of Windows for everyone to use in 10 seconds, and release it for $0.01 a copy voluntary donation.

I fully support alternate methods of software creation, distribution, finance, etc. And should you or anyone else decide to start producing software, I support your rights to decide your own business model for doing so. What I do not support, and will not participate in, is a system that forces me to produce according this model or that model. The marketplace of models will decide, which products live and die. Not Dan the Pirate.

As for software patents, just so I dont get accused of being an industry shill again, I think they are the worst thing to hit the software industry, ever, and I do not support them, and I will be happy to see the whole software process patent thing die a sudden death when its time comes.

April 13, 2010

StompinObasans said:

can one of you explain me
what happens if i manage to get a patent on "a software routine that decides from amongst a number of alternative actions based on the condition that is presented to it by expressed arguments"
April 13, 2010

Captain Hook said:

re: Hey Anonymous
Actually I think he claimed there are no natural limits to the reproduction and distribution of software. That is quite different from development. You are right that it is the programmer that is still the finite resource in this situation and that is why these other methods can work. Because they capitalize on the true finite resource. Copyright on the other hand tries to make an infinite resource into an artificially finite one.

After you have done your work as a programmer, what you have produced indeed has no value that can be capitalized without the aid of copyright to try to turn what you created into a finite resource. Wouldn't we all be better off if we simply dispensed with copyright in this context and focused instead on the resource which truly was finite? You!

April 13, 2010

Anonymous said:

re: re: Hey Anonymous
Well captain, why is it you want to dispense with copyrights ?

As the creator of a work, you have the choice to copyright it, or release it into the public domain. If the creators of copyrightable material are denied that choice, and forced to release their work into the public domain, do you think this will create more information, or less ?

What you are essentially advocating, is that people who create original works, have no right to them. If this is to be the case, then it is equally valid to argue, that Bob the house painter, has possession of the knowledge to properly paint a house, and I, as a house owner, have the right to benefit of Bobs knowledge, without payment, whether Bob likes it or not.

If you shift the protection of intellectual properties, from the creator, to the consumer, you will end up protecting the demand for a product, but not the supply.

Given the same logic, what would happen if you denied the producers of other products their legal protections, and provided consumers of those products, protection of their demands ? Suddenly, I have the right to walk into Wal-Mart and take whatever it is I feel I need, simply because I want it.

Failure to protect the production of products and the rights of those who produce them, and instead, give protection to consumers of products and their demands, will lead to the collapse of the production system whos products are being demanded.

I have heard many people, who whole heartedly believe in open source software, and the GNU Copyleft, and at the same time, believe that simply because a creator has the right to release their product as open source, that ALL creators should be forced to do the same.

This mind set is anti freedom. If I am forced to give the fruits of my labor, to anyone who wants it, simply because they want it, then you too, should be forced to do the same, at which point I will gladly help myself to the entire contents of your house, without regard for whether your children eat or not.

Feel free to create all the open source software you want. Release it under any terms you like. I will support your rights to do with your creation and your efforts that which you desire. But when you start insisting that I have no rights to the fruits of my labor, then I will stop producing, and begin demanding that you owe me that which you produce.
April 13, 2010

Anonymous said:

Hmm
This appears to have become a debate on copyright instead of the original debate on transparency of negotiations...

Note that as oldguy said, we would like to know the stance our country is taking going into the negotiations. We did elect them after all, and we should be given a good idea wether we want someone else at the helm based on this stance. They are meant to represent us, the people - not the corporations.
April 13, 2010

Captain Hook said:

soumynonA, your looking at it backwards
I only want to dispense with copyright in situations where maintaining it requires an unacceptable social cost and where there are other, often more suitable, methods to the same end.

The only right that creators of original works have are the rights that society deems appropriate to give them. Copyright is arbitrary, it could last 10 years, it could last 100 years, it could last 5 minutes. Who is to say what the appropriate level of copyright protection is?

You are approaching this with the presumption that the rights granted through copyright are natural rights, the same as the rights one has to their physical property. That is the only way you could make an analogy with someone walking into Walmart and taking what they want. That is a fallacy. An exclusive right to copy or distribute is qualitatively different from the right to possess a physical object.

Your right to control the distribution of copies of your work is in fact a limit on my right to do what I want with physical property I own. Every right granted to you via copyright is in fact a limit on my right as a private property owner. Now in many cases such limits are justified and reasonable. But that is becoming less and less so, as technology makes duplication easier and demands more and more limits on my rights simply to maintain the status quo of copyright. Therefore, yes, in many cases it makes sense to dispose of copyright or at least reduce its breadth. Instead we are going the other direction and sacrificing real freedom to maintain your monopolies. That is wrong.
April 13, 2010

Anonymous said:

re: soumynonA, your looking at it backwards
You couldn't be more wrong. What physical property do you own, whos rights to use am I denying you, by disallowing you to copy the intellectual property that I created ?

If I product software, an intellectual property, and you pay for it, or not, and download it to your computer, then you burn it to a DVD or CD, my copyright says nothing about what you can and cannot do, with the blank DVD or CD ( physical property ) that you own and control, it is only concerned with the intellectual property that you chose to put on that CD.

If you want to give that CD to someone else, that contains my software, you are free to do so, so long as you dont give away my copyrighted software with it. If you burned my copyrighted software to the CD, and its not a re-writeable CD, and you cannot remove my intellectual property, then you have made full use of said CD which you paid for. You burnt information to it once, which is limited by the properties of the blank CD which you purchased. You purchased it knowing it can only be written to one time.

If indeed, knowing you can only burn a CD one time, and you burn my intellectual property to it, it is you who have devalued to nothing, that which you own, and you have every right to destroy everything you own. Its yours. But when it comes to my property, that I have rights to, do not expect me to go silent into the good night while you violate my rights.
April 13, 2010

Captain Hook said:

Oh where to begin???
"What physical property do you own, whos rights to use am I denying you, by disallowing you to copy the intellectual property that I created ?"

