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ACTA: Worldwide Net restrictions without public debate

via La Quadrature du Net - For immediate release

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ACTA: Worldwide Net restrictions without public debate

*** Paris, November 12th, 2009 - Since Spring 2008, The European Union,
the United States, Japan, Canada, South Korea, Australia as well as a
few other countries have been negotiating a trade treaty aimed at
enforcing copyright and tackling counterfeited goods
(Anti-Counterfeinting Trade Agreement or ACTA). The last round of
negotiations, held in much secrecy last week in South Korea, was focused
on the enforcement of so-called "intellectual property rights" on the
Internet. La Quadrature puts together a web-dossier on ACTA and sends a
letter [1] to Christine Lagarde, French minister of the Economy, to ask
that she publicly oppose the proposal regarding Internet regulation. ***

ACTA continues its career as the most shocking circumvention of
democratic governance in the already long history of copyright and
patent regulation.
Now, an intense democratic debate is going on
regarding the issues of information and knowledge governance in the
national, European and even international arenas such as WIPO [2].
However, the interest groups and fundamentalists of property on
information, culture and knowledge are trying to find hidden paths, such
as multilateral agreements, for "cooperating" governments to push
forward their agendas in complete secrecy.

Contrary to what was previously said by the European Commission, ACTA
does seek to hinder the activities of ordinary citizens, namely that of
sharing cultural works over the network in a non-commercial purpose.
Pushed by the music and film industries, the United States Trade
Representative, who was in charge of drafting the Internet chapter [3],
made extremely worrying proposals that go way beyond the most criticized
provisions of the WIPO or TRIPS treaties. As it stands now, ACTA would
generalize the most extremist versions of anti-piracy legislation
regarding digital rights management and copyright circumvention devices.

It would also impose third party liability on Internet Service
Providers, with two important consequences:

- - In order to monitor online activities, detect and block copyright
infringements on the Internet, ISPs would have to develop Net filtering

- - ISPs would also be forced to implement three-strikes schemes under
which users would be disconnected from the Internet in case of
non-commercial sharing of copyrighted works.

"Under the pressure of narrow industrial interests, our leaders are
making a dangerous attempt to enforce the most extremist copyright
legislations by further criminalizing file-sharing and attacking the
founding principles of the Internet. It goes against all we fought for
at the French and European levels in the past months, and it is taking
place out of public scrutiny", says Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesperson for
La Quadrature du Net.

At a time when anti-filesharing legislations are more and more
criticized, at a time when the Internet is being recognized as essential
to the freedom of expression and communications, ACTA seems completely
out of the line.

"Now is not the time for copyright ayatollahs: it is time for a
fundamental change of the copyright regime that would help society reap
the full benefits of the knowledge society. Citizens all around the
world must make their voices heard and reject this daunting strategy
whose only objective is to please entertainment corporations.", urges

La Quadrature is putting together a web-dossier [4] on ACTA.
For more information on ACTA, check the site of Knowledge Ecology
International and Michael Geist's blog.

* Références *

2. See "Positive outcome reached at WIPO Advisory Committee on
Enforcement while ACTA looms in the East" http://keionline.org/node/681
3. http://www.laquadrature.net/wiki/ACTA_Draft_Internet_Chapter
4. http://www.laquadrature.net/en/acta

** About la Quadrature du Net **

La Quadrature du Net is an advocacy group that promotes the rights and
freedoms of citizens on the Internet. More specifically, It advocates
for the adaptation of French and European legislation to respect the
founding principles of the Internet, most notably the free circulation
of knowledge.

As such, La Quadrature du Net engages in public-policy debate
concerning, for instance, freedom of speech, copyright, regulation of
telecommunications and online privacy.

In addition to its advocacy work, the group also aims to foster a better
understanding of legislative processes among citizens. Through specific
and pertinent information and tools, La Quadrature du Net hopes to
encourage citizens' participation in the public debate on rights and
freedoms in the digital age.

La Quadrature du Net is supported by French, european and international
NGOs including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Open Society
Institute and Privacy International.

List of supporting organisations :

** Press contact and press room **

Jérémie Zimmermann, jz@laquadrature.net, +33 (0)615 940 675


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