ECA Responds to ACTA Text

The Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) has issued a response to the officially released text of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

While expressing excitement “for the proliferation of digitally-distributed products and services,” and respecting the fact that governments and industries are concerned protecting intellectual property, the ECA said that it remained “concerned about the rights of consumers being diminished or marginalized in the process.”

Decrying the lack of input from the public, or from consumer interest groups , the ECA wrote, “Any decisions made by signatory nations must not only be made with the input from the public, but also carefully balance the interests of intellectual property content owners with the rights and interests of consumers.”

Three specific parts of the current ACTA text were called out as points of concern by the ECA:

•  Deeming it illegal to bypass Digital Rights Management (DRM) locks.

•  Allowing rights holders to obtain injunctions by merely showing that infringement is "imminent," even if any crimes have not yet occurred.

•  Implying, without clarification, criminal penalties against “willful copyright infringement,” as well as infringements, “that have no direct or indirect motivation of financial gain.”

The ECA also offered some “fundamental principles” that could foster a stronger relationship between content creators and consumers, including:

• Copyright laws should seek to protect consumers and the public interest, as well as content creators — not just the technology limiting access to content, which shifts the law in favor of the content creator.

• Modifying copyright laws to modern technologies should not undermine consumer rights or constrain common consumer practices that have been enshrined in signatory nations for many years.

• While signatory nations should be encouraged to further define penalties for copyright and trademark violations so that the courts will have a common, shared threshold of consequences for violations, the public must have a say in how such laws are formed so that common standards for intellectual property enforcement are adhered to.

Disclosure: GamePolitics is a publication of the ECA.

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