The Electronic Frontier Foundation has been trying to make us aware of the issues:
Major announcements from the US and Canada today give a clear indication that the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is coming back with a vengeance. ACTA is an agreement negotiated and signed by 11 countries, carrying intellectual property (IP) provisions that would negatively impact digital rights and innovation by ratcheting up IP enforcement measures beyond existing international standards. It will not take effect until six countries ratify the agreement, and Japan is so far the only country to have done so.
The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) posted its 2013 Trade Policy Agenda and 2012 Trade Policy Report, which covers all of its ongoing negotiations over trade agreements. It reports that the US is working with Japan and other negotiating parties “to ensure that ACTA can come into force as soon as possible,” and encourages Canada “to meet its [ACTA] obligations.”
Canada did not miss a beat to satisfy this demand. The Canadian government introduced a bill today to make Canada compliant with provisions of ACTA, paving the way for its eventual ratification. Among the provisions outlined within the 52-page bill are increased criminalization of copyright and trademark law as well as a new authority for Canadian customs officials to seize and destroy goods they can determine to be “counterfeit or pirated goods” without any judicial oversight. Please Read More…
It’s the part about No Judicial Oversight that made me mark it red. As someone who lives less than 60 miles from the Canadian Border I feel this is very controversial. While this specifically deals with Copyright and trademark agreements, copyrights can be very broad in nature. For instance the issue last week when Canadian Officials Seized the Boat of an American Citizen because he would not sign a document which stated the wrong amount of the sale, due to the CAN instead of the $$ being used to indicate currency I am sure there were copyright parts on the engine of that boat/ship if not in other places, which I am sure there were also, it was a custom boat, there’s surely some logo’s and copyrights attached to it.
In another related document from the EFF the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), we have blogged about for over a year now, is gaining in stakeholders…read on…
The 16th round of negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP)
began in Singapore today, as trade delegates and private stakeholders from 11 participating countries gather to discuss this the contours of Pacific trade. EFF and many others are deeply concerned about TPP, because it appears to contain an intellectual property (IP) chapter that would ratchet up IP enforcement at the expense of digital rights. The TPP could turn Internet Service Providers into copyright cops, prompt ever-higher criminal and civil penalties for sharing content, and expand protections for Digital Rights Management. The Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) has announced that they plan to complete the TPP by the fall of this year.
We say “appears to contain” because the negotiations have been carried out in secret: our understanding of the U.S. proposal is based primarily on leaked texts from February 2011. However, there have been some additional leaks, like those following the USTR announcement that the TPP would include exceptions and limitations to copyright. Despite the USTR’s effort to suggest that introducing fair use into the TPP was its idea, the leaked negotiating text made it clear that the U.S. was likely pressured into agreeing to exceptions and limitations as a concession. The leak also showed that the U.S. and Australia opposed any fair use that would extend to the “digital environment.” Thus, it appears the USTR continues to lobby for ever more stringent international IP standards without much regard for the collateral damage to the public interest.
As the deadline for concluding the TPP is fast approaching, it’s likely that they’ll be attempting to resolve disagreements in the IP language this round. Guess who won’t be part of that resolution? Yep: civil society.
What makes TPP—and in fact any trade agreement that carries copyright provisions—dangerous for Internet users is that IP enforcement is only one issue out of many others that are being negotiated within these agreements. Read More….
The EU’s free trade agreements – where are we?
Over the next two years, 90% of world demand will be generated outside the EU. That’s why it is a key priority for the EU to open up more market opportunities for European businesses by negotiating new Free Trade Agreements with key countries. If we were to complete all our current free trade talks tomorrow, we’d be adding to the EU economy 2.2% to our GDP, or €275 billion. This is equivalent to adding a country as big as Austria or Denmark to the EU economy. In terms of jobs, they could generate 2.2 million new jobs or 1% of the EU total workforce. Here is an overview of the most important free trade deals currently under negotiation or under consideration.
Forthcoming negotiations or under consideration
High-Level Working Group for Growth and Jobs and launch of negotiations with the United States of America – The EU and US have decided on 13 February 2013 to initiate the internal procedures necessary to launch negotiations on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, based on the recommendations of the High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth. In terms of size, the EU-US trade relationship is the biggest in the world, with around €2 billion of goods and services traded every day between the European Union and the United States. The EU and the US economies account together for about half the entire world GDP and for nearly a third of world trade flows (MEMO/13/95).
Mandate to open trade negotiations with Japan – On 29 November 2012, the EU Member States mandated the Commission to open free trade negotiations with Japan (MEMO/12/930).
An FTA could increase the EU’s GDP by almost one percentage point and boost EU exports to Japan by one third. 400,000 additional jobs are expected as a result of this deal – in the EU alone. The Commission is fully aware of concerns among certain Member States, notably related to non-tariff barriers in Japan. This is exactly why the Commission agreed with Japan– even before potential negotiations started – that Europe can ‘pull the plug’ on negotiations after one year if Japan does not show evidence of removing certain non-tariff barriers in that 12 month period.
Japan is the EU’s second biggest trading partner in Asia, after China. Together the EU and Japan account for more than a third of world GDP.
Southern Mediterranean (Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia) – In December 2011 the Council adopted negotiating directives for Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas (DCFTAs) with Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia, to “upgrade” the current trade agreements with these countries. The Council agreed on 29 November that the Commission could start negotiations with Morocco soon.
Canada – Negotiations for an EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) started in May 2009 and are now in their final stretch. EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht and Canadian Trade Minister Ed Fast met in Ottawa on 6-7 February 2013. Progress was made but there are still some important gaps to be bridged before an agreement is reached. Both sides’ chief negotiators are expected to meet again in the coming weeks to prepare to the extent possible the way towards political conclusion. Canada is the EU’s eleventh most important trading partner whereas the EU is Canada’s second-largest trading partner, after the United States. The value of bilateral trade in goods between the EU Read more:…