Have you heard of ACTA? Chances are good you haven't. Not much is known about the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, as Wired reports, since the IP-protection treaty is being negotiated in secret.
All we know for certain is it's a treaty (.pdf) about beefing up intellectual property protections being negotiated in secret by the European Union, the United Sates, Japan, South Korea, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Switzerland and New Zealand.There's a vague fact sheet, as well. But public interest groups fear the treaty, ostensibly to beef up legitimate intellectual property protections, could easily be abused. In a letter to trade representatives, groups like EFF and Consumers Union, among dozens of others, expressed concerns that ACTA would:
- Require ISPs to monitor all consumers' Internet communications, terminate their customers' Internet connections based on rights holders' repeat allegation of copyright infringement, and divulge the identity of alleged copyright infringers possibly without judicial process ...
- Criminalize peer-to-peer file sharing.
- Interfere with legitimate parallel trade in goods, including the resale of brand-name pharmaceutical products.
- Impose liability on manufacturers of active pharmaceutical ingredients if those APIs are used to make counterfeits .
- Improperly criminalize acts not done for commercial purpose and with no public health consequences;
- Improperly divert public resources into enforcement of private rights.