Entries Matching: ACTA

ACTA: the Big Deal

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ACTA (the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) is making a lot of news these days, with lots of people comparing it unfavorably to PIPA and SOPA. A lot of that coverage has been focused on Europe and particularly Poland, where the Polish government's signing of the agreement has sparked considerable protest.

So is this a big deal, and if so, why is domestic coverage of it so muted in comparison to SOPA and PIPA?

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What the State of the Union “Piracy” Reference Means

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It doesn’t take much to excite the Twitterverse. President Obama in his State of the Union speech made a passing reference to intellectual property enforcement, perhaps to try to appease the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).  It was relatively benign, as he said only that foreign piracy hurts trade, but my reader exploded with “Obama’s flipping on PIPA/SOPA! Betrayal!” While I have no reason to believe that the Administration is backing away from its current hard-line position against PIPA/SOPA, it doesn’t have to in order to show MPAA some love.

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What We Won In ACTA

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) reports that Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, and the United States signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) this past weekend. Representatives of the European Union (EU), Mexico, and Switzerland were present, but did not sign the agreement. It appears that the EU has "not yet completed its internal procedures authorizing the signature". Neither have Mexico or Switzerland. The Europeans claim that EU's Council of Ministers has to authorize signature, and that that will only happen after ACTA is translated into all European languages.

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Public Knowledge Statement on Signing of Anti-Counterfeiting Agreement

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) will be signed this weekend in Japan, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced today.

The following is attributed to Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge:

"At the time ACTA is signed, the Obama Administration should make it clear that the Agreement is consistent with, and does not change, U.S. law, particularly the safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

"We believe such a statement is necessary because there are still sufficient ambiguities in some parts of the Agreement that could conflict with U.S. law.

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Was the TPP Stakeholder’s Forum Just Lip-Service?

Trade agreements have often been used to secure intellectual property (IP) provisions that are harmful to ordinary citizens. The secrecy that generally surrounds trade agreements makes them the ideal vehicle to secure such provisions. These agreements are used to usher in international obligations that would require countries around the world to protect copyrights for longer, prosecute infringements with longer prison terms and higher fines, and generally subject more uses of works to the control of copyright owners. We have written extensively about the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which was called a trade agreement and concluded in great secrecy. The Transpacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) seems to be the sequel to ACTA, but with different participating countries.

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