Draft of secret copyright treaty should give you chills

by John Murrell
SiliconValley.com
Nov. 04, 2009

As the latest round of talks on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement goes on in secret (for unspecified national security reasons), some information on the U.S.-written draft of the Internet chapter has begun to leak out, and, as feared, the heavy hand of the entertainment industry is readily apparent and the implications for Internet service providers, consumers and innovation in general are grim. Being rendered near speechless, I’ll let others summarize:

* Jolie O’Dell at ReadWriteWeb: “[The draft proposal] would require ISPs to police user-generated content, to cut off Internet access for copyright violators, and to remove content that is accused of copyright violation without any proof of actual violation. The chapter also completely prohibits DRM workarounds, even for archiving or retrieving one’s own work. … As it stands, the leaks suggest Internet users around the world are headed for a new regime of IP enforcement — a culture of invasive searches, minimal privacy, guilt until innocence is proven, and measures that would kill our normative behaviors of file-sharing, free software, media downloading, creative remixing, and even certain civil liberties.”

* Patricio Robles at Econsultancy: “In essence, ACTA would drastically alter the IP enforcement landscape in member nations/bodies, which include the E.U. and U.S. In many cases, ACTA would be in conflict with existing laws in the member nations, or would effectively create laws for which there is no existing equivalent. Now I’m all for the protection of intellectual property, but there’s something quite wrong about an international trade agreement written in secret under the guise of dealing with ‘anti-counterfeiting’ that is really just a massive Trojan horse in a push for transnational regulation of the Internet.”

* Gwen Hinze at the Electronic Frontier Foundation: “The Internet provisions have nothing to do with addressing counterfeit products, but are all about imposing a set of copyright industry demands on the global Internet, including obligations on ISPs to adopt Three Strikes Internet disconnection policies, and a global expansion of DMCA-style [technology protection measures]. … U.S. negotiators are seeking policies that will harm the U.S. technology industry and citizens across the globe. Three Strikes/ Graduated Response is the top priority of the entertainment industry.”

* Mike Masnick at Techdirt: “It’s Hollywood’s dream. It would require signing countries to implement a more draconian version of the DMCA, including incredibly restrictive anti-circumvention wording that has no exception for fair use. It would put liability on third parties for the actions of their users (in other words, it wouldn’t include current DMCA-style safe harbors). It would create incentives to kick people off of the Internet for file sharing. This is not about free trade at all. This is an entertainment industry-written bill designed to recreate the Internet in its image — as a broadcasting platform, rather than one used for user-generated content and communication.”

Related:
> Secret copyright treaty leaks. It's bad. Very bad.
> ACTA -- A Patriot Act For the Internet
> Secret Copyright Treaty Will Ruin the Internet













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