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Roundup on new ACTA leak stories

November 4, 2009 ACTA , Three Strikes , Trademark , Transparency , USTR

Just a quick note on some of the recently-surfaced news on ACTA's Internet provisions.

  • Michael Geist of the University of Ottawa has some details and analysis here;
  • IDG/PC World has a good summary here
  • And EFF has additional in-depth analysis and discussion here.

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ACTA Remains Closed: The Difference Between Inclusion and Transparency.

October 20, 2009 ACTA , Enforcement , International , Transparency , USTR

A number of blogs and websites have picked up the story of how the Office of the United States Trade Representative ("USTR") continues to keep ACTA out of the public eye, even as it rolls towards its next round of negotiations in early November.

The big story of last week was how drafts of one particular section on "Internet provisions," likely to be discussed in the next round, was disclosed to a small group of people under a non-disclosure agreement ("NDA"). I was one of those people.

Part of the story is a question of whether ACTA proponents, or the USTR itself, are trying to blunt calls for openness and transparency by appearing to open things ever-so-slightly.

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PK and EFF Tell Congress: Secret Negotiations Harm the Public Knowledge

August 6, 2009 ACTA , International

As many of you know, PK and its friends have been fighting to lift the veil of secrecy that shrouds the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) negotiating process. The lack of public disclosure has meant that consumer advocates and the general public are left to plead their case in a near vacuum, without the ability to review and consider the documents and positions that the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) is advancing on our behalf. Meanwhile, representatives of intellectual property (IP) owners belong to a trade advisory committee called ITAC 15, which holds confidential meetings. Through their membership on ITAC 15, IP owners may be able to influence provisions in ACTA.

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The Conundrum of Internet Filtering

June 24, 2009 ACTA , AT&T , DPI

All this talk of Internet surveillance is enough to cause intense bafflement. For the last couple of days, stories about the revolution Iran indicated that the government is able to keep track of the Internet doings of protesters by means of deep-packet inspection (DPI), a technology developed in the West that, like most dual-use technologies, has a good side and a bad side.

The good side is that it can be used to manage networks and deal with computer viruses and other nasties. The bad side is that it can be used to track computer messages, target insurgents, invade privacy, violate Net Neutrality and, as AT&T wants to do, target the use of copyrighted material online and have users thrown off of the Internet. Using DPI as the mother of all Internet filters would seem to be a non-starter, and yet the industry keeps pushing it, perhaps thinking that the U.S.

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Watching the Watchlists

May 1, 2009 ACTA , Fair Use , Patent , Piracy , Transparency

On Thursday, the US Trade Representative issued this year's Special 301 Report, which is meant to highlight countries that are seen as not doing enough to protect copyrights, patents, and trademarks. Countries are placed on a "Watch List" or a "Priority Watch List." Countries on the Priority Watch List face the possibility of trade sanctions.

Placement on the lists is based upon comments and consultations from interested parties—and the parties who keep showing the most interest in this process are the industry groups that profit from IP. The list has been used as a means for the content industries to add the weight of the US government to their gripes about the state of other countries' IP laws.

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