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Spain threatened with trade blacklist for not passing SOPA style law (torrentfreak.com)
239 points by Hates_ on Jan 5, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 38 comments

US seems a little too trigger-happy about putting trade sanctions on countries these days. They are basically coercing everyone to do what they want or else. And they wonder why the world likes USA less and less.

I don't think this will end well if this keeps up. Free trade is a prerequisite for a wealthy society. Trade isolationism can only lead to less wealth and more wars. Trade is probably the biggest factor in reducing frequency of wars in the world throughout history. Without trade countries had to invade each other to get the resources they needed.

What happens when the US is no longer trading with anyone, AND continues passing SOPA-style laws that hinder the internet?

Sounds more and more like a novel I read, once (name forgotten) where everyone in America believes that China has perfected a firewall, where in reality it's America that's trapped behind the firewall and cut off from the rest of the world.

That would be Signal to Noise by Eric Nylund. Yeah, I've been thinking the same thing recently.

Damn! I even googled Signal to Noise, but didn't search hard enough. I need to pick up a copy of the book, I only own the sequel.

Was that a smaller plot point of the book or have I looked up the wrong one?


The Great Firewall was definitely a fairly minor plot point compared to everything else.

What happens when the US is no longer trading with anyone, AND continues passing SOPA-style laws that hinder the internet?

They'll be like North Korea? Shut off from the world and ignored (unless they try to nuke someone, in which case their'd be regime change)?

Depends, does the us stop trading with everybody before or after theyve exported sopa to everybody? If they can convince enough countries to enforce American IP law, they can just sell IP to foreigners instead of real stuff.

It seems to me that America is setting itself up to be the country equivalent of a patent troll.

I don't know where I read it but that seems to be exactly the goal. So much of American labour has been offshored now. A vast majority of it is outsourced and the US provides less and less manufacturing each year.

The result is quickly becoming that US's chief export is entertainment or IP product. But when the rest of the world is simply stealing that export it isn't very financially lucrative is it?

All these laws are simply the US trying to protect its export that is obviously in a failing state.

«They are basically coercing everyone to do what they want or else.»

To be more precise, they are coercing everyone with a fragile economy like Spain is suffering right now.

China has much less respect for intellectual property than Spain does, yet USA doesn't dare to threaten and pressure them in such an arrogant way.

This is sad for the rest of EU-nationals as well. Being in the trade- and political union was supposed to protect us from such attacks and pressure against our political sovereignity. "If we are part of a bigger entity, then it's harder for the bullies to harass an individual nation." That's how the Union was sold for many of us.

But right now, not only we face pressure from big foreign powers, but the Union itself is moving towards greater centralization of power. Especially financially.

This does not look good.

Vote for the Pirate Party in the next elections to the EU parliament, then? We already got two members in, we can get more.

I thought the EU Parliament was against SOPA: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20111117/10010416805/eu-par...

perhaps the Spanish law will be challenged..

The EU has done nothing but move towards greater centralization of power for the past 20 years, if not longer. It's not exactly an institution heavily anchored in democratic principles.

If by centralization you mean that more matters are decided at the European level - well, that's the whole point of a Union, and what could prevent "divide et impera" tactics against single states.

On the other hand, if the problem you see is that those matters which are decided at the European level aren't decided in a democratic enough way, then we should push for less power to intergovernmental bodies, more power to the EU Parliament, and the creation of a European public opinion - the last thing we can directly contribute to; we're doing it right now ;)

I mean both a push to centralize things that really should be left to the countries and a lack of democratic transparency. In Sweden, the debate since back before the referendum in 1994 has been between a "it's better to be on the inside to have influence" on the one side and "it doesn't matter because you have no influence on the inside anyway" on the other. And in the meantime, the lack of democratic transparency has just grown, not become less.

