Responding to a call for more transparency on negotiations surrounding the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), a public “predecisional” draft of the document, as it currently stands, has been released to the public.
Dubbed “Consolidated Text Prepared for Public Release,” the ACTA document (PDF) was issued following the latest round of negotiations, which wrapped up in New Zealand last week. Prior to this release, all previous versions of ACTA text that made it into the public eye were leaked.
Ars Technica waded through the legal-jargon to decode the document for us mere mortals. In terms of Digital Rights Management (DRM), the ACTA text, as it reads now, would ban any attempt to circumvent DRM, or “the unauthorized circumvention of an effective technological measure.”
Some had worried that ACTA would turn border and/or security guards into iPod or laptop sniffers, attempting to ferret out illegally-obtained copyrighted goods. The latest ACTA text contains a provision that would allow countries to “provide for measures which would safeguard the benefit of certain exceptions and limitations to copyright and related rights, in accordance with its legislation,” which Ars took as relating to portable media or computing devices.
When it comes to commercial shipments however, border/custom officials would be able to seize suspected infringing goods on their own initiative, without a rights-holder complaining.
Another very broad section of the ACTA draft states that “judicial authorities shall have the authority, at the request of the applicant, to issue an interlocutory injunction intended to prevent any imminent infringement of an intellectual property right.”
As Ars also notes, a three-strikes-type clause that would have allowed for the suspension or cancellation of infringers ISP accounts is not in this version of ACTA at all.
Ars points out a few more tidbits from the draft, goes on to offer a full history of how ACTA got to where it is today and then offers interpretations of how ACTA could impact the world once it’s official and enacted, including:
How will ACTA be used? Probably in the same way that the DMCA [Digital Millennium Copyright Act] has been used: as a worldwide stick to beat through a US-centric version of copyright and IP law. This is especially true of the Internet section, which the US drafted.