Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Debunking ACTA 'Fear Mongering and Misinformation'

Canadian IP attorney Barry Sookman has an excellent post debunking what he terms the "fear mongering and misinformation" regarding the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA. As I and others have previously pointed out, the notion that ACTA (at least in its leaked draft form) will impose a mandatory, French-style "three strikes" law requiring disconnection of accused infringers from their ISPs, is pure invention, and Sookman concurs:
Nothing in the EU memo or in KORUS suggests anything that would require Canada to implement a three strikes regime in which a family’s internet would be cut off based on three unproven allegations of copyright infringement. Nothing suggests a mandatory 12 month disconnection. Nothing suggests that ISPs can share information between them to ensure that when an Internet connection is cut off a family cannot obtain a connection for a 12 month period from another ISP. Nothing suggests any “incredibly disproportionate” action. In fact, the wording in KORUS and in comparable legislation around the world is to reasonably implement a policy “that provides for termination in appropriate circumstances”. These provisions, which have been part of US law for over a decade, have not created any sort of three strikes regime among the major US ISPs.
Adds Sookman:
The recent attacks on ACTA are very disturbing. It is not merely that the contentions about loss of sovereignty and lack of transparency are unfounded. What is truly troubling are the scaremongering tactics used to smear ACTA.
Hopefully the word is beginning to get out that ACTA will not, contrary to allegations tossed about in the more reckless and inaccurate corners of the blogosphere, eliminate "DMCA-style safe harbors" or make it "impossible to run a service like Flickr or YouTube or Blogger."


  1. It's hard to set the record straight when only a select few know what the documents say. The negotiators say, "Trust us or at least trust these other people." Proponents and opponents are making an appeal to authority; neither side can (yet) point to the text.

    The intensity of the reaction is as much to the process as the (imagined) product.

    This level of secrecy may be par for the course when negotiating soybean agreements. But those don't potentially touch people's daily lives, and --- frankly --- most people have no idea those negotiations ever happen.

    Given that the subject areas of this treaty have also been subject to intense national debate in several countries, perhaps it makes sense for the negotiators to release more of the draft -- at least the parts that would quell any misunderstanding. Until then, they're just asking people who are already skeptical of their motives to shut up and trust them.

  2. Jeeze, then all that jabber that Anonymous blabbers about is REALLY dated, same with ITT, this bill also says that every country must DO SOMETHING not CENSOR the net over copyright, its like an Oath of some sort I guess. Besides its a bit late for it to step into the ball game


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