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February 12, 2012

Anti-ACTA activists protest across Europe

Anti-ACTA activists protest across Europe

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Internet
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Anti-ACTA protestors on the steps of Trafalgar Square outside the National Gallery in London.
Image: Tom Morris.

Guy Fawkes masks were on display in cities across Europe yesterday as part of a protest against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), an international trade agreement on copyright and intellectual property that opponents believe will limit free speech online.

Organisers of the protest said about 100,000 people turned up in German cities such as Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, and Hanover. In Berlin, police estimated 6,500 protestors. Protests also took place in Paris, Sofia in Bulgaria, Vilnius in Lithuania, Valetta in Malta, Tallinn in Estonia, and Edinburgh and Glasgow in Scotland. In London, about 200 people protested outside some major copyright holders’ offices. Last month, there were major protests in Poland when that country signed ACTA, which has led to the Polish government deciding not to ratify the agreement, for now. Latvia and Slovakia have both delayed the process of joining ACTA.

Jim Killock from the Open Rights Group, a UK digital civil liberties campaigning group, said ACTA was “undemocratic”, “lacked scrutiny”, and was “setting up dangerous new pressures to censor the internet”.

The United Kingdom have signed ACTA, along with 21 other EU countries. Germany and the Czech Republic have held out on agreeing to it, awaiting a debate on the matter in the European Parliament in June. Baroness Wilcox, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the UK’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, claims signing the treaty was important to help bring about “common enforcement standards and more effective international cooperation” in intellectual property law.



Related news

  • “Wikinews Shorts: January 28, 2012#EU official resigns over anti-piracy treaty” — Wikinews, January 28, 2012

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January 28, 2012

Wikinews Shorts: January 28, 2012

Wikinews Shorts: January 28, 2012 – Wikinews, the free news source

Wikinews Shorts: January 28, 2012

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A compilation of brief news reports for Saturday, January 28, 2012.

If you believe any of these stories deserves more in-depth coverage, feel free to write a full article on the issues raised.

EU official resigns over anti-piracy treaty

Rapporteur to the European Parliament Kader Arif has resigned yesterday in protest over the signing of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) by 22 members of the European Union on Thursday. He said “I will not participate in this masquerade.”

Reaction to the signing treaty, which has still to be ratified, was strong in Poland; thousands protested in Poznan and Lublin, and in the Polish Parliament members of the Palikot’s Movement donned Guy Fawkes masks in protest.

The European Commission website maintains that “Anything you can do legally today is still legal after the ratification of ACTA.”



French troops to end Afghan combat role a year early in 2013

Speaking yesterday after a meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced France will end its Afghan combat missions in 2013 — a year earlier than planned.

Following the death of four French soldiers at the hands of an Afghan soldier last week, Sarkozy had threatened early withdrawal of French troops.



United States and Philippines discuss enhanced defense cooperation

The United States and the Philippines are discussing the possibility of enhanced defense cooperation, according to officials of both countries. However, there are no plans for bases along the lines of the former United States bases at Subic Bay and Clark Air Base.

The talks come in the context of a shift of United States strategic focus toward Asia, and Chinese claims in the South China Sea.





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July 25, 2010

Open Rights Group holds first conference in London

Open Rights Group holds first conference in London

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The opening keynote panel discussed routes to success in the digital economy.
Image: Killing Vector.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

London — The Open Rights Group, a pressure group pursuing reform of intellectual property law in the United Kingdom, held its first “ORGCon” yesterday at City University London. Approximately 100 delegates took part in six hours of panel discussions and workshops on a wide range of topics in intellectual property, discussing such subjects as “How To Talk To Your MP” and “ACTA: A Shady Business”, in what ORG billed as a “crash course in digital rights” designed to inspire campaigning on intellectual property issues.

Cory Doctorow, a fiction author and digital rights activist, led the keynote panel discussion “Thriving in the Real Digital Economy”, which opened the conference. Doctorow called for a “reframing” of the digital rights slogan “information wants to be free”. “The most important thing” about digital rights, he noted, “has nothing to do with art. We are refitting the information network with lots of control.” Digital rights management (DRM) technologies, Doctorow warns, build in limitations on how consumers exchange information and “abuse the market”. John Buckman of Magnatune followed up Doctorow’s comments, noting that DRM is “unsustainable” but that the public needed to “pressure companies into” open-source solutions.

A keynote speech by James Boyle compared the current age to the age just before application of the theories of Adam Smith and other early capitalist economists began breaking down the entrenched monopolies of mercantilism. Boyle called on the audience to come up with a “jaw droppingly simple” idea for a reformed copyright system; he gave his speech in front of a projection of the twitterfall as audience members commented on his words.

Boyle, like most of the conference, took a pro-reform but anti-piracy position, saying “It is a tragedy that an entire generation has lost the notion that breaking the law is wrong”. While several members of the Pirate Party UK, wearing matching t-shirts, attended the conference and held a fringe meeting during the last session, none spoke in the keynote sessions either as panelists or in the discussions.

