Calling out misreporting about ACTACalling out misreporting about ACTA

As I have pointed out before on several occasions, there is a lot of inaccurate reporting about ACTA. In some cases, the misreporting is done by people who are intimately familiar with the actual text of the publically available draft treaty documents. In other cases, the misreporting results from relying on those widely disseminated inaccurate secondary sources. 

A case in point is recent article published by the Ottawa Citizen  and other Canwest newspapers such as the Montreal Gazette , Edmonton Journal, Calgary Herald, Windsor Star, and the Vancouver Sun dealing with ACTA.

More hype than facts about ACTA from its criticsMore hype than facts about ACTA from its critics

The internet is lighting up again with opposition to the ACTA as negotiations on the trade agreement resume in New Zealand. Notwithstanding that much about the treaty is now known from well publicized leaks, its critics continue to try and slag it with misinformation and biased criticism.

Consider the following summary by Prof. Geist in yesterday’s Toronto Star article which was re-published in his blog this morning. Prof. Geist says:

“the text confirmed many fears about the substance of ACTA. If adopted in its current form, the treaty would have a significant impact on the Internet, leading some countries to adopt three-strikes-and-you’re-out policies that terminate subscriber access due to infringement allegations, increasing legal protection for digital locks, mandating new injunction powers, implementing statutory damages provisions worldwide, and engaging in widespread data sharing across national borders.”

A reply to ACTA criticsA reply to ACTA critics

Last week was another busy week for developments in ACTA. There were meetings in Mexico by representatives from Canada and its key trading partners to further flesh out how to address the worldwide problems with counterfeiting and piracy. Meanwhile, anti-copyright critics were busy filling the blogosphere and press attacking the proposed treaty.

Of course, the actual text of the treaty is not know by the public. So commentators have relied on their interpretations of leaked documents to try and derail it.

The costs and benefits of graduated response in copyright enforcementThe costs and benefits of graduated response in copyright enforcement

There recently has been a debate over the economic costs and benefits behind graduated response systems aimed at reducing online file sharing. Professor Geist, for example, recently posted a blog estimating the costs of a graduated response system. I believe the topic of the costs and benefits of graduated response mechanisms is an important one. Let us take a closer look at this topic and the assertion that graduated response cannot be justified because of its costs.

Until now, the roll-out of the Internet, which has contributed to the mass consumption of digital equipment at the end-user level, has ensured that digital information is the universal means through which the whole planet can easily communicate.

Getting the straight goods on ACTA, check your sourcesGetting the straight goods on ACTA, check your sources

There has been a lot written about what ACTA might finally look like. A good deal of it is intended to tarnish ACTA based on misleading interpretions of what is currently known. I discussed this in a recent post, Fear Mongering and Misinformation Used to Slag ACTA.

Another recent blog posting, Talking About Nerd Stuff: RE: Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, reviewed some of the anti-ACTA hype and came to the correct conclusion that simply relying on secondary and tertiary summaries of ACTA would give people a mistaken view about what is really known about the treaty.

OECD counterfeiting report misinterpreted to support myth of Canada as a low piracy countryOECD counterfeiting report misinterpreted to support myth of Canada as a low piracy country

On November 20th, the OECD published a report titled Magnitude of counterfeiting and piracy of tangible products – November 2009 update. The report is an update to a previous major study on counterfeiting undertaken by the OECD in 2008. The report confirms what has been known for a long time: that counterfeiting and piracy of tangible goods is a major impediment to global trade that is getting worse. The report estimates that global trade in counterfeit and pirated tangible goods more than doubled in this decade to approximately 250 billion US dollars in 2007, up from just over USD 100 billion in 2001.


The OECD just published an update on the magniture of counterfeiting and piracy of tangible products. The report, Magnitude of Counterfeiting and Piracy of Tangible Products-An Update, is a useful reminder of the problem and reinforces the need for a global agreement like ACTA to address the problem.

An 2008 OECD study concluded that international trade in counterfeit and pirated goods could have accounted for up to USD 200 billion in 2005. The updated estimates, based on the growth and changing composition of trade between 2005 and 2007, suggests that counterfeit and pirated goods in international trade grew steadily over the period 2000 – 2007 and could amount to up to USD 250 billion in 2007.

Fear Mongering and Misinformation Used to Slag ACTAFear Mongering and Misinformation Used to Slag ACTA

Last week saw a lot of digital ink spilled over speculation about what the Internet Chapter of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is going to contain.  Some opponents of ACTA including Prof. Geist helped to leak the contents of a two page confidential memorandum that contained a written account of an oral report on what was still being negotiated.[i]

Based on this two page preliminary document, ACTA opponents began a frenzied propaganda campaign against ACTA.  Prof. Geist led the feverish attack writing articles, blogs, tweets, giving a speech in Washington, and press and radio interviews.