The Pros and Cons of Introducing Acta

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The pros and cons of introducing the ACTA

It seems rather safe to call the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) the most controversial treaty of a long time. It seeks, according to its proponents, to curb the illicit trade of counterfeit goods and generic medicines, as well as ubiquitous copyright infringement[1]. That last purpose appears to be the gist of the ACTA, what with intellectual-property-based organizations such as the Motion Picture Association of America being active in its development. It is also the main reason why the treaty has been so vehemently protested by Internet users worldwide, especially in Europe. The opponents of the controversial agreement claim that not only is it simply too harsh in its impositions on the operation of the Internet, but that it would seriously threaten some basic human rights, including the right to privacy. Are the opponents being hysterical? Is it possible to talk about so controversial a law without emotions rising?

Who are the authors and the supporters of the ACTA? Little does it surprise to learn they are mostly intellectual-property holders, i.e. film and music producers, printing and pharmaceutical companies, etc. They have been waging a not very successful war on the counterfeiting of their products ever since the average Internet user got a bandwidth sufficient to transfer large amounts of data in a relatively short time. They argue the losses they and their protégées (actors, musicians, authors) experience due to piracy reach the dazzling order of millions of dollars a year. It is their view that the ACTA, with its unprecedentedly low threshold of tolerance as for what constitutes a criminal offence with respect to counterfeiting, can finally put a stop to them being robbed while the perpetrators go unpunished.

Noteworthy is the fact, however, that this view, as well as support for the ACTA, is not universal in the intellectual property community. Some of its members not only see no...
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