After suffering a great loss in Europe (the rejection of ACTA by the EU Parliament), major copyright companies are worried about what follows from now on.
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement was set to push copyright laws on international borders, including its controversial provisions, a cause for a lot of debating and criticism from not only the public, but also companies such as Google, Wikipedia, Reddit, etc. Despite its defeat in the parliament, there are still two more acts working their way around, one being CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) and TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership).
However, ACTA may still have a chance to live on if Australia, New Zealand and Mexico agree to sign the act, but fact is that Australia is already giving the impression that ACTA will not pass, while New Zealand has opened a public poll to aid the government decide whether the agreement will be ratified or not. The last on the list, Mexico, as the Mexican congress already voted to reject ACTA.
What’s important to realize is that if ACTA would have passed, the other incoming legislations (CETA, TPP) could have restricted your internet rights even further, but with ACTA’s defeat things are not going to be that easy anymore.
Major corporations’ reaction to this development was better explained by IP-Watch:
At a little-publicised annual meeting of the Transatlantic Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Working Group in Brussels this week representatives of the European Commission, several United States agencies and rights holder agreed that there might be tough times ahead for IPRs and rights holders. Meanwhile, the Commission is under pressure on copyright exceptions for visually impaired readers on the eve of a World Intellectual Property Organization meeting. And the Commission this week introduced new rules on collective societies aimed at easing user access to content.
Where IP rights once was a field for experts, now it drives the masses to the streets, the European Commission said referring to recent protests against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).
Without a much stronger commitment from rights holders, the rejection of ACTA would just be the beginning, Commission representatives said according to observers.
George York, deputy assistant to the US Trade Representative for IP and Innovation, and Susan Wilson, director of the Office of Intellectual Property Rights in the US Department of Commerce, confirmed during the meeting that despite ACTA’s failure in the EU, the ratification process would go on in the US, despite concerns by some experts about potential inconsistencies with US laws. The EU Commission confirmed its determination to wait for the European Court of Justice’s ruling on ACTA before deciding on next steps for the treaty voted down by Parliament earlier this month.
There seems to be little appetite in the administrations of either side to reconsider ACTA and potential problems with the treaty, David Hammerstein, former Green Party Parliament member and now adviser to the Trans-Atlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD), told Intellectual Property Watch.
Jean-Luc Demarty, the director general of the Trade Directorate of the European Commission, said at the meeting with regard to question of a potential split of counterfeiting and copyright piracy, IPR could not just be for bags and t-shirts.
Also, Zeropaid found out from an e-mail sent by the US Chamber the following:
Tomorrow, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center will provide testimony at the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Hearing on “Unfair Trading Practices Against the U.S.: Intellectual Property Rights Infringement, Property Expropriation, and other Barriers.”
The GIPC’s President and CEO, David Hirschmann, will highlight the challenges to intellectual property protection and enforcement abroad and outline opportunities for Congress to booster efforts to protect IP.
The e-mail contained a link directing to the US Foreign Affairs and explaining:
The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs will hold a hearing on Thursday, July 19 titled “Unfair Trading Practices Against the U.S.: Intellectual Property Rights Infringement, Property Expropriation, and other Barriers.” Intellectual property theft, expropriation of property and subsidies, and other practices grant foreign goods unfair advantages over U.S. products, and harm the ability of U.S. businesses to compete globally. The Committee will review the negative impact of trade barriers imposed against the U.S and possible solutions to combat them.
What we understand is that multi-national corporations will, from now on, have a very difficult task, that of making copyright laws to encourage businesses, while also respecting your right as an internet user and promote innovation. What are their plans is soon to be seen.
Filed under: Announcements & Events, Entertainment Industry, Legal P2P News & Issues
Some time ago we’ve informed our readers about a new dangerous treaty called CETA or the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. As it seems, a text of the Intellectual Property Chapter has leaked. Here are the details we’ve found out thanks to a ZeroPaid report.
CETA is a trade agreement between Europe and Canada and its purpose is to fundamentally change intellectual property rights. Although at first the agreement seemed to be based on the one-strike policy, the leaked text indicates that CETA is very similar to the former ACTA.
Dr. Michael Geist – Canada Research Chair of Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa – argued that all the concerns within ACTA are magically appearing in CETA.
