Internet service providers could become copyright cops encouraged to block access to suspected pirate Web sites, according to a previously secret draft treaty made public on Wednesday.
One section of the proposed digital copyright treaty says that immunity from lawsuits would be granted to Internet providers "disabling access" to pirated material and adopting a policy dealing with unauthorized "transmission of materials protected by copyright." If the ISPs choose not to do so, they could face legal liability.
Both the Obama administration and the Bush administration had rejected requests from civil libertarians and technologists for copies of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA. Last year, the White House went so far as to invoke an executive order saying disclosure would do "damage to the national security."
Turns out that the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) will include a section on Internet "enforcement procedures" after all. And how many people have had input on these procedures? Forty-two.
ACTA has worried outside observers for some time by threatening to delve into issues not normally covered by "trade agreements." Topping the list are concerns about ACTA's possible use as a Trojan horse to shove tough Internet controls onto countries like the US at the behest of Big Content. It's been hard to tell exactly what ACTA will include, though, because the process has taken place in such secrecy and even when information has been released, the section relating to the Internet has been empty.
But the secrecy wasn't total. Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) found out in September that the US Trade Representative's office had actually been secretly canvassing opinions on the Internet section of the agreement from 42 people, all of whom had signed a nondisclosure agreement before being shown the ACTA draft text.
After filing a Freedom of Information Act request (the names of the 42 people were considered a matter of "national security" and were not released voluntarily), KEI yesterday revealed the list of people who have had access to the ACTA Internet provisions. Here are the first 32 names, all of them people outside of USTR
ACTA, the secretly negotiated agreement to strengthen intellectual property laws and enforcement, will be signed on October 1 at a ceremony in Japan.
According to a press release from the Japanese government, signatories will include Japan, the EU, US, Australia, Canada, South Korea, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore & Switzerland.
From the beginning, ACTA has been negotiated in secret with the public and consumer interest groups excluded while entertainment industry lobbyists have actively participating. The secrecy has even extended to prohibiting elected officials from finding out what their own governments were agreeing to.
Despite assurances by the negotiating parties that ACTA would not require changes to the laws of any participating country, every draft of the agreement which has been leaked have shown that to be absolutely false.
I can't believe this! Now they're trying to pass another SOPA clone through Europe?!
And keep in mind, this clone is international (currently) including: Australia, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Mexico, Jordan, Morocco, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, United States, the EU, Switzerland and Japan
Any UK residents on JNF,here is a petition for you to sign.
Also for you "tl;dr" crowd: A video explanation of ACTA
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