No, it’s not Brad Pitt or Matt Damon, nor is it Julia Roberts (although it does come close). Because of where I work I am probably going to tread a line here. So I’m not going to give opinions, but merely share some links and quote some sources.
I read about this in Computer World (the newspaper one which arrives on my desk every Monday or so). ACTA is the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement which was brought about by all the would-be powers in the world and Mexico *chuckle*. New Zealand was in on the talks, and they said the public was involved, were the public involved? Did the Ministry invollved at the NZ Government end put out requests for submissions? At any time or place has the public been asked have their say?
For something as important as this you think they would have been. I have looked high and low, around government and private websites, and on a site I know like the back of my hand and I have found nothing.
I know negotiations are ongoing, but we’re at round 4 I think, and still the public has not been asked for their input. Maybe when we get further into it we will be. I wonder if abroad they are asking the public of other involved countries what they think of joining this treaty?
So, what would ACTA mean for New Zealanders? Bronwyn.co.nz which is the blog of Bronwyn Holloway-Smith explains quite nicely what it would mean. And not just for New Zealand, but all the countries involved. For a treaty which is supposed to protect counterfeit goods such as fake Chanel purses and parallel imported goods, it has had a bad case of the “scope creep”.
Bronwyn provided some great links, so I’ll post some here and you can have a read yourself.
- Bronwyn’s post about the ACTA
- Radio NZ podcast (with Lynn Freeman & Colin Jackson) – ACTA bit starts at 4:05
- Wikipedia.org: Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement
- Wikileaks.org: Proposed US ACTA multi-lateral intellectual property trade agreement (2007)
- med.govt.nz: Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement
- it.gen.nz: Your rights on the internet at stake
- it.gen.nz: Submission on ACTA
- acta.lemming-brothers.com: Completed submission
Okay, so I need to give an opinion. The only opinion though! And that is that a copyright holder shouldn’t be able to bypass the courts and monitor your every move – even if they can prove you are copyrighting. The police – yeah maybe, but the copyright holder? It pays to know what’s happening with Government, keep your eyes and ears open and be sure to protect your privacy rights. Engage with Government, be sure to vote, and be heard. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for the opportunity make submissions in various places.
Y’know, they do need to protect Gucci bags, and Prada bags, Rip Curl t-shirts and other counterfeited goods. I applaud that they are thinking of that. And also parallel imported stuff. Although you wonder how they can do that, and if things can really sell that cheap why don’t they sell that cheap all the time??? I’m not sure how piracy of movies and music came into it all, but I do support a move to protect the value of my Louis Vuitton.
And on a side note, a really good blog post about the RIAA and MPAA, and what would happen if we imposed the same idea of DRM onto handbags. Check out Bagbunch.com for a really great insight into why DRM just doesn’t work.