Here are the details on the provisions included in CETA, as seen on Wikipedia:
- Copyright term extension. The current term of copyright law in Canada is life of the author plus 50 years. This is consistent with the term requirements under the Berne Convention. The EU is demanding that Canada add an additional 20 years by making the term life plus 70 years.
- WIPO ratification. The EU is demanding that Canada respect the rights and obligations under the WIPO Internet treaties. The EU only formally ratified those treaties this week.
– Anti-circumvention provisions. The EU is demanding that Canada implement anti-circumvention provisions that include a ban on the distribution of circumvention devices. There is no such requirement in the WIPO Internet treaties.
– ISP Liability provisions. The EU is demanding statutory provisions on ISP liability where they act as mere conduits, cache content, or host content. ISPs would qualify for a statutory safe harbour in appropriate circumstances. There is no three-strikes and you’re out language (which presumably originates with the U.S.).
- Enforcement provisions. The EU is demanding that Canada establish a host of new enforcement provisions including measures to preserve evidence, ordering alleged infringers to disclose information on a wide range of issue[s], mandate disclosure of banking information in commercial infringement cases, allow for injunctive relief, and destruction of goods. There is also a full section on new border measures requirements.
- Resale rights. The EU is demanding that Canada implement a new resale right that would provide artists with a royalty based on any resales of their works (subsequent to the first sale).
- Making available or distribution rights. The EU is demanding that Canada implement a distribution or making available right to copyright owners.
These are just the copyright provisions. There are sections dealing with patents, trademarks, designs, and (coming soon) geographical indications.
- requiring Canada to comply with the Trademark Law Treaty (Canada is not a contracting party)
- requiring Canada to accede to the Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs
- creating new legal protections for registered industrial designs including extending the term of protection from the current 10 years to up to 25 years
- requiring Canada to comply with the Patent Law Treaty (Canada has signed but not implemented)
- requiring Canada to establish enhanced protection for data submitted for pharmaceutical patents.
The leaked document dates back to February 2012. What will happen from now on is still a mystery, but given the fact that ACTA was rejected in the European Parliament due to its provisions and worldwide protests, it wouldn’t be a surprise if CETA shares the same fate. Furthermore, concerns about the agreement have been already raised, including various non-copyright related issues.
Stay alert for more information on the issue!
After a never before seen struggle to stop ACTA from becoming an international law, the European Parliament finally decided its fate and voted a big strong NO against what could have been the demise of my, yours, and everyone’s rights online.
It is indeed a day of joy, a day when the European political stage has won against America’s attempt to monopolize the Internet. The EU Parliament’s vote (478 against, 39 in favor, 165 abstentions) denied ACTA to become law, thus putting a gravestone over its head, at least in Europe.
In theory, ACTA could still have life between the US and various smaller states, including Morocco, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia and Switzerland. However, Mexico has already rejected the idea, while Australia and Switzerland have practically done the same.
The European Commissioner in charge with the treaty – Karel de Gucht – said that he’d keep on fighting for ACTA and will re-table it before the EU Parliament until it gets a “YES”.
Unfortunately for him, the Parliament does not take its mission lightly, and we applaud that.
With that said, we can say that ACTA is finally dead, and good riddance.
We have won a great victory, maybe the most important, but the “war” is not over!
Since 2005 Canadians have struggled to keep their copyright laws clean from foreign influences, but now those forces are once again trying to meddle with the Canadian copyright laws.
As such, the Canadian Intellectual Property lead lobby group – read the Canadian IP Council representing the interests of music, movie, software and pharmaceutical companies – has released a new policy document to establish the legislative priorities for the following period of time.
So, for those of you who hoped that SOPA and ACTA were dead and buried think again. It’s not like the Canadian government is going to apply the exact rules established by the two aforementioned acts, but they’re considering the alternative – implementing rules similar to SOPA and ACTA. That includes blocking websites, massive surveillance, and everything that sounds good for the industries.
The Canadian recommendations include:
- The introduction of a Canadian version of SOPA
- ACTA implementation
- New searches power with no court permission
- Criminalization of Intellectual Property
- Massive Increase in public spending creating an IP enforcement subsidy
Although massive boycotts took place against both the ACTA and SOPA around Europe and respectively the U.S. – eventually managing to convince lawmakers and lobbyists to drop their support, major corporate lobbyists did not bother to change this tactic or at least take into consideration people’s opinion.
