Guess Who’s Back? SOPA And ACTA Are Sneaking Into Law Behind Your Back

    July 15, 2012
    Zach Walton
    Comments are off for this post.

The Internet has won the fight. SOPA and ACTA are both dead after having been eviscerated by the combined powers of the world coming together to fight for what they believe in – basic digital human rights. We can now rest easy knowing that the war has come to an end. Politicians would never think to bring them back, even under the guise of innocuous trade agreements and IP bills, right? Right?

Unfortunately, the war is not won and it’s looking like the war will never end. SOPA and ACTA are both back in new forms that are even harder to kill than before. I can understand SOPA being back as it’s been dead for a while, but are they really trying to push through ACTA right after it was defeated in the European Parliament? The answer is an astounding yes and the tactics that politicians are employing to regulate the Internet are pretty terrifying.

Does the return of SOPA and ACTA surprise you in the least? Will we ever end the war against Internet legislation? Let us know in the comments.

Let’s start with the return of SOPA. It’s important to point out now that SOPA is not returning in full just yet. I don’t think that Rep. Lamar Smith would be foolish enough to propose SOPA again after such a big defeat in January. So what part of the bill is he trying to push through? The IP attaches part that expands the power of the U.S. copyright diplomats. These people, according to techdirt, go around the world forcing other countries to make their IP laws just as ruthless and unforgiving as they are in the West.

Well, that doesn’t sound so bad. I mean, at least it doesn’t affect the Internet in any major way. You forget that IP protection now affects the Internet in a very big way. The U.S. is pushing for some of the strongest regulations against online piracy with a six-strike rule to be implemented this month by major ISPs. By forcing foreign countries to follow these same draconian laws, it prevents us from being able to work together on a compromise that protects artists and the freedom that the Internet provides. The current plan only protects rights holders and the big wigs running the show.

As we reported on yesterday, the worst part about the new Intellectual Property Attache Act is that it expands the role of the IP attaches into their own agency. They are currently housed under the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Being let loose on their own with no oversight could have damaging implications in the fight for fair IP laws.

Another worrying factor is that Rep. Darrell Issa, opponent of SOPA, has signed on as a co-sponsor of the IP Attache Act. His spokesman told TechCrunch that he supports the bill because it protects American interests in foreign countries. He does, however, say that he will work to amend the bill before it goes before the committee to include protections like fair use. Whether he accomplishes that remains to be seen, but don’t get too optimistic.

Does the IP Attaches Act sound like SOPA to you? Are people getting worried for no reason? Let us know in the comments.

SOPA being forced through the legislature is bad, but it’s nowhere near as bad as the secret ACTA alternative that’s currently being pushed through as another treaty. We were recently made aware of CETA (Canada-EU Trade Agreement) through a leak and it contains all the rotten parts of ACTA that we all thought were killed when the European Parliament voted it down.

Before ACTA died, EU Commissioner, Karel De Gucht, promised that the treaty would be passed one way or another. His main goal is to bring the treaty before the European Court of Justice to see if the treaty infringes upon any basic human rights protected by the European Union. De Gucht doesn’t want to wait for a court ruling, so he’s going to use Canada to get what he wants.

The tactic, according to Michael Geist, is that the EU will pass CETA with Canada and then claim that ACTA was perfectly acceptable the whole time. I mean, Canada likes the provisions that are in CETA and so why do you hate it? It’s a clever tactic and one that might work. That’s the scary part as all the worst parts of ACTA are present in CETA. Even if ACTA doesn’t get brought up again, the EU and Canada would be bound by a treaty that contains all that nastiness.

Fortunately, the outcry against CETA has moved the European Commission to remove some of the more inflammatory parts of the bill. The provisions in CETA that would require ISPs to remove content and disclose subscriber’s personal information have been removed according to a Tweet from the European Commission’s John Clancy.

Unfortunately, those are just two of the numerous provisions from ACTA that are still in CETA. The fact that the EU or Canada will not release the current text of the bill is also a bad sign. It’s been a trend to hide controversial or damaging bills until they’re ready to pass, but leaks like this help the public to become aware of the issues at stake. Geist suggests that the EU reveal the current draft to allow input from the citizenry. I agree, but it would be even better if countries were left to their own devices on how best to approach IP laws instead of trying to create a universal standard that only works for the top of the chain.

Do you think that these new bills present a threat to the Internet? Does CETA herald the return of ACTA? Let us know in the comments.

[Image Credit]
  • anon

    this shit will not end until we attack the source, we need to deal with the organisations that are behind this, this battle will not end until they do

    • Vincent Giannell

      We could get arrested for trying that.

