Final Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement draft expected this week

According to negotiators involved with the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), their meeting in Tokyo last week has resulted in a final draft of the agreement that will be released before the end of this week.

ACTA is an international treaty agreement that is intended to unite nations in the battle against piracy and counterfeiting. There has been a great deal of controversy surrounding the treaty thus far due to a high-level of secrecy surrounding the years of negotiations.

Final Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement draft expected this week

While this week’s released text is supposed to be the final agreement, there are reportedly still several outstanding issues that remain. These problems will be highlighted and labeled with information with the points of contention from the various countries involved. It’s not clear when or how negotiators plan to address these issues.

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Some of the more controversial points that are said to have been removed are third-party liability and the “three-strikes” portions of the legislation. Third-party liability would cause content-hosts like YouTube to remove any material that could be infringing on a copyright, while “three-strikes” would shut off a household’s internet connection after three accusations of illegal file-sharing.

Added to the final version of ACTA is the designation of a “cooperative structure” of members responsible for the worldwide enforcement of the agreement. This development is understandably raising concerns from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and nations who have not been involved in ACTA negotiations. A Japanese official told Intellectual Property Watch that the ACTA organization is meant to be a complementary agency to work together with WIPO rather than overtaking duties.

Meanwhile, the MPAA has put out a statement in support of the ACTA. Although, curiously, no outside individual or organization is supposed to have seen the final draft of the agreement yet.

“We continue to believe ACTA must include robust protections for intellectual property online, building on established international norms if it is to meet its potential as a state-of-the art agreement to combat counterfeiting and piracy,” reads the MPAA press release. “We commend the U.S. Trade Representative and the other international negotiators for their hard work in resolving nearly all major issues.”

We’re eagerly anticipating the release of this document and any surprises it may hold. We are sure it will prove to be quite unpopular with many groups, including file sharers, privacy advocates and consumer watchdogs.

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