The Internet Industry of Australia (IIA) has given its tick of approval of the recently released Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement (ACTA), praising the lack of a ‘three strikes’ rule which would have seen repeated copyright infringers barred from the internet.
"Subject to reviewing the final ACTA text, the IIA takes comfort from our initial reading that it will neither extend nor restrict the legal rights of users, ISPs, other intermediaries or content rights holders in Australia," IIA chief executive, Peter Coroneos, said in a statement.
"While we have previously voiced reservations about the lack of transparency of the ACTA process, the end result is consistent with assurances we obtained from Australia's trade negotiators - that the treaty was not intended to extend Australia's laws, nor to introduce a three strikes regime by treaty."
In the IIA’s view, the new ACTA draft sets a multi-country standard for copyright enforcement and the IIA supports the right of digital content owners to protect their originally created intellectual property.
The IIA also welcomed the government's commitment to the ACTA’s public and parliamentary scrutiny prior to ratifying any final new ACTA treaty.
Despite the endorsement by the IIA, iiNet chief regulatory officer, Steve Dalby, said comments from the Minister for the Arts, Simon Crean, that the ACTA would provide for the same strong and balanced approach to copyright enforcement that Australia already had, suggestedit wasunlikely that the ACTA would be transferred into law.
"The message I had taken out of previous releases (and now this one) is that the Australian legislation is likely to remain untouched as a result of the ACTA," Dalby told Computerworld Australia. "We are very comfortable that the law is there and available for rights holders to enforce their rights.
"The focus for the industries should now return to how to get on with business in a digital world. Making the content available to consumers in a form that suites them, at a time that is convenient and at a reasonable price that fairly remunerates the rights holder is still the main game."
In April, Dalby poured cold water on so-called “conspiracy theories” about the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).
This ACTA draft is considerably less obnoxious than previous. This draft the US attempt to export DMCA anti-circumvention rules seems to have largely failed, which is definitely a win. We are definitely pleased to see the changes to the anti-circumvention provisions - which now seem to require no changes to signatories law, so where circumvention was permitted by domestic law ACTA would still allow it.
An Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) spokespserson said the new draft was less onerous than previous drafts, however was still problematic in that it attempted to export enforcement, but ignored checks and balances such as a safe harbour provision.
"It does have one major aspect in which it is worse - it appears to be quite a bit harsher on damages. Once again, it pushes some of the worst ideas (letting the rights holder assign damages, including completely nominal lost profits), but without the range of checks and protections against overuse in TRIPS and similar," the spokesperson said.
"On the whole, the internet provisions are a lot less obnoxious than previous drafts. We still regard the ACTA process as badly flawed, and see no reason to support it, and several to oppose it, however."
As reported by Computerworld Australia the current draft of the ACTA requires each party to the ACTA must provide “adequate legal protection and effective legal remedies” against the circumvention of technological measures designed to protect the rights of authors, performers or producers of digital recordings, or phonograms.
As a result of this, and assuming the ACTA requirements were passed into Australian law, it would be illegal to market to the public a “device or product, including computer programs, or a service, as a means of circumventing an effective technological measure” – such as digital rights management (DRM).
It would also be illegal to manufacture, import, or distribute such a product or device