It's going to be a week of ACTA in Wellington, New Zealand.
- On Saturday (April 10th) we have PublicACTA organised by InternetNZ. It's a chance for people who oppose ACTA to get together and discuss how to stop it. Guest speakers include Canadian law professor Michael Geist and Australian academic Kim Weatherall.
- Then, the following week (April 12-16th) there's the latest round of the official ACTA negotiations.
Why we oppose ACTA
- We oppose the attempt to take away people's rights (due process, freedom of speech, right to own and use property) in an attempt to protect the business models of the big media and pharmaceutical industries.
- We oppose the secrecy around the ACTA negotiations. Democratic societies should debate their laws in public.
- We oppose the way that the ACTA treaty is an attempt to legislate by treaty, avoiding the normal democratic process in each of the participating countries.
Tech Liberty articles about ACTA
- ACTA and the New Copyright Deal
- ACTA - The NZ Official Information Act Requests
- Media Release: New Zealand has no place in anti-democratic ACTA negotiations
- IP: Singing from the Same Songbook
- Tech Liberty's submission to the Ministry of Economic Development about digital enforcement in ACTA.
The Ministry of Economic Development asked for submissions about the Digital Enforcement Provisions in the ACTA treaty.
While we object to New Zealand's participation in the treaty, we still thought it was worthwhile to respond. The full text follows (headings correspond to those in the request for submissions), but the 8 recommendations we made are:
- The ACTA treaty should note that ISPs are not liable for the actions of their users.
- That ACTA includes a "notice and counter-notice" regime where complainants can pay ISPs to deliver a notice to the account holder for an IP address at a particular time, and the ISP can pass responses back to the complainant.
- That ACTA specifies that complainants should be able to obtain the identity of a user from the ISP only after a court order has been obtained.
- That ACTA makes no attempt to encourage mutually supportive relationships between ISPs and rights holders.
- That ACTA should recognise that anti-TPM measures have a useful and lawful purpose.
- That ACTA should insist that participating countries allow consumer rights-holders the right to create, buy and use anti-TPM software and devices if these are used for lawful purposes.
- That ACTA should forbid the use of TPMs that limit the reasonable and customary rights of people to enjoy the use of the rights that they have purchased or otherwise legally obtained, unless the supplier also undertakes to provide unprotected versions when required.
- That ACTA should not include enforcement measures concerning the removal or modification of copyright management information.
With the leak of the full text of ACTA, complete with every nuance of positions by the various countries involved, we have the first full and complete picture of what our government is up to.
Here's five things we learnt from reading the treaty.
We've written about the unhealthy secrecy around the ACTA treaty negotiations. As New Zealanders we believe we have a right to know what our government is doing on our behalf.
We wrote to the Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to ask them some questions about ACTA under the Official Information Act. We just got our answers back (scanned PDFs of the MED letter - 3MB, MFAT letter - 3MB, and cabinet paper - 6MB) and we have to admit that we weren't very surprised to see more excuses not to release official information than we saw information.
The next round of ACTA negotiations starts on Tuesday in Guadalajara, Mexico. Representatives from each participating country, including New Zealand, will be talking further about what the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement treaty should include.
The New Zealand position
What will the New Zealand representatives be saying? Will they be supporting the inclusion of the new internet-related policies submitted by the USA at Seoul or will they be suggesting that the treaty should stick to the "counterfeiting" in its name and leave copyright for a more appropriate forum such as the World Intellectual Property Organisation?
The Ministry of Economic Development refuses to reveal draft text of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement at a briefing in Wellington today.
Ministry of Economic Development (MED) spokesperson George Wardle, at a briefing in Wellington today, said that they could not release the draft text of the treaty as all parties to the negotiation had agreed to keep it confidential. He also refused to say who in New Zealand they had consulted with and refused to reveal what New Zealand was arguing for. The Ministry of Economic Development is working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade representing New Zealand's interests in the negotiations.
Why New Zealand should withdraw from the secret and anti-democratic process around the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) treaty negotiations.
- New technology is creating challenges to copyright and therefore the content industry.
- Our copyright laws will need to change in a way that meets the requirements of everyone.
- The ACTA process is trying to use a secretive and undemocratic process to change our copyright laws to satisfy one sector.
- The New Zealand government should withdraw from the ACTA negotiations and keep to treaties that can be publicly discussed.