Friday, June 05, 2020

Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)

Sopa and Pipa had taken centre stage in the media and people's minds, and whilst this was happening there was another threat to our online freedom and security. This was ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.

ACTA was so controversial that online activists in Poland paralysed some of the governments sites. This action was taken in response to Warsaw's plans to sign the controversial online copyright treaty. Closer to home, here in New Zealand some of the best online casinos took a stand placing messages on their websites informing kiwi players of the potential impact on them.

We will continue to monitor the situation providing you with key facts regarding this agreement and how it will effect New Zealand and its online landscape.

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featuredimage 3ReasonsInternetUsersWorryACTA Worrying - Discover How ACTA Agreement will Affect Online Gambling

Discover How ACTA Agreement will Affect Online Gambling

Online gaming has been heavily adopted globally. With numerous companies offering the gambling experience, many supporters of games have been turned to gamblers. Punters bet either for fun or profit. However, the gambling industry seems to attract interest from different groups. Recently, most countries like New Zealand have undergone frenzy legal activities in laws governing online gambling. Besides, in a few years back, the gaming rules have changed more, compared to changes seen ever before. The legislation seems not to be the only department interested in gaming. The Anti-counterfeit Trade Agreement appears to have another impact on the future of the industry. The international treaty focuses on combating infringement of copyrights. However, the agreement has brought about an uproar and mixed feeling on European gamblers.

An Outlook Into Why Gaming Companies are Upset by the Treaty

You’d wonder why the industry being protected is upset or troubled by the treaty. The agreement is already a signed treaty by nearly all European Union members. However, the information and discussions were held secretly, and for the first time, it has come to the public. Just before being signed to become a law, this is when the treaty leaked. The idea that such important matters were negotiated behind closed curtains could be the first cause of the huge uproar evolving among gambling companies. To worsen the case, the agreements were hidden even from the EU parliament. Nonetheless, via the intervention of the parliament, the agreement has to be inspected by the public.

Even if the secrecy may appear to be the major problem, there is plenty to digest about the uproar seen. Most of the troubled people are owners and other individuals connected to gambling firms. The groups have realized the adverse impact the agreement poses to the industry.

Reasons to Why Online Gamblers are distressed by ACTA

The anti-counterfeits programs have existed for long. However, people and organizations have ignored them and their implications. Considering the widespread of online gaming, it seems right to implement the rules at such a point. For instance, most games and content provided online don’t come from their original producers. However, maybe the owners see their work and have allowed such actions or have nothing to do against the crimes. Therefore, with the ACTA, you should expect interruption when it comes to the distribution of online games. Highlighted below are some things that will be affected by the agreement.

1. Protection

Producers and manufacturers of games or other contents will get the protection of the anti-counterfeiter department. For example, when people are found copying or selling ideas of producers without permission, individuals can be sued for copyright violation. Lawbreakers will face punishment through the court system.

However, the most interesting part is in situations where a producer of content, posts the info on various platforms like Twitter or Facebook. The ideas will be easily copied. Although the owner of the idea has no problem with people copying it, you will still face prosecution if found with the content.

2. Punters licenses

Mostly, after games producers or gaming companies make software, they offer licenses to players. The permit is acquired for some costs. To utilize the paid funds, punters, in turn, back up the data to avoid repaying again to get the same data. Nonetheless, according to ACTA, this won’t be legal. The steps appear to be a disadvantage to players who will be required to pay for the games every time log in to play. The laws are expected to be implemented even though the software producers are aware and allow players to back up the data.

3. Conspiracies of Ideas

In case the ACTA ideas were to be executed, then online gamers may be in much trouble. Firms using ideas or any concept from other producers or works first have to get permission. This isn’t a problem as most companies adhere to the laws. However, ACTA will no longer accept games with copied content. For instance, some video games contain ideas like character designs or dialogues acquired from other works. Such borrowed ideas are considered by ACTA as infringed copyright. Therefore, the treaty seems like a big threat to online games that use much-borrowed concepts.

