Saturday, 4 April 2009

Public Consultation on ACTA - in Canada

Michael Geist - who holds the Canadian Research chair in Internet and E-Commerce law has made public on his blog a copy of the Canadian governments public consultation on ACTA from 2008. It doesn't say so very much on the tabled agreement - and as it assembles 'stakeholder' views it contains a wide range of conflicting views - but it's interesting reading nevertheless.

Curiously - at various points the document uses underlining to highlight a particular opinion. Almost exclusively this is used for opinions supporting the status quo and in opposition to increased legislative powers, restriction on users rights etc. It is good to see that stakeholders a full spectrum of views are represented - but at the same time - when one is considering change shouldn't the starting point for consideration be that what we have is good enough?

Should it be remarkable to hold the view that:
  • ACTA should not increase the criminal penalties for 'counterfeiting and copyright'.
  • provisions under the agreement should not invest 'police type' search and seizure measures in private sector organisations
  • the enforcement of IPR must not preclude, replace or assume the domestic adjudication and interpretation of the scope and limits of IPRs at the judicial level
  • statutory damages for non commercial infringement should be lowered
  • ACTA should not include provisions on Technical Preventive measures or technologies to circumvent such measures.
  • obligations under ACTA should not shift liability onto Internet Sevice Providers

But then what faith can the public have in a negotiation framework that is by design outside of public scrutiny?

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