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willowsend
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PostSubject: ACTA   Fri Feb 03, 2012 5:59 pm

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Bulgaria's signing of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) on January 26 in Tokyo has generated a backlash from the public and opposition parties that appears to have taken Bulgaria's Government by surprise.

Protest rallies against the international treaty, which many online freedom groups and lawyers say opens the door for strict policing of online space, are planned for February 11 in major Bulgarian cities. The date has been chosen to coincide with similar protests in other European countries.

Bulgaria was one of 22 European Union states to sign the agreement in Tokyo, joining eight countries that signed the treaty in October 11, among them the US, Canada, Australia and Japan. The EU is a separate signatory to the treaty, independent of its member states, and was involved in the drafting of the treaty through the European Commission.

In Bulgaria, Economy Minister Traicho Traikov has attempted to cool down spirits by saying on several occasions that the signing was just a formality.

"
I am personally skeptical that ACTA will change anything, especially in Bulgaria's case, which has always been at the forefront of legislative changes [to protect intellectual property],"
Traikov said on January 31.

A day later, he said that Bulgaria's signature under the treaty was conditional and the country's reservations on the treaty can be discussed during the ratification process.

ACTA did not introduce new legislative requirements for EU member states, which set high standards of copyright protection that will now extend to other signatories of the trade agreement, Traikov said. In that sense, ACTA would protect Bulgarian companies, such as the furniture and dairy industries or personal hygiene and rose oil producers who have complained to the ministry that their intellectual property is not being protected abroad, he said.

Most opposition parties opposed the bill, but a request to hear Traikov during Question Time in Parliament was rejected with the votes of the ruling party GERB, although Traikov and Culture Minister Vezhdi Rashidov would be asked to attend hearings of the economic affairs and culture committees, respectively.

What is ACTA?
The trade agreement has been negotiated since October 2007, initially by the US, EU, Japan and Switzerland, which were joined at a later stage by Australia, South Korea, New Zealand, Mexico, Jordan, Morocco, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and Canada.

From the very start, it was meant to deal with more than just counterfeit physical goods and extend to cover online distribution and information technology. It was negotiated outside international forums such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO) or the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), with talks shrouded in secrecy at the request of the US trade representative office, which asked participants to sign confidentiality agreements preventing the disclosure of any information about ACTA.

Nevertheless, several versions of the agreement were leaked over the years, resulting in pressure to remove some of the most restrictive provisions, such as the "
three strikes"
internet service disconnection provision.

ACTA's final version stopped short of drastic provisions like those in the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) that were up for consideration by the US congress, but have since been shelved under intense pressure from the technology industry and the general public. For example, it does not envision taking down websites on the mere allegation of copyright infringement, as SOPA did.

Like SOPA and PIPA, ACTA imposes a more restrictive framework of copyright enforcement, but as an international treaty, it supersedes national legislation, meaning that signatory parties, the US included, would have to first withdraw from ACTA before pursuing less restrictive national laws.

Enforcement of ACTA is envisioned to be co-ordinated by an ACTA committee operating outside existing organisations like WIPO or WTO, although it would lack direct law enforcement capabilities.

Backlash
One of the main criticisms against ACTA is that it uses vague wording in creating a de facto international standard, based on the existing US legislation, of enforcing intellectual property rights across the world.

Among its more controversial provisions are those that can be interpreted to order internet service providers (ISPs) to police their users or be liable for illegal file-sharing, as well as giving copyright holders the right to demand traffic logs from ISPs to identify alleged offenders. It also adopts the music and film industries' definition of damages, equating every instance of file-sharing with a lost sale.

Albeit participation in ACTA is voluntary, the US could use the treaty to extend its own restrictive enforcement framework over developing nations using its powerful Special 301 annual report by the trade representative office, which lists countries that the US believes has insufficient copyright protections, with ensuing trade restrictions.

The European Commission, which was involved in the drafting of the treaty, says that the trade agreement is flexible and "
contains the necessary safeguards to allow its parties to strike an appropriate balance between all rights and interests involved."


The Commission also dismissed the criticism that the treaty was negotiated in secret, a claim that was directly contradicted by European Parliament's rapporteur on ACTA, Kader Arif.

