Need Something New to Protest Post-SOPA? Try ACTA

Now that the uproar over SOPA/PIPA has (temporarily) died down, the next logical target for Internet freedom activists is ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, signed today by the EU and 22 of its member countries. Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore and the US are already signatories.

Aimed at cracking down on the transborder flow of counterfeited goods (full text), ACTA will lead to intrusive border searches of electronic devices due to its anti-intellectual property theft provisions, among other horribles, opponents say. Another alleged horrible under ACTA is that ISPs will start spying on suspected infringers to give themselves legal cover under the treaty.

The first set of public protests over ACTA are taking place in...Poland, a nation that arguably has a history of successful protests. Polish government websites have been hacked to protest ACTA and Poles earlier this week took to the street with their mouths covered by anti-ACTA stickers.

Update: The EFF has this post today noting, as it has before, that ACTA is technically being considered by the Administration as a "sole executive agreement" and not a treaty that requires Congressional ratification. Therefore it might already be binding on us. But, Jack Goldsmith and Larry Lessig argue that the President probably has no independent constitutional authority over intellectual property - under the Constitution, only Congress can regulate intellectual property matters.


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