November 12, 2009

ACTA: Do they really want to risk their brands?

There is a lot of buzz about ACTA. This international trade agreement was ment to stop counterfeit handbags, jeans, watches and other goods. I have no objections to that.

Then the film- and music industry got envolved. File sharing became an issue. And suddenly there are leaks suggesting that ACTA will contain copyright focused measures related to the internet.

Apparently there are discussions about disconnecting filesharers from the internet, internet cable operators having to inspect and filter traffic etc. – in these secret negosiations.

Rumors even suggests that customs officers will have to inspect laptops, smartphones and MP3-players in the hunt for copyright protected material. All of this is simply bad, as it is in conflict with citizens rights and an open internet for all.

Now, this should be food for thought for all the companies whos' products originally was going to be protected by ACTA – before it expanded to filesharing and copyright related issues.

Do the owners of Nike, Boss, Diesel, Camel, Swatch and all other trendy brands really want to be associated with internet censorship, limitations of freedom of information and measures that infringes on peoples privacy?

Imagine the harm that will be done to brands like Adidas, Marlboro and Prada if they where to be considered responsible for hunting down a generation of young people on the internet!

If I where in their shoes – I would use all my influense to get all references to file sharing, internet filtering etc. out of the ACTA trade agreement. Anti counterfeit, yes! Hunting file sharers, no!


Peder said...

One can only hope that they have some sort of sense...

Björn Felten said...

Maybe those ACTA people (especially the US delegation, since the US people so often brag about being true Christians), should read their own Bible. From the Book of Deuteronomy, 13:1-5:

"If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder,

And if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, 'Let us follow other gods' (gods you have not known) 'and let us worship them,'

You must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul.

It is the Lord your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him.

That prophet or dreamer must be put to death, because he preached rebellion against the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery; he has tried to turn you from the way the Lord your God commanded you to follow. You must purge the evil from among you."

What are the mediaindustry if not a bunch of false prophets, promising "miraculous wonders" to the politicians that will listen to their lies and false promises?

WYERON said...

"Do the owners of Nike, Boss, Diesel, Camel, Swatch and all other trendy brands really want to be associated with internet censorship, limitations of freedom of information and measures that infringes on peoples privacy?"

guess so, as long as fashion blogging is legal and non controversal

Anonymous said...

Nike has a wonderful human right record in Indonesia and Pakistan with among other things child labour, Boss made their money from making uniforms for the Nazi army, Camel is owned by R.J. Reynolds a well known corrupt tobacco company with the empatyh of a toad. What on earth are you blabbing about? apart from the typical conspiracy crap?

Johan Tjäder said...

Anonymous at NOVEMBER 12, 2009 7:10 PM

This is not a conspiracy theory. Even if these companies behave badly in Indonesia and Pakistan they perhaps are not interested in getting smeared with the hunt of illegal file sharers, because they are also customers.

Anders Andersson said...

To give them a taste of the future, the advocates of ACTA and similar concepts should be punished already for suggesting the use of international trade agreement regimes to monitor the contents of personal luggage, data communications or even vocal phone calls.

Those trade agreements are supposed to be about trade, not travel. Until now, personal belongings like your clothes, bags and electronics you carry with you have never been subject to import duties but rather exempted from such. The reason your personal luggage is checked at all for such items is to deter against using "tourism" as a cover for commercial smuggling operations, and usually you can bring in reasonable amounts of pretty much any goods for personal use.

Besides that, customs authorities are also looking out for truly forbidden items, such as narcotics, alcohol, pornography and weapons (depending on jurisdiction). That's not a trade issue, but a criminal and/or security issue.

When ACTA was first mentioned in the press several months ago, there were reports about actual discussions on whether also personal belongings should be checked for "trademark infringements". The side making this suggestion argued that by confiscating fake rolexes from passengers, they would be taught that it was "not ok" to buy these items.

Nobody appeared to have objected that the act of buying an item that infringes on someone's trademark is entirely legal in most jurisdictions - it's the seller who infringes, not the buyer. Then why should customs authorities get involved in punishing travellers for transactions that some other party would wish never took place? I honestly can't tell the difference from being blackmailed by the mafia.

Still, this mafia has somehow managed to get the attention of our politicians, and I won't be satisfied by these unreasonable demands merely being struck from the final agreements; I want them banned from the negotiating table. They should not get to rely on the wisdom of the politicians to protect them from the consequences of a bad proposal, but they should be publicly identified as the enemies of human society, so that their current customers will be warned.

We could start by blacklisting every corporate entity that has been involved in the ACTA negotiations. To be removed from the blacklist, they would have to make public statements that they are opposed to the aforementioned abuse of trade legislation, and that they never even suggested it. Now, it's quite possible they may lie about their intentions - but if everybody denies involvement, the politicians will have to explain why the idea even came up. And if the negotiation records aren't revealed to the public, the parties will remain blacklisted.

But if you aren't a regular Nike customer to start with, how do you boycott Nike? Well, if you have an e-mail address, you can reject e-mail from any sender using the same ISP as Nike (bounce it back, or simply drop it unseen). If you have a website, prohibit clients using that same ISP from visiting your pages. Overkill? Maybe, but there is a financial connection. When your friends discover they can no longer send you e-mail or visit a number of websites, they will be inclined to find another ISP. Eventually, Nike will be deemed a liability and their contract with the same ISP will be cancelled.

If the proposals still become law, simply extend the boycott to every commercial entity somehow "benefitting" from said law, say every corporation with a trademark. Eventually, they will overthrow your government for destroying their business with you.

Anonymous said...

@Johan Tjäder
Yeah right, the holy sneaker and fashion industry smeared by what ? by the evil and scary media industry? do you belive that you are living under some kind of repression? under some kind of dictatorship? under some kind of master plan with the goal to prevent freedom of speech? these kind of thoughts seem to more than well - fulfill the definition of a conspiracy theory.

Anonymous said...

Why don't the ACTA discussions take place within WIPO?

This is the question I think should be asked over and over again to the governments involved. It will put them in a very defensive position because they have to explain exactly what is wrong with WIPO-policy and why they are so dissatisfied with WIPO that they try to bypass WIPO.

What is it they want to accomplish that WIPO prevents?

Björn Felten said...

Well, Rasmus, I don't think they've made any secret about why they don't take it in WIPO. It's because in WIPO you have the new economic power, BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China).

Those countries are in the same situation as the western world was a century ago, when we didn't give a hoot about intellectual property when building up our big corporations.

Ergo: anything even similar to ACTA would never pass in WIPO, so "we" have to first agree amongst ourselves before we can try to force-feed our twisted IP-agreements on the new economies.

Anonymous said...

"Do the owners of Nike, Boss, Diesel, Camel, Swatch and all other trendy brands really want to be associated with internet censorship, limitations of freedom of information and measures that infringes on peoples privacy?"

I don't think they worry about that much, they are quite confident that the global lobby campaign driven by the content industry will be successful.

The "public" is an easy victim of the tsunami of pro-content industry messages, relayed by uninformed (unscrupulous, greedy, stupid) politicians plus most of the media in the world today.

The strategy and result will likely be the same as in relation to the "war on terror"

If the message is repeated enough times people will accept although if they think twice the message make no sense at all.

Incidentally here is where the content industry and politicians hungry for global power share a vital common interest.

Both are very eager to erase the concept of privacy and personal integrity from the minds of modern people. Different motives but same strategy.

Fundamentally it comes down to reducing the value of the individual in favor of the "state", "power", "globalization" or "corporate interests".

To create this mindset is necessary in order to get people to accept the final concept of "one global state".