The PublicACTA activists have been meeting in Wellington, New Zealand — site of the next round of negotiations on the secret Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement — drafting a declaration on how the next global copyright treaty should read, and how it should be negotiated.
The "Wellington Declaration" says that the world copyright treaties shouldn't be conducted behind closed doors in smoke-filled rooms, but rather in the full light of public participation at the United Nations, where copyright treaties are customarily made. The UN admits non-governmental organizations, journalists, and representatives from poor countries, while ACTA is only open to rich countries and lobbyists from powerful corporations.
The Declaration says that copyright treaties should preserve the flexibility to make unauthorised use for purposes consistent with the public interest, from criticism to education; it says that privacy should be protected in copyright law, rejecting the principle that we should all be spied upon in case we are infringing on copyright; that web-hosts and search engines should be protected from liability rather than charged with policing their users; that DRM is not part of copyright and shouldn't be in a copyright treaty; that Internet access is a human right and that disconnection from the net for accusations of infringement is disproportionate and unjust; and that damages for infringement should be reasonable. It asks that criminal sanctions for copyright be reserved for genuinely criminal acts, non casual sharing.
In short, the Wellington Declaration says a bunch of extremely sensible things that, if implemented, would give us a much better world.
Tonight, they are collecting signatures on the Declaration, and tomorrow morning, they will present it to the ACTA negotiators as they sit down to plot the world's future in New Zealand.
I've signed it. I think we all should.
(Thanks, Nat and everyone else who suggested this!)
Update: La Quadrature Du Net have an ACTA alertbox you can embed in your site that tells your readers about ACTA and how to stop it: