ACTA will force your ISP to censor your work if someone lodges an unsupported trademark claim

New revelations on ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), a secretive global copyright being privately negotiated by rich countries away from the UN: ACTA will require ISPs to police trademarks the way they currently police copyright. That means that if someone accuses you of violating a trademark with a web-page, blog-post, video, tweet, etc, your ISP will be required to nuke your material without any further proof, or be found to be responsible for any trademark violations along with you. And of course, trademark violations are much harder to verify than copyright violations, since they often hinge on complex, fact-intensive components like tarnishment, dilution and genericization. Meaning that ISPs are that much more likely to simply take all complaints at face-value, leading to even more easy censorship of the Internet with nothing more than a trumped-up trademark claim.
At first glance, the leak suggests intermediaries such as ISPs and search engine portals may now be liable for trademark infringements by their account holders - unless there are clear exceptions such as the Safe Harbour provisions available under the Copyright Act regulations.

Professor Anna George, adjunct professor at Murdoch University and former DFAT negotiator on WTO TRIPS and the digital economy chapters of the US-Australia Free Trade Agreement, believed such a change would potentially be bad news for Australia's trade relations.

ACTA: ISPs could be liable for trademark infringements (Thanks, NeilM!)


  1. On the other hand, what a great way to silence all criticism of corporations! Want to complain about that soft drink you purchased from [redacted brand name here]? Good luck!

  2. I’m getting tired of this crap. Let’s pool our money and build a new internet.

    Instead of the inefficient, bureaucratic, corporation-botched nightmare that is the current wiring infrastructure, we start from the ground up to build an entirely new grid.

    Think of all the rent people pay to access the existing corporate internet. Imagine how much money all those users could pool together – all the overage you’d get if you took away the profit margins of the corporate structure. Take all those funds, and use them to build an accessible, open, efficient and secure infrastructure, with uniform and logical standards and freedom from censorship and private agendas. Nominate Carl Malamud to orchestrate the whole thing to boot.

    ~D. Walker

  3. are you thinking DIY wireless mesh networking? The more people who hop on board, the more valuable it will be to all of us.

    I’m sure the current ISPs would lobby to have the technology banned before we got too far.

    1. The spectrum that could have readily done that was already auctioned away to telcos, cheap, forever, to make sure that wasnt going to happen.

  4. Nuts, pure and simple. Its funny how every day seems to bring more and more proof that the predictions of das kapital where/are spot on. Neo-classical/political economic thinking is going to drive the world into chaos unless this shit stops here and now.

  5. As Deleuze and Guattari said, all lines of flight eventually become black holes. Areas of freedom are recolonized, and the Internet is likely to go the way of FM radio, or, to broaden the scope of discussion, Marxism, Christianity, or any way of liberation.

  6. If the USA can fail to ratify treaties on curbing climate change, banning land mines and protecting human rights – surely we can also fail to ratify this one. Onward to fail!

  7. I can’t help but think there’s a creative opportunity here.

    Might I suggest the “Not Quite Redacted” awards, given yearly for the blog, ‘zine or other publication which sailed as close to the margin of defamatory comment or derogatory usage of, say, the Golden Arches, as possible without getting the torpedo from their ISP?

    By the same token, let’s arrange a sort of trademark denial of service attack on corporate lawyers by setting up phantom blogs and spamming the bejesus out of the whole “violating trademark” thing. If we keep at it, maybe we could cripple the legal departments of these big old corps through accumulation of overtime or overwork-related illness.

    Now I’m wondering if lawyers earn overtime.

  8. Well, I think there is an obvious solution.

    First build a botnet or organize some large internet group.

    Second, go to every website owned by the following:
    1)Anything owned by someone who helped make the ACTA.
    2)Anything owned by a member of the RIAA
    3)Anything owned by the MPAA
    4)Anything owned by your ISP

    Third, accuse them of infringing on your copyrights.

    1-3 is showing that we will fight back, while 4 might help point out to the ISPs that they might not need to be a part of this.

  9. “That means that if someone accuses you of violating a trademark with a web-page, blog-post, video, tweet, etc, your ISP will be required to nuke your material without any further proof…”

    I simply cannot think of any way that could ever be abused.

  10. @Anon: Exactly! I was just goint to add a suggestion to that same effect. I’m looking forward to this! It will become a sport to lock out all those companies who contributed to ACTA from the Internet! Some obviously will need to be tought the hard way, but once we start locking out government agencies etc., it will be fun to see, how quickly this thing will crumble to pieces!

  11. our children will envy us for the age golden age of information we had and let slip because we were too lazy to do anything at all.

    this has passed the point of infuriating.
    now its just sad.
    I think there have never been more movie/music/videogame/self taught encyclopedics -is that the word?- as there are now.

    The need to undermine ourselves is just too big. Copy right NEEDS to die, for the better of our kind. Imagine what would happen to healthcare with an open-source mind!

    The new philosophers should come forth and start wrecking the innards of this power structures now. Timing is perfect. I’d lov to see what foucault would say about this situation.

  12. Just like the “Doomsday clock” that we have to tell us how close we are to world destruction, I believe it is time we have a “Nineteen Eighty-Four clock” to tell us how close we are to living in “Oceania” alongside a certain Winston Smith. And I had thought George Orwell was writing a fictional novel, guess my assumption was wrong, he was predicting the future.

  13. Just two weeks ago, some idiot (the same guy who recently tried to trademark “SEO”, the 2nd such idiot to try this) accused me of trademark infringment because I listed his website URL and company name on my SEO Hall of Shame page. The idea that his totally absurd claim, which has no basis in any US law, could result in my hosting service taking down some or all of my website (from which I make my living) is absolutely terrifying. Even if I eventually was able to get it back up after a lawyer demonstrated the baselessness of the claim, I lose my income source for the duration of it being offline.

  14. OMFG!! Everyone send in trademark complaints about every new film/tv show/song ect.ect.ect and watch them abandon it faster than a Nun in a Brothel.

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