Thursday, February 05, 2009

ACTA draft leaks: nonprofit P2P faces criminal penalties

From Nate Anserson at Ars Technica:

"It's becoming clear that the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is not, as backers have suggested, just a minor tuneup to worldwide intellectual property law, one done for the purpose of cracking down on fake DVD imports or Coach handbag ripoffs. Such a law—one that amounted essentially to some streamlining and coordination in the fight against actual pirates—might well be hashed out between nations operating in secret. But a treaty that seeks to apply criminal penalties to peer-to-peer file-sharing?


Based on sources and leaked documents, Knowledge Ecology International now asserts that ACTA drafts are in fact "formally available to cleared corporate lobbyists and informally distributed to corporate lawyers and lobbyists in Europe, Japan, and the US."

As for what's in these drafts, which are too secret to be seen by the public paying the negotiators' salaries, it's a long and mostly boring list of items intended to stop or slow shipments of counterfeit goods. But the ACTA proposals currently include language that would make copyright infringement on a "commercial scale," even when done with "no direct or indirect motivation of financial gain," into a criminal matter."

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