July 1, 2008

House Lights: A future rude awakening?

Has anyone been paying attention to next week's G8 Summit to be held in Hokkaido, Japan?

(Apart from Thomson Reuters, that is.)

Paul Arenson of Tokyo Progressive has, and he is especially concerned about the Anti–Counterfeiting Trade Agreement — referenced at Wikipedia — which, if it gets tabled and approved during the Summit, could have serious consequences for anyone crossing national borders with even so less as an iPod® or the like.

Quoth Vito Pilieci at Canwest News Service (and posted at Canada.com):

The deal would create a international regulator that could turn border guards and other public security personnel into copyright police. The security officials would be charged with checking laptops, iPods and even cellular phones for content that 'infringes' on copyright laws, such as ripped CDs and movies.

The guards would also be responsible for determining what is infringing content and what is not.

The agreement proposes any content that may have been copied from a DVD or digital video recorder would be open for scrutiny by officials — even if the content was copied legally…

…Anyone found with infringing content in their possession would be open to a fine.

They may also have their device confiscated or destroyed, according to the four–page document.

The trade agreement includes 'civil enforcement' measures which give security personnel the 'authority to order ex parte searches' (without a lawyer present) 'and other preliminary measures.'

It is about what the Wikipedia authors rightly call creating "an international coalition against copyright infringement, imposing a strong, top–down enforcement regime of copyright laws in developed nations."

There's more on the matter — and who's responsible for it — over at WikiLeaks.

Meanwhile, Paul at Tokyo Progressive fears that activists who travel abroad could get slapped by ACTA, should their gear and files get seized and/or destroyed outright. And without so much as a warrant.

Are average people now to be considered a far greater threat to truth, justice, and the Hollywood/American way?


(P.S.: The BBC has a one–page premier on the G8 for the mildly curious.)

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