Where to begin?

I cannot legally rip a DVD to my ipod
I cannot legally rip an ebook to a CD (since audio books are not covered by the CD levy)
I cannot rip my DVD collection to my home server.
I cannot legally display a purchased work of art publicly without the artists permission. (see Snow vs. Eaton for more info here)
I cannot legally rent out purchased software (you want to treat software as if it is tangible, yet you don't)
I cannot legally photograph of video record my daughters theatre program performance because the theatre company does not own the copyright.
I cannot even legally use a VCR to record my favorite television programs.

This is all without even getting into legal protection for TPMs which will make it illegal to watch DVDs on my linux laptop, hack my Xbox to run linux, jail break my iPhone, Rip my region 2 encoded DVD so I can even watch it at home.

So yeah, there are a lot of restrictions on what I can do with my private property. Even when it is used in the privacy of my own home and for my own personal, private enjoyment.
April 13, 2010

Anonymous said:

re: Captain Hook said:
>> "I cannot legally rip a DVD to my ipod"

sure you can, assuming you don't violate any agreements you have previously entered into during the process. If you violate agreements which you willingly entered into, then you are subject to penalties allowed by law, if any. If you don't like the agreements you have to enter into to aquire the use of others property, stop entering into them. Control yourself.

>> "I cannot legally rip an ebook to a CD (since audio books are not covered by the CD levy)"

See above. If its your ebook, that you created, do whatever you want with it. If its an ebook you purchased the right to use, but not duplicate, then dont duplicate it. If you dont like those terms, dont buy the ebook and dont agree to them.

>> "I cannot rip my DVD collection to my home server."

Again, subject to the rights of the creator, of each DVD, in your collection. If the creator of any specific DVD allows you to copy it to your home server, go ahead. If they don't allow it, don't do it, or don't buy it.

>> "I cannot legally display a purchased work of art publicly without the artists permission. (see Snow vs. Eaton for more info here)"

So write the creator and get permission, or create your own original public display.

>> "I cannot legally rent out purchased software (you want to treat software as if it is tangible, yet you don't)"

Subject to the terms of the specific software in question. Again, dont enter agreements or contracts you dont intend to adhere to.

>> "I cannot legally photograph of video record my daughters theatre program performance because the theatre company does not own the copyright."

Take it up with the theatre company. Find a different theatre company for your daughter. Enter into agreements with theatre companies to the rights to your daughters performances. All freedoms which you have.

>> "I cannot even legally use a VCR to record my favorite television programs."

They arent your television shows, and you can record them, within the limitations afforded to you by the actual owner of the television shows. If you dont like the terms, stop watching TV, or produce your own TV shows and give them away. You are free to do this.

>> "illegal to watch DVDs on my linux laptop"

you can watch all the DVDs you want, dont violate any agreements you entered into to obtain them in the process.

>> "hack my Xbox to run linux"

If you want to run linux, and the terms you agree to when purchaseing the xbox says you arent allowed to, then dont buy an xbox. theres nothing special about an xbox, its a generic PC. buy a generic PC and run your copy of linux.

>> "jail break my iPhone,"

You agreed to not jailbreak your iphone. If you dont like it, dont buy an iphone, buy a Fic NEO and hack on it all day long.

>> "Rip my region 2 encoded DVD so I can even watch it at home."

So dont buy a region 2 DVD if you dont have the hardware to view it legally.

>> "So yeah, there are a lot of restrictions on what I can do with my private property."

Nope. All the restrictions you mentioned are restrictions on the property of others, which you purchased the right to use, under the terms and conditions of each product, individually. If you dont like the terms of the contract, don't enter into it.

Noone is preventing you from doing anything, except that which you have agreed to not do.

If you don't agree with the terms of the iPhone ... don't buy an iPhone. If enough people don't buy an iPhone because of the terms, Apple will change the terms. It's their product, their creation, and their right. I don't agree with them, and I didn't buy one. I'll get a Fic NEO and load linux on it, and be happy. I won't demand Apple grant me rights I don't have and destroy the planets production system in the process.

Alternately, create your own iPhone. Invest $1 billion dollars doing it. Raise public funds and sell shares in your Captain Hook Phone, Inc. company. At which point, you will be legally obligated to protect the interests of your share holders, and you will begin demanding consumers agree to the terms of use required to produce your phone.

Noone is stopping you except you.


April 13, 2010

Anonymous said:

Captain Hook
If you buy a shovel at the hardware store, and you dig a 20 foot deep hole, and you trap yourself in the hole, is the manufacturer of the shovel to blame ?

Is he obligated to come and rescue you from the hole you dug yourself into ?
April 13, 2010

Captain Hook said:

Not true
I don't recall ever entering into any agreements with any of the DVDs I bought. Same goes with the television I watch, the software I use (generally only open source), and any hardware (xbox, iphone etc... ) I have purchased, yet you keep saying "don't violate any agreements you have previously entered into during the process". Please show me one that you signed for a DVD or a TV show so I have some idea what you are talking about.

You asked what physical property I am being restricted in the use of. These are clearly all examples of that. And this restrictions are firmly rooted in copyright law. Not contract law, as your response tries to suggest. While you might say other peoples property is involved too (we can debate the merits of the term Intellectual Property another time) you cannot deny that my use of my property is none-the-less being restricted. This brings me back to my original point. That every right you have through copyright REQUIRES the loss of some of my private property rights. Justify it any way you please, that is the bottom line. The question is, how far do we go in further restricting private property rights in order to maintain our current copyright system?
April 13, 2010

Captain Hook said:

...
"If you buy a shovel at the hardware store, and you dig a 20 foot deep hole, and you trap yourself in the hole, is the manufacturer of the shovel to blame ?"

This is relevance to what?
April 13, 2010

Anonymous said:

Captain Hook
You claim you are not allowed to use the DVR you purchased. That claim is false. You can use the DVR all you want, so long as you dont violate other peoples rights in the process.

