EU Finally Realizes The Public Is Watching CETA: Softens Criminal Provisions For Copyright Infringement

from the somewhat-encouraging dept

Last month, through all of the secrecy shrouding the Canada-EU Trade Agreement (CETA), it was revealed that the treaty called for the same criminal copyright sanctions that European citizens widely rejected when those same sanctions showed up in ACTA. This was just as people feared, and those who noticed were furious that the EU would try to quietly undo the public's ACTA victory so quickly and brazenly. Of course, the reaction to CETA is so far nowhere near the critical mass that led to the ACTA protests — but it looks like the negotiators are afraid of recent history repeating, and may just have gotten the message that they can't do whatever they want behind the public's back. TechCentral reports (found via The 1709 Blog) that more recent CETA documents reveal a weakening of the ACTA-like criminal provisions. There has even been some stance-softening from pro-ACTA powerhouse Karel De Gucht:

...according to documents from the Cyprus Presidency of the EU seen by IDG News Service, the CETA text has been greatly watered down in order to avoid a similar outcome [to ACTA]. The intellectual property protection chapter is now understood to say that countries "may" provide for criminal procedures and penalties.

Even European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht, who pushed hard for the ACTA agreement, admits that changes must be made. "Since the negative vote of the European Parliament on ACTA, we have been changing the language obviously," he said in an interview with Vieuws.eu. "We should have no illusions, there are still a number of difficult issues to tackle."

Interestingly, though, there is still a strong push for CETA to include criminal sanctions for video recording in movie theaters... championed by Canadian negotiators. We've had a specific criminal law against recording a movie without permission of the theater owner in Canada since 2007 — a law that, like many of Canada's anti-piracy efforts, was primarily the result of U.S lobbying. This is typical of U.S. tactics when it comes to intellectual property law: push your closest friends and neighbors to adopt the strictest laws possible, then put pressure on international negotiations to export those laws around the globe and enshrine them as the norm. Thankfully, these latest leaked negotiation documents suggest that the EU is against Canada's proposal.


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  1. icon
    Zakida Paul (profile), 7 Nov 2012 @ 1:53am

    They may have softened the criminal provisions but CETA still needs to be crushed as there is too much bad in there to allow one tiny microscopic fleck of good to create any support for it.

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