January 31, 2010

Another four letter word: ACTA

Posted in Digital Freedom, Intellectual Property at 14:48 by frifan

One of the scariest political events of late is the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) negotiations being held between the EU, US, Japan and more. These negotiations are kept secret from the people[9][1.3][13]. Luckily the Internet is difficult to silence and much of the discussions has been leaked [1][8][17].
They are claiming that the trade agreement won’t change any local laws, and I certainly hope that is true, but then what are they discussing, really, and why behind closed doors?[10]

The ACTA negotiations are said to be strengthening the intellectual protection already present in the TRIPS agreement [2][3][4], which was called "murder" [5] by Professor Joseph Stiglitz, a 2001 Nobel Laureate in Economics. He also says ACTA stifles science and innovation in the world [6][7].

I wish they would take the agreement public and let people debate the proposals. Especially as the ramifications of this agreement may be felt by everybody. It has the potential to kill the Internet as we know it[11][12][1.4][14].

“IP is often compared to physical property rights but knowledge is fundamentally different.”IP Watch on Professor Joseph Stiglitz

“Patent monopolies are believed to drive innovation but they actually impede the pace of science and innovation, Stiglitz said. The current “patent thicket,” in which anyone who writes a successful software programme is sued for alleged patent infringement, highlights the current IP system’s failure to encourage innovation, he said.”IP Watch on Professor Joseph Stiglitz

Update February 8, 2010
Even though the negotiations in Mexico are concluded, we’re still left wondering what is really going on[18][19][20][21][22].

Update February 21, 2010
There is still some hope for a more balanced ACTA proposal[23][24], as the worst proposals seem be off the table.

Update March 21, 2010
Fortunately opposition is rising in the EU and other countries. New facts are leaking out about circumvention of WTO/WIPO, DMCA-style proposals and DRM. Despite the fact that any DRM scheme is fatally flawed and can never work. Even people in the gaming industry thinks it is bad. Still US President Obama praises ACTA, while Europe trashes it.

Funny remark: In Swedish the word "akta" means beware, note the similarity to ACTA.

References:
[1.1] The ACTA Guide, Part One: The Talks To-Date,
[1.2] The ACTA Guide, Part Two: The Documents (Official and Leaked),
[1.3] ACTA Guide, Part Three: Transparency and ACTA Secrecy,
[1.4] ACTA Guide: Part Four: What Will ACTA Mean To My Domestic Law?,
[1.5] ACTA Guide, Part Five: Speaking Out?
[2] Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights
[3] Overview: the TRIPS Agreement
[4] Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights
[5] Joseph Stiglitz on Why TRIPS (Patents) is Like Murder
[6] Intellectual Property Regime Stifles Science and Innovation, Nobel Laureates Say
[7] ACTA Murders
[8] Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement
[9] ACTA One Step Closer To Being Done; Concerns About Transparency Ignored
[10] Blogging ACTA Across The Globe: FFII’s Ante Wessels on Exporting Europe’s Flaws
[11] The Similarity Between ACTA And Chinese Internet Censorship
[12] But, Wait, Didn’t The Entertainment Industry Insist ACTA Wouldn’t Change US Law?
[13] USTR: A Lot Of Misperception Over ACTA, But We Won’t Clear It Up Or Anything
[14] News.com Prevents Falsely Accused Grandmother Of Getting Kicked Off The Internet By The MPAA
[15] Blogging ACTA Across The Globe: FFII’s Ante Wessels on Exporting Europe’s Flaws
[16] Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure e.V. (FFII ACTA WG) presents an analysis of the planned Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)
[17] The ACTA Internet Chapter: Putting Pieces Together
[18] What Really Happened At the ACTA Talks in Mexico?
[19] ACTA Negotiators Report No Breakthroughs On Transparency
[20] ACTA absurdity continues, may only get worse
[21] ACTA goes on charm offensive sans charm
[22] EU Official caught in ACTA
[23] ACTA Negotiators: Maximal Protection Proposals Unlikely In Final Text
[24] Contradictory Court Rulings, Continuing Tension On Internet Liability In EU

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