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ACTA details now available online

22 Apr 2010

As promised, the draft negotiating text of the Anti-CounterfeitingTrade Agreement (ACTA) has been released for public scrutiny.

The international negotiations, the latest round of whichwas held recently in Wellington, have been largely secret until now, promptingspeculation that draconian laws aimed at protecting intellectual property andcopyright were likely to result, particularly affecting the sharing ofinformation online. Opponents in this country launched a petition aimed atgetting the New Zealand government to rethink its participation in the talks.

Now those with an interest in ACTA and its implications canread the details of what is being negotiated. Reading through the complex legaljargon, the internet-related provisions include:

  • Each Party shall ensure that enforcement procedures areavailable under its law so as to permit effective action against an act of trademark,copyright or related rights infringement which takes place in the digitalenvironment;
  • Liability of ISPs for possible civil action shall be limitedif they have done nothing to facilitate infringing activity and have takensteps to prevent it;
  • Each Party shall enable right holders to obtain from thatprovider (ISP) information on the identity of the alleged infringer;
  • Each Party shall provide for adequate legal protection andeffective legal remedies, in the form of civil remedies or criminal penaltiesin appropriate cases of wilful conduct, against the circumvention of effectivetechnological measures that are used to protect copyright;
  • Each party shall undertake international cooperation (lawenforcement and customs) to combat infringement.
A previously leaked version of the document provided for disconnecting repeat infringers from the internet. That provision does not appear in the official draft. The full draft can be read here (Adobe Reader required).