The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is a treaty being negotiated among several countries in secret, in order to bring copyright rules to the world. According to Michael Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa who focuses on tech and intellectual property law, leaks from the the most recent round of ACTA negotiations show that the U.S. is pushing for “digital lock” rules that go beyond what even U.S. courts have allowed. Digital lock rules are rules that prohibit such practices as unlocking a cell phone, and removing restrictions that might prevent you from viewing a DVD bought overseas.
Photo by Noah Hall.
The scary part about this treaty is that we’re only learning about the specifics of it through leaks, yet it will influence copyright law greatly throughout the world. While some treaties certainly require secrecy, a treaty like this reeks of our government doing the bidding of corporate interests (specifically, Hollywood and the recording industry). Do you trust government and corporate American to do the right thing behind closed doors?