Discover the Consequences of Infringing the ACTA Rules in New Zealand

The actions taken by ACTA seem to be quite harsh. Thus, it would require online gamblers to play cautiously. Probably you are afraid of what will happen if you are found breaching the laws. The numerous copyright implications outlined by ACTA will see people sent into prisons. Those found to have violated the rules will be charged and can pay hefty fines or serve a jail term. The penalties suggested by ACTA are harsh, and this was one of the major reasons the EU assembly disputed the treaty.

The numerous disadvantages and punitive penalties are reasons why most stakeholders in gambling industries are against the agreement. Furthermore, most online gamblers who are much affected by the implications are against ACTA. Official document owners are the only people left supporting the treaty.

The Powers a Copyright Holder obtains from the ACTA Treaty

1. The producers of content can get personal information concerning people violating their copyrights from ISP.

2. Warranties to pursue infringers are also given to the producers when they identify suspected people who are dodging DRM technology

3. The Producers also have the power to seize usage of their works in boarders found to violate the rights.

On top of the rights discussed above, copyright holders will also get compensation for their violated rights. For instance, when gaming firms are found to have violated works worthy ten dollars, they will have to pay an equal amount as compensation. In case the suspects fail to pay the fines, they will have to get punished. As such, if online gaming sites find their foot on the wrong side, it would mean losing a significant amount of cash.

Adverse Effects ACTA Implementation may have to New Zealand People

The anti-counterfeit program is planning to totally stop all copyright violations. Although it sounds like a good step, some people may suffer along. Go through the anticipated adverse effects of the agreement waiting to be law.

1. Prosecution of innocent online bystanders

Presently, many people rely on online jobs. Some use contents from different people even without knowing its illegal. It sounds wrong, but owners of such productions have granted permission for the ideas to get utilized freely. Therefore, many people, especially those using YouTube, may be at risk of getting prosecuted.

2. Groups will no longer make their policies

Online platforms mostly the social media mediums are users to decide on what they post. With Facebook, Twitter or other platforms, group post unlimited context. However, things are about to change as no works of other people will get posted, and groups shall follow the set rules.

Bottom Line

The agreement is yet to be passed. It remains to be seen if EU members will sign it into law. However, the EU assembly that is much against most of the ideas will also have a say in the final decision. The European parliament has stood by its stand that the treaty shouldn’t breach personal rights. But in case of hampering the rights, it will vote against the proposals.

court - Why The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement Was Not Passed.

Why The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement Was Not Passed.

Why The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement Was Not Passed

The ACTA’s goals we’re questionable to many from the very outset. Just like any other wide-sweeping form of legislation, it must go through a process before being accepted or ratified. And I’m sure many are breathing a sigh of relief because of that. Sharp-eyed internet savvy users and those knowledgeable about the plight of those in underdeveloped countries detected many problems with the agreement that could prove problematic for those in impoverished countries as well as possibly infringing on internet freedoms. This resulted in thousands rallying in opposition to the agreement. Millions also signed a petition in opposition to the agreement.  

What Is The ACTA?

The ACTA was proposed as a way to enforce intellectual property rights. Targeting copyright infringement on the internet, generic medicines, and counterfeit goods, by creating a new governing body separate from the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, and the World Intellectual Property Organization was its goal. Many nations eventually signed on to the agreement. For example, New Zealand, South Korea, Morocco, Canada, Singapore, Australia, and Japan as well as the United States all eventually signed on to the agreement in 2011. The European Union and 22 member nations eventually signed on in 2012. The International Trademark Association and The Motion Picture Association Of America which is believed to have significant control over the ACTA and other industrial organizations, with interest in copyright trademarks, say ACTA was created to counteract the global trade of copyrighted protected works and counterfeit goods.  

Why And How The ACTA Agreement Was Defeated

vote 300x200 - Why The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement Was Not Passed.