If you are to be allowed to duplicate, record, and distribute, anything you want to, regardless of the content, simply because you own the hardware that facilitates it, then the world you wish upon yourself, will allow everyone to record, duplicate, and distribute anything that they wish to as well.

If indeed the laws are changed such that it becomes possible, don't be surprised if someone decides to enter the p0rn industry, by selling videos of you and your wife.

So be careful what you wish for ... you might get it.
April 13, 2010

Anonymous said:

@Above
You are getting quite adept at side stepping some arguments, arguing against others, and simply repeating your standpoint... This is not a good way to argue your points.

Don't get me wrong though, I agree that copyright is important. The length of it is excessive, but it still needs to exist
April 13, 2010

Captain Hook said:

...
I wont argue that there is no place for copyright. Despite the best efforts of some in the form to paint me that way, I am not an abolitionist. I do however think that people (including you) need to accept that copyright is an inherent trade of rights, (Taking from some to give to another) and we have to ask where the proper balance is in this trade off.

When media companies are able to use copyright as a marketing tool to artificially create segmented markets for the same product, or when I cannot use a piece of hardware I have purchased in any way I please in the privacy of my own home, then I am saying that the trade off has gone too far in favour of the copyright holders.
April 13, 2010

Captain Hook said:

@Above
What exactly is the argument I have sidestepped, and I will endeavour to address it?
April 13, 2010

Anonymous2 said:

:P
Not you, Hook. I was talking about Anonymous. I suppose I will call myself Anonymous2 from now on.
April 13, 2010

Dan said:

re : Artificial Wealth
"How about you paint my house, and if I like the job you did, I might pay you. Or even better, how about you work for me 40 hours a week, and if I approve of the job you do, I might pay you. "

Yes, now we are on the same page. That is the essence of information capitalism, and established digitized media are the first products being pushed (quite naturally, as an open market is supposed to push) into this arena. Am I likely to agree to your demand, before we start? Probably not; we would almost certainly come to a dollar figure before any work got done. You could establish the same, with your software, if someone is willing to front you the money. But if I painted your house first, and then wanted to sell the finished job to you, yes, you would pay what you felt it was worth. Or you might look at it, and tell me to shove off. That is the risk I take by doing the job first.
Let's consider that this is a special paint & process I've developed. It is multi-coloured, detailed, and I can apply it to your house with a mouse-click and a cost of $0.00001 worth of electricity. There was the initial investment on my part, but the cost of duplication is nothing. I can slap coat after coat on house after house and it will never be a significant expenditure. I am running this as a for-profit business, and like any other business, there is risk involved - my initial investment of time and materials is what I have risked. As long as I retain control of the information and (commonly-owned, generic) machinery for this job, I can use supply-and-demand economic practice - demand a price, before applying a coat of paint (industrial economic practice works). But once that information is freely available, and can be used on an already-owned multi-purpose consumer device, I am left to the discretion of the consumer, for financial gain. It is now up to the consumer to ensure that I am compensated well enough to continue honing the product, or creating a new product.
As a parallel example to initial investment, if I want to start a convenience store, I have to put out all the money to set up shop and stock it, open the doors for business, and run from there. But if the business doesn't take off, should I still be entitled to an income? Does a convenience store operator have a right to an income, whether their store is profitable or not? Or is it just information producers with that right? I get the impression that you feel software developers should float no risk in the market, and that the inherent paradigm shift necessary to maintain competitive, demand-based transactions are undesirable, from a producer's perspective. I think we can both agree that the possibility of, say, the IT industry collapsing in on itself because of this shift, is plausible. But, it is also reasonable that, given the heightened awareness of a patronage-based model on the general consuming public, that the information producing niches will thrive. I suspect it will come down to how easily large quantities of small cash amounts can be transferred. Just as recycling never really caught on until it was convenient to do it, micropatronage needs a similar convenient foundation.

"I fully support alternate methods of software creation, distribution, finance, etc. And should you or anyone else decide to start producing software, I support your rights to decide your own business model for doing so. What I do not support, and will not participate in, is a system that forces me to produce according this model or that model. The marketplace of models will decide, which products live and die. Not Dan the Pirate. "

Yet, this body of rules, designed to enforce only pseudo-industrial economic monetary transactions, are the core of proposed copyright law. There is no place for an economic model alternate to the proposition, only the legislated and controlled one. On the one hand, you're arguing refusal to participate in a system that forces conduct in a manner that afford producers less control, but on the other, you accept of a model that causes consumers less control? If we wanted top-down control in the market, we would still be subjects in a monarchy or serving our communist leaders. If the market is going to decide what thrives and what withers, it should be Dan the Patron, not Mr.IT the megalomaniac. We really have to ask ourselves, do we want a capitalist market or not, because these artificial controls have nothing to do with an open market, and management of this market appears to be centralized outside of my country.
April 13, 2010

Dan said:

re :Artificial Wealth
"If you shift the protection of intellectual properties, from the creator, to the consumer, you will end up protecting the demand for a product, but not the supply."

Yes, if it must be one or the other, then that is exactly what needs to come out of this reform. I own it, it is mine to do with as I see fit. For media such as movies and music, this is an easy case to accommodate for. If the producers want to keep absolute control of their product, then they should be relegated to their controlled environments. Movie makers should stick to the cinemas, and withdraw from the home market. Musicians should stick to live performances, and withdraw from the digitized industry. To date, the technological influences on this market niche have changed it fundamentally, for consumers; rendered a once-profitable consumer product into a product of questionable value. Digitized music is now, at best, advertising to promote a live tour. Other forms of digitized media are pressuring an economic paradigm shift, whose natural disposition favours the consumer (the demand side of the market). A content creator, whose motive is profit, must compete with other creators to make a work which promotes patronism by a consumer, and must be prolific and good at their craft, if seeking a steady income from this niche.

