Hi everyone, I haven’t posted anything here for a really long time now and am coming back because I just wrote this post on Facebook and realized that it’s more of a blog thing really… OK, there we go.

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The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) was a proposed multinational treaty for the purpose of establishing international standards for intellectual property rights enforcement.

When first introduced in 2012 it met a lot of critisicm. As of yesterday, ‘ACTA2’ is a thing for of Europe’s Member States (and people are panicking) so I thought I’d share my opinion and a little bit of information. Please note, I’m not a lawyer. And I don’t think I know it all. It’s just my opinion.

You should always obtain someone’s agreement for sharing their works before you do so. Online piracy is not a standard, it’s theft. And how offended we are with ACTA2 shows how much used to it we got. And yeah, sure, I streamed movies before, I used books found online for writing my uni papers. Not saying I’m any better; I’m just not going to expect the law to protect that kind of behaviour.

Very important part of the document is this: ‘These rights shall not apply to private or non-commercial uses of press publications carried out by individual users’. So yeah, Internet will work like books or CDs: it’s OK to lend someone your book and talk about it with them. It’s OK to quote and show exerpts. It’s not OK to reprint half of the book for the purpose of your own book and make money off the sales without first purchasing the rights to do so.

Another important bit of the legislation: ‘Member States shall ensure that users in all Member States are able to rely on the following existing exceptions and limitations when uploading and making available content generated by users on online content sharing services:
a) quotation, criticism, review,
b) use for the purpose of caricature, parody or pastiche.’

Also, regarding spreading cultural/scientific heritage, ‘Periodicals which are published for scientific or academic purposes, such as scientific journals, shall not be considered as press publications for the purposes of this Directive.’ So you are still allowed to share scientific knowledge and use periodicals found online to write your thesis (example: yours truly these days, sad long days).

Another one: ‘Member States shall provide for an exception or limitation to the rights (…) in order to allow the digital use of works and other subject-matter for the sole purpose of illustration for teaching [here are lots of points about it’s extent… just read the document. And if you don’t have time or will to get uber bored, read what EU’s website says about the document HERE]’

So I think that this document makes a lot of sense and it rather reasonable. It should be read first, before panicking and supporting all the websites claiming it’s ‘the censorship directive’ because they’re also the same websites that copy over most of their content and then make money off the ads on their page.
I hear someone say it’ll stop memes from existing… nothing will stop the memes. Not even nuclear war. Also someone would have to first complain and ask for taking their meme down. Will you, Jenna, or do you want your silly cat pic with a description to go all over the globe?! 😉

A valid argument is that text and data mining (crucial for modern research an AI development) will be confusing. ACTA allows for text and data mining to be a thing in some cases, but not others. Rightholders could opt out of having their data datamined by anyone who isn’t a research organization (is it this bad?).
There is no easy answer to this one and I’m not 100% how I feel about it. I think the real question we need to ask ourselves is: do we value artificial intelligence and its works more than human intelligence and its works?

I also heard someone saying that this will kill music and musicians’ online activity. That if you can’t use samples you’re not free. Really? Cause I feel like if you’re already not allowed to just take someone’s work. And sure, you can register and pay royalties… but have you heard about Geoff Barrow of Massive Attack? His Invada Records in based in the office building where we work and just the other day he posted on Twitter complaining about Lil Pump using his and Ben Salisbury’s track for ‘his deeply fucking sexist song [‘Racks on Racks’]. He said that they didn’t give clearance. I also love how he added, ‘As 2 fathers of daughters this shit needs to seriously fuck off.’ He also started his Tweet with ‘who is Lil Pump’ which made me very happy.

So the question is: do we value people’s freedom to take for free whatever they want and use for whatever they want more than we value copyright and creator’s rights to keep the message spreading only in the right context? Afterall if they want it to be available for all to use, they just have to state it and ‘is coooooool man’.

Coming back to the ‘protect musicians’ argument that’s used by some (including I believe that if you’re a musician, you either play standards and royalties for them are being played, or you create your own tracks. Sampling someone’s music and then adding a beat and some urban lyrics isn’t creating, it’s basically talking on top of someone else’s music. And if you’re making money off it or making it public, if you call it your own song, if you add to it a message that the original piece did not carry – that’s artistic abuse, not freedom. That’s abusing the rights of the musician; you know, the person who actually wrote and played music, who knows how to play an instrument (or, I guess, who knows how to use music harmony + a computer) and who doesn’t claim that if they’re song is 50% Amazing Grace it’s title should be ‘lick me nips’.

Back to notslamming shitty rappers.
I haven’t finished reading the document yet (spent a lot of my working day today on it tho!) and there may be some dark surprises… but I wanted to share this post when I still remember what I was thinking as I was reading the directive.

Please let me know what you think about it. Are there any disturbing points that the directive makes that you’d like to share and discuss?

PS ah, the irony of this post 😉


How I got kicked out of a country*

*  joke of a country, yet legally still a country.


The last time I was trying to follow any time line, I shared my stories of Italy. Let me tell you what happened next.

I was hitching from Sanremo to Nice. An Algerian couple stopped, they didn’t really speak much English, yet they knew all the other languages: German, French, Italian, Spanish… uneducated me. They were going to Monaco. For a moment I hesitated, I didn’t want to go into the country, yet I decided to go with them and just play it by ear.

Unfortunately we ended up having communication issues and I ended up somewhere in Monte Carlo, just on some street.

I walked up a hill, had a coffee – the stuff was basically waiting for me to leave, they were very surprised when I tipped them; and it’s not like they’d done anything to deserve it, I just thought: fuck it, I’m in Monte Carlo, I need to tip – that’s one of those point you cannot miss on your trip to that place.

I left the restaurant and went walking towards the highway, following the signposts and cars which seemed like they really want to escape. No place to stop though, only pavement, roadway and the places which suck out all your money; stores which sell caviar worth 400 EURO per rather small portion; casinos; I continued walking.

I turned around the corner and there it was: a place with loads of space for me to stand and well, some space to stop the car for a minute. I stood all happy with my sign saying ‘NICE I’m nice to J’ that lovely old lady came by and wished me luck in both French and English, the sun was beating and I was feeling rather sick.

There is this reddish scar on my neck, this itchy, painful, suspicious pink thing of unknown origin. I covered it with a scarf, yet that made it only get worse from the heat. So I wait for the lift quite desperate, my water’s almost finished, and there he is, a cop of a motorbike arrives and says something in French, very angry.

‘I’m sorry, I don’t speak French’ I say – in French, ‘Do you speak English?’

‘We speak French here’ he answers – in English, ‘Autostop – no no no’ he adds shaking his head with disappointment and wavering his finger like if he wanted to have it stuck up his own ass.

‘Not true’ I answer, ‘I checked it and no, it is not illegal to autostop here’.

He starts yelling in French, getting red, says something about me not even speaking the proper language and he says ‘no autostop in Monaco. You need to leave the country, now.’ – in English, ‘I will go up the hill to the border and wait for you to leave’ he says in French, gets on his motorbike, says ‘move!’ and takes off. He also mentioned somewhere that the end was a km away;

It was at least a mile and a half.

So with a backpack on me and a guitar in my right hand, covering the pink thing on my neck with a scarf using my left hand, feeling very sick and angry, I walk up the mountain. There is no shade, it’s around 12:30 – the exact time of when I did not want to be on the road (I don’t know yet, how hot it will get). My bottle is almost empty, there is nowhere to refill it – around me only houses and expensive short-term rent apartments.

I begin to lose control, I’m barely  moving, my body is dehydrated, I am tired, my neck feels weird – when I turn my head left, the left side of my mouth starts to roll saliva like crazy. And it burned. It was so hot, my head was uncovered… My used the scarf covering my neck to cover both, my head and the pink scar.

Suddenly – there it is. A little booth with a Dunes, or however that joke of a country calls their border guards; and the mean cop.

I come up and ask the guard, in French, ‘Do you speak English?’

He barely looks at me, says ‘no’ and turns his face the other way.

‘Is it France or Monaco?’ I say in French pointing at a piece of land.

‘This is Monaco’ says the guard – in French – looking at the place where I’m standing, ‘and that is France’ he says pointing at two steps away, on left.

I’m furious. I take two steps into France, just so as to past him, turn around and look at them; my heart is beating, I am burning, my head is beating, the mind using its full power to control my reactions. I smile like a loon, rise my ‘NICE I’m nice too J’ sign up and stand there, in front of them, on the street.

They were angry, a little bit, and then I just went away, to sit down on a bus stop and get my shit together. I checked it, the bus would come in 15 minutes so if I didn’t get a ride sooner, I can just hop on ; And yeah, I didn’t get a ride…

The bus was 1,20 or 1,50. I should have just taken it in the first place!

I arrived to Nice, scored a pharmacy for something for the weird burn, a pub for a sandwich and went off to my next CS host, one of the most important ones (even though the last time we saw each other we were rather hostile); that’s a new story though and I’ll save it for the next time.



How I got kicked out of a country*