But the agreement eventually ran into problems when organizations representing citizens and nongovernmental interest argued the agreement would infringe on the rights of citizens. Those rights which included the freedom of privacy and expression. Endangering access to medicines for developing countries was another charge leveled against the ACTA by Doctors Without Borders. It has also been accused of excluding the general public, developing countries, and non-governmental agencies, in secret meetings that excluded these entities from the negotiation process. Because of all these accusations, problems begin to mount for the ratification of the agreement. This also resulted in massive protests across Europe. David Martin, British MEP, suggested that the European Parliament should reject the ACTA. The underlying fear being the intended benefits of the ACTA agreement didn’t outweigh the threat they posed to the Civil Rights of common citizens. The agreement was rejected worldwide for fear of the impact it would have on internet freedom and access to medicines for developing countries. Rallies comprised of tens of thousands were held across Europe in opposition to the agreement. Many felt the agreement would infringe on their basic freedoms and internet freedoms as well as subject them to spying from officials. Over 2 million signed a petition against the ACTA. The agreement was eventually rejected by the European Parliament. Many attribute its defeat to savvy internet users as well as citizens and peoples around the world knowledgeable about the plight of undeveloped countries and how this particular agreement could negatively impact those countries. Many believe this is what resulted in its overwhelming defeat. The secretive nature of the whole process didn’t help their efforts at working to ratify the agreement either.  

Why The ACTA Probably Won’t Ever Be Ratified

I think this is a classic example of big bureaucracies and how they engage in questionable and very dangerous practices under the fake cloak of beneficial organizations. Although the ACTA’s goals on the surface appeared to fight for the rights of many big businesses. Their underlying goals became clear to many common citizens and those in underdeveloped countries. Although it may have benefited many big businesses the threats it posed to basic freedoms far outweighed its benefits for big business in the eyes of many. The reasons the ACTA agreement probably won’t ever be ratified are probably the same reasons why it failed to be ratified in the first place. And that is it went about creating and establishing the agreement in secret while hiding many of the details related to the agreement from non-governmental agencies, the general public and those in underdeveloped countries, etc. It didn’t appear to be willing to concede with these troubling details so you have to wonder why it would be willing to concede now as it relates to allowing non-governmental agencies, the general public, and those in underdeveloped countries, at the negotiating table. The unwillingness to address those key points rubbed citizens around the world the wrong way. And resulted in widespread opposition and protest to the ratification of the agreement. As long as the ACTA refuses to change in regards to these concerns there’s no reason to think the result at working to ratify the agreement a second time will be any different. Internet Savvy users being aware of how valuable their internet rights are, as well as the new awareness that many citizens around the world appear to be equipped with in terms of becoming increasingly more knowledgeable about how big companies and bureaucracies carefully word legislation to deprive them of their basic rights, makes it more difficult for organizations like ACTA and others with similar questionable tactics to ratify these kinds of agreements. It appears citizens and non-governmental agencies are becoming increasingly wiser to these kinds of practices. So as long as they’re becoming more educated and wiser to these kinds of questionable practices and tactics, the more difficult it will be for organizations like the ACTA and others to successfully ratify these kinds of agreements. And in many cases to do the bidding of these big corporations is to automatically infringe on the rights of citizens and their internet rights, as well as the rights of underdeveloped communities. Which will always be problematic for non-governmental agencies, the general public, and underdeveloped communities. There’s an old saying that goes “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me” and I think that saying is applicable in this particular situation as the ACTA won’t be able to ratify the agreement with similar details after it’s already failed to do so previously. The overwhelming defeat of the agreement once again proves the power of the people. And how people united in a common goal can move mountains. Without citizens of all countries rallying in opposition to the agreement, it could have well been passed. The effects that in turn could have had on basic rights and those in underdeveloped countries could have proven to be, in many respects, catastrophic. This is a classic example of why citizens should thoroughly examine broad sweeping legislation. Certain bills and laws can be extremely impactful especially if you don’t know what’s contained in them. Being knowledgeable about these kinds of wide-reaching agreements is crucial to ensure they don’t negatively impact those most in need or infringe on basic freedoms. The devil is always in the details. But unfortunately for this agreement many of the key details we’re even kept secret. Anytime they’re trying to hash out the deal in secret while keeping the key component of the agreement secret from the public that’s a dead giveaway and should be cause for concern. There appears to be, in recent times, an increase by many bureaucracies working to infringe on the basic rights of citizens in all countries. These are dangerous practices that need to be monitored and exposed when necessary. And if found to threaten the basic rights of citizens and the freedoms of those in underdeveloped countries action needs to be taken.    

featuredimage EUOnlineGamblingUpset Upset - Why is the European Online Gambling Industry Upset About the ACTA?

