ACTA, EU and WikiLeaks. And showdown for free speech, indie online media in Germany.

December 3, 2010

ACTA, EU and WikiLeaks

Julian Assange answers your questions (www.guardian.co.uk):

Do you have leaks on ACTA?

Yes, we have leaks on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a trojan horse trade agreement designed from the very beginning to satisfy big players in the US copyright and patent industries. In fact, it was WikiLeaks that first drew ACTA to the public’s attention – with a leak.

Recommended reading.

Showdown for free speech in Germany

As previously discussed it does not look good at all for blogging, online indie media, art and free speech in Germany. Next week might already tell if Berlin and Germany will still be a relevant place to be for new media, online art and anyone considering investing time and money in this country:

Berlin: Infoveranstaltung & Entscheidung zum JMStV (www.netzpolitik.org)

JMStV: Emails an Abgeordnete (www.netzpolitik.org)

And there is yet another potentially serious problem for bloggers in Germany, the Leistungsschutzrecht: think of it as software patents for snippets of words. Basically established media will have exclusive rights to certain phrases they “created”. The article says a website explaining the problem will go online in mid-December.

Ein neues Monopol mit irreführendem Namen (www.heise.de)

Update 1: This is related… One wonders if the same might not have happened in Germany in regards to the JMStV…?!

Wikileaks cables reveal that the US wrote Spain’s proposed copyright law (www.boingboing.net)

Update 2: The Wikileaks Copyright Cables: Confirmations Not Revelations (www.michaelgeist.ca)

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18+, “looking younger”…? Depictions of your naked body may be illegal in the EU soon!

November 25, 2010

A new EU legislative proposal may well in fact turn out to be a de facto criminalisation of any kind of “erotic” depiction of adults who, in the eye of a judge, may “look younger than 18”: EU verbietet erotische Darstellungen von Erwachsenen (EU banning erotic depictions of adults) (www.pornoanwalt.de).


“David” by Michelangelo can – at this point – still be seen at the Galleria dell’ Accademia, Florence/Italy

(Source: Wikipedia)

In the near future it may not matter how old you actually are (!!!), “erotic” depictions of your naked body or any erotic material may be highly illegal to produce or possess, even if you can prove that those involved are e.g. 25!

Of course there is a very cynical pretext, this legislative proposal says it aims at child pornography. Yet de facto this is “freedom from porn” the way Steve Jobs was preaching it. This law should be a pope’s wet dream come true…

So e.g. if your partner happens to be Asian and you made some nude snapshots on the beach you may already be out of luck: if a European judge feels that your Asian partner “looks younger than 18” you and your partner may already be in serious legal troubles.

And what about art…? Caravaggio’s nude boy in “Amor Vincit Omnia”…? Will it have to be moved from the museum…? Could Michaelangelo’s David not seem (too) erotic and look like he was under age…? Careful if you are a film maker and planing a coming of age drama! I guess Larry Clark’s “Kids” could already be highly problematic in this context…

Of course a whole generation of Xtube, Porntube etc. (young) adults of 18+ will face a serious problem: if someone thinks you “look (!!!) under 18” it will be enough to criminalise you and your fans. Your ID card will not help you here! And once e.g. a news paper writes that you have produced or possessed child porn it will be almost impossible to defend your good name.

“Amor Vincit Omnia” by Caravaggio can – at this point – still be seen at the Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen, Berlin/Germany

(Source: Wikipedia)

This really is simply how censorship starts. Just take a delicate topic like CP, broaden the definition and once the laws are put in place it will be easy to use this to get rid of anyone you wish to target. An art book with nude paintings or a David Hamilton photography book may be enough. And an erotic Manga style comic book may be even more dangerous to possess… Also be sure to get rid of that old sex education book or your parent’s naturist guide from the 1960s, it may well get you in serious trouble!

I wonder if those “looking younger than 18” or those possessing “erotic” depictions of those “looking younger than 18” will at one point have to wear some kind of label…? I suggest a star. Pink should do. This worked before and should work again.

As the lawyer linked from that article above says: this legislative proposal does not help children at all, actual victims of CP. What it does is possibly criminalise any “erotic” depiction of those who are 18+ and it also potentially criminalises a whole generation of teens/young adults. The only legal porn in Europe then would be one for and with old people. I’m sure there is a market too. Yet all youngsters and couples who might share nude pics and videos among one another or anyone using sites like Porntube could easily face jail time. So if you are a parent beware of your teenage kids: their naked bodies are about to be declared “illegal”. Be prepared to visit them in prison.

Europe beware. It looks like a storm is coming. (Corporate) Fascism is definitely just around the corner. This one is about censorship and the pretext is as cynical as it could possibly get.

And what a coincidence that at the same time the TSA porn scanners, that are according to experts not helping with safety at all, but as Americans found out are only there to humiliate you, are being installed at an airport near you. This is all about intimidation and control. “You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide.”

ACTA is on the way (EU-Parlament begrüßt Anti-Piraterie-Abkommen ACTA/EU parliament welcomes Anti-Piracy-Agreement ACTA) (www.heise.de), “terror warnings” make the round and lobbyists are trying to pass laws that will bring us back to the middle age. That’s real “freedom from porn”. By all means do enjoy your iPad – while you still can…

It’s so good to know that young people will still be sent to fight wars and while they may drive a car and buy alcohol at (around) 18, “erotic” depictions of  their bodies and their sexual practices may soon be illegal and could destroy their and their loved one’s lives.

I also wonder if those very young, semi-nude boys with wings in all those Catholic Churches around Europe will then have to be removed one day too…? Probably they will be exempt from censorship for “religious” reasons – now that the pope has allowed condoms for male prostitutes it looks like these are going to be good times indeed for those highly respected moral guardians of our society. Think of the children…!

Witches will be hunted. Books will be burned. Again.

 

18+, “looking younger”…? Depictions of your naked body may be illegal in the EU soon!

 

A controversial EU legislative proposal may well in fact turn out to be a de facto criminalisation for any kind of “erotic” depiction of adults who, in the eye of a judge, may “look younger than 18”.

 

In the near future it might not matter how old you actually are (!!!), “erotic” depictions of your naked body or any erotic material may be highly illegal to produce or possess, even if you can prove that those involved are e.g. 25!

 

Of course there is a very cynical pretext, this legislative proposal says it aims at child pornography. Yet de facto this is “freedom from porn” the way Steve Jobs was preaching it, this law really should be a pope’s wet dream come true.

 

So e.g. if your partner happens to be Asian and you made some nude snapshots on the beach you may already be out of luck: if a European judge feels that your Asian partner “looks younger than 18” you and your partner may already be in serious legal troubles.

 

And what about art…? Caravaggio’s nude boy in ““Amor Vincit Omnia”…? Will it have to be moved from the museum…? Could Michaelangelo’s David not seem (too) erotic and look like he was under age…? Careful if you are a film maker and planing a coming of age drama! I guess Larry Clark’s “Kids” could already be highly problematic in this context…

 

Of course a whole generation of Xtube, Porntube etc. (young) adults of 18+ will face a serious problem: if someone thinks you “look under 18” it will be enough to criminalise you and your fans. Your ID card will not help you here! And once e.g. a news paper prints that you have produced or possessed child porn it will be almost impossible to defend your good name.

 

This really is simply how censorship starts. Just take a delicate topic like CP, broaden the definition and once the laws are put in place it will be easy to use this to get rid of anyone you wish to target. An art book with Caravaggio paintings or a Larry Clark photography book may be enough. And an erotic Manga style comic book may be even more dangerous to posses… Also be sure to get rid of that old sex education book or your parent’s naturist book from the 1960′, it may well get you in serious trouble!

 

I wonder if those “looking younger than 18” or those possessing “erotic” depictions of those “looking younger than 18” will at one point have to wear some kind of mark…? I suggest a star. Pink or yellow should do. This worked before and should work again!

 

As the lawyer linked from that article above says: this legislative proposal does not at all help children, actual victims of CP. What it does is possibly criminalise any “erotic” depiction of those of 18+ and it potentially criminalises a whole generation of teens/young adults at the same time. The only legal porn in Europe then should be one for and with old people. I’m sure there is a market too. Yet all youngsters and couples who might share nude pics and videos among one another or anyone using sites like Porntube could easily face jail time. So if you are a parent beware of your teenage kids: their naked bodies are about to be declared “illegal”. Be prepared to visit them in prison.

 

Europe beware. It looks like a storm is coming. (Corporate) Fascism is definitely just around the corner. This one is about censorship and the pretext is as cynical as it could possibly get.

 

And what a coincidence that at the same time the TSA porn scanners, that, according to experts are not helping with safety, but are really only there to humiliate you, are being installed at an airport near you.

 

ACTA is on the way, “terror warnings” make the round and lobbyists are trying to pass laws that will bring us back to the middle age. That’s “freedom from porn”. By all means do enjoy your iPad – while you still can.

 

I also wonder if those very young, semi-nude boys with wings in all those Catholic Churches around Europe will then have to be removed one day too…? Probably they will be except from censorship for “religious” reasons – now that the pope has allowed condoms for male prostitutes it looks like these are going to be good times indeed for those highly respected moral guardians of our society. Think of the children…!

