After several years of informal talks and top-secret, closed-door negotiations, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement appears to be in the home stretch. The agreement — ACTA in shorthand — represents an ambitious plurilateral effort to harmonize intellectual property protections among more than three dozen major trading partners.
Digital-rights advocates worried that the agreement, which does not require congressional approval, would sneak through harsh measures to combat copyright infringement, such as a variation on the ever-controversial three-strikes rule that could cut off Internet service for users suspected of repeat offenses.
That provision didn’t make the final cut of the agreement, which offers signatories a significant degree of flexibility in implementing the enforcement measures, but critics still have their say. The final draft of ACTA is now open to the public to review, with negotiators saying only minor details remain to be worked out. Datamation takes a look.
For more than two years of closed-door negotiations among the United States and 36 other nations, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has been mired in controversy, with digital-rights groups and some Web companies fretting over the prospect of harsh and invasive new rules put in place to curb Internet piracy and other intellectual property violations.
This week, the final draft of the agreement was released to the public following the conclusion of the 11th and final round of talks last week in Tokyo, with negotiators saying that only minor details remain before the treaty is ratified.