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Swedes out in force to protest anti-piracy law

Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 4 Feb 2012, 17:19

Published: 04 Feb 2012 10:30 GMT+01:00
Updated: 04 Feb 2012 17:19 GMT+01:00

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The demonstration, held at midday on Sergels Torg in the centre of Stockholm, featured speeches from MEPs Christian Engström of the Pirate Party, Carl Schlyter of the Green Party and Mikael Gustavsson of the Left Party.

Over eleven thousand people had signed up to attend the Stockholm demonstration on Facebook by 10am on Saturday.

Christian Engström told the Dagens Nyheter (DN) daily that with indications that Poland's parliament is set to reject the controversial international anti-piracy legislation, the pirate movement had wind in its sails.

"1.4 million signatures have been collected through an online petition and there have been riots in Poland. There now seems to be a commitment among citizens so I feel very hopeful," he told DN.

The countrywide protests in Sweden are timed to coincide with the ratification process of the Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), legislation which has been increasingly controversial since its inception in 2007.

ACTA is an international agreement framing measures to establish uniform regulations to tackle breach of copyright, patents and trademarks. The agreement is backed by the US, together with EU member states.

The agreement is however not backed by BRIC countries and other developing nations who argue that existing intellectual property legislation hinders the sharing of expertise in keys areas such as environmental technology and medicine.

The ACTA process began in 2007 and the resultant legal text that is currently doing the rounds of national parliaments in the EU and the USA is, Christian Engström concedes, similar to existing EU law.

The secretive negotiations during the extended process have however proved controversial, with the US demanding that internet service providers should deny internet access to suspected file sharers.

Story continues below…

The US was however forced to compromise in the face of opposition from the EU.

Despite the somewhat watered-down agreement, Engström is however concerned that ACTA will increase pressure on ISPs to investigate internet users.

The process in Sweden is scheduled to lead to a government proposal for legislation based on ACTA to be presented to the Riksdag in the autumn.

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Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:04 February 4, 2012 by Brtahan
Well done !!! hell with ACTA...
12:33 February 4, 2012 by colombianska_tjej
I wish I could be there as well, I hope Swedes don't approve ACTA, for the sake of all
13:19 February 4, 2012 by Abe L
Protecting patents and technology and more rules against counterfeitin is a good thing. However, copying files is still by virtually the entire world not seen as a crime as nothing gets stolen and there are no victims. Just people claiming to loose income despite record profits each year. The public would have approached the ideas behind ACTA much better if they had left out the copyright infringement parts.
14:17 February 4, 2012 by Lukestar1991
Keep it up, show the b******s.
14:29 February 4, 2012 by Bigd
AbeL Thats exactly why they squeeze in the copyright infringement parts along with the patent protection (a good thing) in the hope that it will get support for the parts that should be! In short. Sneaky weasels! :P
19:31 February 4, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
@ AbeL

So if you are an experienced business consultant, and there are a hundred different companies lined up outside your door who require the same solution to the same type of business problem, and the first client in your office secretely tape records your brilliant and creative solution to this problem, and then plays the tape to the other 99 clients for free, then nothing got stolen, right? And the only financial victim is you, while 99 other benefitted, so that means there are no victims, correct?
22:56 February 4, 2012 by Abe L
R&R: That falls under the chapter corporate espionage and should be very seriously punished and treated. It has nothing to do with file sharing however.
00:00 February 5, 2012 by rc franden
this is like the pipa&sopa act the congress tried to get on the senate floor for a vote in the united states fight to get this not into law otherwise the ruppert murdoch's will end freedom of speech&commerce on the internet in your country like countries like red china&north korea
01:20 February 5, 2012 by heu
@Abe L and Bigd

You would think protecting patents is a good thing. But with a broken patent system such as the one we have today (specially in the USA), it is a very VERY bad thing. It only serves to hinder development.

We first need to fix the patent system before thinking about protecting it.
05:12 February 5, 2012 by jomamas
You people are children.

Basic IP and copyright laws already exist - these new regulations merely extend the exact same thing into the digital domain.

If your local supermarket was selling pirated copies of Hollywood movies - or giving them away - would this be ok? Of course not. It's not the 'plastic' that they are selling that is the problem. It is the IP. It is a criminal act and it is immoral.

Abe: your idea that distributing digital content is 'victimless' is a totally wrong and naive claim. The victims are the owners of the IP and it is exactly theft by any standard. Even though you are 100% wrong about 'industry profits' because in fact record label revenue is absolutely plummeting and they are going out of business - it is the artists who are punished the most. Only arrogant groups like Radiohead - who have massive, already established fan-bases can make money selling music buy asking for donations. Also 'how much somebody earns' from any kind of IP is basically none of your business - theft is theft.

Heu - yes, of course American IP laws need revision - but this new legislation is not really affected by this. 'IP trollst' and this kind of stuff are not the problem. What IS the problem is people not paying for stuff.

It is cowardly and intellectual dishonest to use concepts such as 'free speech' etc. and try to position stealing stuff as being 'righteous'.