 

It’s also good to know that young people will still be sent to fight wars and while they may drive a car and buy alcohol at (around) 18, “erotic” depictions of their bodies and their sexual practices may soon be illegal and could destroy their and their loved one’s lives.

 

Witches will be hunted. Books will be burned. Again.


A cure for ACTA: FACTAP!

November 13, 2010

ACTA vs. Democracy

Corporations, their lobbyists, the puppets they bought (aka politicians) and those who make the world go round (aka bankers) will be meeting for another secret round of ACTA talks soon: Anti-Piraterie-Abkommen ACTA wird weiter verhandelt (www.heise.de).

Time for the system we got to know as Democracy is running out.

I believe the only acceptable way out of this mess will be to completely:

* reject ACTA
* name and shame those who initiated, designed and promoted it

But this might not happen.

That’s why we should be thinking ahead, for a solution to ACTA, once/if it is put in place. After thinking long and hard about all of this I believe I found it: FACTAP

You see once a system is so badly broken, so unjust, so corrupted as ours, there might not be an easy fix, a simple reform might not do any more.

On the positive side…

Lately there seem to be a few sane high-profile voices joining in an important debate, see (EU) Commissioner Kroes: Copyright Reform Needed (www.osnews.com), European Commissioner Lambasts ‘Copyright Middlemen’ (torrentfreak.com) or UK copyright laws to be reviewed, announces Cameron (www.bbc.co.uk).

I wonder if this is not too little too late…?

I’ve been supportive of the Creative Commons movements for years by publishing all my online works under one of their licenses and I will be supportive of this movement in the future. It’s a good start. Yet I feel it might not be enough any more…

I used to vote for the Green Party and while I am delighted that the Greens are doing sensationally well in Central Europa at this moment (23% in Germany should there be elections) I will be voting for the Pirate Party at future occasions where possible. I can’t agree with the argument that “Those pirates who really want to shape intellectual property policy will be better advised to join the more established parties” (fosspatents.blogspot.com). I’d be glad to see the Greens taking on the copyright issue, yet so far I simply have not heard enough from them to satisfy me. And even the Pirate Party might not be enough once and if ACTA is in place…

“Reforming” a system that’s so badly broken as ours simply might not work out: once Democracy is gone for good and Plutocracy, Corporate Fascism or whatever you want to call it has (semi-)officially arrived it might be too late to even talk about these things in public.

We live in a time where those defending free speech (in Europe) have to fear for their safety: Wikileaks founder may seek Swiss asylum: interview (news.yahoo.com). Be prepared to hear about people with critical minds tragically dying in an “air plane accident”, a “car crash” etc. It happened before and it might happen again.

Add to the mix yet more government surveillance (look at the UK for inspiration). This of course will, as always, be for “public safety”: Big Brother, thanks to TV networks, is now simply known to most people as an entertainment format. That’s brainwashing at it’s best. George Orwell would be proud.

In the end I don’t care if the Green Party or the Pirate Party or (as unlikely as it seems) any of the more mainstream parties brings back sanity.

For me this is not about about left and right, simply about right and wrong, or better: it is about fair and unfair.

So what is FACTAP…?

First of all it is a cure for ACTA, the antidote.

ACTA is a “treaty” negotiated in secrecy by lobbyists. It’s about corruption and it is dangerously undemocratic.

FACTAP shall be a public discussion – if public discussions will still be possible that is… Food for thoughts: ACTA will force your ISP to censor your work if someone lodges an unsupported trademark claim (www.boingboing.net)

The idea is that the system then will be broken so badly, so corrupted that something more radical than a simply “copyright reform” will be needed.

Basically FACTAP is about:

* Getting rid of copyright altogether. No replacement. Whatsoever.

* Getting rid of (software) patents altogether. No replacement. Whatsoever.

* What remains is that someone gets credit for their work.

Now it’s interesting that credit not only is about getting named in the context of your work/recognition for your work, but also has to do with credibility, someone might trust you with money (that is if money should still be worth the sum that’s printed on it in the near future…), someone gives you credit, since you previously have proven to produce something of value, e.g. written a book. Getting credit is like collection Karma points.

Since I still think that no one actually can “invent” anything that was not there already (we can only “discover” what nature previously “invented”), copyright and patents are simply an expression of human arrogance, they show our darker sides, the urge to control, conquer and posses for the sake of feeling in control of life, yet in the end we all still remain mortals. “Intellectual property” is really just the latest new age religion (without a spiritual element) for the rich and wealthy, an intellectual frame work constructed to justify their highly immoral deeds and practices.

I believe getting “credit” for one’s work is really all that we need.

Money of course always seems to mess up things and instead of going the more adequate, more humble road, we (might) end up with a monster like ACTA.

