What is ACTA and how can it affect fashion bloggers?

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Chaos, chaos, chaos…

Today’s post is devoted to ACTA issue, because in Poland it’s a very serious problem since the last week.

Not a Polish?
Don’t worry!

ACTA will find you (or have already found you). This document, probably made with good intentions, can harm the net users. Consequently it can also harm fashion bloggers who talk about brands, magazines and so on. Who shares pictures and comment brands and trends.

I read it twice, but I still think it’s messed up. I have many personal fears, there’s a lot to worry about:

  1. I don’t know how to behave as a blogger (when will I breach the law)… which content is legal? Which is not?
  2. As a blogger I don’t like the idea of searching my computer, mp3 or mobile devices, even though I DO BUY music and movies
  3. I don’t know if I break the law by saving pictures on my computer
  4. I don’t know if I break the law by criticizing brands – I never give a f*ck about political correctness – because by doing this I use them to attract people to my blog, do I?
  5. Things which are currently happening – test world’s (not only Internet’s) democracy…
  6. and what about secrets  about ACTA in the past? It’s a shady problem.

What gives?

Poland is currently experiencing a wave of protests over an anti-piracy pact called ACTA.  There’s a general agreement that the anti-piracy law should be created. Our increasing online world needs clear rules – and we can all agree to this point.

Nevertheless, ACTA is a big-deal for Polish and European because this kind of regulation should be developed in consultation with the public, citizens who actively use the Internet, just like people described in my post devoted to Voguepedia and participatory culture. And it wasn’t. This plurilateral agreement had been established secretly, in the course of time it leaked to the Internet. What is more, this treaty threatens human rights and freedom.

So… (very briefly) what is ACTA and why should people give a damn about it?

It is the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement which (on Saturday, Oct 1, 2011) was signed by the United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea and (probably) will be signed by the European Union, Mexico, and Switzerland.

  • It aims to harmonize the anti-piracy law
  • It should protect artists’ copyrights and intellectual property
  • It should counteract counterfeiting
  • It allows to censor the Internet and monitor what particular people (you, me, your friend or mom) do online
  • It allows to search or confiscate users’ computers without saying ‘why?’
  • It allows to search mp3 players for pirated music
  • It allows arrests based on the content of the person’s search
  • It will ban most of p2ps
  • It allows to block websites
  • it allows to ban users permanently
  • It was established in a secret or a half-secret
  • Many NGOs (e.g: Consumers International, EDRi, the Free Software Foundation,  the Electronic Frontier Foundation, ASIC, the Free Knowledge Institute) speak against it, because in their opinion it threatens human rights and freedom

Why (else) should you (as a fashion blogger) care about it?

  • This treaty doesn’t really define piracy, but it defines the punishment. So you can’t be sure when you will be punished and for what. It doesn’t really give any know how
  • You will probably have to delete a part of your pictures, because you can’t be sure if this brand’s logo in your photo’s background can be used here or not
  • It can censure a lot of information – info that you’d like to know (about fashion, culture or changes) or info you’d like to discuss on your blog
  • What about sharing information? You will Never be sure if your facebook or twitter shares are legal or not
  • The way of introducing this document is an attack on democracy. And blogging, just like fashion, is a way to express your individual opinion, it’s an extension of democracy.

At the end, I’d like to add that I’m against hacking and blackmailing. But at the same time, I’m against secrets and shady treats. The ACTA issue is a test for democracy. I Hope we will all pass this exam.

I also hope I won’t need to continue this issue. ACTA should be checked and changed. But if Poland and the European Union sign it, I will try to collect some ‘know how’ and ‘how to’ behave in this awkward reality.

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  1. Ola! Geekgoeschic,
    This might be off topic, however, thought SOPA, PIPA, and NDAA were bad? .. well this is pretty much all three bunched to together in one.. this treaty has already been signed by the United States and many other countries.. only the EU has been holding out.. but this treaty is to hold Internet Service Providers responsible for what their users do online, such as file sharing among other things and will result in ISP censoring their users.. your computer will also be monitored and fished regularly by your ISP.. this is very real and is the latest threat to freedom of speech.. its no surprise that once again the government is on a conquest to completely destroy our freedom and rights as human beings.. are you against ACTA?
    I’ll be back to read more next time

  2. So far I think you are the only fashion blogger who is concerned with ACTA…I haven’t seen any “big” blogs express their concerns. I will share your blog post if you don’t mind (or would ir be violation of ACTA?!). Thank you!

    p.s. a friend of mine, who is a lawyer explained about international treaties and agreements. If it is signed it does not really mean that much, except that the country should try and not violate the whole mood of the treaty. The treaty then has to be approved in the parlament of the country. After that people could gather signatures or whatever to try and denounce the treaty. For now, the only thing we can do is express our concerns….

    • Thank you, I write about fashion and IT so that’s my job. IMO fashion peeps should be highly concerned about ACTA, cuz it can harm us all – bloggers especially. Sadly, Poland has signed this treaty, but I still hope, that we would solve this problem, somehow, painlessly. I will keep an eye on it. Best, Kasia

    • thank you, this is awesome.
      FYI, suddenly some UE parties plan to counter ACTA.so probably we won’t ratify it. we’ll see what happens in this issue. IMO, they will try to introduce the same, but more PR bill. I’ll keep an eye on it :)

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