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IP Readings & Articles

Anti-Counterfeiting

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is a proposed plurilateral trade agreement for establishing international standards on intellectual property rights enforcement throughout the participating countries. It's described by its proponents as a response "to the increase in global trade of counterfeit goods and pirated copyright protected works." The scope of ACTA is broad, including counterfeit goods, as well as "piracy over the Internet".

Critics argue ACTA is part of a broader strategy of venue shopping and policy laundering employed by the trade representatives of the US, EC, Japan, and other supporters of rigid intellectual property enforcement. This strategy entails negotiating for terms in international treaties that might prove too politically unpopular to pass in national assemblies. Similar terms and provisions currently appear in the World Customs Organization draft SECURE treaty, and critics have argued that the anti-circumvention provisions of Title I of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act were similarly passed after policy laundering via treaties negotiated through the World Intellectual Property Organization.

The leaked document includes a provision to force Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to provide information about suspected copyright infringers without a warrant.

The negotiations for the ACTA treaty are conducted behind closed doors and are not part of any international organization. In October 2007 the USA, the European Commission, Switzerland and Japan first announced that they would negotiate ACTA. Since then the following countries have joined the negotiations: Australia, Canada, the European Union, Jordan, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Singapore and United Arab Emirates.