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Public-Interest Groups, Libraries, and Others Pan Bad ACTA

ACTA is the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, which has been under negotiation between the U.S. and a couple dozen other industrialized nations since 2007. Counterfeiting is bad, so anti-counterfeiting must be good, right? Well...

One hint that something might be amiss is that the text of the proposed agreement is secret. Starting in mid-2008, however, portions began leaking to the blogosphere. Rather than the presumed focus on the counterfeiting of physical goods and pharmaceuticals, the language seemed to include major implications for U.S. copyright law. Rumors suggested border searches of iPods, mandatory network filtering by ISPs, and the general criminalization of offenses that are currently civil.

Following the recent G8 meeting in Italy, there's apparently a new push to move the ACTA negotiations forward, spurred on by the U. S. Chamber of Commerce and the content industry. In response, the Center for Democracy and Technology, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Knowledge, and an assortment of library and other public-interest groups sent a letter two days ago to U. S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk urging him to:

  • Remove the Internet-specific portions of ACTA
  • Release the text of the draft agreements
  • Establish advisory groups representing society at large

Some resources for further reading:

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