Arif resigned his position as rapporteur on January 26, saying that he wanted to "
denounce in the strongest manner the process that led to the signing of this agreement: no association of civil society [and] lack of transparency from the beginning"
.

"
This agreement might have major consequences on citizens' lives, and still, everything is being done to prevent the European Parliament from having its say in this matter. That is why today, as I release this report for which I was in charge, I want to send a strong signal and alert the public opinion about this unacceptable situation. I will not take part in this masquerade,"
he said.

The European Council adopted ACTA in December 2011 at a meeting of its fisheries and agriculture council. To become EU law, ACTA has to be approved by European Parliament, which is expected to vote on the issue some time in June, according to media reports.
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PostSubject: Re: ACTA   Fri Feb 03, 2012 6:11 pm

Good idea but I can't see it happening and who is going to pay for it? s
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PostSubject: Re: ACTA   Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:09 am

It's not good idea Daissy! It's very bad idea

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PostSubject: Re: ACTA   Wed Feb 08, 2012 1:05 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
It's not good idea Daissy! It's very bad idea
I agree its a bad idea. The agreement is too open to abuse.

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PostSubject: Re: ACTA   Wed Feb 08, 2012 1:43 pm

Good or bad idea it is open to abuse either way. Internet is at last being seen with all its faults which were overlooked in the first years of fast intercontinental communication. It is understandable that piracy should be policed which must cost companies and individuals lots of money. It is also understandable that censorship smacks of Big Brother. Remember the controversial book and film '1984'. However, since this whole idea has been largely conducted in private (if you believe the objectors) that tells us something about a matter which concerns everyone on the internet. Personally, I have always had reservations about the ability of people being able to view an IP address. On the one hand it is good if someone has a problem with a stalker or lurker on a forum, but equally, it opens the door for the stalker to find out who or where the victim is however much security there is in place. Surely it is up to Companies to ensure they have high security on such matters and not put rules into place for them which interfere with the 'right to know' of the general public. I thought patents were there for company protection.
How a law can deal with these situations is open to debate and should not be rushed through.
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PostSubject: Re: ACTA   Fri Feb 10, 2012 10:26 am

In principle I agree with daisy but also I do see the pitfalls and who is going to put all this into some sort of acceptable idea that will be accepted by all?
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PostSubject: Re: ACTA   Fri Feb 10, 2012 3:35 pm

[size=55:1j3xxiz8]novinite

Germany Won't Sign Anti-Piracy Deal ACTA - Report

Germany will not sign an international anti-piracy treaty, despite having already agreed to it in principal, government sources in Berlin said Friday, as cited by the German press agency DPA.

The so called Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), initiated by the United States and Japan, seeks to protect intellectual property rights, "
including infringement taking place in the digital environment"
.

As it is expected to crack down on torrent tracker sites, it has been met with a wave of opposition in Bulgaria which led the Bulgarian government to declare that it would apply ACTA "
with reservations"
. In Poland, the government of Donald Tusk said recently it froze the ratification of ACTA over the massive protests, including street rallies.

ACTA was signed by the European Union and 22 of its 27 member states in January. Germany said at the time it would soon follow suit.

But since January, the treaty has been the subject of protest, mainly on line, by people who say it will require signatory countries to punish even non-commercial breaches of copyright with criminal prosecution and jail terms, DPA reminds.

Tens of thousands of people are expected to take part in protests in 60 German cities on Saturday.

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PostSubject: Re: ACTA   Fri Feb 10, 2012 7:49 pm

Here's more but from Bulgaria.

People from 17 Bulgarian cities and towns are going to rally against the notorious ACTA, the anti-online piracy deal, on Saturday, February 11, 2012, joining thousands in a global protest coordinated by Stopp ACTA.

The so called Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), initiated by the United States and Japan, seeks to protect intellectual property rights, "
including infringement taking place in the digital environment"
.

The Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has come under fire from various sides, with Bulgarians being especially concerned about its effect on torrent tracker sites, and the persecution of content sharing.

ACTA was signed by the European Union and 22 of its 27 member states in January. It was signed by Bulgaria, together with three dozen developed nations.

As it is expected to crack down on torrent tracker sites, it has been met with a wave of opposition in Bulgaria which led the Bulgarian government to declare that it would apply ACTA "
with reservations"
. In Poland, the government of Donald Tusk said recently it froze the ratification of ACTA over the massive protests, including street rallies.

