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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/13458/acta-the-war-on-progress-freedom-and-human-civilization/

ACTA: The War on Progress, Freedom, and Human Civilization

August 3, 2010 by

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) contravenes every principle of civilized society, both in its content and in the nature of the proceedings leading to its creation. FULL ARTICLE by Gennady Stolyarov II


Ohhh Henry August 3, 2010 at 10:42 am

ACTA will have about the same long-term effect on the world as the Edict of Diocletian. But civilization may be damaged and a lot of people’s lives may be destroyed in the meantime.

Autolykos August 3, 2010 at 9:32 pm

I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who thought of that ancient abomination!

Dave Albin August 3, 2010 at 10:51 am

That was great and informative. The only part that I frowned at was when you said that movie studios make garbage films to appeal to the lowest something or other. The reason why these movies are made is because teens and college kids have a relatively high percentage of disposable income, and prefer these silly, sex-filled, and/or violent films. I think it’s a stretch to say that they are doing anything other than serving their core customers. As you rightly point out, the internet allows all sort of wonderful and varied content to be displayed.

Tim Curtis August 3, 2010 at 10:52 am

Mr.StolyarovII states that “Meanwhile, front seats at the negotiating table were offered to the parasitic organizations which have thwarted actual creators’ freedoms…” By parasitic organizations do you mean the companies and inventors of the copyrighted products and material? Those who have spent years of their lives and millions of their dollars to invent and create what you and others now -without having contributed anything to the process- want parasitically to profit on or from. Simply taking another person’s creation and putting your name on it does not make you an “actual creator”, it makes you a moocher or whatever else you wish to call yourself.

Rex Bibendi August 3, 2010 at 12:28 pm

“Meanwhile, front seats at the negotiating table were offered to the parasitic organizations which have thwarted actual creators’ freedoms…”

The parasitic organizations here are the companies that stand in line waiting for a bailout.

Rick August 3, 2010 at 1:00 pm


His point there is that ACTA “negotiations” are happening mostly in secret and without representative government or civilian input. Freedom of information requests have been turned down because of bogus “national security” reasons but the likes of RIAA and the MPAA have been let in the door. It’s protectionist corporatism as its worst. For something that can have such far reaching impact on peoples lives, the very least they can do is be far more transparent and debate this openly in Congress… dubious that it really has to be discussed at all.

But if ACTA is so moral in your opinion, please tell us why the negotiations are happening in secret?

As for “actual creation”, surely not all creation is done by large organizations and companies. I think you probably know that but your emotion has got the best of you and you’re defending something you have relatively little or no stake in, unless you do, but that would put you in the rent seeker category.

And based on your logic,“simply taking another person’s creation and putting your name on it does not make you an actual creator”, do you mean that Tim Burton’s recent Alice in Wonderland movie or any adaptation of that story since the original isn’t “actually creative”?

Dave Albin August 3, 2010 at 1:43 pm

One of the ways I think about this is in terms of property ownership. If two people negotiate on the sale of an item one of them created, and reach an agreed upon price for the exchange, then the creator gives the created item to the purchaser for a set amount of money (or property, etc) – at this point, the new owner should be able to do whatever they want with their new property. If it is a new hit song, then the owner should be able to copy and distribute it for an agreed upon price (or for free). If the creator wants earn something on his creation, then he should price it accordingly when he sells it (or distribute it himself, or keep it to himself). Once something is sold in the marketplace, the new owner needs to be just that – the owner!

Aaron August 14, 2010 at 6:23 pm

Unless of course, as Rothbard pointed out as possible in his “bundle of rights” theory, the specific right to duplicate was NOT included in the sale…

Eugene August 3, 2010 at 1:23 pm

Based on your argument, if ACTA passes then you could somehow be prosecuted for having quoted Ms. Rand; I guess that’s one of your points.

If I may play the proverbial devil’s advocate, the Internet itself was created by people who became fabulously wealthy, often from winning lawsuits against those who violated their patented and/or copyrighted innovations. You cannot escape the reality that some of the greatest works of all time, like Star Wars by George Lucas, were fraught with the very battles against copyright infringers that in YOUR “ideal world” would not have been protected.

