“As we noted in our post about people just discovering ACTA this week, some had put together an odd White House petition, asking the White House to “end ACTA.” The oddity was over the fact that the President just signed ACTA a few months ago. What struck us as a more interesting question was the serious constitutional questions of whether or not Obama is even allowed to sign ACTA.
In case you haven’t been following this or don’t spend your life dealing in Constitutional minutiae, the debate is over the nature of the agreement. A treaty between the US and other nations requires Senate approval. However, there’s a “simpler” form of an international agreement, known as an “executive agreement,” which allows the President to sign the agreement without getting approval. In theory, this also limits the ability of the agreement to bind Congress. In practice… however, international agreements are international agreements. Some legal scholars have suggested that the only real difference between a treaty and an executive agreement is the fact that… the president calls any treaty an “executive agreement” if he’s unsure if the Senate would approve it. Another words, the difference is basically in how the President presents it.
That said, even if Obama has declared ACTA an executive agreement (while those in Europe insist that it’s a binding treaty), there is a very real Constitutional question here: can it actually be an executive agreement? The law is clear that the only things that can be covered by executive agreements are things that involve items that are solely under the President’s mandate. That is, you can’t sign an executive agreement that impacts the things Congress has control over. But here’s the thing: intellectual property, in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, is an issue given to Congress, not the President. Thus, there’s a pretty strong argument that the president legally cannot sign any intellectual property agreements as an executive agreement and, instead, must submit them to the Senate.
It looks like folks have figured this out, and there’s now a new White House petition, demanding that ACTA be brought to the Senate before it can be ratified/signed by the US. This petition should be a lot more interesting than the other one if it gets enough signatures (so encourage people to sign, please!).”
Reblog this, because it’s MUCH more important and potentially effective than petitions asking President Obama to reverse his position.
Right now, Republicans are more anti-SOPA/PIPA (and by extension ACTA) than Democrats. If we question Obama’s authority to override Congress, they’re going to latch on and help us get this out of his hands, and at the very least they’ll bring it to public attention.
Believe it or not, Republicans are our biggest ally in the internet war right now, and this is the kind of politics fight they love most.
Guys, ACTA does not go into effect tomorrow, nor is a vote happening tomorrow. While the petition on AccessNow is, I’m sure, an extremely impressive benchmark (100,000, guys, we did it!) we don’t need 100,000 signatures or 150,000 or whatever number they’ll adjust it to when they hit 150,000 (as they should, because they’re trying to drum up support, and numbers breed urgency.)
On Thursday, January 26th, 2012, the Polish government is planning to ratify ACTA. There were, as you might expect, protests—intense ones—and you should definitely contact your government if you are Polish. According to a member of the European Parliament, discussions on ACTA in the EU will start on the first of March, and while the EU did initially promise to ratify ACTA, severe doubts have been raised by EU committees. Continuing to quote Marietje Schaake, member of the European Parliament:
TL;DR: Important dates for ACTA in the European Parliament:
- 29 February/1 March: Discussion in international trade committee,
- April or May: Vote in international trade committee,
- 12, 13 or 14 June: Final vote in plenary (most important vote).
Okay, that’s it! Please do consider signing the petition as this is still super important!
THANK YOU, WEEPING, YOU ARE SO KIND (legit irl overwhelmed with gratefulness because i have been anxiety-bombing about this for a half hour)
guys, please remember to explain things to me in small words because i am easily frightened, thank you
Speak out against ACTA & Internet Censorship:
Sign the petition against #ACTA for your country:
European Union (http://goo.gl/bHxAR)
The Netherlands (http://goo.gl/ZSGqC)
United Kingdom (http://goo.gl/7NrBS)
United States (http://goo.gl/tYNmo)
If you like your internet sign for your country and then the international. Thank you!
Terrified of ACTA? Here’s what you can do.
It’s good to be scared of ACTA, and of SOPA and PIPA, which may be temporarily delayed, but certainly aren’t gone for good. They are scary. Very scary, and they pose a pretty immediate threat to the freedom of the internet.
STAGE ONE: IMMEDIATE ACTION
- Educate Yourself. There are some excellent posts on Tumblr with a good roundup of links so you can fully understand what it is we’re so scared of, and why it’s so important to take action. Check the ACTA tag for some, or take a look at this post, or this one. Both are informative, and found on the very first page of the tag.
