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Students attending Young America’s Foundation’s National Conservative High School Leadership Conference visited Washington, DC this summer and were told by a security officer that they could not sing the National Anthem at the Lincoln Memorial.
On the Commons
December 2, 2009
A sweeping international treaty to regulate how knowledge and creativity may flow on the Internet is now being negotiated. Haven’t heard of it? Funny thing, that’s exactly what the backers of the treaty want. The film, music, publishing and information industries don’t want a public debate about the issues or an open debate in Congress. So they have been working hand-in-glove with the U.S. Trade Representative to move U.S. policymaking offshore and throw a dark cloak of secrecy around everything. The next stop: draconian penalties for anyone who is accused of violating copyright law.
Details about the treaty are murky. But the latest draft, according to a leak summarized on the Boing Boing website, would require:
That Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have to proactively police copyright on user-contributed material. This means that it will be impossible to run a service like Flickr or YouTube or Blogger, since hiring enough lawyers to ensure that the mountain of material uploaded every second isn’t infringing will exceed any hope of profitability.
That ISPs have to cut off the Internet access of accused copyright infringers or face liability. This means that your entire family could be denied to the internet — and hence to civic participation, health information, education, communications, and their means of earning a living — if one member is accused of copyright infringement, without access to a trial or counsel.
That the whole world must adopt US-style “notice-and-takedown” rules that require ISPs to remove any material that is accused — again, without evidence or trial — of infringing copyright. This has proved a disaster in the U.S. and other countries, where it provides an easy means of censoring material, just by accusing it of infringing copyright.
Mandatory prohibitions on breaking DRM [Digital Rights Management systems], even if doing so for a lawful purpose (e.g., to make a work available to disabled people; for archival preservation; because you own the copyrighted work that is locked up with DRM).
Who would have guessed that such nasty stuff was embedded in a treaty called the “Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)”? That title was presumably meant to reassure people that it’s a non-controversial measure. But fighting counterfeits seems to be just the cover story. The real goal is to win a backdoor expansion of copyright law, much stronger enforcement powers and greater corporate control of the Internet — all without having to go through that pesky process known as democracy.
If the first subterfuge was the misleading title, the second subterfuge was to call ACTA a “trade agreement” rather than a multilateral intellectual property treaty. A trade agreement can be implemented by the Executive Branch on its own, and does not require congressional approval. An intellectual property treaty would require a congressional vote.
This could turn out to be a fatal legal maneuver, Eddan Katz of the Electronic Frontier Foundation points out in a recent blog post, because an executive agreement like ACTA must “color within the lines of U.S. law.” Yet the U.S. Trade Representative has been quoted as saying that the treatment will “stick as closely to U.S. law as possible.”
Oh, that’s reassuring. As Katz asks: “How can the USTR negotiate an international agreement that sets new global IP enforcement norms requiring changes to U.S. law and policy as an Executive Agreement, without the knowledge or involvement of Congress?” (For more on this point, see Katz’s law review article in the Yale Journal of International Law .)
The bad faith only gets worse. Beyond the misleading title and backdoor legal maneuvers is Very Deep Secrecy. Or more accurately, selective Very Deep Secrecy. Key Washington insiders and corporate players have been granted full access to the draft treaty — but we the little people have been excluded. Wanna read the draft? You can’t. The official rationale is that such disclosures would jeopardize national security. Seriously.
When I blogged about the so-called ACTA treaty — Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement — in March 2009, Public Knowledge and others were trying to open up the treaty process through Freedom of Information Act requests and public pressure. As criticism mounted, the U.S. Trade Representative in September came up with an ingenious “solution” — let a handful of public-interest advocates read the ACTA draft — but only after signing a a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) that prohibits them from publicly discussing it.
NDAs are a standard tool among Silicon Valley tech companies to prevent proprietary secrets from circulating. Notwithstanding President Obama’s other laudable initiatives in open government, this NDA approach to citizen participation is worthy of Dick Cheney or George W. Bush.
Wait, there’s more! Even this form of restricted access is selectively granted. The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) decided to pick and choose who would be invited to sign an NDA and thus be allowed to read the document (but not talk about it publicly).
This Orwellian farce prompted James Love of Knowledge Ecology International — a long-time critic of ACTA and the USTR — to prepare a petition that has garnered thousands of signatories. The petition reads in part:
The opportunity to see the ACTA documents under the NDA was offered to a large number of business interests, but very few public interest or consumer groups, and there were no opportunities for academic experts or the general public to review the documents.
USTR officials have indicated that this policy of access by invitation and NDA fully addresses the legitimate demands for more transparency of the negotiation, and it is being considered as a model for the future.
