As ACTA negotiators head into day two of the Seoul, Korea meetings, the global response to the Internet provisions in the chapter (the issue from day one) has been remarkable. Articles and postings from around the world (Germany, Italy, Sweden, UK, New Zealand, the Netherlands, U.S., Germany, Italy, Hungary, the Netherlands), coverage from some of the most popular websites (Gizmodo, ReadWriteWeb, TorrentFreak, BoingBoing, Slashdot), as well as expert commentary (EFF, Electronic Frontier Australia) has been swift and universally concerned with ACTA.
According to the official agenda, in a few hours talks will continue on the Internet provisions and then move into the criminal provisions chapter. I discussed details of the Internet chapter yesterday, in a post that highlights the creation of a Global DMCA that would severely limit the ability for signatories to use the flexibility found in the WIPO Internet treaties. Moreover, the provisions would pave the way for a globalized three-strikes and you're out system, as ISP safe harbours would be premised on policies to terminate subscribers in appropriate circumstances.
It is worth highlighting the ongoing criminal provisions as well. As previously leaked, the U.S. and Japan supplied the initial text for this chapter. Their proposal included:
- extend criminal enforcement to both (1) cases of a commercial nature; and (2) cases involving significant willful copyright and trademark infringement even where there is no direct or indirect motivation of financial gain. In other words, non-commercial infringement could lead to criminal penalties
- each country would be required to establish a laundry list of penalties – including imprisonment – sufficient to deter future acts of infringement. The specific proposed language was "include sentences of imprisonment as well as monetary fines sufficiently high to provide a deterrent to future acts of infringement, consistent with a policy of removing the monetary incentive of the infringer."
- trafficking in fake packaging for movies or music would become a criminal act. The fake packaging provision provided:
(a) counterfeit labels affixed to, enclosing, or accompanying, or designed to be affixed to, enclose, or accompany the following:
(i) a phonogram,
(ii) a copy of a computer program or other literary work,
(iii) a copy of a motion picture or other audiovisual work,
(iv) documentation or packaging for such items; and
(b) counterfeit documentation or packaging for items of the type described in subparagraph (a); and
(c) illicit labels affixed to, enclosing, or accompanying, or designed to be affixed to, enclose, or accompany items of the type described in subparagraph (a).
- Criminalization of unauthorized camcording:
On top of these provisions, there are full chapters on civil enforcement (including mandatory statutory damages) and border measures (including blocking shipments and new search powers). This is why I concluded yesterday that there is no bigger IP issue today than the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement being negotiated behind closed doors this week in Korea.