ACTA (the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement or ACTA) is proposed as a plurilateral trade agreement for establishing international standards on intellectual property rights enforcement. It is being negotiated between the US, Canada, Japan, the European Union, South Korea, Mexico, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand. Unfortunately, the negotiations have extended beyond trade and physical counterfeiting to potentially cover non-commercial infringement of copyright material by ordinary citizens and issues of digital rights management.
The latest round of ACTA negotiations is taking place in Wellington from 12th-16th April, 2010.
The Wellington Declaration
A group of people opposed to ACTA held an alternative open conference called PublicACTA in Wellington on April 10th, 2010. The outcome of this meeting was the Wellington Declaration - a statement about what is wrong with ACTA and how it can be fixed.
The following summary of the principles of the Wellington Declaration is from Public Address:
- Transparency: The release of text for scrutiny after each round. A preference for WIPO as the forum for such discussion.
- Evidence required: both of the scope of any piracy problem and the likely impact of any new measures.
- Participation: all sectors to be affected by such an agreement – from health and education to arts and consumer rights groups – should have a voice in its negotiation.
- Exceptions, such as those in our Copyright Act, for fair use or fair dealing must be preserved.
- Privacy: Personal details should not be released without judicial oversight, no surveillance.
- Preservation of existing civil processes, and resistance and "a high bar for criminal liability".
- Damages should be "proportionate to the intent, and to the real and actual harm," of an infringement, and determined by the courts of each sovereign nation.
- Protection for ISPs, hosting services and search engines.
- Access: "We declare that access to the Internet is increasingly necessary for participation in society. Disconnection, account suspension, or limitation of service, have disproportionately negative consequences for civil rights. ACTA cannot require or allow that it be an acceptable sanction for copyright or trademark infringement."
Visit the following sites for more information about ACTA: