“What do you think of ACTA?”

At a seminar I was presenting at Northumbria University on Tuesday, I was asked by a Masters student what I thought of ACTA.  “Hmmm…”, I replied.  “That would depend on what ACTA is”.  It turns out that this is something that has been big news in the EU recently but not widely picked up on here, but just happened to pop up in an update last night from our chum Jeremy at www.ipkat.com.

“ACTA” stands for the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, an international agreement that, the general view seems to be, permit rightsholders to censure free speech on the internet.  “Not so”, says EU Commissioner Karel De Gucht.  “But just to be sure, we’re going to let the ECJ have a chance to review it first before we start putting it into action”.  Well, he didn’t quite say that, but that was his sentiment.  You can read his actual words here:  but we should warn you, it’s not for the lighthearted.

As for ACTA itself, make up your own mind by examining the text of the draft agreement, although 52 pages later, you might find yourself reflecting on the Commissioner’s view that this agreement doesn’t actually change anything in European IP law.  You have to ask yourself, if, in fact, it doesn’t change anything, why create it in the first place?

I haven’t read it – yet – but sooner or later I will and I’ll give you a view, if you’re still interested…