ACTA Released: Foulest Provisions Stripped
Though it's still a bad agreement, negotiated in private
For years we've explored how a massive new international Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) was being crafted in total secrecy, with no input from independent parties or the consumers it will impact. That proved to be particularly troubling for broadband users and ISPs, given early leaks
of the plan indicated it would include mandatory three strikes requirements for carriers, erode ISP safe harbor protections, and extend many of the more troubling and myopic aspects of US DMCA copyright law internationally.
The ACTA this week was finally released
(pdf), and due to a lot of very vocal, international criticism -- the nastiest broadband-related aspects of the agreement have been eliminated. Of course that doesn't change the fact that the entertainment industry and governments concocted the agreement in secret and lied repeatedly about its impact. Techdirt also notes that the proposal still has very serious problems
(too broad, ignores fair use, etc.), something that's inevitable given the way it was crafted:
...they started at one extreme, basically granting everything the industry stakeholders wanted, and then caved on pieces there, moving slowly back. So, the document still is based on the stakeholder's positions, with the changes being an attempt to appease everyone else. At no point was there an effort to build a document that actually recognized the rather legitimate interests of the public.
Despite press reports this version is not "final," and could potentially still get worse. While this version is vastly more flexible than the initial proposal, that isn't saying much. Those interested should also read this analysis
by Canadian Law Professor Michael Geist.