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ACTA: ISPs to be liable for piracy

If Australia signs the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), internet service providers (ISPs) may be obliged to hand over the identity of its users to those defending copyright.

If Australia signs the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), internet service providers (ISPs) may be obliged to hand over the identity of its users to those defending copyright.

The European Commission of Trade has released a draft of the agreement, which aims to establish international standards on how to enforce intellectual property rights, and has involved countries around the world including Australia.

Signatories to the ACTA will be required to ensure that copyright holders can sue "intermediaries" whose services are used to infringe intellectual property.

"The parties [may] shall also ensure that right holders are in a position to apply for an injunction against [infringing] intermediaries whose services are used by a third party to infringe an intellectual property right," the draft states.

The agreement deals with difficulties that copyright holders have in targeting actual infringers online. It details that ISPs would not be required to be monitored if they agree upfront to hand over the identities of their customers should they come under investigation.

In civil proceedings, like that faced by iiNet in Australia, the agreement would require that authorities have the right to order the infringer to pay damages "adequate to compensate for the injury the right holder has suffered as a result of the infringement".

The draft also outlines how infringements would be valued.