ACTA gway ourah tha!
Last Friday, the EU countries (with the exception of Germany,The Netherlands, Cyprus and Estonia), signed ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. In the same vein as SOPA and its hangers-on, ACTA is far more scary and far-reaching. Vague and open-ended (of course!), it provides a low threshold for criminal sanctions; ‘to “acts” which are for direct commercial advantage but also for, also undefined, “economic advantage” or “aiding and abetting” (also undefined).’ (http://www.edri.org/edrigram/number10.1/whats-wrong-with-ACTA – Part 2)
It puts the onus on ISPs (internet service providers) to police their customers’ internet usage and offers bland assurances that it’ll protect “fundamental principles such as freedom of expression, fair process, and privacy”. Soooo, not fundamental rights, not a fair trial, not due process.
Ostensibly on grounds of public health, it goes beyond the digital realm as regards intellectual property. This has implications for generic drugs(drugs whose patent has expired, can be sold without a licence from the original company, much cheaper than brand-name drugs), and seeds.
Negotiations have been shrouded in secrecy since they started three years ago.
European Digital Rights have a good summary of ACTA on their site, five one-page documents on different aspects.
And then, what to do? La Quadrature du Net have some suggestions –