- Speak Up. Sign the petitions that come your way. Again, there are a lot of great resource on Tumblr with links to these. Try here, and here. It only takes a few moments, and it actually can make a difference. But don’t stop there - talk to other people. Friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, classmates. Post something on facebook, twitter, reblog a post on your tumblr. The more people know and understand, the better. The scariest part of these acts is how few people actually knew about them until it was almost too late, and how few people still know about them. They’d rather it stay that way, and we have to make sure it doesn’t.
STAGE TWO: LOOK BEYOND ACTA
The recent and terrifying takedown of popular filesharing sites happened even without any of these recent bills passing. The system is already flawed. Even if we somehow manage to put a stop to this recent legislation, we still haven’t won. Not with things like the DMCA still in place. Here are some links it would be good to read, and organizations you can look into, especially if you’re not already familiar with the current state of copyright law. There are a lot of concepts and related issues that everyone should try to familiarize themselves with - net neutrality, intellectual property, fair use, and more.
- DMCA Wikipedia Page
- Save The Internet
- Electronic Frontier Foundation
- Public Knowledge
- The websites of Lawrence Lessig and Cory Doctorow - both incredibly intelligent men who offer Creative Commons-licensed books for download that do a better job of talking about these issues than I ever could.
STAGE THREE: TAKE ACTION
If you don’t have the time or ability to take more action, that’s fine. It’s enough to pay attention, stay informed, and keep the conversation going. In fact, that’s probably the most important part. But if everything that’s happened lately inspires you to do more, here are some options:
- If you’re a student, high school or college, look into Students for Free Culture. I know from my own failed attempt to start a chapter that they’re incredibly responsive and helpful, and have a lot of excellent resources and ideas for students who want to get involved. Check it out here.
- Contribute to the Commons. If you create anything - writing, songs, paintings, photographs - please consider publishing it under a Creative Commons license. It’s an excellent system, meant to help create an alternative body of culture and creative works that can be shared and remixed and built upon - what we should be able to do with all culture. This does not mean you can’t charge for it, and there are different levels of licenses so you can keep control over how your work will be shared. Read more, or register work, at their website - here.
If there’s anything that should be added to this post, please don’t hesitate to let us know.
Stop ACTA (to the UN) (Petition Online)
Stop ACTA (Stop ACTA website)
Just Say ‘No’ to ACTA (Access Now)
Country restricted petitions:
Stop Canada from passing ACTA (Petition Online)
UK representatives: Stop ACTA (Official: HM Goverment)
Act against ACTA (to the U.S. Congress) (Petition Online)
Citizens of Europe: Contact your representatives!
go to http://www.europarl.org/, select your country (left colume) and then find the contacts of your representatives under “Parlament”, “Your MEPs” or something like this. AND LET THEM KNOW WHAT YOU THINK.
Sorry about my rage post earlier, here’s a more reasonable post about my feelings on SOPA amd PIPA…
Gabe Newell, the head of Valve, which I believe is one of the greatest video game companies in existence today, had this to say about the problems of pirating:
“The easiest way to stop piracy is not by putting antipiracy technology to work. It’s by giving those people a service that’s better than what they’re receiving from the pirates… . If a pirate offers a product anywhere in the world, 24 x 7, purchasable from the convenience of your personal computer, and the legal provider says the product is region-locked, will come to your country 3 months after the US release, and can only be purchased at a brick and mortar store, then the pirate’s service is more valuable.”
Why do these large corporations seek shelter from the government when they have no on else to blame but themselves if piracy is a problem to them? These music and movie industries are in trouble because they’ve put themselves there. These people who think they can overcharge for movies and music, then get completely defensive and offended when others offer their services at a better rate and quality than they can provide.
Do they really think that they can stop pirates? I don’t believe even they’re stupid enough to believe so. The internet has millions of ways to share files outside Megaupload. All the government has done is mildly inconvenient pirates and captured seven people, in comparison to the millions of providers and the billions of downloaders that are out there. They did it for show, I believe, wanted to flex their big government muscles and act like they’re in power of the situation. They essentially cut off the head of a Hydra in an attempt to scare away the Hydra later.
I believe the motto of capitalism and especially the United States is: ‘Competition is the life-blood of the economy’, right? Well, Hollywood, you’ve met your largest competitor. It’s up to you now, do you adapt or do you die?
Accurate. Piracy won’t go away. Most of us who do download, and those who share the files know lots of different ways to transfer them. The hydra is a good metaphor, because if you don’t know a hydra is a mythological beast with many many heads, and every time you cut off a head more grow back in it’s place. So they cut down Megaupload. Does the government really think they’ve even touched the tip of the iceberg?
