Will proposed treaty make border agents copyright cops?

Document posted to Wikileaks indicates trend toward IP crackdown

An Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) under quiet negotiation by several countries including the US and Canada is raising concern in some quarters after a leaked document, purportedly offering more details on the nascent agreement, was posted on the Internet.

The document, titled "Discussion Paper on a Possible Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement" (download PDF), was posted last week by the Wikileaks whistle-blower Web site. The four-page document was apparently quietly provided to select lobbyists in the "intellectual property industry" late last year -- but not, apparently, to public-interest organizations, according to Wikileaks.

Plans for the trade agreement were announced last October by the office of the US Trade Representative (USTR). At that time, the agreement was described by the USTR as a "major" step in the fight against the global piracy and counterfeiting of intellectual property.

The countries that have been identified as engaged in ACTA discussions are the US, Canada, the 27 member states of the European Union, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, and Switzerland. In a fact sheet (download PDF) accompanying the announcement, the USTR said that ACTA would focus on increasing international cooperation and information sharing around IP protection, the creation of stronger and standard enforcement mechanisms, and the establishment of a more "effective" legal framework for combating piracy and counterfeiting. Among the legal provisions being considered are those for criminal enforcement, "border measures" and for Internet distribution of IP.

The discussion paper published by Wikileaks basically offers a more detailed glimpse at some of the provisions in ACTA that are reportedly being negotiated by participating countries, and has led to considerable concern and speculation in several media outlets, especially in Canada.

According to the leaked document, the provisions being negotiated under ACTA are being driven by the need to curb global piracy and counterfeiting of products protected by intellectual property rights (IPR) and include the following:

Criminal enforcement measures that allow law enforcement to take action against alleged IPR infringers and gives them the authority to seize and destroy IP infringing goods without complaint by rights holders.

  • Border enforcement measures that include the authority for customs officials to seize and destroy IP infringing goods

  • "Ex-officio" authority for customs officials to suspend import or export of suspected IP rights infringing products

  • Civil enforcement powers that will allow law enforcement to conduct preliminary searches.

  • Legal safeguards for Internet Service Providers to encourage them to remove copyright infringing material and to provide information on those doing so to the rights holders.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jaikumar Vijayan

Computerworld

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Latest News Articles

Most Popular Articles

Follow Us

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Resources

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?