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ACTA arrives (still bad, but a tiny bit better)

Apr 21, 2010, 14:33 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Nate Anderson)

"We've been covering the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) for two years now, and in that entire 24 month period no official text of the agreement has been released. Remarkable, really, given the intense scrutiny, but there you have it.

"Today, that all changed as the countries behind ACTA finally released a consolidated draft text (PDF) of the agreement. Though billed as a "trade agreement" about "counterfeiting," ACTA is much more than that: it's an intellectual property treaty in disguise.

"Tucked inside the draft are provisions that will prevent people from bypassing digital locks on the items they buy, that will force ISPs to shoulder more of the burden in the fight against online piracy, and that bring US-style "notice-and-takedown" rules to the world.

"Well, not to the world, exactly. ACTA is more like a select club of countries: Australia, Canada, the European Union countries, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland and the United States of America. But the treaty it develops is really just the next rung on a ladder stretching back to 1886, and it will certainly be wielded like a weapon on the rest of the world in the future."

ars Technica has done some remarkable reporting on this. --ed

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