You may have never heard of ACTA before, I know I haven’t. ACTA stands for the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement and due to the recent events and publicity of SOPA and PIPA, attention has been drawn to ACTA, which after reading about it appears to be just as bad if not worse than SOPA.
ACTA is an International agreement among volunteering nations to put new controls into place for copyright infringement on the Internet; however it’s being veiled as a way to stop counterfeit goods and generic medicines. Additionally, it’s how these new controls are imposed which creates problems including how the agreement has been negotiated which has raised a lot of concerns.
I think everyone in the world agrees that counterfeit goods, counterfeit medicines and copyright infringement is a problem, but as we just learned with SOPA and PIPA, going about fixing the problems the wrong way will get you nowhere and only creates more issues, including nationwide protests and ‘blackouts’.
Here are some of the concerns with ACTA that you should be aware of:
- Drafting and talks of ACTA has been shrouded in secrecy. Talks began back 2006 with official negotiations starting in 2008 and no public drafts have been made available until April 2011; those that were able to see copies prior to 2011 were bound by non-disclosure agreements.
- Once made public, the agreement says that it will remove legal safeguards that protect Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from liability for the actions of their users, in effect giving ISPs no option but to comply with privacy invasions and collection of data in order to police their users and conduct filtering of content.
- Also just like with SOPA, sites that host or link to infringing content would be held liable. ACTA would also facilitate privacy violations by trademark and copyright holders (MPAA, RIAA) against private citizens suspected of infringement activities without any sort of legal due process which will result in blocking of access to the Internet, fines and jail time.
- ACTA would require that existing ISPs no longer host free software that can access copyrighted media, and DRM protected media would not be legally playable with free or open source software, which would stop the ability to distribute free software via peer-to-peer networks.
- ACTA has been lobbied heavily by the Entertainment industry (MPAA, RIAA) which through experience we know that they have their own interests in mind, and not the peoples.
For an even better explanation, in video form, watch below and see just how evil ACTA really is. [via]