ACTA Proposal Leaked: Confirms Wealthy States Trying to Evade Consensus; Impose Strict Enforcement
May 23, 2008
Fresh off the presses from Slashdot and Wikileaks: the “discussion paper” on the proposed “Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement” (ACTA) that has circulated among wealthy trademark and copyright owning states (as well as a select group of industry lobbyists) has just reached the public. Here’s the description attached to the document by an anonymous Slashdot reader:
“The proposal includes clauses designed to criminalize the non-profit facilitation of copyrighted information exchange on the Internet, which would also affect transparency sites such as Wikileaks. The Wikileaks document details provisions that would impose strict enforcement of intellectual property rights related to Internet activity and trade in information-based goods. If adopted, the treaty would impose a strong, top-down enforcement regime imposing new cooperation requirements upon Internet service providers, including perfunctory disclosure of customer information, as well as measures restricting the use of online privacy tools.”
All very true. In fact, the implications of the agreement reach even further – threatening the business interests of firms in innovative, knowledge-based sectors of the economy by imposing overly-harsh restrictions and enforcement measures. This would likely exacerbate the chilling effects of existing restrictions that have brought American and European corporations numerous defensive patent suits, bogus trademark infringement claims, etc.
The USTR and its trading partners have no business supporting a proposal like this. ACTA threatens citizens’ rights, businesses interests, and would create unnecessary layers of bureaucracy and state intervention. It should never be signed.