to create a new global standard for intellectual property rights enforcement.
John and Bob talk about the purposed legislation of H.R. 4279 making substantial changes to federal copyright law appointing a copyright Czar and drug war like penalitys.
also ACTA multi-lateral intellectual property trade agreement a select handful of the wealthiest countries began a treaty-making process to create a new global standard for intellectual property rights enforcement, the "Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement"
DIY MEDIA (John Anderson's Website)
PRO IP ACT
Find out more at EFF leading civil liberties group defending your rights in the digital world.
In October 2007 the United States, the European Community, Switzerland and Japan simultaneously announced that they would negotiate a new intellectual property enforcement treaty, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA. Australia, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand and Mexico have joined the negotiations. Although the proposed treaty's title might suggest that the agreement deals only with counterfeit physical goods (such as medicines), what little information has been made available publicly by negotiating governments about the content of the treaty makes it clear that it will have a far broader scope, and in particular, will deal with tools targeting "Internet distribution and information technology." To date, disturbingly little information has been released about the actual content of the agreement. However, despite that, it is clearly on a fast track; treaty proponents want it tabled at the G8 summit in July, and completed by the end of 2008.
The Fact Sheet released by the Office of the United States Trade Representative, the arm of the US government that is negotiating the treaty, states that it will involve a new international standard of IP rights enforcement, and international cooperation including sharing of information between signatory countries' law enforcement agencies. A document recently leaked to the public entitled "Discussion Paper on a Possible Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement" from an unknown source and with an unclear status, includes a number of detailed proposals -- including new legal regimes to "encourage ISPs to cooperate with right holders", criminal measures, and increased border search powers, and raises considerable concerns for citizens' civil liberties and privacy rights.
Despite the potentially significant harmful impact on consumers and Internet innovation and the expedited timeframe in which the treaty is being negotiated, the citizens that stand to be directly affected by the treaty provisions have been given almost no information about its real contents, and very little opportunity to express their views on it.
In February, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) asked for public comments with a short deadline of March 22, on the proposed treaty. Apart from the little information in the request for comments, citizens were given only a one and a half page "Fact Sheet" on ACTA, which failed to inform the public of its substance -- making the comment process a leap in the dark.
Given the speed with which this treaty is being negotiated, and its potentially significant impact, the lack of transparency in the negotiation process and failure to provide citizens with an opportunity for informed consultation is extremely concerning. But there is still time to change this.
Contact your Senator now -- urge them to shed some sunlight on the contents of ACTA and to give citizens an opportunity for meaningful consultation. It's your Internet too!