Among the many workshops which comprised the last three hours of the day, Open Rights Group held a session on student groups and committed itself to establishing Open Rights Group Youth societies at universities across the United Kingdom. Young activists, such as Wikipedian Jdforrester, also dominated the “Your Shout” session in which any and all delegates could give three-minute speeches on any intellectual property subject which interested them.

The organisation hopes to host a second ORGCon in 2011.



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May 3, 2010

Wikinews interviews Brittany Phelps, administrator of the United States Pirate Party

Wikinews interviews Brittany Phelps, administrator of the United States Pirate Party

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Monday, May 3, 2010

Politics and conflicts
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Wikinews reporter Peter Coti interviews Brittany Phelps, administrator of the United States Pirate Party, who talks about her job and her goals.

Interview

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Wikinews waves Left.pngPeter CotiWikinews waves Right.pngWho are you and what do you do?

Wikinews waves Left.pngBrittany PhelpsWikinews waves Right.pngFor the past three months, I’ve been the administrator of the United States Pirate Party. In general, I direct and oversee the activities of the USPP. At the moment, my most challenging task is to cultivate state parties across the US. Without them, the national party is essentially insolvent.

Wikinews waves Left.pngPCWikinews waves Right.pngWhat is the Pirate Party?

Wikinews waves Left.pngBPWikinews waves Right.pngThe United States Pirate Party is a relatively new party in the U.S., currently undergoing a revival after having been founded a few years ago. We are similar in nature to the various Pirate Parties found internationally, though we differ somewhat in platform and formation.

Wikinews waves Left.pngPCWikinews waves Right.pngWhat are the goals of the Pirate Party?

Wikinews waves Left.pngBPWikinews waves Right.pngWe are dedicated to protecting Americans’ rights to privacy, freedom of information, reforming the patent and copyright systems, and ensuring government transparency.

Wikinews waves Left.pngPCWikinews waves Right.pngWhat are some things you personally want to change about the government?

Wikinews waves Left.pngBPWikinews waves Right.pngThere are a great many things I could bring up in regards to changing in the government, so I’ll keep it to my three greatest concerns: Transparency, privacy, and ballot reform. Firstly, transparency is required from our government in all but the most dire situations. President Obama seemed, at first, to be promising in this regard, but again and again since he took office, he has proven that hope to be ill-placed. ACTA is hidden from FOIA requests, more light is not shed about torture techniques, and numerous bills, most memorably the recent health care reform, are not brought to light for the promised number of days–how is this transparency?

My second qualm, privacy, is boiled down very simply–as technology grows, so does the ability to invade the privacy of citizens for the sake of a potential safeguard. This route is far from affective [sic] in its proposed function. We should take the time to find more effective ways to reduce crime without invading the privacy of law-abiding citizens. Not doing so is to treat each and every American as a criminal without a trial.

And, thirdly, ballot access. While not necessarily a plank of our platform, it is a challenge that the USPP will have to face early on. There is a long standing idea that the United States has two political parties, and that’s it, end of story. I can’t help but wonder of these people–do you think that the country was founded between these two parties alone? We are a nation of many people, with many ideas and many opinions. To try and simply this to a black and white dichotomy does a disservice to the nation and its people. There are shades of gray.

Wikinews waves Left.pngPCWikinews waves Right.pngHow did you get involved with the party?

Wikinews waves Left.pngBPWikinews waves Right.pngI got involved last fall after hearing of the success of our European counterparts in their elections. I was certain that someone had started a Pirate Party in the U.S., but was surprised that I hadn’t heard about it already, so I went looking. And here I am.

Wikinews waves Left.pngPCWikinews waves Right.pngDo you think you have a chance against other parties?

Wikinews waves Left.pngBPWikinews waves Right.pngI have no disillusions about it being difficult, but I am convinced that we have the capability to do so, yes. Furthermore, I welcome the challenge.

Wikinews waves Left.pngPCWikinews waves Right.pngIf you could change anything right this second about the government what would it be?

Wikinews waves Left.pngBPWikinews waves Right.pngI think if I had the opportunity to change anything, it would be one of the three that I covered in question 4. I’m inclined to say ballot access, considering the immediate impact it would have for the USPP and other smaller parties, but transparency and privacy would be close contenders.

Wikinews waves Left.pngPCWikinews waves Right.pngCould you take this test, and let us know where you stand on the political spectrum?

Wikinews waves Left.pngBPWikinews waves Right.pngAfter taking the test, I got a 60%/40%, which put me just inside the zone for a “Centrist”. Sounds about right.

Wikinews waves Left.pngPCWikinews waves Right.pngAnything else you want to add?

Wikinews waves Left.pngBPWikinews waves Right.pngJust today we launched a new website, as part of our effort to restart the movement in the United States, so I invite all who read this to waltz on over to our website and take a look. Thanks for reading!

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This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.


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