ACTA: protecting your internet

ACTA isn’t well-known to those who aren’t web people, true internet natives. And it should be. From ACTA, a description:

While in name it is about protecting consumers from counterfeit merchandise, the agreement is much wider in scope and addresses the regulation of Internet use by private citizens in an attempt to prevent unauthorised sharing of copyrighted works.

ACTA is being negotiated between a large group of countries in a series of secret meetings. This is a big deal. As internet use becomes more and more central to civic participation, it is becoming increasingly clear that we need to fight against attempts to attach commerce-driven barriers and traps. (It’s the secret meetings that really set me off – the lack of transparency is appalling.)

The next (secret) meeting between the countries is here in Wellington, and on Saturday a group of local web-people produced and issued the Wellington Declaration, which calls for:

  • acknowledging fair use in copyright
  • no protection for technology that limits users interaction with their own files
  • preservation of normal consumer protections and due process
  • maintaining right to privacy
  • avoiding punishment of ISPs, hosts and search engines
  • preserving access to the internet for all
  • in a copyright violation, ensuring that Courts (or equivalent) determine damages, proportionate to intent and harm
  • setting a high bar for criminal liability

This is all very important stuff. I urge you to sign the petition. It will be given to the NZ govt and they will circulate it to all countries in the negotiations. This is not an NZ issue, this is a global issue, and I hope you’ll all take a minute to add your name.

More info: the PublicACTA site

5 thoughts on “ACTA: protecting your internet”

  1. Given that online petitions are politically the most ignorable (and ignored) thing in the whole world ever, you might want to post contact information for the ministers who will be running the Wellington round so that people can lobby them directly. A direct email, or better a phone call or dead tree letter, will have vastly more effect than any number of petitions. (Electorate MPs may also be a good bet, especially opposition MPs who might be willing to make a noise about it.)

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