Behind ACTA

TechDirt has a fascinating look into the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) courtesy of a panel discussion on the topic hosted by Google this week as a build up to World’s Fair Use Day, which is today.

The panel featured lawyer Steve Metalitz, who serves as counsel to the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), James Love of Knowledge Ecology International (KEI), lawyer Jonathan Band and Ryan Clough, a legislative staffer for Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA).

TechDirt notes that, after beginning with some standard talking points, things “got really interesting” when Love and Band offered their interpretations (i.e. read between the lines) of ACTA. In an ironic twist, while some of the participants had seen glimpses of actual ACTA documents—which they had to sign an NDA to view (and thus could not comment on publically)—they had to base their comments on leaked ACTA documents.

A few choice selections follow.

On the name of the agreement itself:

Furthermore, Band and Love took on the fact that it’s being called the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, since almost none of that is true. It’s got little to do with counterfeiting and little to do with trade. As Love explained, it’s like calling something "The Patriot Act." No politician wants to vote against something like that, no matter what the details are.

On the secrecy surrounding ACTA:

Love noted that the only reason to keep it secret is because the industry is "ashamed" of what’s in the document, and won’t come out and discuss it, knowing that the public would go nuts.

Love on what ACTA really is:

Love also pointed out that in what’s been leaked in ACTA, what you basically have is all the stuff from previous agreements (WIPO and TRIPS) that the copyright industry liked — but without the consumer protections that were built into both agreements.

Much, much more is in the full article at TechDirt.

In related news, Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) is the latest politician to call for more transparency in the ACTA negotiations.

The next round of ACTA negotiations—the seventh so far— is due to kick off in Guadalajara, Mexico the week of January 25.

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