ACTA may be ratified

Photo via Associated Press: The meeting of the Polish Sejm

While the whole world in a single outburst protested against the adoption by the US Congress of legislative initiatives SOPA ( English ) and PIPA ( English ), the signing of the ACTA agreement has entered its final stage. The more detailed review of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is a much tougher initiative than the triumphantly defeated SOPA / PIPA Internet community. It is worth saying that the negotiations on ACTA are held in a regime of increased secrecy and the details are revealed literally drop by drop.

Although the name of the trade agreement it would be logical to assume that we are talking about tangible objects, in fact, the agreement is equal to the law and imposes restrictions much wider in relation to intellectual property. There is quite a bit of information available on the subject, so I will try to structure everything in one material.

Before turning to the history and details, to increase interest, I note that ACTA provides for empowering customs officers to inspect any information media for infringing information : software, music or video.

The legitimacy and constitutionality of such an audit (so far only in the USA) was approved by a decision of the federal court of appeal [ link] 9th San Francisco County in 2008. Encryption of files or disk will not save - in case of a “forgotten” password, entry into the country may be refused under any pretext.

The adoption of ACTA will also affect providers, which, according to the document, may be required to take measures to control subscribers and the content they download. However, in comparison with physical searches, such consequences do not seem terrible at all. Moreover, the “rule of three warnings” is already being tried to get work in some countries - after the third warning about copyright infringement, the provider should restrict the Internet access of the offending user.

However, unlike SOPA / PIPA, the action of ACTA is not limited to far abroad countries - at present, 22 European countries have signed the agreement, supplementing the list led by the USA, Japan, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Canada and Mexico. The final chord, on January 26, was joined by Denmark, Latvia and Lithuania [ link ]. Estonia, showing prudence, refused to blindly sign, bringing this issue to the discussion of the plenary meeting of the government [ link ].

In Latvia, information was distributed post factum in the form of a small note that Ambassador Peteris Vaivars, on a working visit to Japan, signed the ACTA agreement on behalf of the government. The note was published by no means on all news portals and was thrown to the bottom of the pages. Statements by officials that the draft agreement has been adequately covered are not true.


The European Commission and the governments of other ACTA member countries recognized their participation in the negotiations on the agreement only after the leak of the draft contract on WikiLeaks on May 22, 2008. Upon a subsequent request from human rights defenders, a document was received containing only the name The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, in which the entire text was painted black [ link ].

In the eleven rounds of negotiations that followed over the course of two and a half years, even more participants were involved, as well as issues of civil law, border control and the prevention of offenses on the Internet. However, even in the course of negotiations, the full text of the document was not available even to the European Commission. Private companies, Sony Pictures, Time Warner, and Verizon, had access to text under the NDA.


To date, the Poles are the only ones who have reacted to the promotion of ACTA, except for hacker groups. On January 25, more than ten thousand people took part in mass street protests in Warsaw. The Polish government said it did not intend to succumb to "blackmail" by the protesters. Prime Minister Donald Tusk said that “the dissatisfied had enough time to speak out before the Polish parliament approved the agreement,” which, to put it mildly, is far from the truth, given the secrecy of the agreement described earlier.

The saga will end on March 31, which is scheduled for a hearing on the ratification of the ACTA in the European Parliament. And if that happens ...

Instead of a conclusion

So, the current edition of ACTA:
  • Gives the right to border control to search for personal items for copyright infringement. No warrant required.
  • It obliges providers and hosters to monitor the observance of copyright by their subscribers and provide information upon first request. No warrant required.
  • Introduces criminal liability for violation of intellectual property rights in all countries party to the agreement, even if the legislation of a particular country does not provide for such liability.
  • Criminalizes DRM circumvention by any means. It prohibits the distribution of any software that allows you to ignore DRM, even if it can be used for other purposes.
  • Recognizes the seizure and liquidation of any counterfeit trademarks without the right to compensation.
  • Gives the ACTA Steering Committee the right to issue amendments to the agreement that enter into force immediately without consideration and ratification by the participating countries.

In light of the foregoing, SOPA / PIPA legislative initiatives seem to be just a maneuver designed to divert attention from a trade agreement endowed with the power of a totalitarian law itself.

References :

  • According to opennet , “ACTA is a document supplementing the current TRIPS (Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) agreement, the observance of which is mandatory for all WTO member countries. As you know, Russia officially joins the WTO already in the current year 2012, and the latest amendments signal the beginning of Russia's active work to synchronize its legislation with TRIPS standards, which will inevitably lead to a serious tightening of liability for copyright infringements. ” Thanks das . Due to the lack of information on Russia, I found it appropriate to insert this update.
  • Latvia did swing to organize a protest. The preliminary date for the protest is February 13.

Upcoming : ACTA from the point of view of the provider; Countering ACTA.

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