Friday, February 26, 2010

Impress Your Professor: ACTA - Potential Impact on Libraries?

It may seem unlikely that an international treaty called the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) would have much to do with libraries, but certain provisions regarding "Internet distribution and information technology" have given many (even even librarians) cause for concern.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation reports that one of the treaty's goals is "to create a new standard of intellectual property enforcement, above the current internationally-agreed standards in the TRIPs Agreement." Part of the controversy is that the treaty is being written and discussed in extreme secrecy by a handful of nations with only occasional, unofficial leaks regarding the proceedings. The results of the treaty, however, would most likely apply to other nations who have no say in its drafting and cannot currently even find out what's being discussed.

One of the loudest outcries over ACTA involves what is described as a "three strikes" rule that would pressure ISPs to terminate current service and ban users (either individuals or entire businesses) from Internet access over copyright law infringement and illegal repeated downloads.

Writer Cory Doctorow published an article last week where he discussed recent ACTA developments and the overarching shroud of secrecy. In a live chat on February 26, Doctorow also said that FOIA requests for more information had been denied.

Food for thought for libraries already struggling over the degree to which they should or should not police patrons' Internet use in their facilities.

1 comment:

Research Writer said...

Many institutions limit access to their online information. Making this information available will be an asset to all.

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