"Given the same logic, what would happen if you denied the producers of other products their legal protections, and provided consumers of those products, protection of their demands ? Suddenly, I have the right to walk into Wal-Mart and take whatever it is I feel I need, simply because I want it. "

Nothing can stop you from walking into Walmart, seeing a chair, then walking home and building it yourself. The knowledge transfer has happened, but now you need to ask yourself if it is worth it to expend the effort, or is it simply more suitable to purchase what is already available? But what happens if the copyright police catch you building this chair? My perception, of the few things which have been released on ACTA, is that you _cannot_ go home and make a copy of what you've seen, because someone else owns the "right" to it. In fact, you cannot even buy it, take it home, and make another copy of that chair. By their law, you are expected to buy as many copies of that chair as you will use. And there are rules about that chair, once you get home. Only you, or the licensed people you've designated and paid for, may sit on that chair. You must destroy that chair once you have no more use for it, you may not resell it. Every time that chair will be sat upon, you must contact the copyright holder so that they can confirm it is being used as they see fit (if they are still in business, and are still supporting that model of chair). The chair may not be used for anything other than sitting on, and it can only be used in the environment for which the creator has stated it is to be used.
I see nothing (perhaps, due to a lack of information) in this circumstance which is beneficial to an open market. Based on what we know of ACTA and its ilk, it is a body of rules designed to transfer further control of an entire market segment into the hands of suppliers, and in my estimation, hinders a shift towards an open/capitalist market that Canada is well-positioned to adopt. ACTA looks to be one
April 13, 2010

Dan said:

re: Artificial Wealth
ACTA looks to be one part of a foundation to a single, managed, global economy, which we will have very little real influence on.
(sorry, didn't highlight the whole body of text).
April 13, 2010

cha ching said:

@Anonymous
Barry, is that you?
April 13, 2010

Captain Hook said:

RE: @Anonymous
No. But i think it might be John.
April 13, 2010

Troofie said:

Re: @Anonymous
Might be strunk&white
April 13, 2010

Nobody said:

What if?
In a world without copyright, Where do 3D printers and the like leave us.
April 14, 2010

Laurel L. Russwurm said:

Anonimi?
Dear "Anonymouses"... if you are going to comment more than once, let alone engage in lengthy discussions, you need to make up a nom de plume. You can still be an anonymous commenter, but people will be able to tell you apart.

Dan, you should have your own site or blog or something, your comments have been excellent. In your last comment "re :Artificial Wealth" although you said "if they are still in business, and are still supporting that model of chair" you imply but don't come right out and say that the rights holder may chose to stop supporting the goods at any time or inadvertantly go out of business at any time, leaving the consumer with unusable junk which can no longer even be legally repaired under ACTA.

Quick point #1. 20 years ago if I purchased a record album, I owned it, and even the record companies had no problem with me making a cassette copy of it for my own use. As a backup. Or pulling songs from a variety of albums I owned to make a dance mix for a party. Or allowing my kid to listen to it. etc. Consumers ALWAYS owned what they bought for personal use. The idea of consumers licensing IP is ridiculous.

Corporations license things from other corporations or creators because they hope to make a profit from this. Both sides employ legal staff for the negotiation because that is part of the cost of doing business. The lawyers negotiate the contract until all parties can live with it.

Consumers are not doing business, they are purchasing goods for personal use. A Consumer purchases a sealed program and takes it home, but must open the package to install it on their machine. BUT... the consumer has to click "AGREE" on a Eula. If they don't, they can't use the software. And of course they can't return it either since they've unsealed it. A EULA is legal trickery consumers are forced to "agree" to under duress, not a legally binding agreement.

First the corporations attempted to change the rules via propaganda, but since that didn't work the corporations have been trying to force the creation of laws to make it so. This has proven difficult which is why this secret ACTA copyright treaty is an effort to force the entire world to have standard copyright law dictated by the interested corporations.

In a democracy, laws are supposed to support societies mores not dictate them in order to appease special interests. This is why people want to know about the content of ACTA now, so we can stop it before bad laws are in place.

Quick point #2. The American people will have no say in ACTA when it is done because, as mentioned by oldguy, as an executive order President Obama alone gets to say yes or no. A good many elected American political representatives, as well as many elected government representatives of most if not all of the countries involved in the ACTA negotiation, are being kept completely in the dark about the contents of the ACTA negotiation. Even if you can sell the notion that the public shouldn't know for security reasons, no such argument can be credibly made to keep our elected representatives in the dark.

Quick point #3. Programmers don't have a right to remuneration any more than songwriters or novelists do. If you write a crappy program, or a lousy song or a wretched novel, you are not entitled to get rich off of it. I will not buy music I have not heard. Quite often I will buy books that I've already read (borrowed from a friend, or the public library). I will sometimes buy a book I have not read, but only because I've read others by the author. Should an unread book prove a dud, I will not easily buy another from the same author. I have been stupid enough to buy software that does not do what it is supposed to and I am never doing that again. If I can't try it first I simply will not buy it. So I will not be contributing to one of the anonymouses financial wellbeing.

Quick point #4. The USTR just recently issued trade sanctions against countries for the heinous crime of using open source software. This is a clear attack on sovereignty. ACTA is simply a stronger version.

Quick point #5. Copyright was originally a good thing, but in it's current incarnation is a bad thing, very harmful to creators. Of course, the creators aren't the ones profiting from it.

Quick point #6. "Strengthening" copyright laws that already overreach any credible aid to creators is a terrible idea.

EVERYTHING is a remix. Only creators who have grown up in total isolation can claim absolute originality. And their creations are unlikely to be recognizable to any society. The best art and culture comes from communal sharing, give and take.
April 14, 2010

Anonymous said:

Russworm
"A EULA is legal trickery consumers are forced to "agree" to under duress, not a legally binding agreement. "

Nope. If you don't want to purchase, an item, for your own entertainment, as you have stated you are a consumer, and its for personal use and not business use, and agree to the EULA in the process, then don't purchase it.

