For two years America has been pressing a secret treaty on the rest of the world at the bequest of the movie and music studios.
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is a trade agreement to establish international standards on intellectual property rights.
It is so secret that only a dozen or so people in the world know what is in it and they are the ones who are expected to sign it. Those who talk about it have to sign and NDA which makes Intel’s look like walk in the park and if you leak any details about it you have to formally agree to shoot yourself.
The European Commission, which is lead by failed or retired real politicians who are looking for more work on the side, have given the secret deal the nod. However if they hoped that the European Parliament would see it their way they were sadly mistaken.
Today the European Parliament voted down the secret treaty and were so angry that they threatened to take legal action at the European Court of Justice unless the Commission stops being such a load of tossers.
But when more than 663 MEPs vote against the treaty with only 13 in favour it could send the whole thing back to the drawing board.
What upset them was that the secret treaty broke EU law in its desperation to keep the US entertainment business in fat profits.
Laws like the ‘three strikes’ rule which basically allows a movie studio representative to hit a P2P pirate roughly about the head three times with a large haddock and lose their internet connection breaks European fishing quotas and food hygiene laws.
The treaty requires the sort of loss of freedom that only a nation that was formed by middle class businessmen who were part-time terrorists could come up with. Draconian penalties that are out of step with the rest of the Euro justice system as a sop to business interests who can’t be bothered reforming their industry.
EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht reassured MEPs at a debate yesterday that the EU was not considering all of the measures in the ACTA text.
EuroISPA said this denial was not what it has been told.
EU rules, which were agreed upon after lengthy negotiations last year, say that ISPs are mere conduits of information and are not liable for pirated content if they take measures to remove that content.
The Music and Film industry have consistently insisted that ISPs should be its unpaid army in the war against pirates. They have argued in Australian courts that if you are not doing what they say, then you are a pirate yourself and crucifixion is too good for you. Much to the content industry’s surprise an Aussie judge told it to XXXX off, and tossed its case against an ISP onto the Barbie of Broken Dreams. It is a rebuke the industry is appealing.
The Commission’s secrecy over the the treaty was one of the biggest things to miff the Euro politicians. They point out that the Lisbon Treaty stipulates that the European Parliament should have full and immediate access to information at all stages of international negotiations.