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Mon, 19th Apr 2010
FYI, this story is more than a year old

The public is to get an official peek at the controversial,and largely secret, ACTA negotiations later this week.

The international talks concerning the Anti-CounterfeitingTrade Agreement (ACTA) have been shrouded in secrecy up till now, asparticipating governments (including New Zealand) have been thrashing out waysto tackle piracy of copyright material, particularly online. The secrecy hasprompted public campaigns, including a petition started by PublicACTA tocoincide with the recent round of negotiations held in Wellington.

Now it’s been decided that the negotiating text of ACTA willbe made public, this Thursday.

Trade Minister Tim Groser welcomed the move. “New Zealandhas supported public release of the negotiating text, in response to strongpublic interest, and I am pleased that we have now reached agreement with theother participants in this negotiation,” he said. “This will make the ACTAnegotiations more accessible to the public and I hope that it will help theprocess of reaching a final agreement.”

The full text of the negotiating text will be available fromwww.mfat.govt.nz on Thursday April 22nd (New Zealand time).

Meanwhile, what purports to be part of the confidentialdraft agreement has been leaked to the IDG news service. The document makes itclear that internet service providers (ISPs) may be some legal responsibilityfor copyright infringement. It says liability shall be limited, providing theISP has a policy to address the unauthorised storage or transmission of copyrightmaterial, that it monitors such activities, and takes steps to stop them onreceipt of proper notice. The document also says governments signing theagreement must take steps to outlaw “the manufacture, importation, orcirculation of a technology, service, device, product, component, or partthereof” that is mainly or mostly designed to circumvent anti-copyrightingtechnology.

The European Commission (EC) has also leaked some details of ACTA, saying there will be no requirement for a "three strikes" policy, as already proposed by several governments participating in the talks. Under such a policy, offenders would have their internet connection terminated after a third infringement.