IF THE WORLD adopts the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) treaty it will become a deeply unpleasant place to live, a bunch of top academics have warned.
Politicians are pushing for the ACTA treaty, which was negotiated in secret, to be widely adopted across the world, handing over control of law enforcement to the entertainment industry. America in particular is pushing the adoption of the treaty as US politicians pander to Big Content.
Now it appears that the treaty has been given a resounding thumbs down by a meeting of over 90 academics, legal practitioners and public interest organizations from six continents.
The meeting, convened by American University's Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property, was called to analyse the official text of the ACTA.
The assembled group said that the terms of the publicly released draft of the ACTA treaty threaten numerous public interests, including every concern specifically disclaimed by negotiators.
They declared that the treaty will interfere with citizens' fundamental rights and liberties and it is inconsistent with the WTO Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
The ACTA will ncrease border searches or interfere with cross-border transit of legitimate generic medicines; and it encourages nations to develop "graduated response" prosecutions of online filesharing culminating in disconnections of people from the Internet.
In short it does everything that the politicians say it does not do and the great unwashed need to be very afraid.
The meeting communique said that the ACTA is the "predictably deficient product of a deeply flawed process".
It said that "what started as a relatively simple proposal to coordinate customs enforcement has transformed into a sweeping and complex new international intellectual property and internet regulation with grave consequences for the global economy and governments' ability to promote and protect the public interest."
The legal experts say that the April 2010 draft leads them to conclude that the ACTA is hostile to the public interest in at least seven critical areas of global public policy.
These include fundamental rights and freedoms; Internet governance; access to medicines; scope and nature of intellectual property law; international trade; international law and institutions; and democratic process.
Basically it is not what you expect from a civilised society. You can read the full report here. If it is ever adopted it might be a good idea to build your own space ship and get the hell off this daft planet. Mars is nice in the summer, or so we are told. µ
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