Global academics slam ACTA draft

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Global academics slam ACTA draft

U.S. University hosts forum for ACTA concerns.

A group of 90 academics and 'public interest organisations' have convened a meeting at a U.S. university to draft a statement outlining their concerns over the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

Participants met at American University's Washington College of Law last week to analyse the draft ACTA text and compose a dissenting response, which is available for review and endorsement until tomorrow (June 23) and serves to complement similar efforts in the Asia Pacific ('The Wellington Declaration') and Europe ('The EU Resolution on Transparency and State of Play of the ACTA Negotiations').

The academics' draft statement seeks to suggest that ACTA has been derailed by interests in the film and pharmaceutical industries.

"We find that the terms of the agreement threaten numerous public interests," the draft statement says.

"The proposed agreement is a deeply flawed product of a deeply flawed process.

"What started as a proposal to coordinate customs enforcement offices has morphed into a massive new international intellectual property (IP) and internet regulation with grave consequences for the global economy and governments' ability to promote and protect public interests."

The academics found that ACTA "encourages internet service providers to police users of the internet without adequate court oversight or due process" and "globalises 'anti-circumvention' provisions which threaten innovation, competition, open source business models, interoperability, copyright exceptions, and user choice."

Further, they found that ACTA "extends the powers of custom officials to search and seize a wide range of goods, including computers and other electronic devices, without adequate safeguards against unwarranted confiscations and privacy invasions."

Concerns were also raised that ACTA might "sacrifice the foundational principle that IP rights are territorial" and conflicts with existing international IP agreements.

In Australia, Federal Government representatives met with concerned stakeholders earlier this month in attempt to address concerns over the potential impact of ACTA on ISPs, search engines and citizens.

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