The ACTA awareness and debate has finally heated up. But in such a huge, convoluted and deliberately complex document, how can you determine for yourself whether it’s good or bad? It turns out that there’s a very straightforward way to tell.
The easiest way to determine the nature of ACTA comes not from the document itself, but from the behavior of the people advocating it.
Everybody involved in pushing and rushing through this agreement have insisted that it will mean no changes at all, won’t require any changes to law (or possibly minimal ones to trademark law, as in Sweden), and overall, insist that it’s no big deal.
At the same time, these players are throwing all their weight behind its passage. The key question that results stands out like a sore thumb:
If ACTA doesn’t change anything, why are they pushing for its passage as if their life depended on it?
And that contradiction, in itself, is enough to de-mask the entire ACTA and what it stands for. It was negotiated in secret by the copyright industry and other monopolists. Even now, as lawmakers come to a vote, they are not allowed to understand what the document says – for it defines many new terms, that are only understandable in terms of the negotiation protocols. But those are secret.
If the copyright industry is pushing for its life for something to pass, while pretending it’s not a change at all, and preventing lawmakers from understanding the concepts defined, what do you think it contains?
This is the industry that thinks it’s reasonable for legislators to give them the power to kill a legal competitor in a foreign country by killing their income, website, and advertising at the pointing of a finger.
This is the industry that thinks it’s reasonable that they should be legislated to the top of search results, and their free competitors downranked by law.
This is the industry that demands under threat of law – a private industry – to wiretap an entire population, just to see if they do something that industry doesn’t like, and if so, censor that population’s communications at will.
This is the industry that argues that citizens should be actively prevented from exercising their fundamental rights, such as freedom of speech and expression, if that may possibly interfere with that industry’s business.
This is the industry that uses child pornography as a legal ram to pave the way for their own censorship, in ways that actually hurt children and promote child abuse.
This is the industry that planted rootkits on people’s music CDs and took complete control of their computers, millions of them – including web cameras, microphones, files on the hard drive, everything. They forced their way into people’s homes and got eyes and ears there.
This is the industry that, once you think they’ve sunk as low as morally and humanly possible, keeps coming up with new creative ways to surprise you.
If this industry wants this legislative package so incredibly badly that they’re fighting for their life to get it, while pretending it’s no big deal, all while not even telling lawmakers what it is, that should be enough for anybody to realize it’s a bag of the darkest bloody horrors. Expect it to codify the examples above. And more. Expect it to be much, much worse than SOPA.