[p2p-research] Slashdot | Secret Copyright Treaty Leaks. It's Bad. Very Bad.

Paul D. Fernhout pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com
Thu Nov 5 00:46:16 CET 2009

The title of this slashdot article is inflammatory, and I don't know how 
accurate, but here is the article, and lots of interesting discussions:
"Slashdot | Secret Copyright Treaty Leaks. It's Bad. Very Bad."
Jamie found a Boing Boing story that will probably get your blood to at 
least a simmer. It says "The internet chapter of the Anti-Counterfeiting 
Trade Agreement, a secret copyright treaty whose text Obama's administration 
refused to disclose due to 'national security' concerns, has leaked. It's 
bad." You can read the original leaked document or the summary. If passed, 
the internet will never be the same. Thank goodness it's hidden from public 
scrutiny for National Security.

A referenced site:
"Secret copyright treaty leaks. It's bad. Very bad."
The internet chapter of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a secret 
copyright treaty whose text Obama's administration refused to disclose due 
to "national security" concerns, has leaked. It's bad. It says:
     * That ISPs have to proactively police copyright on user-contributed 
material. This means that it will be impossible to run a service like Flickr 
or YouTube or Blogger, since hiring enough lawyers to ensure that the 
mountain of material uploaded every second isn't infringing will exceed any 
hope of profitability.
     * That ISPs have to cut off the Internet access of accused copyright 
infringers or face liability. This means that your entire family could be 
denied to the internet -- and hence to civic participation, health 
information, education, communications, and their means of earning a living 
-- if one member is accused of copyright infringement, without access to a 
trial or counsel.
     * That the whole world must adopt US-style "notice-and-takedown" rules 
that require ISPs to remove any material that is accused -- again, without 
evidence or trial -- of infringing copyright. This has proved a disaster in 
the US and other countries, where it provides an easy means of censoring 
material, just by accusing it of infringing copyright.
     * Mandatory prohibitions on breaking DRM, even if doing so for a lawful 
purpose (e.g., to make a work available to disabled people; for archival 
preservation; because you own the copyrighted work that is locked up with DRM)

Another referenced blog post:
   "The ACTA Internet Chapter: Putting the Pieces Together"

One comment someone posted at the last link that relates to peer production:
Michael said: Content has destroyed us anyways...
We have no culture. We were raised by Disney. We enjoy what they say is the 
top 40 list of the week. We have lost the ability to think and create on our 
own. All we do is share someone else's ideas. Yes, with these laws, most of 
us will be called criminals, we do copy everyone else, but in the end, as 
someone else pointed out, it will save us and force us to create again. They 
are just sealing their own coffin, and igniting us to fight for our lives. 
We don't want or need their works anymore. We have the ability to make new 
tools, and to simply claim the power from the minority. Every officer and 
soldier is a citizen, and has a family. Eventually they will have to make a 
decision as a human. We must all fight our own fight, and do the right thing 
when the time comes. Traditions of the past always die and create ground for 
the new. It is the genesis of life. Those that fight the truth will crash 
against the rocks and be scattered.

Of course, as I have posted on before, it is not clear how much longer it 
will be true that "Every officer and soldier is a citizen, and has a family" 
as we get more and more military robots. See:
   "[p2p-research] Coming to the Battlefield: Stone-Cold Robot Killers - 
   "[p2p-research] Fwd: Petition against police violence to migrants and 
activists in Greece"

We are perhaps within twenty years of that. And in any case, is an eighteen 
year old in another country operating a drone in an air conditioned room 
using skills learned on violent video games and brought up on state 
propaganda in state schools really going to question much?

Will our society change in a big way before then?

Even now you can get automated sentry systems designed to enforce kill zones 
based on face recognition or spoken password protocols:
  "South Korea's Machine Gun Sentry Robot"

Soon that software could be added to ground mobile systems:
   "New Armed Robot Rolls Out"
   "14A3 talon 360 terminator"

Or air mobile systems:
   "AutoCopter Gunship"
   "Predator Drone Gun Camera"

Or it may even spread to home use:
   "Airsoft Drone 2 - Fire Test and GunCam - AirsoftKorea.org"

Even without facial recognition, there will be easy targeting of suspected 
insurgents. Who needs a three-strikes law for copyright infringers when you 
can GPS target people with predator drones as they browse the web on their 
GPS-enabled phone or laptop and wander into restricted content?

Assassination by robots directed by cell phone signals has already been 
enshrined into US security doctrine:
"The Predator War: What are the risks of the C.I.A.’s covert drone program?"

So, that's the ironic side of digital/physical convergence (and even p2p in 
mobile phones) with vast sums of money being spent on developing fancy 
systems using technology that could produce abundance for all, but instead 
involves paying people to create the mechanisms of artificial scarcity.

Contrast that with more life affirming technology like 3D printing like 
RepRap that uses essentially the same technology as military robots, but has 
a shoestring's worth of funding:
"I lost count of how much I spent on shoes when my daughter was growing up. 
I just reprapped a left shoe. It cost me 30 pence... And, should your child 
be as financially inconsiderate as mine, and also grow, a quick click on the 
scale transform in Art of Illusion solves that problem. And scaling by -1 in 
any single dimension turns left into right..."

