Monday, 6 September 2010

ACTA: Treaty without a cause?

The latest leaks on the ACTA treaty show that negotiations have gone a long way to resolving outstanding issues with some ground given by the US.. but some of the worst of the treaty still stubbornly in place. ACTA watchers are not impressed that three strikes still seems to be on the agenda, and that US led pro-DRM measures are included that go beyond the WIPO treaty and even existing US law. 
(More details from Michael Geist and Boing Boing.)

But do we really need an anti-counterfeiting treaty at all?  

Well perhaps not.  The Telegraph reports on a study that shows that the impact of counterfeiting on luxury brands isn't the disaster that it's made out to be... most consumers buying counterfeits aren't being ripped off- they know it's a fake, and they would never have bought an original.... meaning that fashion houses are not losing those sales to counterfeiting.  Counterfeiting is big business -but if it's not done to defraud who is it hurting?

The article is cited in many places... but the original report seems to be more elusive.  You can find it though at the British Journal of Criminology - with the pithy title of:
Jailhouse Frocks: Locating the Public Interest in Policing Counterfeit Luxury Fashion Goods
by David Wall & Joanna Large

Amongst other things it looks at the links between counterfeiting and organised crime ...and has an interesting section on the 'aspirational hierarchy' that binds together both the fashion houses and the counterfeiters.

Read it..  and see if you can find the public interest in ACTA....

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