You know there is a EULA. The companies name is on the box, website, etc. Contact them and read the EULA before you spend your money on that which you don't really need, but simply want.

Your personal entertainment activities, and your desire to DOWNLOAD AND REDISTRIBUTE ANOTHER PERSONS PROPERTY FROM THE NET FOR FREE, which is what your disguised arguments are all about, has no benefit to society. Its just another nipple for you to suck on.

Businesses purchase software, because they can operate more efficiently than they can without it. You paint this as being evil, yet you benefit from it. Assuming you own a car, or use public transportation, or even better, the computer you are using ... tell us how much the item would cost if it had to be designed and manufactured without the benefit of software ?

What good is the software, to you, as an individual, who are not using it for commercial purposes ? And why do you think you have the right to give it away for free, to the entire world ? There is nothing wrong with you making a chair, and keeping control over it. You control the things that you have worked hard for, and you expect the right to the use of those things, and at the same time, you wish to deny the rights of other people, to control their creations, and benefit from said control.

You are a drag on the entire system.

What exactly do I owe you the consumer, as the producer of a software product ? Nothing. I owe you nothing, except that which you and I have agreed to, and if you don't agree to the terms of my creation, don't buy it. Go away.

If you want to do business with someone else, go ahead. In fact, I prefer you do, so that you don't waste my time and resources and run my business into the ground stealing and giving away my work, without regard for who is using it for what.

If you want to entertain yourself by creating your own product, go ahead. I'm not going to stop you. But don't be so childish as to think simply because I created something, that you are owed the right to its use.

You are a vampire with a copy machine.
April 14, 2010

Anonymous said:

Re: USTR Trade Sanctions
Russworm,

>> "as an executive order President Obama alone gets to say yes or no"

Presidential Executive Orders are not Law, they are policy, no matter what oldguy said.

>> "The USTR just recently issued trade sanctions against countries for the heinous crime of using open source software."

Post a link. If its true, I don't at all agree with it. If a creator licenses his creation as open source, that should be his right, and if people choose to use it, that should also be their right. Open source and closed source/commercial/EULA can co-exist and there is no reason to think all software should be one or the other.

I don't believe sanctions have been issued, so post the link and prove me wrong.




April 14, 2010

Anonymous said:

Learn how to comprehend, that which you read.
Russworm,

>> "A good many elected American political representatives, as well as many elected government representatives of most if not all of the countries involved in the ACTA negotiation, are being kept completely in the dark about the contents of the ACTA negotiation. Even if you can sell the notion that the public shouldn't know for security reasons, no such argument can be credibly made to keep our elected representatives in the dark. "

No. The proposal is being written. When the nations involved are finished writing it, they will release it. Everyone can see it, and it can then be commented on.

Please learn to recognize the difference between,

the fear mongering of people who cry "WE WANT SOMETHING AND WE WANT IT NOW, AND IF YOU DONT DO IT THEN YOU ARE SCREWING US"

... with ...

[Some issues are being resolved, and the document will be released to the public afterwards for comment.]

ps. the [] indicates the real message, not the the actual text, or the message you made up to cry about.
April 14, 2010

Captain Hook said:

...
"No. The proposal is being written. When the nations involved are finished writing it, they will release it. Everyone can see it, and it can then be commented on."

Would that be the same way we can now comment on the WIPO treaties? You know. The one we are being told that we have to ratify it because we agreed to when it was negotiated.

Commenting on a treaty when it is a fait accompli is not acceptable. At that point our legislators are left with a take it or leave it proposition.
April 14, 2010

Anonymous said:

The Farmer And The Programmer
Russworm,

A farmer pays his way through college, to learn how to grow crops, to create a product, and be a productive member of society.

A programmer pays his way through college, to learn how write software, to create a product, and be a productive member of society.

A farmer buys/rents land, a finite resource, and pays taxes on it, levied by the government, to insure productive use of land, so he can produce his product.

A programmer buys/rents land, a finite resource, and pays taxes on it, levied by the government, to insure productive use of land, so he can produce his product.

A farmer buys a tractor and fuel, to use in order to grow crops, a product that he is going to sell, to pay for the land, and taxes on land, he is using productively.

A programmer buys a computer and compiler, to use in order to create software, a product that he is going to sell, to pay for the land, and taxes on land, he is using productively.

Russworm buys a pickup truck, and steals the farmers crops, denying him the right to control and distribute his product, at a price necessary to pay taxes, which insure productive use of land.

Russworm buys a DVD burner, and steals the programmers software, denying him the right to control and distribute his product, at a price necessary to pay taxes, which insure productive use of land.

The farmer has to sell whats left of his food, at 10 times the price, in order to pay taxes, and not lose his land, and the farmers customers pay the price.

The programmer has to sell whats left of his software, at 10 times the price, in order to pay taxes, and not lose his land, and the programmers customers pay the price.

In both scenarios, Russworm is a thief, for thinking he has the right to control, the farmers and the programmers product, simply because he has the technological means to do so.

Russworm .... software pirates are thieves.
April 14, 2010

Anonymous said:

ps. The Farmer And The Programmer
ps. Just so people don't get hung up on the difference between the supply of crops, and the supply of software, I feel the need to clarify the analogy.

In the farmers case, Russworm the pirate, has destroyed the farmers supply of food, inflating the price which he must sell at, to meet his obligations.

In the programmers case, Russworm the pirate, has destroyed the programmers market, inflating the price which he must sell at, to meet his obligations.

In both cases, Russworm the pirates behavior is destructive to the farmer and the programmer.
April 14, 2010

Exerna said:

Avoiding the argument again
Anonymous, care to respond to Hook's latest point?
"Commenting on a treaty when it is a fait accompli is not acceptable. At that point our legislators are left with a take it or leave it proposition."

That is precisely the problem and what the U.S. is pushing for right now - what Dr. Geist is pointing out through this article.
April 14, 2010

Captain Hook said:

Probably not
I doubt Anonymous will comment on it. Similar to how he has ignored every other one of my points. He knows there is no argument that will work, so he ignores it.