    • Erik Farias

      “The pen is mightier than the sword”- Edward Bulwer-Lytton

    • Dave

      DANGEROUSLY WRONG! If you want freedom, stop funding the Jewish media barons who reap profits from copyright and pay off politicians to propose these bills. If you give in to them they will continue to harvest the world population.

  • tejanojoe

    Look, there needs to be a trade-off…If SOPA and ACTA are not going to go away then let them target the real culprits, all the nock-off manufactures in China or wherever they may be. Shut down the Black Market copyright infringements! The internet police will have someone to take to court and satisfy their coffers.

  • Margo

    First of all, the Intellectual Attache Act is not SOPA. Referring to this legislation as “the return of SOPA” is just wrong; the IP attaché program has actually been around since 2006
    Furthermore, placing SOPA and ACTA side by side for arguments sake is very misleading. ACTA and SOPA are different. ACTA is a trade agreement that establishes an international framework and subject to interpretation by individual countries. Before criticizing the ACTA so viciously I think it is important to consider how vital it is to U.S. external competitiveness; it safeguards the rights of U.S. citizens and simply enforces existing IP laws; it does not create new ones.

    • Craig

      We know how trade agreements go.

  • Phil

    Acronyms, initials, and intentions are the meaningless gloss over FACT as history shows it. The web is the most potent resource into the minds of lots of people (billions?) the endgame is control of that resource by the few (we are not among them). Politicians are like Columbus, winning lands (control over use and content of the web) for the Queen(follow the money). These intrepid pioneers who seek the City of Gold (ultimate manipulation of web use) are willing to perpetrate whatever crime against humanity is necessary to accomplish this. Columbus had his day. The Indians all suffered and died. The conquered lands are hell holes for the residents, destinations for the wealthy. Maybe the EMP will help.

  • http://evrn.net/ Howard Crane

    No and No

    “Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.”
    – Denis Diderot

    • Craig

      Love that one.

      • http://www.NaturalDogTraining.INFO Paul Anderson

        …the Bible speaks of “bands of marauding priests”…

  • http://richinwriters.com Steven

    This is some serious shit they want everyone back watching television again. Politicians lost a lot of power with the rise of the internet and major corporations are also losing influence with the rise of the internet. Lets be clear these laws are being made to scare people off the internet and back to their television sets where they can be easily manipulated. This has nothing to do with Piracy!

    • http://biselliano.info Biselliano


  • kate

    Hey Zach, considering you’re talking about foreign countries on your American website, you completely FORGOT to mention that the Treaty Committee of the Australian Parliament has taken the unusual step of rejecting parts of the ACTA Treaty. Usually they’re just a rubber stamp on everything that passes by them. Just saying.

    • http://Www.Geoweb.peperonity.com George Ikyeson

      And we all forgot that the world in itself will be affected. Developing countries like maybe Nigeria, Libya, Ghana, and even the U.k will suffer a lot since they are in desperate need of information. The boko’haram scenario has left a good country like Nigeria frail. They need the internet at least as a way of mass communication and re-union. The U.s can’t control the web. But i think someone else has to do so, else the internet would turn around weaponised as a way of causing a global world self destruct..

  • Craig

    Does not suprise me at all. The government is the bully on the block, with people that are greedy and arrogant, presumptuous,brazen and knows whats best for all.

  • luke

    SOPA and ACTA are a serious threat for the world’s economy, internet is such a growing market thanks to his freedom, if they kill this liberal environment the economy is really going to go down the toilette, even more than what it is now….

    Democracy and freedom are very important for the Global Economy, if they pass laws such as SOPA and ACTA to please a lobby , everyone is gonna be affected by serious damages, even the entertainment and software industry…

    Everyone should fight to keep the web a free, safe, autoregolate environment.

    The economy of USA is at serious risk if SOPA and ACTA will pass with other names…

    GOOGLE, Yahoo, Bing/ microsoft, Facebook , ebay, linkedin, are powerfull businesses that are at risk to collapse if they don’t help Stop the SOPA / ACTA

  • http://www.dxracer.net DXRacer

    I dont know

  • Bruce Fisher

    We also have the far more dangerous agreement TTP that Obama is pushing in secret. These nasty middle class eviscerating agreements need to be abolished.These scoundrels need to be deposed from their thrones. http://truth-out.org/news/item/10195-america-the-beautiful-a-fire-sale-for-foreign-corporations

