Wednesday, November 4, 2009

ACTA - Sounds Too Good To Be True

The ACTA, or Anti-Copyright Trade Agreement, on its' surface, and if all the leaks are to be believed, sounds too good to be true. The goal of the agreement is to fix the standards that are essentially broken in the copyright field. Frankly, from what little I have heard, it sounds great. The devil, of course, is in the details. Fortunately, the negotiations are taking place in secret, to minimize intrustions by those who want the entire internet to be free, and for anyone anywhere on the internet to use things like photographs they do not own, for free.

Wikipedia has done a good job of summarizing it here, but here's the reality about copyright...

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While you own the copyright to what you create the moment your image is fixed in a tangible medium (i.e. film, memory card, etc), your ability to get paid and punish infringers is minimal unless the image is registered. Estimates show that fewer than about 2% of photographers regularly register their work, and about 5% have ever registered. Sure, you can send a DMCA takedown notice, but the infringer can continue their infringing ways. How cool would it be if, like California's "three strikes" rule - which dictates that criminals after having committed three felonies, go to jail for good - you would experience an escalation of punishments - and fees - which would end in your being forbidden from using the internet? Gizmodo suggests here - " An example of a graduated response is France's "three strikes and you're out" law. There, you get two warnings if caught sharing music or movies, then you're banned for up to two years."

Thus it seems, your ISP would refuse to make available to you (presumably at your home) internet service. How would they police mobile internet cards, or your access at public libraries, etc? Obviously, there would be some challenges, but - and I stress this again - on its' surface, it seems too good to be true.

I don't expect, given the international coalitions that are negotiating this agreement, that any one organization or corporation will be able to stop it. The Berne Convention, for example, was initially unpopular, and the US didn't sign on until 1989, however there are still a few elements of Berne that the US does not accept, like the rule of the shorter term. Could this happen to elements of ACTA? Yes, but not to the degree that would gut the benefits that photographers would see from it.

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Szoboti said...

A dont agree. Taking away the internet connection for a crime is like taking the car instead of the license after causeng an accident. I know, that people dont get a license for the use of the internet, but famylimembers may still depend on the car or internet, even after the rightful punishment of one member of their household.

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