April 14, 2010

Laurel L. Russwurrm said:

Anonymous: "What exactly do I owe you the consumer, as the producer of a software product ? Nothing."
@ (indistinguishable) Anonymous - reply #1

And you call me as a consumer a drain on the system? Software manufacturers who sell software written in invisible ink give your industry a bad name. You don't want an equitable payment, you want to be able to dictate that consumers like myself must buy your goods sight unseen and further to allow these goods we've paid for turn into garbage whenever you (a) decide to stop supporting it or (b) go out of business. You believe you are owed the right to be paid no matter how inadequate your product is.

I may be old fashioned but I grew up in an era where the manufacturer provided value to the consumer, and the consumer paid because it was an equitable arrangement. Of course, in those days there was never any question but that the consumer owned what they bought,

The first time I encountered a Eula, I did not know it would be there, hidden inside something I had purchased and could not return since the box was unsealed. And like most consumers I attempted to read the Eula, but of course one requires a law degree to understand a Eula. So consumers like myself click "agree" because as far as we are concerned, we've bought the thing.

You suggest before going to the store and purchasing a piece of software I must first go online and find the appropriate eula? Surely you jest.

Consumers own what we buy. Consumers do not and should not have to check with lawyers before they make a purchase. If this was necessary, the entire retail sector would collapse. When consumers get to the Eula they may start to read it but more likely they will just click "OK". If software manufacturers like yourself wish to change this, stop sneaking around. Make it clear and above board. The sneaky way it has been done does not hold water.

If Eulas are to have a hope of being legally binding, at the very least they would need to be clearly printed on the exterior of the packaging so that the customer would be able to make an informed decision. To make it really fair, the manufacturer should also agree to pick up the tab for the legal consult the consumer will have to make in order to be able to make an informed decision.

Hiding the Eula and making it easily accessible only after purchase is what makes it trickery. Consumers believe they are PURCHASING the software. I have shopped extensively for computer stuff online and off and NEVER have seen any retailer or manufacturer say outright they are only licensing these items. If they use any words to describe the transaction they are words like "on sale". There's a major Canadian IP retailer called "Best BUY" not "Best License".
April 14, 2010

Laurel L. Russwurrm said:

Anonymous: "...your desire to DOWNLOAD AND REDISTRIBUTE ANOTHER PERSONS PROPERTY FROM THE NET FOR FREE, which is what your disguised arguments are all about, has no benefit to society"

@ (indistinguishable) Anonymous - reply #2

You assume that I download, implying that all downloading is copyright infringing. First, all downloading does not infringe copyright. And there are legal questions about what constitutes copyright infringement that have not been resolved. Society overall believes that personal use copying should be legal.

Second, I don't download at all. I don't know how, and do not have time to learn right now. I don't even download the vast amount of material that is legally available for downloading, like all of the wonderful public domain works made available for free digitally by Project Gutenberg. Or all the software that is freely available to download (Canonical snail mailed me my copy of Ubuntu. Both Free as in beer and free as in freedom).

And downloading certainly seems to be legally permissible in Canada. I fight against these insidious ideas being forced on society by greedy manufacturers because the so-called "reforms" are bad for society, art and culture. Killing the public domain will be bad for us all. Locking down the internet will be even worse.

The copyright lobby expects payments for 50 years after the creator is dead. I think we need laws to spell out the rights holders corresponding obligations to consumers, for instance, that the software I buy will be usable for my lifetime. Or maybe it should be for 50 years after my death so my grandkids can enjoy the IP I've bought.

Effective contractual arrangements between manufacturers/rights holders and consumers need to be fair. When I buy a physical book made of paper, I know that I will be able to read that book in ten years. And my grandchildren will be able to read that very same book. Yet I have shelled out cold hard cash for software that doesn't even last a year. Manufacturers don't tell us that they are writing the programs they sell us in invisible ink. I spent hundreds of dollars buying Disney movies thinking that my grandkids would be able to enjoy the movies their folks watched. Disney never mentioned that (a) video tape deteriorates and (b) there wouldn't be machines capable of playing them when I eventually get grandkids.

And you know what? I do entertain myself by creating my own product. As a writer I am well aware that copyright is important, and that it is crucial for both artists and society to reform copyright, since it has been so badly perverted by corporate interests its at the stage of harming the arts. Actual creators are aware that creativity is not a sterile separate activity. All the arts, including the art of software creation, depend on what has gone before. Copyright terms
desperately need to be reduced. Fortunately the Internet is providing the means for the arts to thrive.

You needn't worry. I would not deal with you. I do not want your software. My guess is that you need these artificial protections because your software is so bad no one would purchase it if they knew what they were getting into. I am unlikely to purchase software from any company with your attitude. And I certainly wouldn't recommend it to anyone or promote it in any way shape or form. So you're safe from me. I just want the internet kept safe from you.
April 14, 2010

Laurel L. Russwurrm said:

Re: USTR Trade Sanctions


@ (indistinguishable) Anonymous - reply #3

A presidential executive order is signed by the president or not signed by the president. Nothing says he must sign it into law if he does not like the outcome of the negotiations. But no one else has a say. Congress will I am sure be allowed to view it once it is a done deal, but they certainly will not get a vote on it. Oldguy isn't the only one to have said this, and I have read about this in many different places, and yours is the first attempt to refute it I've seen. I suggest you are being, ahem, disingenuous.

You asked for links about the USTR's watch list:

http://boingboing.net/2010/02/24/ip-alliance-says-tha.html
http://excesscopyright.blogspot.com/2010/02/annual-301-parade-ustr-calls-for.html
http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/4930/196/
April 14, 2010

Captain Hook said:

EULAs are an abomination
EULA should only exist where the end user explicitly rents the software. I.E. where an annual licence fee is paid. In any case where the software is bought off the shelf, EULA have no business existing. At most they should be able to put up a dialog box reminding people that the product is protected by copyright and the consumer must obey their local copyright laws. Any other demands made of consumers are totally illegitimate.
April 14, 2010

Laurel L. Russwurrm said:

Learn how to comprehend, that which you read.

