Secret negotiations will kill the internet.

Here’s a really informative timeline put together by Micheal Geist about the ACTA Treaty.

This treaty is supposed to deal with anti counterfeiting (starting with things like handbags) but has expanded to include a chapter on the internet. Looks like they are trying to get the hated DMCA rolled out around the world. It also looks like they are trying to insert a “three strikes and you’re out” provision for alleged file sharers. Of course, most file sharers are “caught” by extremely suspect technological means.

And this is all being done in complete secret.

You are not allowed to know what the various provisions are. You are not allowed to have input on what the law will be. This is a classic case of backdoor legislation, just like the DMCA, which was imposed on the US as a part of conforming to the WIPO Treaty. When an interest group cannot get laws passed in their own country, they get it into an international treaty and then turn around and say “Sorry, duly elected representatives of a sovereign nation, it’s a treaty, we have to abide by it…” US companies tried to push ACTA style provisions onto the rest of the world through WIPO a while back but were roundly rejected, so now they want to give it its own infrastructure and enforcement code.

Let’s not forget that this is a copyright treaty. It’s not about life and death stuff like spies and nuclear secrets and terrorism. It’s about copyright. Who (what, when, where, how) gets punished for making a fake Prada hadbag, or a fake Rolex, or filming a movie with a cam in a theatre. It’s about making money off those transgressions. So why are we not allowed to see the proposed provisions of the treaty? Are people’s lives in danger if I know what the new rules will be?

And how will it affect the countries which have not volunteered to be part of it? Will they be told, at some point, “Sorry, you are not living up to “world standards” as regards copyright, so we won’t be helping you out with development aid”. “No anti-retrovirals for you, you are sending too many movies (badly filmed, with awful sound) to be sold on the streets of NYC”.


Short vid of Geist explaining ACTA to date