ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement, was signed in private by European politicians that wasn’t elected by the general public to their positions. The treaty was signed behind closed doors, and thou the documents have been leaked, there are still no official published documents even mentioning this agreement. The world knows about it, but according to the official sources, it doesn’t exist.
This agreement gives the customs the right to go through your personal belongings to search for digital devices that can store information and then go through these devices to look for illegal copied intellectual properties. It also demands that the internet service providers shall monitor all traffic that goes through their servers, looking for certain keywords. If these keywords are repeated by any of the service buyers (IE YOU), that person is to be shut of from the internet completely and have accusations put against them in a court of law.
This means that you are found guilty and punished before any accusations are even made against you, therefore giving you no chance to defend yourself. The rules are so loosely typed that it could be as simple as you looking at a Youtube video of a party, where a Lady Gaga-song is played in the background.
Furthermore, this agreement also states that when being sued for breaking intellectual property, the accusing party may claim you for the sum of their intellectual property times their retail price for the same. This means that a 16 year old boy that have filled his 2Tb hard drive (a common practice), that is roughly 700 000 songs at an average size of 3Mb/song, can cause a claim of around 600 000 USD at a retail price of 90 cents per song.
Does this sound like the amount a 16-year-old normally pays for music in a year? No! So why does the agreement think this is a fair amount to claim as damage to the company? Mind you, that is only for the downloader, the uploader gets the same math, but multiplied by the number of downloads. The same hard drive can then cost an uploader a total of 94 million USD at an average of 100 downloads per song. Does this sound like the amount the record companies usually sell their songs for? This gives the company an average of 137USD per song on that very same hard drive.
So, to sum it up, from a pirates point of view, this new law would mean that the companies that own intellectual property can claim over 100 times the retail price for each song, and that is companies that already makes much more from the actual sales they DO make.
It also gives police rights to private companies, forcing service providers to be responsible for what their customers do, much like a postal office would be accountable for what someone sends in the mail.
That is from a pirates eyepatch, but what about all you non-pirates? Why should you care? Well, for one, this also means that copyrights are so restricted that you can’t create any product even similar to one that already exists on the market. This means that the drug company that creates a medicine will get monopoly on this drug for almost a century after it is made. A drug that can save lives is now restricted to those who can afford what the company wants them to pay for it. A company that have the patent for wheat that can grow in the dessert now have monopoly on this and may refuse people to grow it as they wish, since no-one can make such a wheat.
If you want to drag it to the ultimate edge, this law actually forbids many of the artists out there to paint, compose music or make movies, because of the similarities to works that already exists. How many songs from the 60’s doesn’t already use the three standard rock chords? What song today doesn’t contain a snippet of another song? How many paintings contains the Eifel Tower in the background? How many movies are talking about the end of the world by a natural disaster?
All of these will be banned. This agreement made to make the artists and creators safe will restrict them while filling the pockets of the people that already are making the most profit out of this. The very same companies that are dying out because they are no longer needed!
It’s not too late! You can still make a difference by contacting your local politicians, even if you’re not part of EU. ALL countries in the world have a say in this, because this agreement affects the whole world, so stand up for your rights to a private life, to a life where you can create something without the fear of prosecution without accusation, to a life where you can’t be punished for using the internet or wanting to survive.