Wednesday, November 04, 2009


I'm not kidding. If the new worldwide copyright treaty is put into effect, goodbye blogging. And goodbye to YouTube and a lot of other services. Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing sounds the alarm about the new Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, now being cobbled together in South Korea by the Obama administration -- in secret.

We don't yet know the full details, but -- so far -- we know this:
* * That ISPs have to proactively police copyright on user-contributed material. This means that it will be impossible to run a service like Flickr or YouTube or Blogger, since hiring enough lawyers to ensure that the mountain of material uploaded every second isn't infringing will exceed any hope of profitability.

* * That ISPs have to cut off the Internet access of accused copyright infringers or face liability. This means that your entire family could be denied to the internet -- and hence to civic participation, health information, education, communications, and their means of earning a living -- if one member is accused of copyright infringement, without access to a trial or counsel.

* * That the whole world must adopt US-style "notice-and-takedown" rules that require ISPs to remove any material that is accused -- again, without evidence or trial -- of infringing copyright. This has proved a disaster in the US and other countries, where it provides an easy means of censoring material, just by accusing it of infringing copyright.

* * Mandatory prohibitions on breaking DRM, even if doing so for a lawful purpose (e.g., to make a work available to disabled people; for archival preservation; because you own the copyrighted work that is locked up with DRM)
Any law that forces ISPs to police user infringement of copyright will also put an end to Myspace and Facebook. Not to mention a lot of ISPs.

This is an issue on which we can all agree, regardless of political persuasion. Huffington Post calls the new treaty "A Patriot Act For the Internet":
The entire U.S. tech sector has been publicly silent, as the Obama administration has co-oped them into trading silence for access to the secret documents.

At this point, Congress needs to stand up and put an end to this appalling spectacle of secret legislation on a global scale. How can politicians claim to be all for transparency, and allow this indefensible violation of the public right to know proceed?

A large number of organizations and people have written President Obama asking that he end the secrecy of the negotiation.
Obama came into office promising transparency. Ha! This guy's as transparent as concrete.
All 40+ countries in the negotiation have access to the proposed text. And, there are processes for just about any corporate lobbyist with ties to the Administration to see proposed texts, if they sign tough legally binding non-disclosure agreements. So why is it secret from the public?
Look, this thing isn't about pirated music or downloaded movies. I'm a content creator myself, and I know what it's like to be ripped off. Hell, I've seen posts from this very blog published on other sites without so much as a byline or a by-your-leave.

This ain't that.

This is about free speech. This is about blogging. If every ISP has to hire an in-house police force, two things will happen: 1. Everyone's monthly bill will go way up. 2. Customers will be prevented from using services like Blogger.

Think about the quoted material in this very post. Have I followed the letter of the law? I don't know, and neither do you. The law has not determined just how many words one may quote under the "fair use" rubric. Instead of playing count-the-letters, the ISPs will simply tell customers not to blog. True, no sane individual could claim that my lengthy quotes did financial harm to either Boing Boing or HuffPo -- but if this treaty goes through, mere sanity will no longer matter.

This treaty will return us to the days when freedom of the press belonged only to those who owned a press.

People won't stand for this.

Barack Obama is about to become the least popular president in history -- and the Democratic party will get a rep as the party that tried to censor the internet.
I wanted to share this article on dailypuma, but you don't have a share button.

Is that something you might consider?
Cut and paste!

That would fit right in with the spirit of the thing, don't you think?
Looking back at the Lutheran Reformation during the 1500's, it was the development of a printing press that allowed less expensive Bibles to be made available to the masses. This opened the eyes of many and allowed them to look at how they were being decieved. It was so bad during that time with corruption and "Gone Wild" everything that people took matters into their own hands. The Puritans came over to America in part to get away from the Reformation that was taking place in their home land. This is one reason why we have text in our Consitution that guarantees separation between Church and State.

Personally my family fled France around the mid 1600's since France was seeing seven Reformation wars. They fled to Luxembourg about 200 miles due east and built a family home that still stands to this day. What existed within my family through the generations were horrible stories of what happened that made them leave France. One story talks about the late night visits by angry mobs to their neighbors where everyone including the children were killed simply because they were Catholic. They said that living during that time was horrible and it was time to leave especially when it came close to home.

Looking back, it took a few hundred years to have information spread across the land that informed others of the truth. Today, the internet does it in a fraction of this time yet there will still be efforts to silence the truth. The reason is clear, it works really well but what it is they are trying to do?

I've been writing posts for a long time talking about us being in the midst of a White House Coup. I know from the family I was in that it's being run by the Big Banks and others. What's fueling the Coup in large part is the sale of huge Drug Sales where our Government leaders are directly involved with selling us drugs. Be aware that the plans aren't limited to just the US, they extend beyond our borders.

Considering that this is their plan, they may be expending a lot of energy to insure their plans end successfully. But it's important to realize that there is an opposition that exists that is successfully putting an end here and there to what is happening. Also realize that while those pushing the Coup are committing themselves deeper with all of us watching, they eventually and in many cases have alread reached a point where they can't get out. As slithery as they are, eventually they end up painting the picture of their own doom. It still needs a little time....

Marty Didier
Northbrook, IL
Joseph, I know you must be left a typo in the first paragraph: Trade Agreement, not Traqde Agreement!

Check out an old post over at Tn Guerilla Women. Calvin Cline tried to shut down a couple of blogs making fun of his artificially photoshopped-skinny models, whose head ended up bigger than her hips.

One site caved and took down their post...the others not only left it up but challenged him on fair use and got even more attention.

I wonder what 4chan users have to say about this turn of events?

The cyber activists can wreak some havoc/fun.

