Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Emerson's secret plan to fight crime one iPod at a time

Steve's Trade Minister, David (oops now I'm a conservative) Emerson has been busy working, away on a new trade agreement.

From the Financial Post here:
The federal government is secretly negotiating an agreement to revamp international copyright laws which could make the information on Canadian iPods, laptop computers or other personal electronic devices illegal and greatly increase the difficulty of travelling with such devices.
It is not that ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, has been a secret. Emerson spoke last year of Canada's involvement in the creation of the new initiative aimed at stopping large-scale piracy of movies. Hey, giving some teeth to the  laws that go after large scale, illegal, replicators of any media is a good thing. But of course that's not what it is about and not what is being proposed.

The ACTA discussion paper has been leaked here.  
The deal would create a international regulator that could turn border guards and other public security personnel into copyright police. The security officials would be charged with checking laptops, iPods and even cellular phones for content that "infringes" on copyright laws, such as ripped CDs and movies. The guards would also be responsible for determining what is infringing content and what is not.
It gets worse:
On top of these enforcement efforts, ACTA also proposes imposing new sanctions on Internet service providers. It would force them to hand over personal information pertaining to "claimed infringement" or "alleged infringers" -- users who may be transmitting or sharing copyrighted content over the Internet.
And no public input or parliamentary approval required:
The agreement is being structured much like NAFTA, except it will create rules and regulations regarding private copying and copyright laws. Federal trade agreements do not require parliamentary approval. The new document is reported to be drafted by the Office of the United States Trade Representative and is expected to be tabled at the G8 meetings in July.
As is the case with most of the crap that Steve and his neocons try to get away with, they claim the highest of intensions and then try to impose the most Orwellian, corporate protections that end up eroding the rights of the individual and our supposedly free society. 

Here's more information:
Michael Geist and many others have been ranting about this for a while, and you can learn a lot more at his site here. If so inclined you can do the 30 things he suggests and/or sign petitions here and here.
Of course the right slanted thinkers amongst us would claim that this is just hysterics on my part. Steve isn't out to confiscate my iPod, he is just covering loopholes in the protection of copyright. Well the point isn't whether he intends to confiscate my iPod, it's just that he could if he wanted to. 

And I will end up trying to prove to some crossing guard, that I just pissed off, that all 2,000 songs were purchased from iTunes since it will be illegal to copy them from the CD's I own. Unbelievable.

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