Thursday, May 20, 2010

Obama Reiterates Support For ACTA, As More People Point Out How Far ACTA Is From The Purpose Of Copyright; TechDirt, 5/20/10

Mike Masnick, TechDirt; Obama Reiterates Support For ACTA, As More People Point Out How Far ACTA Is From The Purpose Of Copyright:

"A few months back, President Obama publicly stood behind ACTA despite tons of concerns about it from the public. It's disappointing that as more and more concerns and problems with ACTA have been highlighted, Obama has not reconsidered. He still seems to be taking the position that "more copyright must be good, and ACTA therefore is good." That's a naive position. The group Open ACTA points us to a statement made by Obama in Mexico, concerning better trade relations with Mexico, where he again insists that ACTA is a key part of better trade relations:

Innovation and investment in technology and human capital are keys to sustained economic growth and competitiveness in both Mexico and the United States. The protection of intellectual property rights is essential to promote such innovation and investment. With this in mind, the Presidents charged their administrations to work together to formalize and expand the efforts of the existing bilateral Intellectual Property Rights Working Group. These efforts will include industry training (including of small and medium size enterprises); work between Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) to streamline patent reviews; and collaboration, training and increased intelligence sharing among law enforcement agencies to enforce intellectual property rights more effectively. The Presidents also reaffirmed their commitment to the negotiation of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement and charged their administrations to conclude these negotiations soon.

But, this blind assertion that stricter copyright enforcement without key exceptions and consumer protections that actually contribute more value to the economy than copyright restrictions, isn't just wrong, it goes against the very purpose of copyright law.

Hephaestus points us to a submission to the Australian government, by the Australian Digital Alliance, that does a great job highlighting the negative impact of ACTA (pdf) and how it goes against basic copyright law:

"The text of ACTA does not reflect one of the most important objectives of copyright -- to ensure access to information for the benefit of society. Protecting creators to encourage continued innovation is only one half of the copyright equation, ACTA fails to recognise the dual purpose of copyright." The whole submission is worth reading, as it highlights all sorts of serious issues with ACTA and the impact it would have:

ACTA might have a negative impact on individuals as Internet citizens and as consumers of digital technologies because some of its requirements go beyond Australian law. ACTA will facilitate excessive damages payouts by mandating the controversial 'lost sale analysis' for the assessment of damages and encouraging punitive style statutory damages that set arbitrary amounts for infringement. ACTA will also broaden the scope of commercial scale infringement to criminalise purely private acts that occur in the homes of some Australians....

ACTA might have a negative impact on intermediaries that will damage Australia's digital economy by diminishing Internet innovation, the free flow of information and legitimate commerce. ACTA provides for the unqualified award of injunctions against intermediaries, which creates new rights with significant potential for abuse and cost implications for ISPs. ACTA defines where third party liability will be imposed, which is a highly controversial issue that requires the flexibility of being dealt with at a domestic level. ACTA will burden intermediaries with more onerous requirements for safe harbour protection that may encourage three strikes.

What's most frustrating about all of this is that it really does appear that many ACTA supporters are simply going by the boilerplate myth that "stronger copyright protection" is "good for society," without ever once bothering to understand the details and why such a statement isn't just wrong, but dangerous."

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