The ACTA Fight Returns: What Is at Stake and What You Can Do
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Friday January 27, 2012
This has generated a flurry of furious protest: thousands have taken to the streets in protest in Poland, nearly 250,000 people have signed a petition against the agreement, and a Member of the European Parliament has resigned his position as rapporteur to scrutinize the agreement, concluding that the entire review process is a "charade."
Some are characterizing ACTA as worse than SOPA, but the reality is somewhat more complicated. From a substantive perspective, ACTA's Internet provisions are plainly not as bad as those contemplated by SOPA. Over the course of several years of public protest and pressure, the Internet provisions were gradually watered down with the removal of three strikes and you're out language. Other controversial provisions on statutory damages and anti-camcording rules were made optional rather than mandatory.
While the Internet provisions may not be as bad as SOPA, the remainder of the agreement raises many significant concerns.
Beyond the substantive concerns, the ACTA process remains a major issue as it sets a dangerous precedent for international IP agreements. For years, the ACTA process was shrouded in secrecy, with only the occasional leak bringing plans to light. Wikileaks cables confirmed that the secrecy was viewed as a serious problem in many participant countries. In fact, even as most countries supported greater transparency and the release of draft texts, the U.S. steadfastly refused, using transparency as a bargaining chip to extract concessions from other negotiating partners. In addition to the transparency problems during the negotiations, the express exclusion of many countries from the process raises real fears that they will face increased pressure to meet ACTA standards in the years ahead.
Given the ongoing concerns, the big question now is whether much can be done. The majority of ACTA countries have signed the agreement, but it will only take effect once five countries have formally implemented and ratified it. That is not expected until at least May 2013, opening the door to stopping the agreement from taking effect. While there are global initiatives such as the AccessNow petition, much of the activity has shifted to specific countries or regions:
pat donovan said:
Yo ho ho said:
Bubba the prison rapist said:
Chris Brand said:
ACTA FOOL said:
Friday January 27, 2012