Or even, consider just as we embed more and more assumptions into our 
infrastructure like DRM and "trusted computing" and so on:
   "An animated short against Trusted Computing, asking who is not being 

So, automated systems can just mail you a certified physical letter to 
report to your local police station for processing based on your browsing 
and download history. That might help deal with the excess number of workers 
the USA has. :-(

At what point does a "slimy" peer-to-peer biofilm form from quorum sensing 
to protect itself from those ghosts of scarcity past?
"[p2p-research] Biofilms and p2p"
"A Christmas Carol -- Ignorance & Want"

An example of a helpful Slimer: :-)
   "Slimer and the Real Ghostbusters"

Just be careful not to cross the p2p streams when catching him... :-)
   "Ghostbusters (1984): Film Clip - Don't cross the Streams"

When will we get intrinsic mutual security through a p2p biofilm? :-)

Instead of our current system of extrinsic unilateral security designed to 
benefit an ideology that does not even help *rich* children?
"The Culture of Affluence: Psychological Costs of Material Wealth"

On the other hand, sometimes quorum sensing fails: :-(
   "They Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1933-45"
What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by 
little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in 
secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the 
government had to act on information which the people could not understand, 
or so dangerous that, even if the people could not understand it, it could 
not be released because of national security. And their sense of 
identification with Hitler, their trust in him, made it easier to widen this 
gap and reassured those who would otherwise have worried about it. ...
   But the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands 
will join with you, never comes. That’s the difficulty. If the last and 
worst act of the whole regime had come immediately after the first and 
smallest, thousands, yes, millions would have been sufficiently shocked — 
if, let us say, the gassing of the Jews in ’43 had come immediately after 
the ‘German Firm’ stickers on the windows of non-Jewish shops in ’33. But of 
course this isn’t the way it happens. In between come all the hundreds of 
little steps, some of them imperceptible, each of them preparing you not to 
be shocked by the next. Step C is not so much worse than Step B, and, if you 
did not make a stand at Step B, why should you at Step C? And so on to Step 
D. ...

But even then, there is the rest of the world:
"Creative Commons in Asia: not such a boon" 
Indian journalist Frederick Noronha (http://fn.goa-india. org) basically 
agrees with Sasi:
     “There is an overall culture of sharing knowledge here, even if this 
isn’t called ‘Creative Commons’. We had the launch of CCIndia in early 2007, 
but there seems to be little activity there… I think CC is a bit too 
conservative and too respectful of copyright issues. Copyright has not 
worked for us (in the developing world) for generations. Generally speaking, 
copyright in any form, including CC, doesn’t fit in too well with Asian 
ideas of knowledge, since it enables those controlling knowledge and 
information over the rest, and we find it impossible to emerge winners in 
this game. It is a colonial law, not meant to serve the interest of the 
people of those parts of the globe that are not ahead in the information 
race! Why should we be as respectful to it, as, say, Lawrence Lessig is?”

Is that how things are shaping up? With maybe the Indians and the Chinese 
"liberating" people in North America and Europe from copyright barons using 
machines to enforce scarcity, in a terrible war? :-( James P. Hogan 
developed related themes in some of his sci-fi books, essentially the USA 
and Europe descending into economic depressions while the East roared ahead.

So, it is "interesting" to see how this all will play out. :-(

I'll try to be hopeful: :-)
"Blessed Unrest explores the diversity of the movement, its brilliant ideas, 
innovative strategies, and hidden history, which date back many centuries. A 
culmination of Hawken's many years of leadership in the environmental and 
social justice fields, it will inspire and delight any and all who despair 
of the world's fate, and its conclusions will surprise even those within the 
movement itself. Fundamentally, it is a description of humanity's collective 
genius, and the unstoppable movement to reimagine our relationship to the 
environment and one another."

And optimistic: :-)
   "The Optimism of Uncertainty"
"To play, to act, is to create at least a possibility of changing the world. 
There is a tendency to think that what we see in the present moment will 
continue. We forget how often we have been astonished by the sudden 
crumbling of institutions, by extraordinary changes in people's thoughts, by 
unexpected eruptions of rebellion against tyrannies, by the quick collapse 
of systems of power that seemed invincible. What leaps out from the history 
of the past hundred years is its utter unpredictability. This confounds us, 
because we are talking about exactly the period when human beings became so 
ingenious technologically that they could plan and predict the exact time of 
someone landing on the moon, or walk down the street talking to someone 
halfway around the earth."

And I'll hope this very prescient story by Richard Stallman from 1997 is 
totally wrong as the main motivation to move into outer space: :-)
   "The Right to Read"
"From The Road To Tycho, a collection of articles about the antecedents of 
the Lunarian Revolution, published in Luna City in 2096.  ... For Dan 
Halbert, the road to Tycho began in college — when Lissa Lenz asked to 
borrow his computer. Hers had broken down, and unless she could borrow 
another, she would fail her midterm project. There was no one she dared ask, 
except Dan. This put Dan in a dilemma. He had to help her — but if he lent 
her his computer, she might read his books. Aside from the fact that you 
could go to prison for many years for letting someone else read your books, 
the very idea shocked him at first. Like everyone, he had been taught since 
elementary school that sharing books was nasty and wrong — something that 
only pirates would do. And there wasn't much chance that the SPA — the 
Software Protection Authority — would fail to catch him. In his software 
class, Dan had learned that each book had a copyright monitor that reported 
when and where it was read, and by whom, to Central Licensing. (They used 
this information to catch reading pirates, but also to sell personal 
interest profiles to retailers.) The next time his computer was networked, 
Central Licensing would find out. He, as computer owner, would receive the 
harshest punishment — for not taking pains to prevent the crime. ... "

Because, as my father used to say, based on decades of first hand experience 
as a merchant seaman, "Wherever you go, you take yourself along." :-) So, 
it's best to solve our problems on Earth first, and then move into space 
because we are so happy down here, we want to spread joy and love 
everywhere. :-)

--Paul Fernhout

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