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Surprise, Surprise: MPAA In Favor Of Current ACTA Text Before Anyone's Supposed To Have Seen It

from the how's-that-work-now? dept

As we’ve been discussing, the last round of ACTA negotiations all but finalized the document, and now word is spreading that the full text will be released before the end of the week (I’ve been hearing Wednesday). There are still a few points where the negotiating parties disagree (and there’s even disagreement about how “big” the disagreement is). However, for the most part, the document is close to finalized.

That said, Jamie Love points out that the MPAA has already released a statement endorsing the outcome of the latest round of negotiations (pdf). Now this raises a bunch of important questions. Considering that the document is still secret, either the USTR has already provided the MPAA with a copy of the document before letting everyone else know — or the MPAA is simply assuming what ACTA says. Neither possibility says much good about either the USTR or the MPAA, but neither is all that surprising either.

As for what is making the rounds in rumors concerning what’s going on, it does sound like parties caved on some of the more controversial topics. Apparently patents have been removed from the border controls section, but may still sneak in elsewhere. So-called “private acts of infringement” are thankfully excluded from ACTA, though that’s been talked about for a while. Instead, the document claims to be focused only on “commercial-scale” infringement. But, take heed of the definitions, as “commercial-scale” can be a moving target, so watch the definition to make sure it can’t include a kid who’s filled his iPod with a lot of MP3s.

Negotiators are claiming that third party liability has been removed from the document, and that three strikes has never been in the document. Again, this will require careful scrutiny. While “three strikes” was never directly in the document, at one point it did “suggest” three strikes as a way to avoid third party liability — and offered no other suggestions, meaning that almost everyone would interpret three strikes to be mandatory. So, while it might be good if third party liability has been removed, the devil is very much going to be in the details.

It certainly sounds like some of the worst of this bill — the points that many people raised earlier — may have been removed thanks to the vigilant efforts of folks concerned about the scope of the agreement. That’s a good thing — though, you can bet ACTA supporters will claim this shows that the concerns of everyone was clearly “overblown.” That’s clearly not true at all. Many of these things very much were in earlier versions and drafts, and their removal is almost certainly the direct result of public outcry (despite attempts by negotiators to keep much of the proposals secret).

So, while the MPAA is cheering on an agreement it isn’t supposed to have seen yet, we’ll wait to see the final document “officially” before making final judgment. Given the actions of those involved so far, I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see the text written in ways so that people can claims certain aspects aren’t in the document, while leaving loopholes and interpretations such that they really are. We shall see later this week…

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Comments on “Surprise, Surprise: MPAA In Favor Of Current ACTA Text Before Anyone's Supposed To Have Seen It”

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Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Lessons from on-line gambling?

“The industries that benefit in the short term from ACTA”

They won’t benefit from ACTA at all. Its a policy based on guess work, hunches, false studies done by them, and beliefs not founded in any sort of reality.

“How many years will it be before those same industries are struggling (and whining) under the burdens imposed on them by ACTA-related legislation?”

Actually everything they have done has painted themselves further into a corner. They are setting the rules in stone making themselves incapable of reacting to any changes. They have legal contracts, the laws, the collection societies, its an extremely convoluted and complex web to navigate. This spans multiple rule sets in multiple countries. All in an attempt to prevent any sort of competition. It makes them inflexible and unable to compete or adapt.

slacker525600 (profile) says:

Hasn't it been said from the start

that part of the reason some of the obvious irreconcilable differences have been left in so long is to gloss over the fact that the entire treaty is bad?
The anti counterfeiting trade agreement covers far more than its title implies.
Repeatedly telling somebody you are going to break their legs, and then rewarding them with a punch in the face is not a cause for thanks.

Tor (profile) says:

My country’s (Sweden) implementation of the IPRED directive and its mention of “commercial scale” is quite telling of just how fluid this concept is. In our law the act of making a work available to the public is explicitly mentioned as an example of something that is normally to be treated as commercial scale and hence open the door for privacy invading measures. In order words, sharing a single song via BitTorrent is regarded as commercial scale since it involves uploading the song in a way that makes it accessible to many.

Regarding ACTA one should keep in mind that even if the agreement were to be watered down to the point where it essentially just expresses what our laws already say it will significantly increase the difficulty with which these law can be changed in the future.

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