Wednesday, November 04, 2009

They are coming to cut you off, oo argh

The Fantastic Judith Collins will be thrilled with provisions of the Top Secret Copyright Treaty that have leaked out from under the cone of silence. As Cory Doctorow from Boing Boing sez, it's bad. Very bad:
  • 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)
 Mauricio Freitas at Geekzone is ashamed that NZ has anything to do with this. Computerworld has early comment from InternetNZ rep Jordan Carter:
"If correct, this is cause for alarm and shows a significant change in ACTA's focus,” says InternetNZ spokesperson Jordan Carter.

"Instead of focusing on customs procedures and stopping large scale commercial piracy, it seems the negotiations are turning to areas that should be out of bounds.

"Because the ACTA process is secret, none of us can know the precise details of what is being discussed.

"New Zealand should take a stand against any attempt to hijack the negotiations."

I hope someone starts raising the idea of protecting citizens from this sledgehammer by doing a Finland and declaring internet connection a human right. I mean, it's not as if Judith Collins has a problem with trampling the Magna Carta.

That's it. I'm off to join the NZ Pirate Party.