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    ACTA in the UK

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    Monday October 18, 2010
    Andres Guadamuz has an insightful post on the likely impact of ACTA in the UK.
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    ACTA Ultra-Lite: The U.S. Cave on the Internet Chapter Complete

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    Wednesday October 06, 2010

    One of the biggest stories over the three year negotiation of ACTA has been the willingness of the U.S. to cave on the Internet provisions.  When it first proposed the chapter, the U.S. was seeking new intermediary liability requirements with three strikes and you're out used as an example of an appropriate policy as well as language that attempted to create a global DMCA.  The draft released today is a far cry from that proposal with the intermediary liability provisions largely removed and the DMCA digital lock provisions much closer to the WIPO Internet treaty model. In its place, is a chapter that is best viewed as ACTA Ultra-Lite. For Canadians, this is crucial since it now leaves an ACTA that is far more flexible than even Bill C-32.  In fact, the Canadian copyright bill now exceeds the requirements under ACTA and could be amended in a manner that will allow for greater balance on digital locks and still be ACTA compliant.

    It should also be noted that this chapter is still not concluded.  The inclusion of trademarks in some provisions would seemingly require changes to U.S. law and has not acheived consensus.  Further, a provision on enforcement procedures " including the unlawful use of means of widespread distribution for infringing purposes" has not received consensus support. With respect to what has been concluded:


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    ACTA: Sorting Through The Spin

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    Tuesday October 05, 2010
    The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement has always been the exception to the general rule for international negotiations - closed participation rather than open, secretive rather than transparent - so it should come as no surprise that the negotiations have come to an end in an unusual manner.  The only thing that is absolutely clear is that there will be no further rounds of negotiation as the latest round in Japan is being described as the final round of talks.  Other than that, the conclusion seems open to considerable speculation and spin.

    From the U.S. perspective, the negotiations are done and ACTA is nearly a reality. USTR Ambassador Ron Kirk has been quoted as saying that there are solutions to even the toughest issues and that nearly all parties have agreed to them.  Another U.S. official admitted that there were still as many as six issues without agreement, including two on border measures and another from the Internet chapter. The EU has been even less supportive, with an official quoted as saying "we've come a long way but we must still close the remaining gaps without which there will be no agreement."  Moreover, several European Parliament Members are already calling for a halt to the deal.  Meanwhile, Japanese officials have acknowledged that there are issues that require further discussion back home and that "in that sense we haven’t gotten agreement."


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    Deal or No Deal?: Japan ACTA Round Ends With Near Agreement

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    Friday October 01, 2010

    The Tokyo round of ACTA negotiations concluded earlier today with countries saying that they "resolved nearly all substantive issues and produced a consolidated and largely finalized text."  Earlier reports from Reuters indicated that the latest round of ACTA negotiations in Tokyo, Japan has failed to produce an agreement.  That report indicated that there is still disagreement over scope, including geographical indications and patents.  A later report indicated that there was a basic agreement.

    It is not clear whether the first report was simply wrong or a matter of interpretation. The final statement indicates that there will be no further rounds of negotiations, but there are still some substantive issues that need to be addressed with the countries promising to work expeditiously on them "with a view to finalizing the text of the agreement as promptly as possible."  That sounds like there was no deal, but the countries have decided to declare victory anyway.  The statement promises to release the text shortly.

    Update: A further report from Reuters has the USTR claiming victory, stating that they "are almost across the finish line" and that "in principle, we have found solutions, even on the most difficult issues. Nearly all of the parties embraced those solutions."  Nearly all parties apparently does not include the EU.  A senior EU official is quoted as saying "we've come a long way but we must still close the remaining gaps without which there will be no agreement."


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