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Estimating The Cost of a Three-Strikes and You're Out System

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Canadian officials travel to Guadalajara, Mexico this week to resume negotiations on the still-secret Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.  The discussion is likely to turn to the prospect of supporting three-strikes and you’re out systems that could result in thousands of people losing access to the Internet based on three allegations of copyright infringement. Leaked ACTA documents indicate that encouraging the adoption of three-strikes - often euphemistically described as "graduated response" for the way Internet providers gradually send increasingly threatening warnings to subscribers - has been proposed for possible inclusion in the treaty.

My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that while supporters claim that three-strikes is garnering increasing international acceptance, the truth is implementation in many countries is a mixed bag.  Countries such as Germany and Spain have rejected it, acknowledging criticisms that loss of Internet access for up to a year for an entire household is a disproportionate punishment for unproven, non-commercial infringement.

Those countries that have ventured forward have faced formidable barriers.  New Zealand withdrew a three-strikes proposal in the face of public protests (a much watered-down version was floated at the end of last year), the UK's proposal has been hit with hundreds of proposed amendments at the House of Lords, and France's adventure with three-strikes has included initial defeat in the French National Assembly, a Constitutional Court ruling that the plan was unconstitutional, and delayed implementation due to privacy concerns from the country's data protection commissioner.

Much of the three-strikes debate has focused on its impact on Internet users, yet the price of establishing such systems have scarcely been discussed.  That may be changing due to the UK government's own estimates on the likely costs borne by Internet providers and taxpayers in establishing and maintaining a three-strikes system.


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Reporters Without Borders: ACTA a Threat to Online Free Expression

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Reporters Without Borders is very concerned about the threat to online free expression from measures to combat digital piracy and copyright violations in an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement that is currently being negotiated.
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ACTA Guide, Part Two: The Documents (Official and Leaked)

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Negotiations in the 7th round of the ACTA talks open this morning in Mexico with civil enforcement issues on the agenda.  Yesterday I posted on the developments to-date, including a chronology of talks, issues, and leaks that have led to this week's round of discussions.  Part Two of the ACTA Guide provides links to the underlying documentation.  Governments have been very tight lipped about the talks.  Initially, only a brief summary following the conclusion of each round of the talks was provided.  More recently, the agenda of each meeting is disclosed and a summary document (largely confirming Internet leaks) has been provided.  Links to each of these documents is posted below.
Of far greater importance are the leaked documents.  These have confirmed how the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is designed to extend far beyond counterfeiting and how it would reshape domestic law in many countries, including Canada.  Links to all the leaks are posted below.  Note that many are dated and therefore reflect initial thinking but may have changed over the course of recent discussions.

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Global ACTA Coverage in Advance of Talks

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Coverage of ACTA as the Mexico round of negotiations kick off are picking up steam.  Recent coverage include stories from France, France, Poland, Sweden, and New Zealand.
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