Why is the European Online Gambling Industry Upset About the ACTA?

Europeans are now in a huge uproar due to the rise of a trade agreement that had never been heard of by the citizens, and now is in the brink of implementation.

Most of the members of European Union had already signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement but it’s the first time the citizens have heard of it.

However, that’s not the only thing that upsets the Europeans. There are many other reasons, but first, we should talk about what ACTA is.

What is ACTA?

ACTA is short for Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. It’s basically an international treaty with the aim of providing countries with the ability to combat copyright infringement or any other types of property theft.

The ultimate goal of the said trade agreement is so that countries will be able to cooperate more objectively.

Why are Europeans troubled about the trade agreement?

Postimage Why is the European Online Gambling Industry Upset About the ACTA europeans 1024x683 - Why is the European Online Gambling Industry Upset About the ACTA?

Perhaps the number one reason why Europeans are upset about the said trade agreement is that it was negotiated in secret.

It was basically unknown to both citizens as well as the whole EU Parliament up until the European Commission started to publicize the implementation, at which point it was in the brink of being signed into law.

At first glance, it seems that it’s the only reason why Europeans are upset, but there’s more to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.

What does it mean to organizations?

Postimage Why is the European Online Gambling Industry Upset About the ACTA organization - Why is the European Online Gambling Industry Upset About the ACTA?

While many citizens are upset about the trade agreement, the majority of them involves those who have connections with companies and other organizations.

This is because it’s found that there will be negative effects on several industries if such a trade agreement is to be approved.

What does ACTA provide copyright holders?

The government signed that the ACTA implications include providing copyright holders three abilities.

One is to provide copyright holders with a way to receive personal information about the suspected copyright infringers, with a warrant to pursue them.

This takes us to the second, where copyright holders are allowed to pursue the people suspected of copyright infringement, which may lead to further crime.

The third one is that copyright infringers from across borders will have their infringing content seized and confiscated.

However, what bothers the online gambling industry most is the fact that the copyright holders can demand that they receive a fee from suspects equal to the amount of the price of the content infringed.

For example, if a $15 piece of content is invaded, the copyright holder may request $15 and the suspect would be required to pay. If they are not able to do so, then other means of punishment will be carried out.

This means if an online gambling site takes even one wrong step, they may lose large sums of money, considering that even one piece of information costs a lot to the gamblers or their competitors looking to bankrupt them.

There are many ways copyright infringement can be avoided, which goes in the interest of both the copyright holder and the infringer, which is actually legally using the copyright content. With ACTA, such ways will be null and pointless.

featuredimage 3ReasonsInternetUsersWorryACTA Worrying - 3 Reasons Internet Users Should Be Worrying About ACTA Implications

3 Reasons Internet Users Should Be Worrying About ACTA Implications

The ACTA implications have always been frowned upon since the beginning. This is only natural, considering the negative effects that it may bring to the internet.

We all know that most of the video games, content, and many other products on the internet come from other sources.

It’s not exactly a crime to do so, since the owner, one way or another, allows for such action to be performed. Another case is if the platform where the product was posted have their own policies.

Here we look at how the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement can disrupt the cycle of how content is distributed on the internet.

Protections

postimage InternetUsersShouldBeWorryingAboutACTiImplicationsp rotection - 3 Reasons Internet Users Should Be Worrying About ACTA Implications

If an individual, or a group for that matter, copy an idea of an owner without their permission, they can issue copyright infringement. The offender will then be punished accordingly.

In some cases, intellectual property owners post on platforms such as Facebook, knowing that they have no right to keep their idea from getting copied. This allows for the distribution of their work.