This. Movie/Record companies… have you SEEN steam??? It’s brilliant! I’d much rather get my games from the legal providers, especially because I know if I wait long enough there’ll be really great sales and stuff (and pre-loading for immediate release)…. Just use yer noggins!
It does make sense that the gaming industry is one of the first/most successful implementors of this though, as the bulk of a game comes from computers/programming/etc. I love that a lot of pirated games come with special coding to screw you over/for hilarious results, too.
people who know their shit o’clock
Ways to tackle ACTA
I’ve read a lot of people who are ‘tired’ after the fight with SOPA, but remember: the fight for civil liberties NEVER really ends. It’s tireless, and yes, it might seem unfair, but at least we live in a time when you can wage battle with a keyboard and not with a musket.
LET’S TALK ABOUT WHAT WE CAN DO ABOUT ACTA.
Find the right petitions, spread the information. It’s better than nothing. Here’s five things you CAN do if you can’t find a good petition or cannot contact the proper representatives:
1. Spread information. Find data online, and share it with others.
2. Make sure to tag things properly. The information is only good if it can be found.
3. Cross platforms. Spread information through different mediums. Check for twitter hashtags and USE them.
4. Look for the strongest petitions online. Direct all possible attention to the ones which are: (a) official or directed at government bodies, or (b) have the largest amount of signatures. SHARE these petitions. Make posts listing the strongest ones.
5. Research, research, research! Just google the latest news on ACTA and make a post about it on all the networks you can.
6. Talk about it. Talk about it in your workplace, on the way to work, with friends, with family. Every person you inform is one potential head in a network that will further spread the word of discontent.
7. Give it at LEAST 10 minutes of your every day to find out the latest about ACTA, and sign new petitions if they come up.
Remember these THREE BASIC ARGUMENTS against ACTA:
2. ACTA will affect BASIC liberties and civil rights, such as privacy and freedom of speech. There is NO economic benefit or tradeoff from ANY law that can compensate this. Ever.
3. ACTA is practically GLOBAL. And if you feel safe because your country didn’t sign an agreement, remember, countries can always jump on board with them later.
WAYS TO HELP FOR ALL TYPES OF PEOPLE:
Are you or do you know a DESIGNER? Make information about ACTA easier to divulge and assimilate. Present it properly so that the message is communicated BETTER.
Are you or do you know a LAWYER? Help others understand the contents of ACTA by putting it in layman’s terms.
Are you or do you know a BLOGGER? Put information about ACTA on your blog.
Are you or do you know a JOURNALIST? Get the information off the net and onto regular channels, such as television or radio. There’s still plenty of ground to cover.
Are you anything else? An engineer? An animator? A musician? A doctor? ACTA CONCERNS YOU and the liberty you have to research material for your workplace or distribute your artistic creations.
IMPORTANT: REBLOG THIS POST AS TEXT, NOT AS A LINK. MAKE IT EASIER FOR OTHERS TO READ IT.
HERE’S HOW TO CONTACT THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT:
All About ACTA
It’s not over yet. #SOPA and #PIPA are one thing. The international version is #ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. The agreement has been signed, while existing mostly in secret, by most of the world, with notable exceptions including the EU.
The act is an attempt to create international standards for intellectual property rights enforcement.
You can look at what is assumed to be the current final form of the agreement, which has been leaked, here. The text has otherwise not been made public; in the US, a Freedom of Information Act request has been denied on the basis of classification for national security. Of course this information was not too classified for those who had a hand in creating the act, a group representing US-based multinational corporations which include International Intellectual Property Alliance (coalition of seven trade associations), The Gorlin Group (Washington “consultancy”), Time Warner Inc. (media company), Eli Lilly and Company (pharmaceutical company), Cisco Systems, Inc. (consumer electronics), The U.S.-China Business Council (nonprofit org), Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc. (beer), Merck & Co., Inc. (healthcare), National Foreign Trade Council, Inc. (business organization), Sidley, Austin, Brown & Wood LLP (representing the biotechnology industry), Entertainment Software Association (computer and video games), CropLife America (crop protection and pest control products), Global Intellectual Property Strategy Center (consulting service representing gauge-manufacturers Thomas G. Faria Corporation), Recording Industry Association of America (recording industry trade org), IBM Corporation (technology), Intellectual Property Owners Association (trade association for owners of patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets), Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (movies), John Wiley and Sons, Inc. (publishers), General Motors Corporation (automobiles).
