Added by Erik West on October 4, 2011
Eight countries on Tuesday ratified the ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, an agreement focusing on establishing international standards for enforcing intellectual property rights in order to fight counterfeiting and piracy.
Nations that ratified the agreement at a ceremony in Tokyo are Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and the United States. Governments that have not yet signed, yet confirmed their strong support and plans to sign the deal are the European Union, Mexico, and Switzerland.
Australians Minister of Trade Craig Emerson said, “This treaty will help stem the burgeoning global trade in counterfeit and pirate materials, worth many billions annually”. Later he added, “The treaty will also help stop the unwitting purchase by consumers of low-quality counterfeit and pirated material”.
The agreement requires signing governments to create or enforce laws that make marketing devices that circumvent copyright illegal, like devices that make it possible to copy encrypted DVDs.
The accord also requires participating countries to have seizure and forfeiture laws for trademarked or copyrighted goods. The agreement also states that nations must enact laws that award monetary damages to victims of intellectual property crimes.
Australia already has comprehensive intellectual property laws that do not require legislative changes, according to Australian legal analysts.
Support for the agreement varies among experts and lawmakers from around the world, ranging from complete approval to calls to scrap the agreement because it allegedly violates human rights and other freedoms.