Many innovations during the recent century were based on those who fully expected to get fabulously wealthy. Does that lessen the value of these innovations? Under the communist revolution in “Mother Russia” from where my mother escaped during the war, such “greed” was considered as moral turpitude, because in an ideal world, such selfish interests were believed to taint innovations. Of course, while the communist party extolled such “virtues” they quietly kept their greatest scientists in the equivalent of today’s gated communities, as their neighbors, living a Bolsheviks’ lifestyle that motivated many intellectuals to achieve such greatness.

I wish to make it clear that I believe that in respect to freedom, there must be yin and yang. If regulators fail to succeed in silencing the Mises Institute’s radical worldviews, then as the song goes, “it’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.”

As an aside, with the disturbing changes in government you pointed out, don’t be surprised if one day the FBI and other Federal agencies raid the Mises Institute’s offices and place its people under arrest for “sedition” or even “treason.” Are you prepared to suffer martyrdom in the name of Mises? Hopefully, it will never come to that.

El Tonno August 5, 2010 at 3:28 pm

“the Internet itself was created by people who became fabulously wealthy, often from winning lawsuits against those who violated their patented and/or copyrighted innovations”

OH YEAH? [Citation needed]

Actually, you are totally wrong. The Internet itself was created by people who didn’t care about patenting and often didn’t care about copyright (look up what an “RFC” is). That’s why you can actually hook up machines today without large fuss. Whenever patents appeared, niches got carved, someone sat in them, then died off like a cretin because people actually found out that using free protocols actually routed around this kind of proprietary B.S.

Kinda like IBM’s oversight to lock down their ISA PC architecture. Next step: everyone copies it – huge success. The dumbasses then retried this with the locked-down PS/2. It died a long, cancerous illness as no-one could be bothered.

DayOwl August 3, 2010 at 3:52 pm

The glaring failure of both Prohibition and the War on Drugs give us reason to hope. Both prove that illegality does not dampen demand very much. If criminalization alone were enough to eliminate behaviors, we would not have the world’s oldest profession either.

Every time governments impose restrictions, people find a way around them.

Daniel Waite August 4, 2010 at 12:02 am

@DayOwl Agreed! Look at these new electronic cigarettes — that is, smokeless cigarettes! Can’t “smoke” indoors? We’ll make smokeless cigarettes! I love markets.

Tim August 5, 2010 at 12:11 pm

Rick, I strongly suggest that you go back and actually read what my post says, my point was only about the specific statement quoted, not the legislation itself or the rest of the article. Secondly, at no point did I say that only large organizations and companies were responsible for all creations or inventions, the term inventors implies individuals, but I guess your emotions got the better of you and you missed that. Lastly, I am quite certain that before Mr. Burton started filming he or his studio purchased the rights to, or paid for permission to remake the story.

Aaron August 14, 2010 at 6:40 pm

The story is actually old enough to fall under what is (I believe) called public domain–the really free, old stuff. He would not, I imagine, have to purchase any kind of right to remake the story. And as far as your original statement about the parasitical organisations is concerned, they are parasitical in the sense they rely for their profits (after the original sales of their hard-made products) on the State-created copyright legislation now in place. This allows them to prohibit such actions as other people using their characters or parts of their creations in other works (think the Avatar’s Navii battling Serenity’s Reavers…), public performance/playing/showing legitimately-purchased media (a prohibition first outlawed in the original Fair-Use Doctrine, but subsequently overturned when the media companies became too whiny to Congress…), etc.
I’m ALL FOR companies choosing to retain the exclusive right to duplicate their works, for instance, but after something is legitimately purchased it is morally repugnant for anyone to try and impose artificial restrictions on the use of the good, beyond those rights which were reserved. And truly the only one in my opinion that CAN morally be reserved is the right of future duplication. In that way, an artist has the ability to discriminate (somewhat) on the rate of dissemination, and therefore the future profits he may make on said work, but it would in no way affect others in taking the IDEAS introduced or adapted by his work and using them in new works! Everybody wins.

Aaron August 14, 2010 at 6:43 pm

But this paper I have shared with MANY friends of mine, whom all agree things are getting out of hand in the copyright arena. Superb work, Mr. Stolyarov!

Hershel Brodersen November 7, 2010 at 9:46 pm

Why is it that released reminds me of another corresponding person that I read some place else?

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