And if you think the content MAFIAA was bad then be prepared for the next round: White paper on 3D printing and the law: the coming copyfight (www.boingboing.net)

So dear “politicians”, if you still care a little bit about the people that elected you (that is if elections were not rigged), now is probably one of the last chances to stop this madness and reject ACTA for good!

Then maybe a “copyright reform” might still make sense.

Yet if ACTA should be installed, Democracy will be gone. There will be no need to insult us any further by holding elections that fewer and fewer people turn up to for good reasons. Be honest and call it Corporate Fascism. It’ll make things much easier for everyone. Really.

Once ACTA is in place the only thing we might need is FACTAP as its cure.

And FACTAP is so simple, that even politicians should be able to understand it:

Fuck All Copyright Trolls And Patents

That’s FACTAP.

“Choose wisely”, as they say.


The Content MAFIAA vs. The People (Week 38/2010, MPAA > ACTA)

September 26, 2010

The EU, Gallo and ACTA

Bericht über “geistige Eigentumsrechte” passiert EU-Parlament (www.heise.de)

Auch Tote unterstützen den Gallo-Report (www.gulli.com)

The MPAA > ACTA link

MPAA Asks If ACTA Can Be Used To Block Wikileaks (yro.slashdot.org)

MPAA Wants To Know If ACTA Can Be Used To Block Wikileaks? (www.techdirt.com)

Civil Disobedience

Stallman Crashes Talk, Fights ‘War On Sharing’ (news.slashdot.org)

Disconnecting the People

In France, Hadopi Reporting Begins, With (Only) 10,000 IP Addresses Per Day (yro.slashdot.org)

Multinational copyright companies will require French ISPs turn over 150,000 subscriber names and addresses per day (www.boingboing.net)

US ISP Suddenlink Claims The DMCA Requires They Disconnect Users (www.techdirt.com)

US ISP Adopts Three-Strikes Policy (yro.slashdot.org)

US ISP Disconnects Alleged Pirates for 6 Months (torrentfreak.com)

Bill Would Allow US DoJ To Shut Down Piracy Sites Worldwide (www.osnews.com)

Extorting the People

ACS:Law Anti-Piracy Law Firm Torn Apart By Leaked Emails (torrentfreak.com)

ACS:Law (Gay) Porn Letters Target Pensioners, Married Men (torrentfreak.com) (This by the way is what you get when you preach “Freedom from porn (techcrunch.com).”)

ACS:Law Email Database Leaked onto The Pirate Bay (www.slyck.com)

UK Anti-Piracy Firm E-mails Reveal Cavalier Attitude Toward Legal Threats (yro.slashdot.org)

Leaked Emails Reveal Profits of Anti-Piracy Cash Scheme (torrentfreak.com)

*** *** ***

In other news…

Google, Apple Settle Justice Dept. Hiring Probe (yro.slashdot.org)

EU stellt Verfahren gegen Apple ein (www.heise.de)

Apple Passes PetroChina to Become Second-Largest Stock (www.bloomberg.com)

Facebook’s Zuckerberg Now Richer Than Apple’s Steve Jobs (blogs.forbes.com)

Some perspective on those last links…

From Steve Jobs to MPAA, MPEG-LA, ACTA and your life

Steve Jobs of course is not only the CEO of Apple, but used to be the CEO of Pixar, that was before he sold Pixar to Disney and subsequently became “Disney’s largest individual shareholder at 7% and a Director of the company” (see Wikipedia).

***

Now there is an organisation called Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

MPAA members include the “seven big” Hollywood studios:

Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group (The Walt Disney Company)

Sony Pictures (Sony Corporation)

Paramount Pictures (Viacom)

20th Century Fox (News Corporation)

Universal Studios (NBC Universal)

Warner Bros. (Time Warner)” (see Wikipedia)

***

And there is another interesting organisation called MPEG-LA (links to my related blog entries),

this is the patent pool behind H.264 and MPEG-2:

MPEG-2 is what everyone needs for a DVD.

H.264 is the codec used in basically any (prosumer) camera, including mobile phones like in Apple’s offerings. As previously discussed: you do not own your own H.264 footage, even transcoding will not help you in escaping the MPEG-LA’s licensing fees (for commercial use).

Apple of course is also an H.264 patent holder and was the only major player not willing to give some kind of official support to the free and open-source WebM project.

And of course you may not use any open-source codec if Steve Jobs will have it his way.

So there are two interesting sets of links to remember in all of this

Steve Jobs > Pixar > Disney > MPAA > ACTA > your (digital) life (think freedom of speech, WikiLeaks, …)

Steve Jobs > Apple > MPEG-LA > software patents > ACTA > your digital life (think fees for H.264, “freedom from porn“, freedom from…)

EU stellt Verfahren gegen Apple ein


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