And that was just the Industry Trade Advisory Committee On Intellectual Property Rights that was involved. There are three other other committees, totaling 93 other members of the business elite who have access to the “classified” details of the act we as citizens are not allowed to see, for our own security.
This video is a chart.
Most of the anti-ACTA petitions I’ve seen so far I’ve been a little dubious of, but I’ve just found out Access Now are running one. Access Now campaign on internet freedom issues all over the world, and they’re one of the three main organisations where I do most of my slacktivism, so I’m pleased to know they’re doing something about ACTA. If you care about internet freedom and you aren’t already familiar with Access Now, you should definitely consider following their work.
Anyway: ANTI-ACTA PETITION. GO SIGN.
We need to talk about the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.
ACTA is dangerous and devastating legislation essentially proposed and funded by corporations that can and will end the internet as many of us know it as well as limit or even outright ban generic medications and severely hinder agricultural development and the helpfulness of such all in the name of money. While it is being described as the European SOPA/PIPA, the reality is that it is a global effort. The United States of America, Japan, Australia, and many other countries have committed to or are in negotiations to commit to this trade act. ACTA has been under closed door discussion since 2007; it has received little to no media coverage and most of that only within the last year. This isn’t about preventing counterfeiting. This is about giving corporations greater power at the expense of the voices and lives of everyone else; it is the prioritization of money over human beings.
As of October 2011, eight nations have signed ACTA: the USA, Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea; at that time, the European Union, Mexico, and Switzerland had not signed but had promised to do so ASAP. The agreement is open for signature until March 2013, which means additional countries may commit to it. If you live in the USA and you’re rejoicing at the (temporary) disarmament of SOPA and PIPA, know that if ACTA goes into effect, it doesn’t and won’t matter if SOPA and PIPA died. ACTA is far more dangerous, and it is on the cusp of happening.
- Here is a Youtube video which briefly summarizes the threat posed by ACTA.
- The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a fairly comprehensive overview of ACTA.
- The Wikipedia article has a more comprehensive overview with additional links.
- At least one on-line petition exists; please do sign it.
- If you live in one of the eleven countries that have committed to or expressed intent to commit to ACTA, and if you are able, please contact whatever political representatives you have and/or signal boost the issue. If you live in a country that has not committed or expressed intent to commit, and if you are able, please voice concerns to your representatives as well.
If you know of additional efforts to combat ACTA, please let me know that I might add them to this post.
This is a petition on the Directgov website - this goes straight through to parliament and at the current time of posting it only has 21 signatures
I know a lot of people are reblogging the one sponsored by anonymous which is great but if you live in the UK, this is going to be your best best at getting yourself heard about ACTA - even if you don’t live in the UK or even the EU, PLEASE REBLOG THIS, as ACTA is something that not only affects Europe but the rest of the world as well and this could be one of the only opportunities for it to be downturned
COME ON GUYS!!!!!
No more pretending to be US citizens just to sign petitions! This one’s international so we can petition our government too and we NEED to let them know we’re not ok with this.
We’re already in danger of extradition just for posting links to pirated files (see Richard O’Dwyer’s case), and this would make things a whole lot worse.
411 signatures. I know you guys can do much, much better than that.
Sign both petitions, but this one is more important.
Anonymous is more or less seen as a criminal hacker group even if their intents and purposes here are good, they are hardly going to be taken seriously.
sign it! just do it!
WHY IS THAT SO LOW?!
When ACTA passes next week ALL people from the EU will have monitoring internet!
So please signs the petition even if you’re not from the EU!
I’M BEGGING YOU TO AT LEAST REBLOG THIS. MAKE PEOPLE AWARE.
damn, it’s at 10,000+ now!
Please help. We won’t be able to send you BBC and European TV and stuff if this passes. As my friend said, this is dangerous and scary.
I’m not sure how to set one up, someone please make a petition.
+ Canada. Canada is included in this as well. fml.
ACTA is actually worldwide!
The negotiating parties include: Australia, Canada, the European Union, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Switzerland and the United States. And according to Wikipedia of all these participants only The EU, Mexico, and Switzerland have yet to sign!!!
All the negotiations were conducted behind closed doors until a series of leaked documents relating to the negotiations emerged which explains why there is little to no media coverages.