The pre-decision draft (PDF) of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has drawn praise from the Greens, but the party says the devil may be in the fine print.
The ACTA aims to introduce a legal framework for 27 countries on copyright protection in an effort to curb rampart piracy for goods ranging from music to medicine. Australia will need to decide whether to sign the agreement when a final draft is created.
The agreement has drawn harsh criticism from privacy and copyright activists since discussions began in 2008, because of what appeared to be hard-line tactics to crackdown on piracy, and because of the discussions' clandestine nature.
Since then, the ACTA has made "good progress" thanks chiefly to public scrutiny via leaked draft agreements, according to Greens Senator Scott Ludlam, who sits on the treaty committee that will review the ACTA for Australia.
"The heightened scrutiny has helped progress, and the industry can take credit for [speaking against] some hard-line agendas," Ludlam told ZDNet Australia. "We're not satisfied to simply wave it through, though, and we [will] hold judgement until the release of the final text.
"The draft text needs to be as defensive as possible if indeed we have a need for instrument like it."
He said the treaty, notably the fine details yet to emerge, will need to be thoroughly scrutinised in order to prevent the government "ramming through legislation".
All political parties will need to negotiate before the final text is signed off, which lawyer Leanne O'Donnell said in an iTnews column may not be until "well into 2011".
Ludlam congratulated the interested community for facilitating debate on the ACTA, and said while more consultation is required, the treaty "looks like happening".
"It won't make the front page of the SMH but the public has done quite a good job."