Ars Technica reports that a near-final draft of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has been released online (PDF). The document reveals that many of the provisions that U.S. negotiators wanted have either been watered down, weakened or omitted.
The three-year international treaty negotiations prove that the international community cannot agree on a lot of issues when it comes to copyright infringement enforcement, piracy, and more. While U.S. negotiators probably hoped that the rest of the participants in the treaty would adopt DMCA-like rules, there seemed to resistance and differences in opinion on a myriad of issues.
Even those individuals that have fought against the mostly-secret international treaty negotiations see this near-final draft as impotent:
"..one of the biggest stories over the three year negotiation of ACTA has been the willingness of the US to cave on the Internet provisions, said Canadian law professor Michael Geist. "The draft released today is a far cry from that proposal with the intermediary liability provisions largely removed and the DMCA digital lock provisions much closer to the [existing] WIPO Internet treaty model."
"Taken together, the Internet chapter must be seen as failure by the US, which clearly envisioned using ACTA to export its DMCA-style approach."
Public Knowledge said today that the draft is "a qualified victory for those who want to protect the digital rights of consumers around the world. Some of the most egregious provisions from earlier drafts have been removed on topics ranging from digital protection measures to the liability of intermediaries like Internet Service Providers and search engines."
Sounds like an epic fail to me. Ars Technica has an in-depth round-up of what’s out, and what’s in the final draft here.