  • http://www.captaincyberzone.com Cap’n Cyberzone

    There’s a movement afoot to reign-in the world’s societies and population. Take the “Fast & Furious” back-door gun control catalyst ploy that the 0bama Admin. almost pulled-off (if Border Agent Brian Terry hadn’t been murdered by one of the guns this ruse probably would have succeeded). Look-up “Agenda 21”. Look-up recent “intellectual” papers on ideal population sustenance; actually study the national healthcare plans (like the NHS and 0bamacare) which are plans for population attrition (in this case the old and non-useful are exterminated).
    There are serious narcissists and sociopaths pulling the strings of this plan for “the world of tomorrow”. People who took literally the futurist, science fiction books and movies like “1984” and Soylent Green” … they have an evil “Star Trek” vision for the world.
    Unfortunately for the masses these Blofeld (of James Bond renown) people lack the traits of humanity like common sense, compassion for family & friends, love and the love of life. These people are mini Dictators, Authoritarians, Czars, it’s-my-way-or-the-highway type of people who after remaking the world order will destroy their new world order by turning on each other.
    It’s like those who believe in and are still pushing Communism are blind to its history of failure … these are the people we are dealing with … self-absorbed “mad-men”.

  • Merl

    PPL, One has to understand a few things about society, and I dont half the time understand anything. But the ONE and MOST Important fact is that all of these socalled “Rules” and “Laws” are all created by somebody in a society that THINKS “these are great ways to control them” its all about power, and if “Society” as a whole do not speak out then that is a sign that they agree to these laws and the majority feels the same way. In other words it all comes down to Majority Rules and Peer Pressure. “If enough ppl DONT respond then they accepted it and the “Rule” or “Law” is passed.
    Think about it the next time you feel “my vote will not turn the tables” because in NOT speaking out or voting you have given the go ahead to carry on with whatever it is they want to do, YOU have voted YES.

  • faye

    The war is just about over if we can get rid of this trash in the WH that wants to be a dictator and all the behind kissers

    • http://www.medlawplus.com/ medlaw

      Faye, this is an article about SOPA / ACTA. You know that right? And he has at least he has paid lip service to being against SOPA. Or do you just let your Obama hate rage in response to any issue?

  • http://www.r-evolution-tv.com/ Henri H

    wow! it is amazing to see how quick these politicians act these days! I guess when it comes to limiting our freedoms they all of a sudden can do hard work and quickly! They (Bilderberg group, New World Order and United Nations) must have a strict plan for our future! people wake up! We have lost more freedoms and basic human rights in the last 12 years (9/11) then we gained in the hundred years before!! We the people will fight this until we prevail.

  • greg

    Is it not time to completely remove any US control over the Internet? Look at what they are doing with banking and being able to force a country to do what they want simply by intimidation – now they do not even need to send an army in….. they simply stop the flow of money to and from the country. All commerce dies.

    This is much bigger than the Internet

  • http://plutocrazy.info Len

    The US has wanted to have control over the internet and what anyone in the world uses it for since the day it went live. After all, it was a US invention developed for military use… a tool to make disabling of communications virtually impossible. Unfortunately the very nature of what was created made it available to everyone outside the choke hold exercised by the most totalitarian regimes.

    Regardless or which administration sits in the Whitehouse, the desire is the same, the ability to enforce censorship of the most threatening, mass communication tools ever devised. Copyright concerns are a smoke and mirrors excuse to begin taking control. The real desire is to be in a position to censor information that now flows freely. If any control is given to any government, the US or whoever, it will eventually lead to total censorship a generation from now.

    China is the wildcard I figure… Regardless of the fact it blocks it’s own citizenry from using the internet unfettered, communist China will never agree to allow another government or group of governments control over such an important, global communication tool. I can see China, a decade from now using Hong Kong as the base for an internet zone free of controls… just to thwart western designs on having control over the internet. Of course, China’s own mainland populace will likely still suffer from internet censorship.

    I’m not a conspiracy theorist just calling it as I see it… and I see this battle for governance over what is basically a massive, and unregulated free flow of information, being a long battle. But like water splashing against a stone, the erosion of freedoms of speech, and the free flow of information everywhere is ongoing, and has been for a decades.

  • Read

    What is acta and sopa?

  • http://Www.Geoweb.peperonity.com George Ikyeson

    Well, its no problem if they regulate internet. Why? Why, because the level of rubbish in the web today is really terrifying. I mean, check out the porns plus many others.. I can’t believe internet got my younger bro. Godday corrupt. Anyway, the war should be stopped but implemented.. Made to be a good force!

    • http://biselliano.info Biselliano

      The only way you should be seeing porn on your computer is if you look it up. Take care of your computer and install the proper FF plugins and you don’t have a problem with any of that crap. My computer is proof of this. You probably go around looking up porn instead of searching for the things that really matter. The truth is they are wanting to regulate the internet so the just that, the truth, doesn’t get passed along anymore. People are waking up to a corrupt government that wants “all power” like God. It never will be done. Check out my website by clicking on my name and you’ll get to see something OTHER THAN PORN!

