Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The ACTA Internet provisions: DMCA goes worldwide; Ars Technica, 11/08/09

Nate Anderson, Ars Technica; The ACTA Internet provisions: DMCA goes worldwide:

New details about the Internet section of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) have leaked, and critics are already claiming that they mandate "three strikes" policies and will put an end to Flickr and YouTube. The reality is less sensational but just as important: ACTA is really about taking the DMCA global.

"The statements are strong, but the document they are based on is not. As the ACTA countries (Australia, Canada, the EU, Japan, Korea, the US, etc.) meet in South Korea this week to hash out the provisions of the treaty dealing with the Internet, multiple reports began to circulate based on "sources" and a leaked document from the EU. Turns out, though, that all of these sources were actually the same one: the leaked EU document, which is now widely available for download (PDF)...

The real problem here is not for US residents, but for everyone else. ACTA is clearly an attempt to bring DMCA ideas like "notice and takedown" to other countries that don't currently use them. For instance, some other countries currently use and prefer a "notice and notice" scheme in which an ISP is not required to takedown allegedly infringing material after receiving a simple notice, but only to forward that notice on to the relevant subscriber.

Extending the anticircumvention language to the rest of the world will also be novel (in a bad way) for other countries, which could follow the US path of allowing DRM to trump copyright law and fair use rights. (Which is why it's pleasing to see that the US negotiators are open to fair use and to country-by-country exceptions to such rules.)...

ACTA is looking a good deal less scary than when it first appeared, but that's no reason for the public to back off its attempts to see what's being negotiated in its name."


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