New ACTA leaks have emerged this week that fill in the blanks about the remainder of the still-secret treaty. While earlier leaks provided extensive detail on the Internet and civil enforcement chapters, these latest leaks shed new light into the criminal enforcement section, the chapter on ACTA institutional issues, and international cooperation.Translation for non-wonks: Historically, developing countries have asked the UN's World Intellectual Property Organization for "technical assistance" with their copyright laws. This has usually amounted to "Create copyright laws that will make it easier for rich countries to get richer," but in the past several of years, WIPO has found itself with a large cadre of public interest activists and now, WIPO is working on a treaty on its "Development Agenda" to figure out a copyright system that serves humanitarian goals, too (for example, by making it legal for archivists and educators to work together to translated and adapt works that have different copyright rules in different countries).
The international cooperation chapter includes extensive provisions on capacity building and technical assistance. This is noteworthy since it (1) confirms the vision that developing countries will ultimately be pressured to join ACTA and (2) represents a counter to the developing country focus at WIPO. While WIPO has typically provided this assistance, the emergence of the development agenda has promoted a more balanced approach to technical assistance in developing countries. ACTA seeks to return technical assistance to an enforcement oriented approach.
We've all known that ACTA is a way of writing copyright treaties without having to let poor countries and human rights advocates into the room. We've suspected that poor countries -- who aren't invited to the negotiations -- will be strong-armed into signing onto the treate afterwards.
This leak confirms our worst fears: ACTA throws out the pretence of justice, fairness, and humanitarianism present at the UN, for pure, naked, crony-capitalism. It's an instrument for allowing entrenched corporations from rich countries change the laws of other countries to their benefit -- and to the detriment of the people of those countries.
It's a hijacking of the world's legislative systems by private interests, abetted by the US Trade Rep.
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