Instead they’re still trying to push such bills with the hope that they’ll eventually be accepted.
If the aforementioned recommendations somehow are going to be implemented, Canada is going to have one of the most aggressive and oppressive regimes in the world regarding file-sharing.
What’s slightly amusing and pretty much absurd at the same time is that demands on investing into a copyright police force were made, given that fact that a UN envoy pointed out that some Canadians are unable to afford food in certain regions (http://goo.gl/oR6EB).
Stay tuned for more news about this development.
Filed under: Announcements & Events, Entertainment Industry, Legal P2P News & Issues
Four meeting notes documents regarding ACTA and covering a period of two years (between 2008 and 2010) were obtained and released by EDRI. ZeroPaid took interest and opened an interesting analysis based on this newly found information.
The first of these documents dates back to the negotiations of December 2008 which were held in Paris. This was after just several months after ACTA was introduced to the world, specifically in May 2008. By the end of July another leaked document saw the day of light. At the time the documents read that the United States wasn’t sure about their position due to the incoming change of administration (allegedly the Obama administration), as negotiators were uncertain if the newly elected president would give the thumbs up.
July 2009 – negotiations in Rabat: At this point the ACTA’s negotiators found out about the leaked documents. The state was not happy with it, and blamed a congressional staff member for it.
November 2009 – negotiations in Seoul: By the time yet another memo regarding ACTA leaked, confirming the worst fears on the agreement. In the middle of the negotiations things heated up as Europe proposed its own version of ACTA to “balance” out US’ demands. At the same time the United States sought to include copyright infringement into the act, being supported by both China and Japan. Europe, however, was arguing that the American version of ACTA is coming into contradiction with EU’s “harmonized law:
obligation of civil and penal enforcement mechanisms; concept of “3rd party liability”; obligation for ISPs to implement “reasonable” anti-piracy policies; the obligation to have notice & takedown system; the relation between TPM protection and exceptions & limitations to copyright; the protection of access TPMs; the position regarding interoperability, etc.”
Furthermore, Europe did “request for clarification of concepts such as “digital environment”, the definition of ISP, the need or not of judicial decisions to terminate/suspent internet access (in the US such judicial decision is required), the treatment of infringers information and the definition of “repeated offenders”, etc.”
This confirms what many anti-ACTA protesters already knew – that a three strikes law was implemented within ACTA, although negotiators denied that such a provision existed.
There were complaints that the US proposals in ACTA were complex and quite confusing. On this matter both the US and EU argued about transparency, with the latter trying to overcome the US’s efforts to keep ACTA in the shadows. At one point Uncle Sam went as far as describing ACTA as “a good opportunity to have a WIPO plus approach”.
A portion of the notes reads:
“The exceptions from the ISP liability for third party’s illegal activity as proposed by the US are a clear reproduction of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act DMCA and therefore, the concepts and/or workings are different from the EU.”
Another confirmation of what some feared – that ACTA is basically trying to globalize DMCA. Europe didn’t seem happy with ISPs monitoring their users as well.
Another subject of debate included the Technical Protection Measures (TPMs) – where the US describes it as “WTC and WPP plusprovisions”. Europe did not agree, arguing that there were no legal safeguards for exceptions and limitations to copyright related rights.
January 2010 – negotiations in Guadalajara: The final leaked document contains information about these negotiations. By July 2010 the full ACTA text was leaked.
The three-strikes system was still present:
“US and EU agreed to make presentations of their own systems at the next round, to clarify issues. Major differences are on scope (EU, CH, and JPN offensive) and concrete requirements for ISPs to benefit from liability safe-harbours such as disabling access and notice & takedown (US offensive).”
From the notes we find out that France helped with pushing a copyright infringement task force. Lastly, from top to bottom all of these notes highlight the issues of including intellectual property into a criminal and civil legislation.
As Drew Wilson said it at the end of his report:
“The idea that criminal laws are being formed in private and that governments around the world are presumably going to be asked to integrate them into their civil and criminal codes is just terrifying.”
And I might add that this was a mere glimpse on what we were lucky enough to read. I can’t begin to imagine what the US government and other governments are cooking since ACTA and SOPA pretty much died out.