Monday, November 9, 2009

Fears copyright trade agreement could criminalise the internet; Sydney Morning Herald, 11/10/09

Ari Sharp, Sydney Morning Herald; Fears copyright trade agreement could criminalise the internet:

"INTERNET companies warn that a secretive trade agreement being negotiated could lead to new criminal charges as part of a global effort to protect copyright and thwart piracy.

Australia is among more than a dozen countries that for more than two years have been formulating the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which seeks to put pressure on internet service providers to take greater responsibility for cracking down on copyright breaches.

There has been little information about the progress of negotiations - a sixth round concluded last week in South Korea - prompting speculation there would be sweeping changes introduced to protect copyright holders by imposing penalties on users and internet service providers...

While Australia already has some of the strongest copyright protection laws in the world, the Internet Industry Association's chief executive, Peter Coroneos, said he had concerns over the potential consequences.

''There are many internet users that might be in a very grey area in terms of their own behaviour for want of alternatives they would prefer to have,'' he said, referring in particular to people illegally downloading music and movies...

The next round of negotiations will be in Mexico in January."

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