Saturday, January 16, 2010

ACTA: Reshaping the Internet

The Google Public Policy channel has released Google D.C. Talk: ACTA—The Global Treaty That Could Reshape the Internet, moderated by Washington Post consumer technology columnist Rob Pegoraro on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) which will have profoundly shift US policy on enforcement of copyright law. The participants in the debate were Steven J. Metalitz, a lawyer and lobbyist representing the International Intellectual Property Alliance; Jamie Love, an activist with Knowledge Ecology International; Jonathan Band, a lawyer representing a coalition of library groups and a variety of tech and Internet companies and Ryan Clough from Silicon Valley Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren's office.

The panel addresses important questions: Will ACTA preserve the existing balance in intellectual property laws, providing not just enforcement for copyright holders but also appropriate exceptions for technology creators and users? Will it undermine the legal safe harbors that have allowed virtually every Internet service to come into existence? Will it encourage governments to endorse "three strikes" penalties that would take away a user's access to the Internet?

This 90 minute video will be of interest to anyone interested in the future of copyright law. A posting at BoingBoing by Cory Doctorow, former European director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, has a number of observations about substantive questions of law, jurisdiction, economics and ethics raised in the ACTA debate stating that ACTA is a profoundly undemocratic undertaking with the public frozen out of the debate. Also worth reading is commentary at Techdirt by Mike Masnick who was present at the debate.

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