Or anywhere else, for that matter. How refreshing that not just a small margin of the votes were against the ACTA, as it is being presented, but that it went down in fiery flames with a tally of 663 to 13. The 13 that voted for must be completely out to lunch, or in the pocket of the people on the other side of this argument.

For many, the mere fact that so much of this is not available for public notice is upsetting. Obviously the originators of the ACTA know how much disagreement there would be in this country if its provisions were completely known. (If they did not know before, they can guess by the vote from the EU – it should not be much different except for those in the pocket of Hollywood and the RIAA now.)

The story just cam from ComputerWorld UK, to the US website

The European Union’s Parliament has approved a common resolution that calls for openness over the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), voting 663-to-13 vote that ACTA contradicts agreed EU laws on counterfeiting and piracy online.

In addition, the parliament said it is ready to go to the Court of Justice if the European Commission does not reject ACTA rules, or give parliament access to the draft ACTA texts.

The action is a setback for the highly secretive ACTA, an international anti-counterfeiting framework that has been in development for over two years. ACTA, a draft of which was leaked online in February, seeks to establish international standards on intellectual property rights enforcement.

However, critics say ACTA would allow “US-style draconian” policies to penalize piracy, including the controversial “three strikes” rule that requires ISPs to cut off an illegal file-sharing subscriber’s Internet connection after two warnings.

Today’s vote will mean negotiators will have to go back to the drawing board and come up with a compromise to appease objections raised by the parliament.

Christian Engstrm, MEP for the Swedish Pirate Party, welcomed the decision. “This is just the beginning. This is a resolution by a virtually unanimous parliament, but it is not formally binding for the commission. If they want to ignore us, they technically can. Then we will have to fight on.”

The participating countries in the ACTA talks are the U.S., the E.U., Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Singapore, Jordan, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates.

Their next meeting will be held in New Zealand in April. The 11 negotiating parties aim to conclude the treaty by the end of this year.

I love that quote about the United States style draconian policies. For many that reside here, the fact of freedom is simply taken as so much school fare, without question. Few actually question the freedoms we either have or don’t have. Unfortunately, the few who do are easily identified as nutballs, because they are questioning the wrong things entirely. (Fox News is one of those entities, either on the wrong side of things, or looking at the speck of sand, while the avalanche of huge boulders is almost upon the state.)

As before, no one is for piracy, just as no one is for child pornography, or abuses of people, or many other things. The problems arise when action is taken, and removes freedom or harms other things in the process of doing ostensible good.

This is a time when the Republicans, so quick to state that health care reform needs a restart, seems to be forgetting that ACTA serves few and will harm many, which can’t be said about health reform. Their sights should be shifted a bit, and some cries from the right side of the aisle should be about the junking of the ACTA. Perhaps the next writing can be done in public, so that everyone has a chance to see the changes proposed, without having to learn about it by leaks, or a vote from across the ocean.


Mad as Hell (Howard Beale-Network) What is wrong with these people? Secrecy casts a pall on most anything like this.

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