ACTA: So What's Up With Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement Negotiations, Anyway?

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So you might have been following CISPA, and might be aware of the SOPA/PIPA shitshow that took place in Congress earlier this year, but do you know about ACTA -- the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement?

If not, don't sweat: We'll gladly get you up to speed. That's what we're here for!

So what is ACTA, you might ask?

ACTA is basically like a watered-down version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership -- that international free trade agreement that contains many strict clauses on copyright protection.

ACTA, enthusiastically backed by IP-based trades such as the entertainment and pharmaceutical industries, came to light in 2008, when Wikileaks revealed docs corroborating its development. What ACTA aims to do is establish an independent international body for enforcing intellectual property rights -- a cohort completely separated from the World Trade Organization or United Nations.

ACTA has received much public backlash -- both because it's largely being negotiated in secret and as it's been described as a "screwjob for the global poor."

You see, the negotiations that have shaped the treaty have mainly taken place in wealthy nations, so many think that this is a way of muscling developing countries into signing an agreement that doesn't really benefit them.

TorrentFreak has just posted links to several documents which put to question European Commission members' approach to transparency during talks -- even suggesting that they went out of their way to hide developments from the citizens they represent and failed to appropriately negotiate on their behalf.

In July, ACTA will be up for a decisive vote in the European Parliament. This week, there are several more rounds of lower-level committee discussions, TorrentFreak notes.

If the EU rejects the agreement, then ACTA is "effectively dead."

So yes: That's what's going on with ACTA. We'll keep you updated with any developments.

Follow Victoria Bekiempis @vicbekiempis.

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