However, with the ACTA, even if the owner knows and approves of the copying and doesn’t want to be protected from it, anyone who copies the work will be prosecuted anyhow.

Player Licenses

postimage InternetUsersShouldBeWorryingAboutACTAimplications player license - 3 Reasons Internet Users Should Be Worrying About ACTA Implications

When an online gambling company creates software or a game, they allow people to play their game by providing player licenses, and sometimes for a price. In the perspective of the players, it’s only natural to make backups of their game data.

If the ACTA is to be implemented, this won’t be possible because if they create backups with the company being aware, they can be prosecuted one way or another. This is a big downside of the trade agreement.

Plots and Concepts

Companies ensure that they don’t bypass any laws by making sure the owner approves of it. For example, video games may include dialogues, character designs, and more concepts that originated from other’s works.

If we’re going to consider the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, then that means users of different platforms may be suffering from consequences by using the platform with a concept with even a bit of copyrighted part.

These reasons prove that internet users may not be able to relax one bit if the ACTA is to be implemented in New Zealand, or any part of the world, for that matter. On top of that, this will affect the online gambling industry greatly.

featuredimage ACTAWhyShoulditBotherNewZealand NewZealand - What Is ACTA and Why Should It Bother Online Gamblers in New Zealand?

What Is ACTA and Why Should It Bother Online Gamblers in New Zealand?

ACTA or the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement was been trending at the time when it was made public.

Many issues had risen due to how it can supposedly affect the industries running on the internet. Of course, the online gambling sector is one of them.

If you haven’t heard of it, make sure to read through to the end because its effects will surprise any online gambler.

What is ACTA?

ACTA is an international agreement, evident from the complete name. it aims to create standards from all countries that enforce intellectual property rights.

It deals with different types of counterfeit goods. This may also include the products and services in medicine organizations or other sectors.

However, the agreement is actually covering a much broader subject, which includes the online distribution of intellectual properties. Thus, it’s suspected that it may disrupt the normal cycle of distribution of content on the internet.

Is the negotiation open for the public?

postimage whatisACTA handshake - What Is ACTA and Why Should It Bother Online Gamblers in New Zealand?

The negotiations had always been made in secret, and they weren’t even discussed with the EU Parliament, which caused a huge uproar. Regardless, the public wasn’t supposed to be part of the talks about the ACTA. But due to the interference of the EU Parliament, it became open for an inspection from the public and other organizations.

Is it a trade agreement?

Due to the uncooperativeness of the European Commission with the EU Parliament, they came up with the trade agreement that counterfeiting and piracy are to be punished with criminal penalties.

However, as previously noted, the EU Parliament fixed this by making the discussion open for scrutiny, which made it as it is now and you may even call it a “mixed agreement” as a result.

What are the penalties for violating the trade agreement?

postimage whatisACTA prison - What Is ACTA and Why Should It Bother Online Gamblers in New Zealand?

There are many ACTA implications mentioned in the trade agreement, but the offender, which may even include innocent individuals, will have to pay large fines or time in prison.

This seemed to be a bit too much and so it’s perhaps one of the reasons why it got voted against almost unanimously by the EU Parliament.

While copyright holders are the main group that supports the trade agreement, the majority of internet users and organizations vote and protest against the ACTA and we suggest you go through that, too, considering the many downsides of the agreement.

featuredimage EUParliamentAgainstACTA copyright - EU Parliament Against ACTA on Internet Disconnection for Copyright Infringement

EU Parliament Against ACTA on Internet Disconnection for Copyright Infringement

The Europe Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement discussion had long been too far from being transparent. Talks about the implementation and negotiation terms of ACTA had been hidden to the members of the Europe Parliament and so they have banded together to address this lack of openness.

In addition to voting that talks about the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, the EU Parliament also agreed on voting against the internet disconnection proposed by the EU ACT for the penalty of copyright infringement.

EU Parliamentarians’ Displeasure of Lack of Transparency

postimage Copyrightinfringement Transparency - EU Parliament Against ACTA on Internet Disconnection for Copyright Infringement

This move by the EU Parliament only proves how dissatisfied the members are due to the lack of transparency of the members discussing the implementation of the frowned-upon ACTA.

