ACTA News

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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 tips@actawatch.org.

Mon. Jan. 30/12

Throughout the fall, I ran a daily digital lock dissenter series, pointing to a wide range of organizations representing creators, consumers, businesses, educators, historians, archivists, and librarians who have issued policy statements that are at odds with the government's approach to digital locks in Bill C-11. While the series took a break over the Parliamentary holiday, it resumes this week with more groups and individuals that have spoken out against restrictive digital lock legislation that fails to strike a fair balance.

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Fri. Jan. 27/12

The reverberations from the SOPA fight continue to be felt in the U.S. (excellent analysis from Benkler and Downes) and elsewhere (mounting Canadian concern that Bill C-11 could be amended to adopt SOPA-like rules), but it is the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement that has captured increasing attention this week. Several months after the majority of ACTA participants signed the agreement, most European Union countries formally signed the agreement yesterday (notable exclusions include Germany, the Netherlands, Estonia, Cyprus and Slovakia).

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Tue. Jan. 03/12

The EFF provides a helpful review of ACTA developments over the course of 2011, which included a signed agreement and a backlash in several countries.

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Thu. Nov. 24/11

The Dutch Parliament has set the standard for how countries should address the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. It is refusing to even consider the agreement until all ACTA negotiation texts are published.

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Fri. Nov. 11/11

Last week I appeared on a panel on the Internet and intellectual property at the Canadian Council on International Law annual conference in Ottawa. My talk - Whither WIPO: Will WIPO Wither? - focused on the shift away from WIPO as a forum for international IP developments.

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Thu. Oct. 13/11

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden has written to U.S. President Barack Obama to raise questions about the U.S. plans to implement the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement without Congressional approval.

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Mon. Oct. 03/11

Canada became an initial signatory to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement over the weekend in Japan. Other countries to sign the agreement include Australia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Singapore and the United States.  That leaves out the majority of countries that were part of the negotiations as all the European Union countries, Switzerland, and Mexico attended the ceremony but did not sign. Canada's decision to sign is not surprising given its participation throughout the negotiation process and the flexibility that was built into the agreement. While there are many concerns with ACTA (both procedural and substantive), it is not the agreement the U.S. envisioned when it started the process several years ago.

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Fri. Jul. 22/11

The Mexican Senate has voted against ratifying the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. The vote comes on the heels of a European report that cautions against implementing ACTA without changes to EU law and guidelines for EU member state implementation.

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Tue. Jul. 19/11

A study on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement commissioned by the European Parliament has been released.  The report raises concern about conformity with the EU Acquis, particularly with how it will be implemented by EU Member States.

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Thu. Jun. 30/11

David Hammerstein reports that the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement has been determined to be a "mixed agreement." This means that the agreement must be approved by both the EU and by the 27 member states. That suggests a long process to obtain individual parliamentary approval throughout the EU (the EU Council is moving quickly on the issue, however).

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