This lack of democracy was generally sold as "don't worry, the EU is just for boring things you the people don't care about anyway, an in either case we have a veto". But now the veto is gone and centralization spreads its tentacles deeper and deeper into national affairs, so that's been a highly disingenuous argument.

Exactly, what should be left to the states, and what to the EU? IP regulation, for example, look to me like something that should definitely be euro-wide.

When people outside the US ask why they should care about US laws like SOPA, this is the answer. Laws spread quickly from country to country via trade agreements, copyright treaties, and other forms of influence.

It's exactly the opposite, actually. Most US citizens, not engaged in debate on international forums, get really pissed off at the arrogance of foreigners for expressing opinions on US politics. How dare they, they think.

I don't think that is the opposite. Both are true in fact.

I think they know. They've seen America as a bearer of democracy for a long time, and now it's losing that role model position, or worse yet, it keeps the role model position, but it's just not a very democratic position anymore, and everyone else starts following that or gets pressured into doing it. That's what they fear.

I still think it's unbelievable how disproportionately dangerous the content industry is to the rights of everyone in the world. I mean even if the US Government itself set out to try to convince other countries to just be more dictatorial so they can control their own people, they probably wouldn't be as successful. But the content industry itself, with some manipulation of the US Government, is managing to do that on what seems to be like a global scale.

And they even have the nerve to say that we should be more like Iran and China regarding our Internet. They say that publicly and almost get away with it, as they list the "benefits" of such a more authoritarian outcome.

It's been a very long time since people outside the US have seen it as a "bearer of democracy."

The USTR has long been a bully that pushes for trade terms advantageous to the US, even if it tramples human rights.

Well I guess that's true, but at least the perception was there, especially since more than 10 years ago most people didn't have Internet and it was a lot harder to find out about stuff like this. But now that positive perception is fading away quickly, too.

ha, US as a role model. Good one.

We can't vote. Simple as that. I actually do care a lot, and I feel violated if the law passes, but I'm completely helpless.

This shows one more reason why we need a united Europe: taken one at a time, European countries are too little to be able to raise their voices.

I agree, for some things it's better to be centralized, but not too centralized. I wouldn't want it to make it simpler for them to convince the "leaders" of EU to adopt a law for the whole EU. The balance in EU needs to be weighted very carefully between centralization and decentralization, and centralization should have the minimum necessary power for the actual good of the Union. Too bad that knowing politicians, they always get carried away and think more centralization = always better.

I agree with you that many things shouldn't be centralized. But a matter like this (IP protection/freedom) looks to me like one of the things that should definitely be decided at a European level, not last because this would help a lot European startups with a more homogeneous market ;)

I also think things like this should be blown up by countries impacted in their media and the UN. This will help highlight dangerous and over-reaching US foreign policy and potentially get US citizens and the UN involved which can then apply pressure on US officials to refrain from these kind of measures.

It is almost twilight-zonish to see the US government in favor of Internet censorship when speeches against it like this exist: http://secretaryclinton.wordpress.com/2011/02/15/secretary-o....

Why isn't the US media all over things like this? So much for being the vanguards of freedom...

This also shows why US states need to secede from the union.

Yeah, that worked well last time.

It came pretty close actually. If the south would have had better leadership the US would be at least two countries now.

Don't forget to read the comments under the article, pure entertainment :)

Drafting laws for other countries should really not be on, this just really takes the piss.

So the US uses it's influence to extort other nations in line with a fascist state.. Nothing to see here, move along.

The government has too much power to do this, if they threaten another country with sanctions if they don't pass a law. This kind of power should be taken away from the executive and given to Congress. At least then we would see our elected representatives debate it, instead of some commission appointed by the President discussing it behind closed doors.

It's the same way the Obama administration forced ACTA (some copyright related treaty) on some countries, mostly in secret. And now they are trying to get it passed in EU, too.

I would have a better idea. Split united states into five independent parts, ten states each. You would not be world dangering military might anymore, and single trade sanction from single independent entity would not matter much. No more "too much power".

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