Secret Copyright Treaty Details Leak: ISPs Worldwide to Become Copyright Cops?

Illustration for article titled Secret Copyright Treaty Details Leak: ISPs Worldwide to Become Copyright Cops?

New negotiations for an international Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) kick off today, and this round focuses on a secretive Internet piracy plan drafted by the U.S government. No text has been released, but leaks have surfaced. It's not looking good.

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The leaks suggest that countries who sign up to the U.S promoted plan would have to force ISPs to proactively police copyright on user-generated content, cut off those accused (or face liability), and put "graduated response" clauses in customer contracts. An example of a graduated response is France's "three strikes and you're out" law. There, you get two warnings if caught sharing music or movies, then you're banned for up to two years.

This provision would mean that every country that signs up to ACTA must allow content owners such as record companies and Hollywood studios to sue ISPs for failing to stop their subscribers from illegally sharing copyright-protected material such as music and movies.

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By the way, two major sources of counterfeiting—Russia and China—aren't in the talks. If you want to get your head further around the issue, these sites do a great job of breaking it all down: [Electronic Frontier Foundation and PC World via BoingBoing]

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DISCUSSION

By policing the internet, ISPs can't have the benefit of neutral ground. By being a provider of internet services, and I mean, ONLY a medium of data transfer, they circumvent any responsibility for that content. It's not their fault if fraudulent credit card numbers are passed through their lines, copyrighted movies, child porn, terrorist plots. It's up to the police and NSA to take care of that.

Because the ISPs are all private companies, they cannot take the responsibilities of becoming a policing body. If they do so, they will fail, then they will be held accountable. If they want to take a stand and try to eliminate all naughty things on the internet, I propose they will be responsible when there are still naughty things on the internet in 5, 10, 25 years.

3 strikes you're out? Do the ISPs really want to roll the dice on that one? I know they're all about bandwidth caps, which keep their lines flowing, but I don't think they want to actually lose customers. It's the same reason they're tip-toeing their way through all this QoS and BW-Cap crap, because they want to implement new policy without ticking off their customers. The second someone gets cut under this policy, it'll make some major headlines. #secretcopyrighttreatyacta