We are opposed to this approach because it creates a small special class of citizens who have rights superior to the majority of the population, and because it gives the government too much discretion in deciding who can monitor and criticize its operations. We have no confidence in this new approach.
Some of the people who have signed such NDAs are grateful for the chance to have had special access to some information, but they also feel constrained by the inability to discuss the contents of the documents, and are confident that nothing they have seen constitutes information that in any way would prejudice the national security of the United States if it were in fact disclosed.
In our opinion, the ACTA negotiations would not exist without the support and engagement of the U.S. government, and they are too important to continue under such questionable practices.
The only rationale for keeping the proposed ACTA text from the public is to suppress criticism and critical thinking about the norms that are being proposed. It is Orwellian and an insult to our intelligence to claim that the secrecy of the ACTA text has anything to do with national security concerns, as the term is commonly understood.
A secret process of arbitrary access, conditioned upon signing non-disclosure agreements to block public debate, does not enhance openness and transparency, and does not inspire respect for the norms that will eventually emerge.
[The full petition can be read here. ]
Public Knowledge also prepared a petition as well, which has been signed by the American Association of Law Libraries, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Electronic Privacy Information Center, Future of Music Coalition, Internet Archive and Sunlight Foundation, among others.
Even some Senators are getting upset about the USTR’s high-handed approach to democracy. Senators Sherrod Brown and Bernie Sanders have sent a letter to the USTR asking that the ACTA text be made public:
ACTA involves dozens if not hundreds of substantive aspects of intellectual property law and its enforcement, including those that have nothing to do with counterfeiting. . . . There are concerns about the impact of ACTA on the privacy and civil rights of individuals, on the supply of products under the first sale doctrine, on the markets for legitimate generic medicines, and on consumers and innovation in general.
The Motion Picture Association of America has no qualms about the secrecy. In its own letter to the USTR, the MPAA dismissed such concerns with a wave of the hand: “Outcries on the lack of transparency in the ACTA negotiations are a distraction. They distract from the substance and the ambition of the ACTA…”
You heard right: democratic process is a “distraction.” At a time when the U.S. is trying to rehabilitate its international image and show others how democracy works, the ACTA treaty is not a very good advertisement for the “American way.”
At this point, it’s unclear how the whole misbegotten mess will play out, but there is no doubt that the key players, including the U.S. Government, are trying to use international law to neuter the Internet, subvert the innovation and participation that open platforms enable, and violate people’s privacy and due process rights — all of this without meaningful public dialogue.
I don’t think the USTR or President Obama really want to go there. It would ignite a political and cultural explosion. If they are too frightened to have an open, honest debate at the draft proposal stage — it they are too frightened of the citizenry — imagine the political blowback that will occur if the treaty actually becomes enforceable law. Let’s face it: A public reckoning will have to occur at some point, and the sooner the USTR backs away from the ledge and opens up its deliberations, the better it will be for it, President Obama and the rest of us.
Paul Joseph Watson
Thursday, September 24, 2009
A shocking caveat to the Obama worship video now doing the rounds on the TV news talk shows, first reported by Prison Planet nearly a month ago, is the fact that the lyrics to the song that children of a New Jersey school are forced to sing are clearly adapted from a religious hymn called “Jesus Loves The Little Children,” which is one of the first songs that small children learn in church.
The idea of kids being forced to worship Obama in schools across America is no longer just a chilling example of Maoist style political brainwashing – children are literally being trained to religiously worship Obama via adapted versions of Christian hymns!
Jesus Loves The Little Children Lyrics
“Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red, yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight…”
Obama Worship Song Lyrics
“Barack Hussein Obama. He said Red, yellow, black or white all are equal in his sight…”
As one of our readers comments, “For me it sounded VERY familiar in tune…Sick how they are twisting the words. Soon there will be the Ten Commandments of Obama up in schools, and something new on our currency dealing with Trust. Total waste of Tax payer dollars. No wonder the kids don’t know who the first president of the US is. This is child abuse.”
In another video we showcased how the 21st century Obama Youth movement now being practiced in American schools has chilling parallels to the Hitler Youth of Nazi Germany.
For numerous other video examples of kids singing songs of praise to Obama in school, visit our previous articles.
August 31, 2009
For anyone who attended the Silent Exchange electronic music festival at The Yard on Saturday, I am sorry that you had to witness Buffalo’s Men in Blue in such a sorry state. As fifty young music fans stood around watching a DJ spin on stage, Buffalo Police filed onto private property and threatened the crowd to disband or pay the consequences. Despite the fact that the proper permits had been filed with City Hall, that would allow the music to go on until 10pm, Buffalo Police would not listen to reason, only resorting to ‘police state’ tactics as the young music fans looked on in bewilderment .