@ (indistinguishable) Anonymous - reply #4

It's always fun to be accused of something that the accuser is clearly guilty of. Before telling others to learn to comprehend what they read, you might learn to read what is written. Incorrectly spelling my name clearly indicates an inability to see what is in front of your eyes.

The proposal is not just being written, it has been written. What has been written is undergoing secret international negotiation. Yet many elected representatives from all of the countries are being kept deliberately in the dark, excluded from having any input into a treaty that would impact on the country they are elected to govern. Presenting them with a done deal is not acceptable in any real democracy.

Previously, laws in democratic nations were drafted according to the societal norms and ethics of the countries, not handed down from above like tablets from heaven… not in democratic nations anyway.

[Note: my reply:
"@ (indistinguishable) Anonymous - reply #3"
is being held for moderation because I included 3 links. If it isn't up by tonight I'll repost with fewer if necessary.]

Re: Farmers and Programmers
http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/4958/125/
April 14, 2010

Anonymous Coward said:

Intellectual Privilege is not Real Property
That one anonymous commentator thinks they're Jesus with parables. I mean, really, you're comparing farming with writing? Those aren't different in the least . . . .
April 14, 2010

Anonymous said:

re: Laurel L. Russwurrm said:
Anonymous: "What exactly do I owe you the consumer, as the producer of a software product ? Nothing."
@ (indistinguishable) Anonymous - reply #1

Yes ... this is absolutely correct. Given the fact that I am a producer of a product, and that you are a consumer of products, and those 2 facts alone, does not automatically carry with it, the presumption that I owe you something.

Only after you have purchased my product, after doing whatever amount of research on it that you cared to, or didn't care to, and agree to the terms of its use, does any obligation we may have to each other begin to exist.

If the farmer crows corn, he does not automatically owe it to me, because I like food.
April 14, 2010

Exerna said:

I suspected as much
I guess you concede the point. Thanks.
April 14, 2010

Anonymous said:

re: Laurel L. Russwurn said:
>> "You assume that I download, implying that all downloading is copyright infringing. First, all downloading does not infringe copyright. And there are legal questions about what constitutes copyright infringement that have not been resolved. Society overall believes that personal use copying should be legal."

Im not assumeing anything other than a behavior that you, I, and the entire rest of the world, already knows exists.

People download, copy, obtain, purchase, borrow, steal, etc. other peoples intellectual property, and redistribute it, ie share it, recklessly, on the internet, CD-R, flash drives, whatever.

The people who do this, are becoming so blazen in their thievery,
that they are forming "The Pirate Party" and claiming that which they have stolen is not real, therefore, they have not stolen.

The problem is, that economically speaking, they have indeed stolen a real product, albeit a real economic product that exists in a non-physical form, and this is the excuse they use to steal.

I do not know what you do personally. What you do personally, is your personal, private, business.

If you buy my software product, and you make 1, 2, 3, X copies for backup purposes, noone other than perhaps your immediately family will know about it.

But as soon as you make available, one of your personal backup copies onto the net, for others to download, you are breaking a very real law, and stealing my very real economic output, that I have gone to very real expense to produce.
April 14, 2010

Anonymous said:

re: Laurel L. Russwurn said:
And just so you dont get all hung up again, I have never said, "all downloading is theft, or pirateing."

If the producer of the software publishes it, free for you to download, by all means, go ahead and download it.

If they grant you the right to re-distribute it, go ahead, share it with the entire world. You are behaving in manner that the owner of the economic product agrees with, and has granted you rights to do.

If an IP work has entered the public domain, through legal means, then go ahead, use it according to the freedoms you are allowed concerning public domain works.

BUT ...

Continuing to assume you have a right, to the non-public domain, privately owned, economic product, that others produce, and willfully and knowingly use it, copy it, redistribute it, or publish it, without having been granted the rights to do so by the legal owner, makes one a criminal.
April 14, 2010

Anonymous said:

re: Laurel L. Russwurn said:
... as for laws which spell out how to deal with these situations ... we have them, and they are being applied to the situation, as best they can, by the people who apply them.

As for changes, lobby for all the changes you want, but be careful what you wish for.

If it becomes law, that my software, must behave, in accordance with every consumers expectation of it, then consumers, will no longer have any software to consume.

No form of software, other than perhaps, privately agreed to, party-to-party, private software contracts, carry with them any warranty, and its stated clearly in the EULA.

Type "gcc --version" into a Unix command prompt. It states very clearly "This is free software; see the source for copying conditions. There is NO warranty; not even for MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE."

April 14, 2010

Anonymous said:

re: Laurel L. Russwurn said:
I fully and completely, support your right, to desire anything you wish. Desire can be a great and useful tool that leads to accomplishment.

But if you expect me, as a software producer, to automatically owe you some sort of legal or economic or social debt, simply because I write software and you desire it, then you can pry it from my cold dead hands to get it.


April 14, 2010

Anonymous said:

re: Laurel L. Russwurn said:
>> "Incorrectly spelling my name clearly indicates an inability to see what is in front of your eyes."

I did it on purpose.
April 14, 2010

Anonymous said:

Last Comment, for real this time ... personal attack floodgate sure to open afterwards.
I would like to thank the author of this article, which, originally offended me, for writing it, and providing an open forum for these issues, and peoples thoughts and feelings concerning them to be expressed. My position, I hope, has been made clear.

A final thought.

Protection of the production of economic products, and the rights of the producers to control their economic output, is fundamental to the workings of a capitalist economic system.

If you do not want a capitalist economic system, and you instead want a communist economic system, then its likely that you feel that you are owed a share of everyone elses economic output, for having done nothing but been born.

