09 December 2009

Is EU Parroting the ACTA Lie?

I've written several times about the trick that ACTA uses to blur the distinction between large-scale, criminal counterfeiting, and domestic, personal copyright infringement. Sadly, the EU seems to be following the same script:

In Europe, counterfeiting and piracy have a dramatic and damaging effect on business and they have the potential to become even more problematical due to the recent economic downturn and the growing range of fake products being sold. While luxury goods, fashion, music and film products have traditionally been targeted, today counterfeiting and piracy affect a wider variety of mass consumption goods such as foodstuffs, cosmetics, hygiene products, spare parts for cars, toys and various types of technical or electrical equipment. In particular, the increase in fake medicinesis of growing concern.

IPR infringements cause widespread economic harm and an increasing number of counterfeit products now pose a real threat to consumer health and safety. It is therefore in the interest of stakeholders and consumers alike to have a responsive enforcement system which is robust, proportionate and fair.

Notice how "piracy", which presumably includes file-sharing, morphs into counterfeit products that "pose a real threat to consumer health and safety" - not to mention that weasel word "proportionate"?

As La Quadrature du Net points out:

The communication calls for so-called “voluntary agreements” between rights holders and ISPs in order to fight filesharing, without prescribing the practical measures that could be implemented through such agreements. We know however that the Commission has held several meetings in the past few months with representatives of both rights holders and ISPs. Also, it seems that the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreeement (ACTA) currently negotiated at the international level could provide a basis for the strategy the Commission calls for in the communication.

All-in-all, worrying stuff that we need to keep a close eye on.

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