First battle won – ACTA text to be released

The ACTA countries have agreed to release the draft ACTA text after the latest round of talks conclude in Wellington.

This is an important victory for the principles of open democracy – our government shouldn’t be negotiating treaties in secret that take away our rights.

However, making the ACTA text available for criticism and comment is only the first step. The battle about the substance of the treaty now begins. The statement also included the following claims:

  • ACTA will not interfere with a signatory’s ability to respect its citizens’ fundamental rights and liberties, and will be consistent with the WTO Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) and will respect the Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health.
  • There is no proposal to oblige ACTA participants to require border authorities to search travellers’ baggage or their personal electronic devices for infringing materials. In addition, ACTA will not address the cross-border transit of legitimate generic medicines.
  • While the participants recognise the importance of responding effectively to the challenge of Internet piracy, they confirmed that no participant is proposing to require governments to mandate a ‘graduated response’ or ‘three strikes’ approach to copyright infringement on the Internet.

It is our opinion that these statements were not true of the most recently leaked text; we look forward to seeing the current version of the draft treaty.