Negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement resume next month in Morocco, but as the discussions drag on, details on the proposed treaty are beginning to emerge. Obtaining information through official channels such as Freedom of Information requests has been very difficult; however, there is little doubt that lobby groups have been privy to inside information and so reliable sources have begun to sketch a fairly detailed outline of the proposed treaty.
There is some good news from the details that have started to emerge. First, the treaty is far from complete as there are six main chapters and some key elements have yet to be discussed. Moreover, it is clear that there is significant disagreement on many aspects of the treaty with the U.S. and Japan jointly proposing language and many countries responding with potential changes or even recommendations that the language be dropped altogether.
If that is the good news, the bad news is that most other fears about the scope of ACTA are real. The proposed treaty appears to have six main chapters: (1) Initial Provisions and Definitions; (2) Enforcement of IPR; (3) International Cooperation; (4) Enforcement Practices; (5) Institutional Arrangements; and (6) Final Provisions. Most of the discussion to date has centred on the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights chapter. As for the other chapters, the U.S. has supplied some proposed definitions and Canada supplied a "non-paper" on the institutional arrangements once a treaty is concluded that calls for the creation of an "ACTA Oversight Council" that would meet each year to discuss implementations, best practices, and assist other governments who are considering joining ACTA.
The work on Enforcement of IPR is broken down into four sections – civil enforcement, border measures, criminal enforcement, and Rights Management Technology/the Internet.