Disagreements on transparency fail to stop ACTA treaty leak

A French advocacy group has published a document purporting to be the latest draft of the secret copyright treaty

Disagreements between the European Union and the U.S. over whether to release the current negotiating text of a secretive international copyright treaty became moot this week, with the publication on a French website of a leaked version of the latest draft of the treaty.

The treaty will require some signatories to boost the level of protection afforded to copyright and trademark holders, including the introduction of criminal sanctions for those who indulge in counterfeiting or piracy on a commercial scale. It also sets rules for copyright protection in what EU negotiators call "the digital environment" - US contributions to the negotiating text prefer the term "the Internet."

The leaked document, dated July 1, is labeled as an "informal predecisional deliberative draft" of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) reflecting changes made during negotiations held in Lucerne, Switzerland, late last month, according to its title page.

French advocacy group La Quadrature du Net posted the document, a collection of scanned images in PDF format, to its website on Wednesday, and immediately began transcribing it into a searchable text format in a Wiki.

In March, the same organization published an earlier version of the document, the result of the round of negotiations held in New Zealand last year.

The latest leaked text was published just hours after E.U. officials described disagreement between the negotiators over whether to release the text.

It indicates that, beyond their disagreements on transparency and terminology, other differences remain between the U.S. and E.U. negotiating positions.

It suggests that the E.U. wishes to exclude copyright infringement by consumers from the requirement for criminal sanctions, while the U.S. proposal is that signatory states "may" exclude it. The E.U. negotiators also want penalties for copyright infringement to be "fair and proportionate."

The new text appears to retreat still further from the prospect of a global "three strikes" law requiring Internet service providers to spy on customers' copyright infringements and cut them off after a number of warnings.

Article 2.18.3 (formerly 2.17.3) exempting Internet service providers from responsibility for their clients' actions in certain circumstances now provides that "no party's legislation may condition the limitations ... on an obligation that the online service provider monitors its services or ... actively or affirmatively seeks facts indicating that infringing activity is occurring." The previous draft suggested somewhat more loosely that states may not impose a general obligation to monitor services on a daily basis for infringing activity.

Under the latest draft, rights holders will have to go to court to obtain the identities of Internet users from their ISPs. The earlier draft required only that rights holders provide notice of copyright infringement to the ISP in order to obtain the subscriber's identity information.

The paragraphs of the treaty dealing with "effective technological measures" (often referred to as DRM, digital rights management) are the subject of fewer suggested modifications than before, suggesting that the parties may be nearing agreement on this section.

The next round of negotiations will take place in the U.S., with a further round scheduled before the end of the year. Other parties to the negotiations include Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore and Switzerland.

Peter Sayer covers open source software, European intellectual property legislation and general technology breaking news for IDG News Service. Send comments and news tips to Peter at peter_sayer@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags governmentcopyrightregulationinternetlegislationlegalintellectual propertytradeeuropean commissiondigital rights management

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

Peter Sayer

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?