The following statement is attributed to Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge:
“We are pleased that after years of asking the Administration to release the draft text of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) that the public now has a look at the document. What we have seen is less detailed than some of the versions of the proposed agreement, which have been leaked over the past few months, as the leaks attributed certain proposals to specific countries, while this draft did not.
“Substantively, we remain concerned that this proposal lacks the balance that we find in U.S. copyright law, while attempting to export a regulatory regime that favors big media companies at the expense of consumers and innovators. For example, the ACTA proposal would require countries to have a mandatory third-party liability provision. Many countries don’t have such a law as the U.S. does. At the same time, the ACTA text doesn’t include provisions of U.S. law, such as the principle from the Sony Betamax case in 1984 that designing and distributing a device that is also capable of substantial noninfringing uses could not be liable for third-party infringement.
“While discussing anticircumvention issues, the measure proposes to adopt the reasons to punish someone for circumventing technological protection measures, but without the mandatory exceptions found in U.S. law. The proposed agreement only says that countries may adopt exceptions.
“In sum, while we are glad the government finally released the text, we remain concerned that the negotiators are attempting to force adoption of international copyright provisions that strongly favor large media companies, without looking out for consumers, innovation, or the barest concept of balance. The U.S. should push for a more balanced approach.”
A copy of the draft language is here.
Public Knowledge is a Washington D.C.- based public interest group working to defend consumer rights in the emerging digital culture. More information is available at http://www.publicknowledge.org
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