Latest leaked ACTA draft reveals divisions

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Latest leaked ACTA draft reveals divisions

Is ACTA dead in the water?

Representatives of the Australian Government appear to be making good on their promise not to adjust domestic law in order to adhere to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) being negotiated between 27 countries.

The latest leaked draft of the treaty reveals deep-seeded division between member states and includes evidence that Australian negotiators are unwilling to sign on to provisions that would force laws to be changed at home.

Australian representatives - from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Attorney General's Department and IP Australia, have consistently told iTnews since March that Australia "does not seek to drive change in domestic law through ACTA."

In the latest ACTA draft leaked from the Lucern, Switzerland meeting on July 1, parties appear to disagree over whether rights holders (such as film and music companies) should be able to "apply for an injunction" against "intermediaries" such as internet service providers when "services are used by a third party to infringe an intellectual property right."

Australia was among the parties to oppose such a measure while the United States and Japan appear to be "considering its placement."

University of Queensland law lecturer Kimberlee Weatherall had previously raised concerns that such a clause would mean that a rights holder, such as AFACT, for example - could justify a court injunction against an ISP for the acts of its subscribers without having to first prove the ISP 'authorised' the actions of its subscribers.

What? No champagne?

Meanwhile, the United States and the EU are at loggerheads over whether ACTA should cover designs and "geographical indications" (such as Parmesan or Champagne) rather than being limited to copyrights and trademarks.

European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht told the European Parliament that there is "still a lot of disagreement on ACTA."

If others didn't come to the party on a wider scope it would "be a red line (for the EU)," he said.

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