I have been hearing more and more about the ACTA treaty and the outrageous 3 strikes law that it imposes upon citizens. I for one do not stand for the law at all, and in particular the '3 strikes provision'. I do not believe as though any user should be banned from the internet because they were merely ACCUSED of committing copyright, without any actual trial to prove guilt. I do not feel as though this is a precedent that the government should even agree to.
The entire ACTA treaty being 'negotiated' in secret is a tremendous blunder on the part of the government. If this is how items are going to be negotiated, then I fear there may eventually be an uprising and revolt against the government with anarchy and rioting. It may not happen with this treaty, but it will eventually come to that. This act needs to be open to the public, allowing citizens of Illinois and the United states to voice their opinions and oppositions for or against items within the treaty. This should be the highest priority for any representative for the Citizens.
As technologist Molly Wood puts it in her post (available here: http://news.cnet.com/8301-31322_3-20000480-256.html) on CBS Interactive's Cnet.com, if this treaty goes through Citizens cannot do anything digitally without fear that they are somehow violating a treaty, which is not entirely enforceable. In my opinion, this is not acceptable and completely reprehensible. There is no reason why I should not be able to make a copy and use my media however I deem fit. No, I understand that I do not have a right to re-sell the digital formats, but I should be legally allowed to put a copy of a DVD or even a Music CD on my iPhone, Zune, desktop computer, laptop or any other digital device I see fit and consume that media in whatever way I wish.
In addition to the ACTA treaty the DMCA law that was enacted by congress does not allow users to use their rightfully purchased media for anything except how it packaged. I am not allowed to take a cell phone that I have legally purchased and 'unlock' the software because it would violate a provision within the DMCA. Because of the DMCA I am being told that an item that I cannot do what I want with this legally purchased item. This equates to somebody stating 'Sure, we will let you purchase this t-shirt, but as long as you agree to the following terms:
- You will not allow anybody under the age of 20, yet not above the age of 28 wear this t-shirt.
- You cannot wash this t-shirt, except with appropriate detergent, and it must be of Brand-X, and if it is not, we are going to sue you because you violated our terms of agreement.'
This type of archaic law needs to be modified to allow individual users the right to use products, within reason, how they see fit; and to be able to do so without fear of prosecution. No, somebody cannot use a copyrighted song (which is the next topic) as background music for their movie without getting the rights, but if they want to be able to put it as a background to a montage of pictures it should be fully within their rights to do so without the fear of persecution or prosecution and jail time.
On the topic of copyright, Copyright laws in the United States have gotten out of hand. How is it that an entity can effectively hold all restrictions on an idea in perpetuity? Take any song written before 1930. Sure those are now part of the public domain, but any Beatles song, any Elton John song, any song by any artist that was recorded during recent memory still retains the copyright on that song. How is this even remotely reasonable? This includes songs from the 1970s, yes, some of these songs may be popular, but their viability within the market to generate a significant revenue is very limited. I cannot fathom the extent that the United States Congress has become so beholden to the Recording Industry, Hollywood, and everybody who has money that they are willing to put he freedoms and rights of the citizens behind the desires of a company. How is it that the United States congress has lost their way and has allowed themselves to be in the back pockets of an industry that continues to 'claim' failure, yet somehow manages to have 'record' profits for the year before. How is it that the representatives of the citizens allows the needs and freedoms, that the US was founded on, to be trampled by an entity?
I do not feel as though those with money should be able to control anything. It should be those without money who end up controlling something. It should be that the majority of what is wanted is what is passed into law, not what whims a corporation has to continue it's antiquated business model should come at the expense of an individual. We in the Untied states have put more emphasis on the rights of companies, big corporations and have used the "law" (read ability for those companies to grease the palms of the politicos) to allow companies, like The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry of America (RIAA), to stifle innovation and creativity. All because users are afraid of being indebted, for life, because all they wanted was to put a song on a cat video and upload it to video sharing sites like YouTube.com; however they are not allowed to because the copyright holders (who are greedy) say they are not allowed to do so.
I believe as though copyright should be completely reformed. According to research by Cambridge Professor Rufus Pollock (paper is at http://www.rufuspollock.org/economics/papers/optimal_copyright.pdf), the optimal copyright is approximately 14 years. This would give the copyright owners the ability to monetize their works in whatever way they see fit, yet, once it goes out of the collective conscious and becomes a thought in the back of their minds, other can then use the original work for their own projects. This would allow the original artist to possibly, once again, come into the collective mind of society If 14 years is too difficult for some to calculate then make the term 15 years. The effective copyright now is 99 years. How is that any individual should be allowed to retain a copyright well past the time that they are deceased. This makes no logical sense.
The United States government is failing it's citizens, and by taking action against the big companies we can make the US a better place for all. This can mean a return to the top of success, innovation, education and creativity. If we fail to do so, the US will only become a former power who will end up bowing the will of a greater power and what kind of life is that. If I say so, it's not a life at all.