Leaked ACTA document reveals push for criminal sanctions

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Leaked ACTA document reveals push for criminal sanctions

Copyright infringement could be punished by jail terms.

A leaked document published by French advocacy group La Quadrature du Net shows that European Union member states are pushing for criminal sanctions to be added to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) on copyright infringement.

The ACTA Chapter 2 Criminal Provisions document (PDF) said that for criminal offences "each party shall provide for effective proportionate and dissuasive penalties" including "imprisonment and monetary fines".

The document also states that citizens could be found liable for copyright infringement if they are believed to have "incited, aided and abetted" its undertaking.

"The leaked document shows that EU member states are willing to impose prison sanctions for non-commercial uses of copyrighted works on the internet as well as for 'inciting and aiding', a notion so broad it could cover any internet service or speech questioning copyright policies," said Jérémie Zimmermann, co-founder of La Quadrature du Net.

"EU citizens should interrogate their governments about their support to policies that obviously attack freedom of speech, privacy and innovation. Around the next round of negotiations and beyond, ACTA should be restlessly combated and opposed worldwide."

The countries discussing ACTA will meet in Switzerland in the coming days to begin the ninth round of negotiations, which have been constant source of controversy.

Many groups have called for the details to be made public, and the first draft agreement angered several human rights organisations.

Peter Hustinx, the European data protection supervisor, recently spoke out against ACTA, claiming that it could prove unworkable under European Union law.

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