Since the members of the EU Parliament proved that there has been no approval whatsoever regarding the ACTA, it’s only natural that the EU Parliament be involved in any and all talks about the ACTA.

Internet Disconnection and Copyright Infringement

postimage Copyrightinfringement InternetCopyright - EU Parliament Against ACTA on Internet Disconnection for Copyright Infringement

This started when they got hold of information showing that the EU ACTA discussed the implementation of “internet disconnection for copyright infringers”.

Since then, the EU Parliament had been very clear about ACTA talks that there should be no personal rights to be trampled upon in the implementation of said ACTA. If not, it’s only right to vote against the ACTA, which we all know have already been done for a long time now.

ACTA Negotiations Open to Inspections

postimage Copyrightinfringement Negotiations - EU Parliament Against ACTA on Internet Disconnection for Copyright Infringement

The EU Parliamentarians also decided that if ACTA is to be implemented, there should be no civil rights to be breached, in addition to the openness of ACTA negotiations to scrutiny. Thus, the succeeding rounds of ACTA negotiations after that decision became more transparent and many issues concerning ACTA arose and got addressed accordingly.

While this decision by the EU Parliament didn’t mean for the ACTA to be ignored and get fought against by the public, it’s aim is to make the discussion of the European Commission about ACTA be more open.

They also mentioned that instead of dropping the hammer of justice to copyright infringers, it should be focused on how to combat the said issue. EU Parliamentarians specifically stated that federal liberties shouldn’t be changed.

Regardless of whether the European Commission agree to this, the EU Parliament has the right to vote against the implementation of the ACTA. As of now, there have been no further discussions about this law, but we can’t be sure if the idea becomes open again to the European Commission.

featuredimage theagreementACTAonlineGambling agreement - The Agreement in the ACTA That Will Change the Online Gambling Industry

The Agreement in the ACTA That Will Change the Online Gambling Industry

It’s known that the European Parliament voted against the ACTA and it’s only natural considering the countless downsides there is to implement it in the country.

Not only does it change the way several industries run, but it also disrupts the peace on the internet, which we know is the fastest-growing industry around the world.

This is precisely why we at Publicacta proposes ideas and information that may help citizens of New Zealand, to protest against the dangerous Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.

To give you a better understanding of how ACTA can change many industries, including the online gambling sector, take a look at the negotiation terms that prove to be worrisome.

It was not done democratically

postimage AgreementintheACTA democratic 1 - The Agreement in the ACTA That Will Change the Online Gambling Industry

Before we get into the actual negotiation terms, it’s important that you understand the process in which this idea was proposed to the members of the European Parliament.

Even with much effort into tracing back to the origins of the proposal, it was not found who or what organization started this idea. This is thus, not done in a democratic manner.

It refers to counterfeiting as if it’s piracy

postimage AgreementintheACTA piracy - The Agreement in the ACTA That Will Change the Online Gambling Industry

Counterfeit is used to describe fake goods, while piracy refers to the act of reproducing products or services without the permission of the owner.

Regardless, one will have a punishment, while another will have different consequences. The negotiations from the implementation of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement makes it look as though counterfeiting is the same as piracy.

It can easily prosecute innocent bystanders

There are many internet users that are making their living online. They are capable of doing so by making use of the properties of others.

While it may sound dirty, it’s not exactly a crime since the original owner may have been aware that their property can be used freely.

However, in the case of ACTA, that doesn’t matter and anyone who uses the property of anyone (this is especially true for YouTubers), can be prosecuted.

It will take away the ability of groups to make their own policies

postimage AgreementintheACTA socialmedia - The Agreement in the ACTA That Will Change the Online Gambling Industry

As we already know, platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and more allow for fair use and users can make use of the works of others. With ACTA, the terms clearly state that the whole nation will go along with their own rules.

There are many downsides of ACTA. Their negotiation terms will clearly disrupt the peace on the internet, both for the uses and commercial groups.

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