If we don't protect creative endeavors, then almost nothing will get created. Somebody has to pay for it and that means you.
07:32 February 5, 2012 by SimonDMontfort
...well I think anybody likes 'free stuff' - and as a potential victim of 'copyright infringement' myself, I take care to control what I put out over the internet.

What frightens most folks is: well, what precisely WILL you be able to do on the internet, if ACTA goes through?
08:49 February 5, 2012 by Dazzler
11000 pledged to show up, 47 whinging children attended! Woo good job thieves!
09:25 February 5, 2012 by sleezypornorangutang
This ACTA does not even have their own website. No one knows exactly what countries would be signin into. This is all done in secrecy, no one, exept the "cleared advisors" has the right to see what´s goin on. "Cleared advisors" are of course the giant copyright holders, the corporates. No one else is allowed to take a look at the proceedings. Not even the European Parliament.

ACTA is also a completely new, decisive body, and it would then rule over others, over everything and everybody.

This so typically American. When they (the chosen few in command) decide to do something, anything goes. It does not matter what sort of monster will be created, because these people think they know it all, and within their utterly perfect omnicient minds, feel entitled to impose any legistlation on the people just as they see fit.
10:51 February 5, 2012 by roaringchicken92
"I simply must be allowed to have what I want, immediately and without payment or consequences. Give it to me and go away."

I just don't understand it.
12:01 February 5, 2012 by sleezypornorangutang

Good point, but this new legistlation might be up to more than just a few file sharing programmes and movie rips.

These could only be a front.

I´m talking about a sheriff- type control over just about everything you find in the net. Don´t you think it´s a bit odd, that the European Parliament has systematically been left in the dark about something they should make their minds of?

According to several sources, it is being rushed through EP as if it was "now or never" or something.
14:23 February 5, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
@ AbeL

The example I described in #6 is a form of theft and re-distribution of intellectual property from you that is no different than the mass re-distribution without permission of the creative work of a highly gifted singer/songwriter.

A good song and good business advice should both be worth something to the creator of that song or that business advice (or that book, or that movie, or that piece of software called Microsoft Windows, etc..).

Both forms of theft are worthy of punishment. As for song theft, I would be in favour of modest civic penalties rather than jailtime for downloaders. A decent penalty for the theft of a $1 song would be triple the cost of that song if you had bought it honeslty. So steal 10 songs and face a $30 parking ticket.

No one will be bankrupt and song theft would go down very rapidly. And I'm tired of these logic-less arguments that the autorities will never be able to stop all downloading, so it is not worth trying to stop any form of file sharing.

If you live in a Western democrcay, be aware that the police already know what you are downloading, so it is just a question of whether or not they chose to enforce a particular law. Did you think those Swedish 16 year olds who downloaded 1000 movies were caught because they turned themselves in?
18:00 February 5, 2012 by Debaraja

"If your local supermarket was selling pirated copies of Hollywood movies - or giving them away - would this be ok? Of course not."

Can you see any difference between a supermarket and someone who downloads a movie for own use?

Obviously not (but most children do)!
21:56 February 5, 2012 by Beavis
jomamas - why dont you go crawl back under your rock at your record company, You are part of their scum that have desoyed music.
17:17 February 6, 2012 by Altaran
May I remind that ACTA is a law on the copyright itself, not only the internet.

I think you should see also the impact that the law will have on other activities, that can be more important than Internet.

Regarding the web, until there is a legal platform, which the big Major don't want - since it will avoid them -, files sharing and other illegal things will go on. I don't see the point of discussing of these facts for hours afterwards...
21:49 February 6, 2012 by Vill
My purchases of music on compact discs as well as concert tickets has increased as a result of the internet and file sharing services. The reason: Because I am able to preview the product in its entirety to determine if it is worth purchasing. Without file sharing services, I will not risk spending my hard earned money on products that could potentially be pieces of sh_t.
22:35 February 15, 2012 by Schwoebel
Maybe...just MAYBE if these poor unfortunate billionaire record company execs would put out good music instead of a sting of 1000 one hit wonders...people would be inclined to buy more of your shitty product.

Johnny Cash did more with one guitar and one microphone in 4 minutes than Erid Saade will ever do with his giant computer-driven sound studio in his entire lifetime.

Same goes with Hollywood. make good movies instead of over CGI'd pieces of poor-story-telling garbage. Get some people who can act...and let them act.
17:26 February 17, 2012 by Ranger
Why don't all you swedish freebee moguls start producing you own RR music and distribute it to the swedish populace for free so you won't need to be annoying your international neighbors with your criminal actions.
14:07 February 18, 2012 by stevo1
@ Jomamas - you're the one without the clue, music artists get anywhere from 2 - 8 cents per album and the record company gets the rest of the $20 US. It's not just "radiohead' that have gone online to sell their music, many Australian Artists (Hilltop Hoods, John Butler Trio, Powderfinger) have gone to record their own music and you can buy an entire album for less than a cup of coffee.

Also, music artists are encouraged to go on tour, where 'the real' money lies for them, not the record company.

The time of multi billion $$$ profits are over for these record company cocaine snorting idiots.

File sharing is no different to a radio station playing music - do you pay anything to listen to music on the radio in your car? didn't think so!
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