Pirate Party Australia has decried the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).
ACTA’s claimed objectives are the establishment of new global standards for enforcing intellectual property rights, including increased international co-operation to address counterfeiting and ‘piracy’. The European Union became a signatory to ACTA last Thursday, joining Australia, the United States, Singapore and others.
The European Union’s rapporteur on ACTA resigned over the Agreement last week, claiming that there has been “no inclusion of civil society organisations, a lack of transparency from the start of the negotiations,” and “everyone knows the ACTA agreement is problematic, whether it is its impact on civil liberties, the way it makes Internet access providers liable [and] its consequences on generic drugs manufacturing.”
The opacity of the process has been a primary concern for Pirate Party Australia. Leaked drafts showed especially draconian provisions, yet the Australian people were officially deliberately excluded from participation. “The sheer lack of public participation in an area of law that has such potentially large public interest issues […] is especially troubling for the Australian democractic process,” notes the Pirate Party’s submission. They are concerned that this has allowed ACTA to be drafted with exlusive consultation from intellectual property lobbyists, without proper public input and independent research as to the necessity and impact of the Agreement.
Pirate Party Australia has many objections to ACTA’s specfic text, such as:
- Failure to acknowledge the cultural rights of individuals;
- The lack of methodologies to establish damages in infringement cases;
- Blanket provisions that would compromise the personal privacy of anyone alleged to be involved in an infringement;
- No definition of key terms like “commercial scale” infringement is given;
- Harsh electronic rights management enforcement that prevents consumers making backup copies of their purchased media;
- The lack of independent evidence provided as a rationale for its existence; and
- Provisions that would allow the Agreement to be changed without due democratic process.
ACTA would also damage the ability for those in third-world countries to obtain generic medicines which would, if suspected to have infringed pharmaceutical patents, be seized in-transit even if the origin and destination nations were not parties to the Agreement.
Pirate Party Australia remains firmly opposed to any domestic legislation or international agreement that would toughen already unnecessarily harsh and abused intellectual property laws.
Pirate Party Australia’s submission to JSCOT can be found here: http://www.pirateparty.org.au/media/submissions/ppau-acta-submission.pdf