Friday, January 27, 2012

ACTA - the New SOPA

Theft of intellectual property is a massive problem. But the solutions brought up by governments never seem to make any sense. Too many people, in too many places, prefer government control to individual choice - hence many of the dangerously silly proposals. Then, when we add the penchant for secretive decision making on such an important aspect of life - who can be surprised that these backdoor agreements never seem to work out well?

Although ACTA is primarily concerned with the enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR), its designation as a trade treaty meant it could be negotiated behind closed doors. This lengthy process, led by the US and Japan, was exposed in a series of leaks — some via Wikileaks — that revealed what was going on.

The final version of ACTA is very different to earlier drafts, which would have forced countries to disconnect internet users if they were found to be repeatedly sharing copyrighted content. The EU rejected this proposal, and other ideas, such as criminalising the use of a mobile phone camera in a cinema, also fell by the wayside.
UK signs ACTA as activists urge resistance

Early drafts of ACTA "mandated that people unlawfully distributing copyrighted content online should have their internet connections cut off, and that people who record films in cinemas should go to jail." As much as I disagree with the provision regarding distributing copyrighted information (unless it is very carefully written and applies only to a very narrow definition of theft) I agree completely with the provision which calls for jailing those who record films in cinemas. There is no excuse for that.

What's Wrong With ACTA

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