The public is to get an official peek at the controversial,
and largely secret, ACTA negotiations later this week.
The international talks concerning the Anti-Counterfeiting
Trade Agreement (ACTA) have been shrouded in secrecy up till now, as
participating governments (including New Zealand) have been thrashing out ways
to tackle piracy of copyright material, particularly online. The secrecy has
prompted public campaigns, including a petition started by PublicACTA to
coincide with the recent round of negotiations held in Wellington.
Now it’s been decided that the negotiating text of ACTA will
be made public, this Thursday.
Trade Minister Tim Groser welcomed the move. “New Zealand
has supported public release of the negotiating text, in response to strong
public interest, and I am pleased that we have now reached agreement with the
other participants in this negotiation,” he said. “This will make the ACTA
negotiations more accessible to the public and I hope that it will help the
process of reaching a final agreement.”
The full text of the negotiating text will be available from
www.mfat.govt.nz on Thursday April 22nd (New Zealand time).
Meanwhile, what purports to be part of the confidential
draft agreement has been leaked to the IDG news service. The document makes it
clear that internet service providers (ISPs) may be some legal responsibility
for copyright infringement. It says liability shall be limited, providing the
ISP has a policy to address the unauthorised storage or transmission of copyright
material, that it monitors such activities, and takes steps to stop them on
receipt of proper notice. The document also says governments signing the
agreement must take steps to outlaw “the manufacture, importation, or
circulation of a technology, service, device, product, component, or part
thereof” that is mainly or mostly designed to circumvent anti-copyrighting
The European Commission (EC) has also leaked some details of ACTA, saying there will be no requirement for a "three strikes" policy, as already proposed by several governments participating in the talks. Under such a policy, offenders would have their internet connection terminated after a third infringement.