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In October 2007, the United States, the European Union, Japan, Canada, and a handful of other countries simultaneously announced ambitious plans to negotiate a new intellectual property treaty called the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). The negotiating process has operated largely below the public radar screen since its inception, yet each round of talks brings closer an agreement that could have a dramatic effect on laws worldwide. The ACTA Watch site pulls together documents, analysis, videos, and other materials related to the draft agreement. Suggestions for additional content welcome. Please email

Fri. Jun. 03/11

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression has released an important new report that examines freedom of expression on the Internet.  The report is very critical of rules such as graduated response/three strikes, arguing that such laws may violate the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Canada became a member in 1976). Moreover, the report expresses concerns with notice-and-takedown systems, noting that it is subject to abuse by both governments and private actors.

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Mon. May. 30/11

A new final version of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement - formally adopted on April 15, 2011 and opened for signature on May 1, 2011 - has been posted online. ACTA will remain open for signature until May 2013.

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Mon. Mar. 21/11

The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage has released its report on CETA and ACTA.  The report, which is based on hearings that featured Minister Peter van Loan, includes a notable recommendation with respect to ACTA implementation and future trade negotiations, including the ongoing Canada - European Union Trade Agreement discussions.

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Tue. Dec. 07/10

The Parties to this Agreement,

Noting that effective enforcement of intellectual property rights is critical to sustainingeconomic growth across all industries and globally;

Noting further that the proliferation of counterfeit and pirated goods, as well as of services that distribute infringing material, undermines legitimate trade and sustainable development of the world economy, causes significant financial losses for right holders and for legitimate businesses, and, in some cases, provides a source of revenue for organized crime and otherwise poses risks to the public;

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Mon. Nov. 15/10

The final version of ACTA (subject to a legal review at a meeting in Australia later this month) has now been posted online. The final version addresses the issues that were left unresolved following the Tokyo meeting this fall.

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Tue. Oct. 12/10

Appeared in the Ottawa Citizen on October 12, 2010 as Counterfeiting Treaty Leaves Room for Made-in-Canada Approach

Negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement concluded earlier this month, with Canada, the United States, the European Union, and a handful of other countries releasing the text of a near-complete agreement. While several key issues are still unresolved, no further negotiation rounds are planned as participants plan to use the coming weeks to iron out the remaining differences.

For many Canadians, a core concern with the agreement was the possibility that it could severely limit the ability to establish a made-in-Canada approach on copyright and intellectual property policy. Indeed, NDP Digital Affairs Critic Charlie Angus raised the issue in the House of Commons last year, noting that ACTA could undermine domestic policy.

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Tue. Oct. 12/10

Several Members of the European Parliament have written to the Article 29 Working Party to obtain an expert opinion on ACTA's privacy and data protection implications.

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Tue. Oct. 12/10

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden has asked that the American Law Division of the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress undertake and provide to Congress an independent determination on the domestic impact of ACTA.

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Tue. Oct. 12/10

A report from Singapore indicates that the country is "positive about becoming a founding signatory of ACTA."

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Tue. Oct. 12/10

Officials from both Brazil and India has spoken out against ACTA. Brazilian officials say they do not recognize the legitimacy of the treaty, while Indian officials say they have other priorities and do not see what they would gain from ACTA.

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