What is ACTA and How It Will Affect You

Wikipedia defines ACTA as,

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is a proposed plurilateral agreement for the purpose of establishing international standards on intellectual property rights enforcement. It would establish an international legal framework for countries to join voluntarily, and would create a governing body outside international institutions such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) or the United Nations. Negotiating countries have described it as a response “to the increase in global trade of counterfeit goods and pirated copyright protected works.” The scope of ACTA includes counterfeit goods, generic medicines and copyright infringement on the Internet.

While confirming that ACTA is not a censorship bill like SOPA, the European Union (EU) has also outlined why it is supporting ACTA.

Because ACTA ensures the EU’s already high standard of protection for intellectual property goes global – protecting jobs in Europe. Because Europe is losing €8 billion annually through counterfeit goods flooding our market.

The EU has conducted a research according to which, international trade of counterfeit goods has seen a growth higher than the GDP of over 150 countries, between 2000 and 2007.

Where does ACTA stand currently?

ACTA has gathered the interest of Australia, Canada, the European Union, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland and the United States. All of these countries except the European Union, Switzerland and Mexico had signed the ACTA agreement by December 2011. The EU signed ACTA recently on 26 January, this year.

ACTA has provisions for criminal enforcement of its laws, and the decision of implementing ACTA is still on hold with the European Parliament, where the act will be discussed and a formal conclusion of consent will mark the finalization of the agreement.

The final text of ACTA is available at this [direct link to PDF file] link.

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Chinmoy Kanjilal

Chinmoy Kanjilal is a FOSS enthusiast and evangelist. He is passionate about Android. Security exploits turn him on and he loves to tinker with computer networks. He rants occasionally at TomsVPN.com. You can connect with him on Twitter @ckandroid.