History has shown us that, people who feel they are owed a portion of another parties fruits of labor, will be fooled into supporting a communist economic system, and under that system which they wished for, they will have succeeded in denying everyone, including themselves, the rights to own and control anything, and ceded all power to the state, which will insure everyone is equally denied a share of anything.
April 14, 2010

Captain Hook said:

Oligarchy or Fascisim?
Anonymous said: "Last Comment, for real this time"

Oh good, so all the previous ones were not real comments at all, and we can ignore them. I guess that explains why he is not responding to my criticism of those comments too.

Regarding your final comment.

1) you present a false dichotomy by saying that the only alternative to a capitalist system is a communist one. There is a whole spectrum in between the two that you conveniently ignore.

2) No one here, that I have seen, is claiming that they are owed anything. Yet you keep repeating this statement. Everyone agrees that there is a place and purpose for copyright. The extent of copyright protection and how much we allow these rights to infringe others' rights is the issue. The issue that you have totally ignored.

3) It is amazing that you would be offended by an article where someone claims that the legislative process should be open and transparent. Transparency in government is a cornerstone of democracy. It would appear that you prefer a system which is capitalist, but not democratic. I expect most would call that an oligarchy or perhaps fascist. Either way, you can have it. Capitalism without democracy is just as bad, or worse, than communism. Hail Caesar.
April 14, 2010

Laurel L. Russwurm said:

Assumptions and Pirates
@ (indistinguishable) Anonymous - reply #5

When I purchase something, I expect the company I purchase it from to deliver the goods. If the product is defective I want it made right, hopefully with a product that actually works the way it is supposed to, but if not, with a timely refund. I expect to be able to use it for a reasonable length of time. I buy many previously viewed DVDs from my local video store. If there is ever anything wrong, the store, a small local retailer, makes it right. This is a type of business arrangement called "good faith".

The fact remains that you immediately dismissed my arguments based on your faulty assumption that I must be illicitly downloading if I disagree with your position. Yet you can't even admit to an error that is so easily proven. Another excellent reason not to purchase software from you or anyone with like attitudes.

This is a large part of why I am fighting this battle vehemently. Assumptions are being made without factual support and the so-called copyright reforms being peddled include throwing out legal protections that have existed for good reason for hundreds of years. Worse, they allow for judgments and penalties to be meted out on the basis of equally unsubstantiated allegations. This is bad for society.

You go on to mischaracterize Pirate Party philosophy. Had you actually looked beyond the name and actually done some research, perhaps even stooped to speak to anyone involved in any Pirate Party, you would know that Pirate Party philosophy does not advocate illegal activity in any country of the world. They exist for one reason only: to fight for sane reformation of copyright and patent laws. The "Copyright Lobby" has been pushing laws that threaten privacy, Net neutrality, open government, and sovereignty so many of them have expanded their party platforms to deal with these related issues as well.

http://www.pirateparty.ca/about

A manufacturer that doesn't believe that it owes its customers anything is not going to be able to understand the hope and idealism brought to the world of politics by these young "Pirate Party" members. Something that you and the other old guard dissing these young folk should start thinking about is the fact they will be running the world when you've been packed off to nursing homes.
April 14, 2010

Laurel L. Russwurm said:

PAYOLA: Sharing does not equal communism... else the record companies who used to BRIBE radio stations to play their records for free would have to be called communist too.
@ (indistinguishable) Anonymous - reply #6

The Copyright lobby has attempted to change how society thinks using propaganda. The propaganda sought to sacrifice consumer interests in favor of corporate interests. Unsurprisingly, this did not work. So now they are attempting to force these changes legally.

A consumer should only have to buy a piece of IP one time. A consumer should not have to buy a new copy of the movie they bought 10 years ago because the machine needed to play the old copy became obsolete. Or because the medium (video tape, say) has a short life span. In a perfect world, manufacturers would provide upgrades of these movies for a nominal fee. The copyright lobby wants us to pay over and over again for the same IP. Sounds like theft to me.

Personal use is a legal area that is largely undefined. This is why the laws need to be looked at and changed. But forcing through ridiculous laws equating any form of personal use with commercial bootlegging will merely destroy the law's credibility in precisely the same way the Volstead Act did during the depression. Sending people to jail for backing up the goods they have bought, or format shifting them so that they can use the what they have bought is absurd. Same goes for sending people to jail for overriding DRM/TPM to make faulty, broken or obsolete good work.

Everything you have said here accuses everyone else of expecting that to which they are not entitled. Yet that is precisely what you are demanding. You expect a living without having to actually deliver what consumers want. I don't know about anyone else but I am done buying software that does not do what it is supposed to.

The numbers quoted for "illegal downloading" generally appear invented and/or pulled out of the air. The assumption that these activities can be directly equated with lost profits is ludicrous. The same way that "free" radio generated music sales "personal use downloading" would seem to generate movie sales, since the movie industry has been experiencing record profits. The movie companies are not losing money.

The big record companies are. Not because of illegal downloading, but because of LEGAL downloading. 30% of the Canadian music industry has gone independent. Because the new technology makes it possible. THAT is what these laws are really aiming to stop.

(indistinguishable) Anonymous made an erroneous statement:

"Continuing to assume you have a right, to the non-public domain, privately owned, economic product, that others produce, and willfully and knowingly use it, copy it, redistribute it, or publish it, without having been granted the rights to do so by the legal owner, makes one a criminal. "

I don't know about other countries but in Canada that statement is clearly false. So far, copyright law in Canada is a civil matter, so people who do infringe copyright are NOT criminals. I realize that would change if you got your way.

You also say that if we don't change the laws the way you want, there won't be software. That patently false. All you need to do is read some of the the Canadian Copyright Consultations to see that a very large number of software creators are against making copyright more stringent. The entire open source movement has been driven by software people. Because they, like me, know that nothing exists in a vacuum.
April 14, 2010

Brenda Wallace said:

...
peh. The USA aint the boss of all of us. Release the text already.
Tino Rangatiratanga already.
April 15, 2010

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