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Dutch parliament rejects ACTA, prohibits government to sign or ratify. (bof.nl)
270 points by aerique on May 30, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 49 comments

Especially resolution 3 is pertinent:

"3. Resolution of Member Verhoeven (21 501-30, No. 288), 29 May 2012 (original Dutch text in PDF)

The House of Representatives,

- observes that treaties like ACTA lead to a further formalization of copyrights rules on the international level,

- observes that such treaties are very difficult to modify and as a result can be an extra impediment for future reforms of copyright law,

- observes that strict enforcement of intellectual property on the internet is no solution for the ongoing difficulties regarding copyright law and interferes with internet freedom,

- requests the government to vote against new similar treaties,

- requests the government to focus the copyright policy on economic growth opportunities offered by the internet through, amongst others things, new revenue models for legal content.

Verhoeven (D66 – Democrats 66)"

I hope this will be a catalyst for other countries to implement similar regulations.

> an extra impediment for future reforms of copyright law

This is the really important part (ACTA was almost dead anyway). The continued push for ever more draconian copyright enforcement measures is slowly creating a backlash that puts copyright reform on the political agenda.

Once copyright reform is seriously on the agenda, all ACTA-like initiatives that enhance copyright enforcement are likely to be shelved indefinitely, and we finally get some breathing room for a real debate on copyright.

How strong are these "observes" and "requests"? Why not "requires"?

These are motions, which are not binding, and the government can ignore them if it wishes, although it may then have a political problem and parliament might send it home with a "motion of distrust", which the government cannot ignore. However, these motions were very broadly supported: only CDA voted against motion 286; motion 287 was accepted by general acclaim; only VVD voted against motion 288. (CDA and VVD are the two parties currently forming a minority caretaker government.)

FYI – "motion / vote of no confidence" is the term you're looking for. Thanks for explaining.

Strictly speaking, there is no law dictating the government has to leave when receiving a "motion of distrust", although it never happened they did not.

is that in theory where the queen steps in?

Not sure; it has never happened yet and it would certainly get ugly, so she might. She does usually step in at a few other places, though. We're getting off-topic here; for a very nice but not yet complete overview, see http://www.quirksmode.org/politics/ .

Hmm, I may have misunderstood adavies42 slightly here; I thought (s)he meant what would happen if a motion of no confidence were ignored, which has never happened and would be quite a shock. When a motion of no confidence is passed by parliament, either against the entire government or against one or more of its members, which has happened several times, usually the target of the motion goes to the queen to resign; the governmental parties then seek a replacement who has to be officially appointed by the queen. If the entire government resigns, the queen usually asks for advice from all political leaders, and then there are several options, all of which involve her, since she officially appoints the members of the government. In practice, power is in the hands of the political parties; she does have some possibilities to influence the process, but not very much.

> I thought (s)he meant what would happen if a motion of no confidence were ignored

yes, that's what i meant. thanks for the info!

Observes are the argumentation, requests are the basis for new law.

Two critical notes to the general "holland is fantastic" fuzzy feelings.

The Netherlands are European leaders when it comes to wiretapping communications. Its laws gives the intelligence communities extensive powers to tap, filter and store. This was already the case well before 9/11. Secondly, privacy is usually not a political or social issue of any real significance.

The Netherlands recently passed a law on Net neutrality stating that a warrant is required for internet wiretapping:


I don't see anything wrong with wiretapping with a warrant. Do people who argue against them also argue against home search warrants?

Little bit ironic BTW, seeing as The Netherlands has one of the highest phone wiretapping rates in the world.

True, however the phone wiretapping rates are subject of debate as well.

Phone wiretapping is simply one way a country can decide on by which criminal activities should be traced. Other countries do so in different ways, and comparing them, especially in different jurisdictions is not straightforward.

For civilians that do not exercise criminal activities, wiretapping will be less of an influence on their lives as ACTA or non-net-neutrality would be. On average.

The difficulty here is that NL has a strong oversight on wiretapping - so whereas in the UK, a single wiretap warrant can get other phone numbers on as riders (usually one cop doing a favour for another cop), which makes the UK numbers look smaller, the NL is more open and so has larger looking wiretaps.

That "strong oversight" has been hampered by a refusal to publish details (we have absolutely no clue why there are so many wiretaps, and it's been hard enough to get the authorities to publish the raw numbers), and the oversight fails when it comes to storing and providing access to the collected data.

The latter is particularly worrying, because we already know that in other areas, police access to private data collection is seriously being abused, and very badly organized.

The oversight basically starts and ends with granting the permission to wiretap. Everything else is murky as hell.

I see something wrong with it if everyone is required to keep logs and to "know their customers", just in case someone comes along with a warrant. Such requirements destroy the ability to offer free public wi-fi.

The Dutch are historically Calvinists. That's why there are so few shutters on windows in Amsterdam, of if there are they have been added to buildings later. The cultural belief of "having nothing to hide" runs deep.

Phone wiretapping? DO you know what you are even talking about? They are only wiretapped...

Come to Poland - to most invigilated country in Europe.

Thank you, Netherlands! (from the Polish, whose Prime Minister initially thought signing ACTA was a good idea "because everyone else did")

Which is a marginally better excuse than the standard 4 year old's "someone else did it and ran away", but only just.

For the record - Polish PM backed off after few weeks of mass protests in Poland, and said he was wrong, and Poland won't ratificate ACTA.

I still don't like him for his other decisions, and the lies he told about ACTA before he changed his mind, but at least he can say he was wrong.

Fair point, however I admit I am a bit of a cynical bastard and so suspect that most politicians would swear the earth was flat, if they thought for one second it would extend their time in power.

