Mexico signs ACTA

Mexico is the most recent country to join ACTA negotiations.

Mexico has signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in Japan, a week after the European Union parliament rejected the agreement.

ACTA has been a controversial agreement, with widespread protests and criticism around the world, and aims to combat copyright and IP issues on an international level, particularly when it comes to enforcing breaches. It covers the digital environment, but also targets counterfeit goods and generic medicines.

However, the Mexican government agency, Instituto Mexicano de la Propiedad Industrial, said the agreement does not contravene human rights in its constitution and other treaties which is a party to.

“…the application of ACTA will not generate an environment of permanent monitoring and surveillance of the daily activities carried out over the Internet, and will not be an excuse for checking or seizing computer equipment or personal audio and video players,” it said in a statement.

Mexico plans to use the agreement to combat counterfeiting and the piracy of trademarks, inventions and intellectual property more effectively.

“ACTA comes in a time when Mexico faces a serious problem of trademark counterfeiting and piracy in different industrial sectors, from clothing, athletic shoes, music and films, to items that pose a threat to consumers’ health and safety, such as drugs, alcohol, tobacco and auto parts,” Instituto Mexicano de la Propiedad Industrial said.

“…Additionally, the Mexican State shall abide by the secondary legislation that the Mexican congress passes on intellectual property matters, where the protection and safeguard of fundamental rights, such as freedom of speech, privacy, legality, due process, access to information and culture, shall always be preserved.”

Other countries currently considering ACTA include Australia, the US, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea. The European Union was recently part of the negotiations. However, the European Union rejection of ACTA means it cannot be introduced in the European Union or any of its states.

The agreement still needs to be ratified by Mexico's parliament. However, ACTA’s future in Mexico remains uncertain, with a congressman stating in 2010 reportedly stating: “it is clear that the ACTA negotiations are aimed at the excessive regulation and control of the Internet, and therefore of information and knowledge exchange”.

The agreement is also facing challenges in being introduced into Australia, with an Australian joint standing committee recently recommending it should not ratify the treaty until the Federal Government can properly assess the agreement’s economic and social costs and benefits.

Follow Stephanie McDonald on Twitter: @stephmcdonald0

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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