  • kayopunk

    The bought off government is afraid of the internet because it allows us to be informed and is a way of equalizing to some extent. These guys don’t like it.

  • http://wushuproject.com lion dance toronto

    It’s amazing to pay a visit this site and reading the views of all colleagues regarding this piece of writing, while I am also zealous of getting knowledge.

  • http://www.r-evolution-tv.com/ Henri H

    In this current financial crisis something strange is happening.

    This crisis is caused by the unsustainable fractional banking system doomed to fail at some point! I guess it is a surprise it held for so long although there have been small crisis’s to announce this big one.

    We are now at a point where the ruling elite, Bilderberg Group/United Nations/New World Order (B.U.N.) are desperately holding on to their way of living and doing anything to suppress the people by stripping them of their basic human rights and personal freedoms.

    The real strange thing is that on the one hand B.U.N. says they will do everything to make things better but reality is that they don’t and it keeps getting worse and worse and yet we, the people, end up paying for all the mistakes and misery (bills).

    Companies go broke and are saved by governments (tax money), banks fall and are saved by governments (tax money), countries file bankruptcy and are bailed out by IMF (tax money) however when a small store owner cannot afford to pay his rent anymore he goes bankrupt…end of story! When a family cannot afford to pay their mortgage anymore – house foreclosure will follow and they end up on the street, no help from the government!

    And need I remind you that they, B.U.N. are the actual cause of this situation so why should we pay for all of it? If they can’t fix this situation with all their billions if not trillions how do they expect it to get better with our small petty change? It is not!! And that is the real answer! They don’t want it to get better for us! Only for them and they are doing a damn good job.

    The people at the bottom end up paying for all the shit is this world while the people responsible for this mess are just walking around as if nothing has happened.

    We are so called lucky if we are not picked up for questioning or detained without proper trail because we question authority!

    What is wrong with this picture? I would say plenty and it is time we wake up people!

  • http://wsharews.wall.fm Jake

    I’m tired of these bills or whatever they are. Please take one minute to sign this petition! You can help fight this off here!

  • http://sites.google.com/site/justsayingmypiece/ Charlie

    Yeah, this does not really surprise me. We know that our leaders don’t really like it much when the general public gets in the way of the “agendas” being pushed in the Halls of Power. SOPA, ACTA, CRISPA (surely there are others) WILL be enacted, one way or another…whether or not the general public wants any of them…because these bills carry with them the power and authority to take over “freedoms” that some of those in power seem to feel we should not have.

    I can’t help wonder if some of the reasons behind such a persistent effort to enact this kind of legislation might have something to do with what has taken place in other parts of the world (i.e., “Arab Spring”, etc.). We know that the Internet has been credited with helping to bring people together for common causes (think also: global “Occupy” movements, etc.), and we also know some governments do not really like it when people have such flexibility and such powerfully useful tools at their fingertips.

    So, it comes as no surprise that we’re seeing things about these efforts “not going away”. Clearly, we still need to make noise about them to our leaders; so here’s a link for US Government contacts. Be sure to let them know we want the Internet to remain free and unencumbered from over-regulation and government controls. I’m just sayin’…

  • Dave

    The only want to stop this is to identify the individuals who have a part in proposing and moving these laws along. Publish their identities, their places of work, where they live, their credit card details etc.

    Scare these people, so that others are too afraid to betray the people of the world.

  • J

    Instead of legislators putting time and effort into corrupt backroom deals, the question remains what legislation is being drafted to protect our freedom of speech? It look like the American constitution is beginning to fail.

    • http://www.shtf-gear.com SHTF-Gear

      The Constitution isn’t beginning to fail, it is the politicians that are failing the Constitution.

  • Graeme Hunter

    The old Nazi, priest and political craft trick, was to burn all the books that did not agree with what they said. It still goes on today, is this not another way of doing it, that is shut the people up at all costs for if they get to know what is going on then we the political, religious corporation and ego centred groups will have to explain what we are teaching and doing. We can get away with murder as long as we keep the people blind. And when the blind lead the blind, where do they end up but in a ditch. A ditch of polluted thought and perceptions.

  • http://www.kleinlitigation.com/intellectual.html Klein Trial Lawyers

    The provisions sought through SOPA, ACTA and now CETA will likely continue until legislation is presented that can effectively balance the interests of copyright holders with the interests of internet users. Copyright infringement and intellectual property protections are certainly important issues that deserve to be addressed, but you are right to point out that some US legislators who may have opposed SOPA express support for policies like CETA that would be tougher on foreign sites. The issues addressed in many of these IP bills certainly deserve to be discussed in public instead of being enacted behind closed doors.