zombieACTA

Is ACTA back from the dead?

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Meet the new ACTA. Same as the old ACTA.

On the heels of news that a chief European Union advisor is officially condemning the Anti-Counterfeiting Free Trade Agreement (ACTA), a similar agreement already seems to be in the works.

The EDRi, a European advocacy group for digital rights has released what it says is a leaked outline for a new trade agreement that seeks to accomplish much of the same goals as ACTA.

The document is short and vague, but at least one key phrase already has caught the attention of those in the EDRi.

“Relevant parties,” it states, may be “informed if they may be supporting transactions involving counterfeit merchandise.”

While it’s unclear exactly why the document was written and what it may lead to (as a leaked document, it’s presumably unfinished), the EDRi thinks it bodes ill. It’s “simply an explicit expression of what many law-makers fail to see is implicit in ACTA – that global, almost entirely US-based companies, would be responsible for online policing - including being judge, jury and executioner wherever they see fit,” the EDRi writes.

In other words, they worry it hands too much power to the United States.

The document is listed as a proposal for the G8, which includes early ACTA signers like the United States, Canada and Japan. The EU, which now seems like it won’t ratify ACTA, isn’t a member of the G8, but it’s represented by the group.

At only two and a half pages long, the outline doesn’t offer a great deal of information or insight. The EDRi does praises it somewhat for narrowing its focus to cracking down on copyright infringement of tangible items, like counterfeit goods and pharmaceuticals. (ACTA’s critics complained that those suspected of downloading copyrighted materials would be subject to the same punishments as those who sold fake goods.)

However, the EDRi says, the new proposal still doesn’t objectively characterize the Internet. It notes that the G8 seems to have copied and pasted sentences from a U.S. Intellectual Property report.

Apparently that doesn’t count as copyright infringement.

Photo by Secretly Ironic