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The European Parliament is fed up with the secrecy surrounding the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). Today, representatives from all the major parliamentary coalitions introduced a resolution demanding that the European Commission release all negotiating texts, inform Parliament about the negotiating process, and absolutely refuse to countenance any sort of "three strikes" Internet disconnection penalty for online copyright infringement. The measure comes up for a vote tomorrow and looks set to pass—it has the support of all the important groups in Parliament, including the EPP, S&D, ALDE, and the Greens/EFA.
The leaks keep coming for the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). A new leak from Europe has revealed the inner workings of the negotiating process through a 40+ page document showing each country's positions on key provisions of the treaty.
Earlier this week, we noted that the major parties in the European Parliament had all agreed on a resolution trashing the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and the secret process that has been hashing it out.
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) isn't just another secret treaty—it's a way of life. If ACTA passes in anything like its current form, it will create an entirely new international secretariat to administer and extend the agreement. Knowledge Ecology International got its hands on more of the leaked ACTA text this week , including a chapter on "Institutional Arrangements" that has not leaked before. The chapter makes clear that ACTA will be far more than a standard trade agreement; it appears to be nothing less than an attempt to make a new international institution that will handle some of the duties of groups like the WTO and WIPO. Why bother? Well, from the perspective of countries like the US, the existing institutions have problems.
Harvard Law School professors Lawrence Lessig and Jack Goldsmith took to the op-ed page of the Washington Post today to slam the Obama administration's approach to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)—and to threaten a lawsuit if ACTA is signed without Congressional oversight. The US has positioned ACTA as an executive agreement rather than a treaty. Such a move means that ACTA doesn't need Senate approval, but it also means that the agreement should not alter US law, either. If you want to change the law, you go to Congress.
We've been covering the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) for two years now , and in that entire 24 month period no official text of the agreement has been released. Remarkable, really, given the intense scrutiny, but there you have it. Today, that all changed as the countries behind ACTA finally released a consolidated draft text (PDF) of the agreement. Though billed as a "trade agreement" about "counterfeiting," ACTA is much more than that: it's an intellectual property treaty in disguise.
Ars has already dived deep into the bowels of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) , and our findings were about as pretty as that metaphor suggests.
No one likes having their personal information posted online by someone else, and a new bill introduced by House Representative Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI) aims to give users a way to send DMCA-like takedowns in order to get it removed.
Now here's an interesting claim: had net neutrality been the law of the land several years back, we might not have the iPhone. It's an idea buried in Bret "Exacloud" Swanson's recent comments to the FCC on net neutrality.
Pop quiz: what organization recently provided the following quotes on "graduated response" to the White House's Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, Victoria Espinel? "Private entities are not created or meant to conduct the law enforcement and judicial balancing act that would be required; they are not charged with sitting in judgment of facts; and they are not empowered to punish alleged criminals without a court order or other government sanction.
Speaking before a Senate Commerce Committee hearing , Chair Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) warned that Congress needs to take a "hard look" at whether the nation's privacy law for children on Internet sites "should be updated to cover new kinds of information and new businesses."
The net neutrality troops are up in arms over a Washington Post report suggesting that the Federal Communications Commission wants to throw in the towel, more or less, when it comes to regulating ISPs like Comcast. Sources at the agency have told the Post 's Cecilia Kang that FCC Chair Julius Genachowski "wants to keep broadband services deregulated," presumably standing pat following a DC Court decision striking down the agency's 2008 rebuke of Comcast for P2P throttling. Genachowski "is leaning toward keeping in place the current regulatory framework for broadband services but making some changes that would still bolster the FCC's chances of overseeing some broadband policies," according to the article.
Major Internet privacy legislation was unveiled today (PDF) by Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) and Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL).
After almost two years of deliberation, the Federal Communications Commission has granted Hollywood and cable companies permission to shut down analog streams to HDTV equipped home theaters. The geek term for this is "selectable output control" (SOC)—until now forbidden by the FCC. The Motion Picture Association of America requested a waiver on the SOC ban in May of 2008, arguing that without it, Hollywood studios could not securely offer consumers pre-DVD released movies on television.
A slew of House Democrats have sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission warning the agency not to go forward with its plan to partially reclassify ISPs as common carriers, a move needed to impose net neutrality rules. "The uncertainty this proposal creates will jeopardize jobs and deter needed investment for years to come," wrote Texas Congressman Gene Green on Monday. "The significant regulatory impact of reclassifying broadband service is not something that should be taken lightly and should not be done without additional direction from Congress."