But since January, the treaty has been the subject of protest, mainly online, by people who say it will require signatory countries to punish even non-commercial breaches of copyright with criminal prosecution and jail terms.

The Bulgarian cities and towns that are to hold protest rallies against ACTA on February 11 are Sofia Varna, Burgas, Plovdiv, Kardzhali, Haskovo, Yambol, Razgrad, Ruse, Gabrovo, Veliko Tarnovo, Stara Zagora, Vidin, Pernik, Pazardzhik, Kazanlak, Sandanski.
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PostSubject: Re: ACTA   Sat Feb 11, 2012 12:20 pm

Just been reading on the forum about BTjunkie torrent site being closed down. So is this what ACTA are trying to stop? I am not much good on internet and have no idea what these sites are but it seems people are able to download stuff which is normally paid for and thus depriving companies of loads of revenue. I can understand that this would be deemed illegal because if people want to access downloads which are normally paid for they should surely pay. This is not the same as being denied access to information. So what are people protesting about? Or am I being naive? Perhaps someone can explain in more detail please so I can make a more informed debate.
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PostSubject: Re: ACTA   Sat Feb 11, 2012 4:35 pm

I think its yet another attempt to close down all the Torrent sites but as already said on the other topic its not going to be easy? this has been going on for years and the owners of these sites always have a plan B
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PostSubject: Re: ACTA   Sat Feb 11, 2012 5:01 pm

[size=55:12qf7d0b]novinite

Protest Organizer: ACTA Doesn't Distinguish Counterfeiting from Sharing


An interview for Novinite.com (Sofia News Agency) and Novinite.bg with Ivaylo Dinev, one of the organizers of Saturday's protests in Bulgaria against the ACTA trade agreement.

ACTA supporters claim that it is a normal trade agreement that is not seeking to harm users' rights. What arguments can you name that refute this statement?

First of all, ACTA is not a normal trade agreement, since it arrives 18 years after the last one in a similar field – TRIPS, which was signed in 1994 and tackled in a more lenient way the issues of copyright and intellectual property. The difference between ACTA and TRIPS is that ACTA affects a wider framework that allows various interpretations and therefore can be used in a different context in the future.

ACTA makes no difference between counterfeiting and sharing. ACTA is a serious threat for generic medicine production. ACTA allows spying in Internet. ACTA makes Internet Service Providers do tasks they are not accustomed to. Let us pay attention to one of the most controversial text in the treatment – article 27, paragraph 4:

A Party may provide, in accordance with its laws and regulations, its competent authorities with the authority to order an online service provider to disclose expeditiously to a right holder information sufficient to identify a subscriber whose account was allegedly used for infringement, where that right holder has filed a legally sufficient claim of trademark or copyright or related rights infringement, and where such information is being sought for the purpose of protecting or enforcing those rights...

Innocent till proven guilty – forget it.

That will inevitably violate our privacy rights guaranteed by Bulgaria's identity information protection act passed in 2002.

Much has been said about ACTA as a potential danger to our information access rights. What other aspects of the agreement bother you?

It is not the agreement's different aspects that triggered the most serious concerns among citizens;
it is the way it was signed. I mean these four years in which it was discussed in absolute secrecy. I mean Bulgaria's "
invisible ink"
signature. This is completely unacceptable.

In its essence, ACTA threatens to monopolize the market. It may introduce a "
golden standard"
monopoly to which Third World countries will find it very difficult to adjust. The fact that generic medicines are among the most discussed topics is no coincidence.

How would you explain the massiveness of Bulgaria's anti-ACTA protests? Is it our love for torrent trackers or something else?

If we are pessimists, we will explain it with that;
if we are optimists, we well praise the civil society's activeness;
if we are realists, we will protest. ACTA affects all Bulgarian citizens and the size of the protest movement in Facebook comes as no surprise.

Who would benefit and who would lose if ACTA gets ratified?

The mainstream movie and music industry giants will most probably not directly increase their profits as a result of ACTA. In fact, they have doubled their profits over the past 20 years despite the pirating of their products. However, their leaders will sleep calmly, since no one would be able to share their products with friends freely.

