For those against SOPA & PIPA—ever hear about ACTA?

Before I start on this entry, I just want to give a shoutout to all my new (and old) followers on this blog, the commenters, the likers, and the retweeters.  Thanks for visiting my blog!  I love hearing/getting feedback from you guys.

So right now I’m doing overtime at work, and I logged into my email just to see what’s up.  I always skim the statuses in my chatbox the minute I log in, because a lot of times my friends (most of them live and breathe the news) have something pretty interesting to say about what’s going on around the world.  It’s like my little current events newsfeed, and the best part is most of the time it’s articles that don’t always show up on the front page of the news.  Since I’m so busy with work most of the time, I don’t really have much time to skim over more than the front page of maybe three to four different papers/news outlets.

Anyway, today one of my friends had a status that said “PLEASE STOP ACTA,” and then had a link to this article.  For some odd reason I felt a red flag go up when I saw the acronym, so naturally I clicked the link.  I am rather ashamed to say I have never heard of it before.  I wonder if I’m alone in this though.  Apparently our president has already signed it, but it’s also supposedly debatable whether or not it’s a legitimately-signed treaty since he never ran it by the Senate.

For those of you too lazy to read the article (even though it’s pretty short), here’s the gist of it:

  • ACTA stands for Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.
  • It’s an international treaty that gives countries the power to stop copyright infringement and intellectual property theft in general, and from what I understand also allows countries to work together on this globally.
  • Europeans are upset because there are countries that have signed this agreement without consulting their citizens, and apparently the European Parliament wasn’t completely included in all the negotiations either.
  • There are no fair provisions—gone are the exceptions such as backing up media for personal use only or making copies for educational/scholarly use.
  • If put in place, it also voids national law, since it’s an international treaty.

ACTA gives copyright holders the following rights:

  • They can request personal information about suspected infringers from ISPs with a warrant.
  • They can pursue suspects legally.
  • They can perform search and seizure at borders.
  • They can collect damages equal to the market value of the infringing content.  (The article basically explains it like this—you can sell something for say $10, but if the original retail value is say something like $80, then you owe $80.)

There’s more to it too, I’m sure.  I just haven’t had a chance to take a good look at it.  The article provides a link to a PDF containing what I believe is the whole treaty, which I will also link for you here.

So what are my opinions on this?  Well, I think legislation like this is pretty tricky.  On the one hand, I understand where the copyrighters are coming from.  They don’t want to lose profits or have other people making profits off of their products.  On the other hand, I also understand the counter-arguments, such as legislation like this one being an invasion of privacy and that it goes too far because it affects people on an international level.  Personally, I think it is important that copyrights are honored and protected, especially since I know one day I’d like to write a screenplay and even get a book out there.  At the same time, I’m always wary of the fine print, if you know what I mean.

2 responses to “For those against SOPA & PIPA—ever hear about ACTA?

  1. This topic is very sensitive and needs further debate and analysis, simply because the decision our politicians may make will not only affect the lives of billions of people around the world, but may also create a huge impact not only in our economy but the whole world’s economy. Specially countries who cater the needs of manpower and services for companies.

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