When the International Trade Committee in the European Parliament went to vote for or against ACTA, there was a huge poster on the door breaking about half the rules in the (very long) book, urging the committee to vote in favor of ACTA. That poster has now been discovered to be a copyright monopoly violation committed by the pro-ACTA camp.
The poster on the International Trade Committee’s door showed an image of a cargo ship cruising, saying “ACTA will protect and promote Europe’s… IP-intensive industries”, on the day of the vote. A lot of us activists were justifiably upset about this. Now, it turns out that the pro-ACTA lobbyists did indeed create a poster arguing for ACTA that is in itself a copyright monopoly violation, showing clearer than ever that the copyright monopoly is, well, bollocks. If the most fervent proponents and lawyers of the copyright monopoly can’t follow it in the most dire of circumstances, there is no further pretending that a teenager or Joe Plumber should be expected to. Accordingly, the harsher enforcement that ACTA would bring is, if possible, even more insane.
Jérémie Zimmermann found the origins of the cargo ship image as a publicity photo for the Hamburg Süd shipping group. The crux is, the photo may only be used under certain circumstances – specifically, crediting the Hamburg Süd group – and that very requirement of attribution was ignored.
Ironically, the same poster goes on to say “get the facts at actafacts.com”, a site that the Internet community wasn’t sure whether it was “third-grade astroturfing or outright parody”. So let’s get this straight: lobbyists that claim to be experts on the subject of the copyright monopoly and its complex legislation were using an image in violation of that very monopoly in their most crucial lobbying material for harshened enforcement. You just couldn’t make it up. (By the way, Glyn Moody pulled down the pants of the ridiculous claims on the site pretty quickly.)
This episode shows clearer than ever that the copyright and patent monopolies are not intended to be protective of innovation or protective of the economy. They’re obviously too complex even for their strongest supporters and lobbyists to understand and adhere to. Rather, they are intended as legal clubs to be used by the now-rich incumbents against resource-strapped upstarts. The copyright and patent monopolies are only protective of the past, protective against the present and future of innovation, creativity, and economy.
The most fervent lobbyists for the copyright monopoly don’t care a bit about the monopoly as it applies to themselves, only as it applies to others. This is consistent with decades of artist screw-overs by record labels and movie studios. Let’s end this corporativism. Let’s cut back on these ridiculous monopolies.
Don’t forget to mail the MEPs urging them to reject ACTA.