Bonum Certa Men Certa

ACTA: More Patent Trolls, Less Democracy

“DRM is nearly always the result of a conspiracy of companies to restrict the technology available to the public. Such conspiracy should be a crime, and the executives responsible for it should be sentenced to prison.”

--Richard Stallman



ACTA is the worst thing since DMCA and it is, for a fact, far more severe than it. We covered this in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11]. Behind the ACTA stands the "copyrights cartel," as Dan Gillmor refers to it. It's obvious what the problem is (or is not). What's lesser known, however, is the impact which these abominable laws can have on patent trolls and their victims.

Here is an argument that ACTA may be fuel for patent trolls.

ACTA, a multi-lateral treaty currently being discussed secretly behind closed doors, might export the dangerous IPRED1 directive to the United States, which allow patent trolls in Europe to preventively freeze bank accounts of a company in case of "suspicion of infringement".


Under this post, ACTA is called "cheap guns for patent trolls."

According to a leaked document authored by the European Commission DG Trade, the secret ACTA treaty will reopen the debate on the liabilities of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) over content, as well as trying to achieve criminal sanctions in the EU under the French Presidency Sarkozy. France has already criminal sanctions for file sharers, and a law project on file sharing and "graduated response" has been recently passed the Senate. ACTA might also export the dangerous IPRED1 directive to the United States, which allow patent trolls in Europe to preventively freeze bank accounts of a company in case of "suspicion of infringement".


Michael Geist has already written in protest of these inhumane laws, which are discussed with no consultation whatsoever with those who are affected and those who elected decision-making 'elites'.

Earlier this year, many Canadians were taken aback by reports of a secret trade agreement that conjured up images of iPod-searching border guards and tough new penalties for every day activities. The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, currently being negotiated by Canada, the United States, Japan, the European Union, and a handful other countries, generated sufficient public concern such that then-Industry Minister Jim Prentice specifically denied any links between the treaty and proposed new legislation.

While the ACTA debate has largely disappeared from the public radar screen, the negotiations continue. Over the summer, I reported about attempts to establish a private consultation committee composed of industry groups that excluded public interest organizations. The status of the consultation committee remains unknown, but my latest technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) reports on newly obtained documents [13 MB] under the Access to Information Act that provide additional insights into the secretive nature of the negotiations as well as the results of a limited public consultation conducted by the Department of Foreign Affairs in the spring


FFII has written to demand copies of these documents.

The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) has requested 12 secret Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) documents from the EU Council. Behind closed doors, the EU, US, Japan and other countries are negotiating ACTA. The negotiating parties plan on making the ACTA text public only after the parties have agreed to it.


This is a democracy? Surely it's a farce where media companies privately conspire to take citizen's dignity away. Fight the ACTA before it fights you.

Tinfoil, skull and flag

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