This is a question of morality and it should be answered from a moral point of view. Do we need high copyright standards, a strict patent control and do we need to crack down on counterfeiting in times when a big part of the world lives on it.

Won't ACTA make some people shamelessly rich, even richer than now, because of the monopoly it would allow them to create, while the poor will stay poor – but without their fake "
Adidas"
and their generic medicines? Won't culture collapse in poorer countries whose populations not only lack means to buy "
high culture"
but also places where it can be promoted and shown?

These are, needless to say, rhetorical questions. In my opinion, the truth about ACTA lies within our understanding of the contemporary. ACTA is mostly a conservative agreement – because it was created in full secrecy and because it contradicts the human development. Everyone knows that we need intellectual property rights, but ACTA imposes draconian measures against habitual human activities in a way the fuels our indignation.

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PostSubject: Re: ACTA   Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:04 pm

Well that certainly explains quite a bit but I still don't see how this would actually work. I suppose the spurious argument about the poor and the rich doesn't really hold much water because if someone had put a lot of time,effort and money into an enterprise and paid a lot more money to take out a patent, surely it would be unfair for people to be able to download the product for free on the internet? The real question is, as someone has already mentioned, how would this work? The ability to make even more stringent checks on people's IPs for the slightest suspicion, is a form of censorship by stealth. It would need greater transparency before such a law is passed, if it ever is, because I can see now why people are objecting.
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PostSubject: Re: ACTA   Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:42 pm

[size=55:2bp7cf0v]novinite

Anonymous Hacker Group Sends ACTA Warning to Bulgaria

The global hacker group Anonymous has sent a message and a warning to the Bulgarian authorities in connection with them signing the international ACTA agreement.

The message comes in the aftermath of mass protest rallies against the controversial international Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement, ACTA, which were organized in 15-16 Bulgarian cities and in 150 cities across Europe Saturday.

The video message stresses that the contract cannot be signed with reservations.

This is the full text of the message:

Greetings Bulgaria. I guess you know who we are, but if you do not know - we are Anonymous. We are the largest force in the world. Force greater and mightier than all the governments of this Earth.


We are the people who created you. We are the people that you meet on the street every day. We are those that you do not expect - by the seller in the store to the restaurant cleaner.

We are not an organization or club. We are much more than this - we are united. We are people from all over the world, gathered by the idea of justice and freedom. Anonymous are not just the people on the Internet, they are everywhere.

You knew for the upcoming protests of 02/11/2012, but nevertheless you tried once again to throw sand in the people's eyes. Once again you try to manipulate people by experienced psychological methods. ACTA can not be signed with reservations, ACTA is an international trade agreement, based on international law. Countries and the state Unions signed the contract, shall strive by him to establish uniform standards in the fight against pirated copies of products and copyright violations, both physically and digital products or services. Signed by Bulgaria will lead to its implementation at full power, which would violate human rights and be contrary to the Constitution of Bulgaria, that each state employee must comply unconditionally.

Article 3, paragraph 1 of the Constitution of Bulgaria provides:
The state serves the people, such as:
protect its interests and achievements;

creating conditions for socio-economic development, to continuously improve well-being, education and health of the people and full development of science and culture;

ensuring the free development of human rights, guarantees and protects his dignity;

organize the defence of national independence, state sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country:

Article 9, paragraph 2 of the Constitution of Bulgaria provides:
The rights and freedoms can not be exercised to the detriment of public interest.

Article 48, paragraph 1 of the Constitution of Bulgaria provides:
Ensuring freedom and privacy.

Article 92, paragraph 1 of the Constitution of Bulgaria provides:
Chairman: President of the Republic;

ensure compliance with the Constitution, laws, rights and freedoms of citizens;


Article 103, paragraph 6 of the Constitution of Bulgaria provides:
The Council of Ministers;

Provide conditions for realization of the rights and freedoms of citizens.

And do not forget Article 2, paragraph 1 of the Constitution of Bulgaria, which provides:
In Bulgaria all power stems from the people and belongs to the people.

When people violate the Constitution of Bulgaria are judged by you. And who should judge you when you violate the Constitution of Bulgaria? You go against your own laws. You do not comply with the position of people and do what you want to do: either potential damage to or destruction of the community. You Look at your own goods and you are blinded by the unbearable feeling of grandeur and obsession. Even after 02/11/2012 you continue to ignore people and again did not hear what the people wants.

You should know that if you do not remove your hands from ACTA, we will do it - one way or another. On 02.11.2012 the protests were peaceful. There will be no further protests. The next steps will be completely different. If you continue to mock the people in Bulgaria you will have to see this steps, but we are sure that you will not like them. Do not mess with us, observe your own laws and opt out of ACTA completely.

The actions of the people will be peaceful, but what they do will affect the economy, traffic and transport in almost all of Bulgaria. But if you keep your eyes shut, we will not play nice any more.

We give you a chance to opt out of ACTA, peacefully, expressing it with an official statement. Our advice is - do not miss this important chance and do not press your luck.

We are Anonymous. We never forget. We never forgive. Expect us.

The video can be seen HERE.

On January 26, the Bulgarian government signed in Tokyo the international ACTA agreement, vowing to make downloading content similar to forgery of brands.

The agreement was sealed by Bulgarian ambassador to Japan Lyubomir Todorov, based on a decision by the Bulgarian cabinet taken hastily on January 11.

22 out of the 27 EU member states have signed ACTA, along with countries such as the USA, Japan, Canada, Australia, South Korea and Switzerland.

Among EU Member States, Germany, Cyprus, Estonia, Slovakia and the Netherlands have postponed their signing.

ACTA, abbreviation for Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, mandates that signatory countries implement legislation to criminalize certain types of downloading content such as music and movies, from sites not sanctioned by rights owners, such as torrent trackers.

According to the agreement, such actions will be classified as similar to counterfeiting, and will carry heavier sanctions, including confiscation.

The treaty also will require Internet providers to provide information about the traffic of their users.

In order to become effective in Bulgaria, ACTA must first be ratified by the European Parliament and then by the Bulgarian Parliament, which is expected to happen no earlier than June.

Transcripts from the meeting of the Council of Ministers from January 11 reveal that it had been Economy and Energy Minister, Traicho Traikov, who had made the proposal.

Ever since the signing, ACTA stirred much discontent in Bulgaria, both because it had not been discussed by the cabinet and because the public had been kept entirely in the dark about the decision to sign it, until prominent Bulgarian bloggers and lawyers stirred large-scale noise about it. They lashed out at the signing of ACTA over their belief the agreement will bind countries to install legal regulations that excessively and unduly broadly penalize Internet users.

At the beginning of February, two Bulgarian NGOs – of Internet users and Internet service providers reached a handshake deal with the government in which Prime Minister Boyko Borisov promises that Bulgaria will ratify the ACTA with reservations.

Supporters of the treaty argue that the measures are necessary to clamp down on growing levels of piracy.

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PostSubject: Re: ACTA   Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:55 pm

thats rather frightening.
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PostSubject: Re: ACTA   Tue Feb 28, 2012 7:05 pm

Europol: Anonymous Hacker Servers Hosted in Bulgaria

Four people have been arrested in Spain though to be alleged "
hacktivists"
from the Anonymous group.

The information was reported by the European Police Office Europol.

Europol had coordinated the joint operation with the Spanish police.

The operation, codenamed Thunder, was the result of an 8-month-long investigation against a group of hackers, believed to be responsible for attacks on sites and servers and for releasing on the internet personal data of Spanish police officers.

According to an article of Public Service Europe, one of the suspects arrested, nicknamed "
Thunder"
, was allegedly responsible for the administration of some of the secure communication channels used by Anonymous.

The servers used for this purpose were hosted by companies located in the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, although they were remotely controlled from Spain, Europol says.

Once the links with other member states were discovered, investigators from the Spanish National Police cybercrime unit contacted the Europol cybercrime center in order to coordinate the actions.

An Europol spokesman is quoted saying: "
Immediately, after the first contact from the Spanish police authorities, Europol acted as a hub of information;
facilitating the exchange of communications among the police investigators assigned to this case in their respective countries. This direct and quick response allowed in a very short period of time, the retention of the data contained in the servers hosted in Bulgaria and Czech Republic. Once the judicial authorities in these countries had approved the seizure of the servers, experts from Europol were deployed to Bulgaria and to Spain to provide on-the-spot support with the simultaneous arrests, house searches and disruption of the servers."

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