June 27, 2008

ACTA sunt servanda

Do you know the latin phrase, Pacta sunt servanda? It means that pacts (pacta is plural for pact) are to be (sunt) respected (servanda, to be observed).

I’m playing with words, and in fact I’m talking about ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. Governments are trying to impose ACTA to the world.

I’m at Reboot.dk right now, listening to Peter Sunde and Magnus Eriksson (from The Pirate Bay).

Taken from wikipedia (bold is mine): “The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is a proposed plurilateral trade agreement that would impose strict enforcement of intellectual property rights related to Internet activity and trade in information-based goods. The agreement is being secretly negotiated by the governments of the United States, the European Commission, Japan, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Canada, and Mexico. If adopted at the 34th G8 summit in July 2008, the treaty would establish an international coalition against copyright infringement, imposing a strong, top-down enforcement regime of copyright laws in developed nations. The proposed agreement would allow border officials to search laptops, MP3 players, and cellular phones for copyright-infringing content. It would also impose new cooperation requirements upon internet service providers (ISPs), including perfunctory disclosure of customer information, and restrict the use of online privacy tools. The proposal specifies a plan to encourage developing nations to accept the legal regime.

The European Commission, the Office of the United States Trade Representative, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and other government agencies have acknowledged participating in ACTA negotiations, but they have refused to release drafts of the treaty or to discuss specific terms under discussion in the negotiations. Public interest advocates in Canada filed an access to information request but received only a document stating the title of the agreement, with everything else blacked out. On May 22, 2008, a discussion paper about the proposed agreement was uploaded to Wikileaks, and newspaper reports about the secret negotiations quickly followed.

ACTA is part of a broader “forum shifting” strategy employed by the trade representatives of the U.S., E.C., Japan, and other supporters of rigid intellectual property enforcement: similar terms and provisions currently appear in the World Customs Organization draft SECURE treaty.”

Poor, poor world. Where are we going? I strongly hope that ACTA will just become a bad dream. Just that. If you want, do something.