Thursday, June 24, 2010

ACTA, the anti-everything treaty

Few people will have heard of the ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. Yet it may affect the lives of everyone. At the moment the treaty is still being negotiated but it is so controversial that until recently the organisation deliberately kept its proposals secret.

Officialy the treaty is concerned with "intellectual property". But as bootlegged software and fake Nikes are already forbidden under existing treaties this treaty is bringing the idea to extremes. Now a groups of academics has protested against the treaty.

The ACTA demonstrates of the dangers of "mega-democracies" like the EU and the US where lobbyists are more important than voters. The treaty provides any right copyright owners might wish to have - at the expense of the other companies and citzens. You can be arrested, your internet can be cut of and your goods can be confiscated just because someone thought you violated his right. It will be up to you to prove them wrong and even if you succeed they won't be liable to pay you any damages.

The next round of negotiations will be held from 28 June to 1 July 2010 in Lucerne, Switzerland.

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