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ACTA: Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

January 27, 2010

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, currently under negotiation by Mexico, the US, Canada, Australia, the EU, Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand, is a proposed treaty for ‘strong intellectual property’ rights through international enforcement via cooperation and coordination among member countries; it goes beyond the WTO Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property. Conducted with little to no public transparency, and in secrecy, with Parliamentary processes and input from public interest groups and citizens dismissed, ACTA would ostensibly deal with the counterfeiting of goods, including apparel, books,  audio, video, software, food products, pharmaceuticals, and other consumer goods such as electronics, and piracy. But consumer groups are concerned that ACTA would regulate the internet and non-commercial uses – in particular searching and seizing laptops and iPods at international borders to check for illegal downloading.

“The secrecy surrounding this treaty is a complete reversal of the commitments your government has made to ensure public input and consultation on changes to Canadian copyright law,”  commented Michael Geist in the CBC report (referring to the Government of Canada’s summer 2009 consultations on copyright reform),  “This secrecy undermines the credibility of the ministers of Industry and Heritage who have both made some effort to engage the public prior to the development of a new copyright framework for Canada.”

As the CBC reports, a consortium of global public interest and consumer groups are contesting ACTA through a Joint Declaration,  alleging that it is being pushed by the US entertainment industry and will result in restricted access for citizens particularly by:  “allowing internet service providers to cut customers off if sharing copyrighted files is alleged; limiting the interoperability of legally acquired digital content, such as music or movies; authorizing border guards to search and seize laptops and MP3 players if copyright infringing material is found on them; introducing criminal sanctions for copyright infringements.”

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/arts/music/story/2010/01/26/acta-copyright-secret-discussions.html#ixzz0drINs1QG

See Charlie Angus, NDP MP, on ACTA:

See also: Public Knowledge ACTA page

Michael Geist’s ACTA pages

Jesse Brown’s Search Engine interview with Geist on ACTA

CIPPIC’s page on ACTA

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