Put "Scientology" in your tags for this story and maybe some of them will wander over and have something pointed to say!
I have to say...I almost think, bring it on. It will bring the "told you so" comebacks almost to orgasmic levels. I will be smirking nonstop.

And there can be no excuses to hide behind.
I've corrected the typo.
It was Ralph Lauren's lawyers who tried to shut down Boing Boing over the altered photos. Fortunately BB had an off-shore IPS and did not have to comply.

Gee Marty, I wish I knew the source of your optimism. To me it looks like things are getting worse by the hour.
Zee, it's Calvin 'Klein' as in "Nothing comes between me and my Calvins" and not 'Cline' as in CRAZY, as in "missing the bus."
It seems to me that you are over-reacting, Joseph. Consider:

* Most off the stuff posted on Facebook or YouTue is sh--t.

* Content creators are being screwed-over by the current situation.

* The way things stand, little people share, while big companies/organizations take, take take (Adsense/Google benefits from the current copy and paste culture, as do selfish culture consumers).

Enforcement of copyright would conceivably allow content creators to make a proper living off work that is their creation.
Thanks, Bartleby...that was driving me nuts, but we can't correct our comment typos, alas. I'd actually typed "Kline" instead of Klein and knew that was wrong and somehow concluded it was the "K" that was off!
I'm a big fan of making ISP's responsible for policing the copyright infringement that they facilitate. Original blogging will not end -- people who clip incessantly from other people's intellectual property will end. As long as we agree that there's a fair law called 'copyright', there's certainly nothing wrong with policing actual infringement.

Trust me -- if you make a film and find that it's available on a torrent the night of it's release on DVD, you'd feel differently about this.

It doesn't end or even damage free ORIGINAL speech.
So, GI -- I take it you also would be in favor of suing the phone company if two people use the phones to plan to rob your house?
Phone company? What? That's quite a nonsensical stretch. I'd be a fan of suing the phone company for copyright infringement if they committed copyright infringement.

If wolves traveled down the same road every night to eat your cattle, thereby destroying your livelihood, you'd be all for the policing of that road.

You're condoning copyright infringement as 'not a big deal' because it's your blogging style to copy and paste constantly.
Idiot, thou'rt banned.

How dare you say that my style is copying and pasting? I may not be the finest blogger, but I do more original writing than -- well, just about anyone.

And the phone company can be used, has been used, for copyright infringement. The fault lies with the infringer, not with the company.
Dudes, Obama isn't going to let this happen. He's got a trick up his sleeve. Just wait and see. He's awesome.
Always looking for a quick buck the entertainment media companies want to put the onus on the web hosting companies rather than do it themselves.
While there is a real problem with auction sites and some e-tail sites selling pirate DVD's and CD's and a pain for the copyright owners to get them off the shelves, going after some one for failing to delete a 10 minute segment of a fan subbed anime?
I've always wondered why there's no way that one can copy and paste excerpts and have a marker that automatically footnoted the source. I don't know what the "share button" is that Alessandro Machi refers to, but I always prefer to cut and paste excerpts, not entire articles, and then either include the precise url ...or if the community knows the blog, credit the writer/blogger for people to go check out the entire thing.

Why is there no "excerpt button" developed that marks the source of cut and pasted material? It's been explained to me before, but I have a hard time believing such a thing couldn't be developed.
"...I do more original writing than -- well, just about anyone."

Exactly. So why defend others' bad habits?

I think it's OK that ISP can be sued if it *Knowingly* distributes plagarized stuff.

The point is if someone tells the ISP something on a blog is plagiarized, they can go check it out and usually it will be obvious.

Anyway, that's more or less the way things work today, if you find your stuff has been plagarized in the US.

As for regimes using it as a means of censorship, perhaps. But if they want to censor stuff, there are other ways to do it.
"I've always wondered why there's no way that one can copy and paste excerpts and have a marker that automatically footnoted the source."

Actually, Huffington Post has just such a system. I have no idea how their code works, but I do know that when I take a quote from one of their stores -- even a small one -- extra text shows up when pasted into my post. The text tells readers to head back to HuffPo for more.

I always cut that out, since it would impede the flow. But I always provide a link going back to the original story.
"I've always wondered why there's no way that one can copy and paste excerpts and have a marker that automatically footnoted the source."
->There is .. eh, there WAS..
it's a plug-in for IE, and all You had to do, was to give them a valid e-mail adress.
Its patented in the US.
It is the only thing anybody needs for writing on a computer.
I think its too efficient.
->continuing, 6:10 AM ,cause my conection dropped- it was at : All rights reserved ©2001 web2one, Inc.
I don't think that picking up other peoples ideas and promoting them, as well as well as adding them to a personal context is bad,
as long as the original link to the original source is preserved.
- By the way, if anyone publishes
something, its published.
If you want to keep it private - contrary to public, why don't You
keep it private ?
- It's only human nature to share,
whereas privatizing is about the most unhumane thing one could imagine.
And if it is genuinely new, it is art.
Art, or any truth, by its very nature, cannot be copied, only multiplied.
And that's what should be done.
So the next ones in the collective
process of creating can quickly build on it.
Anything that you have to pay for
these days at some point got stolen from somebody or somewhere
("there is nothing new under the sun"-Salomon?)
I don't want to elaborate.
These are NOT my "original" ideas.
And as it would only mess up what I try to say, to quote all the sources that make me think like this, I'd better stop here.
Thanks for the inspiration.
(Pharisaens they are)
-oh-"there is no such thing as
'society',Mr.speaker : There is no such thing as 'privacy'-that was what I read in the editorial of
a widely distributed computer magazine about 20 years ago, and if
I remember right, it was the geo
of IBM in Germany at the time.

So the next ones in the collective
process of creating can quickly build on it.

What's the hurry?
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