One of the reasons that The Yard was chosen for the event was that it is widely known that the bandshell at LaSalle Park is next to impossible to book unless you have an ‘in’ with The City. So that means that the only other alternative when it comes to holding a concert at a permanent outdoor music festival is The Yard. The Yard is not in a residential neighborhood. Nor is it in a commercial neighborhood. It’s located in an abandoned industrial area surrounded by nothing and no one. Maybe sometime in the future this might be inhabited by college students, but that’s just not the case at this point in time. So how do the police claim that there was a noise complaint, especially since the music could not be heard until you turned the corner of the building and actually saw the stage?
August 26, 2009
Music video of the song: Don’t Inject Me (the Swine Flu Vaccine Song) by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, editor of http://www.NaturalNews.com. This song was written in protest of the widespread swine flu vaccinations now being pushed around the world.
July 15, 2009
The globalist European Union has teamed up with MTV, the music television network owned by transnational corporate leviathan Viacom, to push the climate change fraud on the young and unsuspecting.
“EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas says today’s youth ‘will bear the brunt’ of climate change, including rising temperatures and sea-levels,” the Associated Press reports. “The music channel will also hold special climate change concerts in Stockholm, Budapest and Copenhagen in the run-up to the U.N. conference, which starts Dec. 7.”
The slick propaganda campaign arrives a few days after the G8 meeting in L’Aquila, Italy. In addition to discussions on how to use the banker created economic crisis to formulate “global governance,” i.e., global government, the G8 discussed climate change. G8 leaders agreed on new targets to limit so-called greenhouse gas emissions and try to limit global warming to just two degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels. The plan will usher in crushing serfdom planned for humanity by the global elite. The G8 once again proposed world government to deal with so-called climate change.
“The EU’s objective is to ensure that global average temperature does not increase more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels. To avoid this, global emissions of greenhouse gases must peak before 2020 and then greatly decrease by 2050,” the Play to Stop Europe for Climate site hosted by MTV states.
In 2007, over one hundred prominent scientists signed a letter dismissing man-made global warming as a scheme which will diminish prosperity and increase human suffering. “Controlling carbon is a bureaucrat’s dream. If you control carbon, you control life,” MIT climate scientist Dr. Richard Lindzen warned.
Lindzen is one of over 100 prominent scientists who have signed a letter criticizing the UN move as a bureaucratic scheme, pointing out the results of a recent study in the International Journal of Climatology which concludes that climate change over the past thirty years is largely a result of solar activity and that attempts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions are irrelevant.
In 2008, a peer-reviewed Physics and Society journal published evidence proving that the UN IPCC’s 2007 climate summary “overstated CO2’s impact on temperature by 500-2000%.” The paper also outlined evidence to confirm that Mars, Jupiter, Neptune’s largest moon, and Pluto warmed at the same time as Earth warmed, a factor attributed to the Sun having been more active than at almost any other time in the past 11,400 years.
Regardless of the fact there is increasing skepticism and a mountain of scientific evidence contradicting the global climate change scam, earlier this week the Rockefeller Foundation — in conjunction with UNESCO, the World Bank, and the US Army — issued a report entitled 2009 State of the Future stating that climate change “has unprecedented implications for political and social stability” and the collapse of civilization. “The good news is that the global financial crisis and climate change planning may be helping humanity to move from its often selfish, self-centered adolescence to a more globally responsible adulthood,” the authors conclude.
According to a Europe-wide survey, the MTV crowd is not up to speed on the climate change program. Only about half of people aged between 15 and 24 have ever taken action to fight climate change, the lowest of any age group, according to the New York Times. “The first concert, featuring the pop star Moby, will take place in Stockholm on Aug. 20 and is timed to coincide with World Water Week. Other concerts are timed to coincide with Mobility Week in Budapest and with a United Nations climate conference in Copenhagen in December.”
July 8, 2009
If you search for Elvis Presley in Wikipedia, you will find a lot of text and a few pictures that have been cleared for distribution. But you will find no music and no film clips, due to copyright restrictions. What we think of as our common cultural heritage is not “ours” at all.
On MySpace and YouTube, creative people post audio and video remixes for others to enjoy, until they are replaced by take-down notices handed out by big film and record companies. Technology opens up possibilities; copyright law shuts them down.
This was never the intent. Copyright was meant to encourage culture, not restrict it. This is reason enough for reform. But the current regime has even more damaging effects. In order to uphold copyright laws, governments are beginning to restrict our right to communicate with each other in private, without being monitored.