Official ACTA Draft Released

There is a lot of coverage of what is a huge concession by the negotiating parties to mounting public pressure. Here is Michael Geist’s coverage and initial analysis. (I chose his post because he has followed the ACTA developments, including formal negotiations and the various leaks with such rigor and dedication.)

He points out that all the bracketed text indicates where there is still contention over the draft although it omits which countries are holding which positions. I seem to recall the New Zealand round, the most recent one, was intended to be the final negotiation but now there now will be three more rounds. The target is still the end of 2010 but there is hope the continuing arguments will delay that as well.

Geist confirms the worst about this draft.

Public pressure has helped make ACTA marginally better, but the release of text confirms many of the fears regarding the substance of the treaty. As discussed below, it would require dramatic changes to many domestic laws with new requirements on statutory damages, injunctions, anti-circumvention rules, and ISP safe harbours. Many of these provisions are substantive copyright rules, not limited to counterfeiting (as the title of the treaty suggests) nor enforcement (as sometimes claimed).

He also reminds us that the release of the draft does nothing to address the secrecy of the negotiations themselves. In an ideal world, this would be brought back before WIPO where it would receive proper public scrutiny.

I encourage you to read the rest of Geist’s initial post and I’ll link to any follow up analysis he provides. I will share one more bit because I am seeing some confusion over the state of three strikes. Like the revisions to the Digital Economy Act, three strikes has been shuffled around and the language changed to make it technically true to say it is not required but it is still strongly present in the draft and likely to be pushed, regardless of whether it is mandatory, as the preferred model to meet certain enforcement and/or liability obligations.

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