Secret copyright treaty will sideline the UN and replace it with private club of rich countries

Ever since the full text of the secret Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) leaked earlier this week, scholars and activists have been poring over the document, finding the buried bodies. Today, Michael Geist discusses the way that ACTA makes the UN copyright agency, WIPO, irrelevant, replacing it with a private members' club composed of rich countries that get to dictate information policy to poor countries.

For the past two years, most of the ACTA discussion has centered on two issues: (1) substantive concerns such as the possibility of three strikes and a renegotiation of the WIPO Internet treaties; and (2) transparency issues. The leak of the comprehensive ACTA text highlights the fact that a third issue should be part of the conversation. The text reveals that ACTA is far more than a simple trade agreement. Rather, it envisions the establishment of a super-structure that replicates many of the responsibilities currently assumed by the World Intellectual Property Organization. Given the public acknowledgement by negotiating countries that ACTA is a direct response to perceived gridlock at WIPO, some might wonder whether ACTA is ultimately designed to replace WIPO as the primary source of international IP law and policy making.

Toward an ACTA Super-Structure: How ACTA May Replace WIPO