[LINK] itNews: 'ACTA treaty mauled in hearings'
Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Mon Mar 26 08:12:00 EST 2012
ACTA treaty mauled in hearings
Mar 23, 2012 2:01 PM (2 days ago)
Power to rights holders is a reason not to ratify agreement, say critics.
Academics have savaged the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)
treaty over the power it affords intellectual property rights
holders during a second round of joint committee hearings in Canberra.
Associate Professor Kimberlee Weatherall said the treaty - if
ratified by Australia - would extend new powers to rights holders,
despite assurances given by the Department of Foreign Affairs and
Trade (DFAT) and representatives of the Attorney-General's office.
While she accepted that ACTA's ratification would not involve new
legislation, Weatherall said the treaty expanded the reach of
existing laws that governed commercial-scale infringements.
Laws relating to these types of infringements are currently dealt
with by individual countries per directions in the existing World
Trade Organisation agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual
Weatherall called for ratification of the ACTA to be delayed or
canned altogether on grounds including that the agreement's
provisions aren't accepted as a legitimate basis for international
intellectual property standards and that there are few benefits and
many costs for Australians in the treaty.
She also argued the treaty was tainted by narrow consultations,
redundant in the face of existing multilateral forums, and did not
counter-balance powers given to rights holders with user rights of
In addition, Weatherall said that ratification could undermine
regional relations with major trade partners that had expressed
concerns over the treaty, such as China and India.
Weatherall received some support from fellow academic Dr Hazel Moir,
who attacked the Government and DFAT for failing to outline the "net
benefit" of ratifying the treaty.
Moir said the main beneficiaries of ACTA were overseas firms and that
there was a general lack of research to support ratification of the
Moir also attacked the validity of research before the committee by
rights holders that detailed lost business and the price of
infringement on the music industry.
Meanwhile, Australian National University College of Law associate
professor Dr Matthew Rimmer attacked a DFAT National Interest
analysis [pdf] as inadequate and unsatisfactory.
He said DFAT failed to explain how mandatory and discretionary
obligations imposed by the treaty would be implemented in practice.
Rimmer also sought explanation of the so-called ACTA Committee's
ability to change rules and standards, arguing its existence could
subvert international standards and enact tougher enforcement regimes
with little external scrutiny, causing fragmentation to intellectual
Roger Clarke http://www.rogerclarke.com/
Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd 78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
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mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au http://www.xamax.com.au/
Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Law University of NSW
Visiting Professor in Computer Science Australian National University
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