ISPs could be targeted if leaked proposals on copyright infringement and counterfeit goods is ratified
Opposition is growing to proposals on tackling counterfeit goods and copyright infringement. Consumer and civil liberties groups, as well as trade organisations, say measures proposed during secret trade talks threaten to undermine people's rights.
US government documents have been leaked from talks about the Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement (ACTA). This agreement is meant to be “about tackling activities pursued by criminal organisations”, but the documents show that proposals could go much further.
Euroispa, the European trade body for internet service providers (ISPs), said it is clear that the discussions now involve placing ISPs directly in the battle against online copyright infringement.
EU laws currently protect ISPs from liability for the use of their networks; at least until a network owner is informed about illegal activity being conducted.
Euroispa said this could be about to change. Malcolm Hutty, the organisation’s president said: “This agreement would have a negative impact on internet users without having an appreciable impact on fighting illicit use of copyrighted material.”
The negotiations are taking place privately, outside of the more transparent structures of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) or the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the more common venues for such trade talks.
Civil rights group La Quadrature du Net warned that the proposals also include criminal sanctions.
Jérémie Zimmermann of the organisation warned: “It is all being done in secret with no democratic oversight at all.”
Consumer and civil rights organisations around the world have written to the European Parliament to protest the clauses clauses in ACTA.
The European Commission (EC) is expected to respond to the proposals by 17 December.
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