I’m incredibly proud that someone with some integrity has had the guts to leak the entire text (including latest edits as of January 2010) of what seems to be a latter-stages revision of the not-quite-secret, but “smells bad to me” trade agreement, the ACTA. You can find a copy of the PDF document on this French website.
Unfortunately, I haven’t had enough time to completely read through (it’s hard with all the edits inline) but I will be back with a more comprehensive analysis of the proposed treaty.
So far I’ve been unable to determine exactly how border enforcement measures are supposed to occur, but it is clear that parties to the treaty will be expected to enforce some measure of copyright policing at the border, and certainly look to include criminal charges for copyright infringement whether it is for commercial gain or not. I’ve got a real issue with jailing people for such things, and certainly when it doesn’t involve any commercial interest of gain.
It’s also very vague as to how the mechanics of rights enforcement will occur – what oversight will be involved, and nothing particularly spells out the rights of individuals (as opposed to rights holders) in most of the scenarios.
In short, it’s an incredibly one-sided agreement which is so blatantly aimed at supporting “rights holders” at the expense of the civil liberties already in place within each country’s own sovereign laws (e.g. fair use for one).
Something new from the EU Parliament (analysis pending):
1. Points out that since 1 December 2009 the Commission has had a legal obligation to inform Parliament immediately and fully at all stages of international negotiations;
2. Expresses its concern over the lack of a transparent process in the conduct of the ACTA negotiations, a state of affairs at odds with the letter and spirit of the TFEU; is deeply concerned that no legal base was established before the start of the ACTA negotiations and that parliamentary approval for the negotiating mandate was not sought;
3. Calls on the Commission and the Council to grant public and parliamentary access to ACTA negotiation texts and summaries, in accordance with the Treaty and with Regulation 1049/2001 of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents;
4. Calls on the Commission and the Council to engage proactively with ACTA negotiation partners to rule out any further negotiations which are confidential as a matter of course and to inform Parliament fully and in a timely manner about its initiatives in this regard; expects the Commission to make proposals prior to the next negotiation round in New Zealand in April 2010, to demand that the issue of transparency is put on the agenda of that meeting and to refer the outcome of the negotiation round to Parliament immediately following its conclusion;
Just in case it gets taken down, here are a bunch more links for you: