Michael Geist sez,
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.