ACTA draft text released: nearly identical to leaks

Michael Geist sez,

As the ACTA negotiating countries promised, a draft consolidated text was released earlier today. Unlike the earlier leaked version which provided specific attribution to country positions, this official version has removed references to those positions, so the text does not state who supports which version of the text.

Today's release marks an important development that highlights the value of public pressure. As politicians and the public demanded greater transparency, the negotiating countries presumably concluded that the issue was becoming a major impediment to concluding an agreement and decided to make it available (the fact that it was already leaked and that the countries standing in the way of transparency were publicly identified were undoubtedly additional considerations). Moreover, the benefits of public pressure can also be seen in parts of the text. The near-consensus on a de minimis provision - which was not even included in the initial proposals - reflects a desire to address concerns around personal searches at the border. Similarly, the removal of the U.S. footnote on graduated response may also reflect public concern and pressure.

Public pressure has helped make ACTA marginally better, but the release of text confirms many of the fears regarding the substance of the treaty. As discussed below, it would require dramatic changes to many domestic laws with new requirements on statutory damages, injunctions, anti-circumvention rules, and ISP safe harbours. Many of these provisions are substantive copyright rules, not limited to counterfeiting (as the title of the treaty suggests) nor enforcement (as sometimes claimed).

ACTA Draft Text Released: (Nearly) Same As It Ever Was

(Thanks, Michael!)