A brief report from the European Commission authored by Pedro Velasco Martins (an EU negotiator) on the most recent round of ACTA negotiations in Guadalajara, Mexico has leaked, providing new information on the substance of the talks, how countries are addressing the transparency concerns, and plans for future negotiations. The document notes that the Mexico talks were a "long meeting with detailed technical discussions, which allowed progress, but parties not yet ready for major concessions. Due to lack of time, internet discussions could not be concluded."
Start first with plans for future talks. Round 8 of the ACTA negotiations, which will be held in Wellington, New Zealand, are apparently now scheduled for April 12 to 16th. Countries plan a five-day round - the longest yet - with detailed discussions on the Internet provisions, civil enforcement, border measures, and penal provisions. Moreover, Round 9 will take place in Geneva, possibly during the week of June 7th. This aggressive negotiation schedule - three rounds of talks in six months - points to the pressure to conclude ACTA in 2010.
Secondly, transparency. The leaked document reveals that the summary document on ACTA is currently being updated by Canada and Switzerland, with release likely in March. The new document will deny rumours about iPod searching border guards and mandatory three strikes policies. There is no agreement about releasing the ACTA text, however (though more European Union members states favour its release). New Zealand is considering a stakeholder meeting during the next round in April as part of the transparency effort.
Third, the substance of the talks. The three main areas of substantive discussion were civil enforcement, border measures (called customs by the EC), and the Internet provisions.
The “Freedom of Panorama” is the right to take pictures in public spaces, even if you incidentally capture copyrighted works, from building facades to public sculptures to images on t-shirts and ads — and on July 9, the EU will vote whether to abolish it.
This is the day that Congress votes on whether to give “fast track authority” on the secretive Trans Pacific Partnership, ending any meaningful debate about a treaty that will prohibit America from passing environmental, labor and Internet laws that interfere with multinational corporate profits.
Ed from the Open Rights Group writes, “The Conservatives have won an absolute majority in the General Election. The Home Secretary Theresa May has already said that she will use this majority to pass a new Snoopers’ Charter.”
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