ACTA Draft Treaty

It seems that the “near final” draft released a few days ago has been watered down a lot from earlier leaked drafts. Expectations management? Or actual disagreements between the parties? Since ACTA was an attempt to negotiate an treaty on enforcement of principles covered by the multilateral framework in secret and among a select group of countries, we can’t (yet) be sure.

It looks like the U.S. ambition to globally impose aspect of it’s DMCA approach were thwarted. Of course, some of those provisions have already been accepted in Australian law under our Free Trade agreement with the USA.

The Ars Technica summary of the changes in the ACTA draft is an interesting guide. It concludes:

“But there are plenty of other opportunities for mischief, especially when it comes to technical details or to items like statutory damages and how they might be calculated. This is especially true since ACTA negotiators have shown the usual preference for exporting intellectual property protections while leaving limitations and fair uses up for grabs.”

True. I note in that vein that Article 2 on “Border Measures” now provides only facultative language on the own-initiative or prompted seizure of goods in transit by a Customs agency. But this is, nonetheless, a rotten idea that is full of trade harassment potential.

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