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Protest Against ACTA and Decolonize The Internet

Saturday, February 11, 2012
12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Event Type:
John Thielking
Location Details:
San Jose City Hall Plaza, 4th and E Santa Clara St, San Jose, CA, USA

Protest Against ACTA
Decolonize The Internet

Protest 12PM-2PM, Saturday, February 11, 2012 at San Jose City Hall Plaza at 4th and E. Santa Clara St, San Jose, CA

Ever since the Internet was first formed, the high tech settlers have spread across the great plains of the Internet, scooping up domain names and putting up their signs saying “open for business”. Initially, this didn't drive anyone off of their land or cost anyone their job. However, the proprietary rights associated with publishing material on a web site are fundamentally different from publishing the same material in a book. The material in a book may be reused for a commercial purpose if it is only paraphrased and is not even covered by copyright when such use is made. A step up from this use is the defense of “fair use”, which allows news organizations to use brief quotations or even entire works (such as news feeds) in their broadcasts or in print for the benefit of their for profit institutions without having to pay royalties to the original copyright holders or enter into special contracts for each use they make of copyrighted material. Indeed, according to Wikipedia, 1/6 of the US economic output is based on such types of “fair use”. Note that “fair use” often does not extend to
just any old commercial use.

On the Internet, many web sites throw this community contract of copyright law out the window and substitute in its place draconian Terms Of Use contracts. The TOUs often state that no information contained on the web sites may be used to make derivative works or for commercial purposes. A prime example is a section from the TOU on

8.2You should be aware that Content presented to you as part of the Services, including but not limited to advertisements in the Services and sponsored Content within the Services may be protected by intellectual property rights which are owned by the sponsors or advertisers who provide that Content to Google (or by other persons or companies on their behalf). You may not modify, rent, lease, loan, sell, distribute or create derivative works based on this Content (either in whole or in part) unless you have been specifically told that you may do so by Google or by the owners of that Content, in a separate agreement.

It would seem that even the act of reproducing this quote from the Google terms on this flier violates those same terms. According to these terms, apparently Youtube videos and Google Books can not be used to make derivative works. Even just paraphrasing and thereby reusing the information contained in such works is “using the Content” which is prohibited. Indeed, the Supreme Court just recently ruled that works that are in the public domain (such as the works on Google Books) can be copyrighted over again and taken out of free, public circulation. (Workers' World Feb 2, 2012 vol. 54 no 4.)

This state of affairs marks the beginning of the problem that we now face with ACTA (the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) and similar initiatives such as SOPA and PIPA.

See the reverse side of this flier for a discussion of ACTA and similar initiatives such as Lamar Smith's Internet snooping bill, HR 1981. ACTA requires enabling legislation such as HR 1981.

ACTA includes the following:
1. It empowers governments to take down Internet Service Providers (ISPs), not just web sites, it doesn't like. I don't know what recourse a targeted web site or ISP might have to the courts.
2.Security forces at airports and border crossings are authorized to search your cell phone, MP3 player or computer for pirate copies of anything and confiscate or destroy it if they find something they don't like. (No search warrant required.)
3.ACTA was negotiated in secret and signed by the US and several other countries. The Bush and Obama administrations successfully quashed Freedom of Information Act requests on the grounds that disclosure would cause "damage to the national security.”

A separate initiative is Lamar Smith's Internet snooping bill, HR 1981.

According to an e-mail from
The ACLU, EFF, Demand Progress, and 25 other civil liberties and privacy groups have expressed our opposition to this legislation. Will you join us, by emailing your lawmakers today?... ...ISPs would collect and retain your data whether or not you're accused of a crime. Supporters shamelessly dubbed it the "Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act," but our staunchest allies in Congress are calling it what it is: an all-encompassing Internet snooping bill. Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California -- a SOPA hero who also led Democratic opposition to this bill -- said, "It represents a data bank of every digital act by every American [that would] let us find out where every single American visited Web sites."

The current status of ACTA, according to Wikipedia, is that the EU has signed it, but not completely ratified it as only 22 of 27 countries have ratified it. The treaty goes into full effect when 6 of the 9 countries (or groups in the case of the EU) that have signed it ratify it. The US signed it in October of 2011, but likely has not ratified it. presents a slightly different account, saying that the treaty is an executive agreement that doesn't require ratification by the US Senate for example after it is signed. Many protests are planned across Europe for February 11, 2012 to protest the signing and ratification of ACTA.

There are three petitions to sign to try to stop these two initiatives from going into effect. They are located here:

Please take a moment and type in these URLs into your web browser and sign the petitions. Thank you.

This protest action is sponsored by advocates overturning the laws that permit TOU contracts to be formed that deprive Internet users of their rights to “fair use” of content that is provided for free on the Internet.

This protest is also endorsed by Occupy San Jose.
Added to the calendar on Tue, Feb 7, 2012 9:52AM
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