That is main reason why he (Polish PM) has to be very wary now - if he didn't back down from ACTA he wouldn't stand a chance in next elections. And there is still some time before we will have them but if he makes more blunders it will be his political death.

As a Dutch resident (British citizen), who's working on a file sharing startup, this news really makes me happy. Hopefully other countries will follow

Also a Brit in NL. Net neutrality and this news makes me very happy too, though I actually work (indirectly) for Hollywood!

Seriously? Where are you based?!

And on the other and now the majority of ISP are blocking access to the PirateBay.

As much as I like the Netherlands (living here from 2006, I'm Italian), these inconsistencies in their systems are really annoying[^1]. Net neutrality, ACTA rejection on one side, blocking web sites on the other.

[^1]: I won't mention the other kind of inconsistencies, but if you really curious about some health care system madness, I encourage you to readhttp://blog.lanzani.nl/2011/doctors/

The decision to require ISP's to block the Pirate bay is currently being appealed by the way. It's a judicial issue based on existing laws, not a political one such as the net neutrality one. And as long as the appeal is going on nothing is definitive.

the blocking of TPB is not an inconistency. The net neutrality law has explicit exceptions for allowing blocking IPs / hostnames / sites via court order.

In this case the judge has decided that TPB mostly facilitates illegal downloading and that therefore a block is allowed.

This is a, technically, correct decision because the net neutrality law gives judges enough room to block websites.

Really? The ISP-PirateBay blockade was ordered by a judge based on existing legislation. The field of net neutrality, privacy, copyright/piracy is changing and complex: I don't think it is reasonable to expect full consistency now. Tell me which country is consistent, and is so democratically? At least the Dutch have set a course, and in my opinion it is a good one.

[I read your blog entry, sorry to hear about your knee but otherwise I find your story single sided and your statement that doctors get money for not helping is so crude and slander-like that it needs citation, in my opinion - if it were not for the fact that I have to email you to comment on the post I would have placed this part of my reaction over there.]

Not saying that other countries are better, just saying that there are still a lot of inconsistencies.

[As for the doctors: for what regards the money, this is what I've heard. Of course there will be nothing official but: I know 2 (!) persons who died of uncured cancer, because Dutch doctors just told them to take pain killers (not kidding). Then I know other 2 (we were close) that had to go to their home countries to get the cancer cured, because here the doctors told them to wait a couple of weeks. Once home their doctors hospitalized them immediately, saying that further delays would have killed them. A PhD student from Russia, also here in the Netherlands, emailed me after reading my blog post, because the same happened to his knee and the doctor didn't want to treat him. My mother-in-law had kidney stones, and what did the doctor say? Drink some warm milk. She had to fight 3 days to be sent to the hospital. I'm here since 2006, but I already met so many people who where shocked by the incompetence of Dutch doctors, that I could write for hours. The entry in my blog reflects some facts happened directly to me or my family.]

It's things like these that makes it hard for me to ignore that the U.S. is heading down the wrong path and most of its governmental arms are controlled by corporations. Let the people decide on something for once.

The last few years have been particularly crazy - Apple's pursuit of what is essentially a black rectangle being the oddest of all.

Looking forward to the next generation of laws appropriate to the growth of the internet and the people who use it...

It's a bit scary that it is news worthy that some politicians stood up for the people.

Well done though :)

Wow, is this really what bills in the Netherlands look like? 500 words, half a page?

How do we get our govt to stop churning out multi-thousand page piles of pork-barreling instead of simple, straightforward resolutions like this?

Actually, it's a "motion", a (strong though non-binding) suggestion from the house to the cabinet that they should change the regulations to accommodate the motion.

The actual law or laws that will be changed or created are not nearly as pretty. (Although judges here are allowed to pass judgement in the "spirit of the law" rather than taking the text literally, so there is less of an incentive to get every little detail nailed down on paper)

Charge politicians by the word for submitted bills?

The US constitution isn't too verbose, either. (But you can still see the murky compromises, if you look carefully.)

I'm happy that privacy is still on the political agenda

Net neutrality, a lot of ISPs counter-suing BREIN for having to block thepiratebay, and now this. I love the Netherlands ^^

Good news to start off the day. I hope many will follow.

Earth to Congress, Europe is starting to turn against this treaty drafted in secret, when are you going to come out against this on the side of the American people?

Well, Sen. Wyden has asked the Obama administration to send ACTA to Senate for ratification, but the Obama administration refuses to do so, and says ACTA, which is a global treaty, can be made and signed just by the president. Something about that argument sounds very wrong to me.

Sen Wyden has been great on these issues. See also http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120523/11415519051/wyden-... Where the Obama administration would not share the contents of the TTP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) agreement with congress or senate, while representatives of U.S. corporations are being consulted on the agreement.

Crony Capitalism at its worst.

Without commenting on the TPP specifically, I will point out that this is the process that the Constitution sets out for international treaties: the executive branch negotiates them as they see fit, then the agreement is presented to the Congress for ratification.

If TPP makes it that far (no guarantee it will), the Congress will have plenty of opportunity to read and react to it--especially now that Fast Track has expired. Just look at how many times the negotiators had to go back to the table on the South Korea and Colombia free trade agreements to satisfy Congressional objections.

ACTA could be signed in the U.S. without Senate ratification because it doesn't change a single thing in U.S. domestic IP law, so there really isn't anything for the Senate to ratify. Wyden knows this; his request is largely grandstanding.

This is not necessarily true in other countries, which is why their legislators are getting involved.

Technically, you're somewhat wrong about other countries. For instance, in France, even if ACTA had no impact on the legislation, it would still require ratification by a law. Because, the list of treaties that require ratification is so broad in France (Art. 53 of the Constitution), that almost only symbolic agreements are exempted of ratification by the parliament (or referendum). And that's the case in most of European countries.

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