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Want to escape ACTA? Move to China

Google may have jumped the gun

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Google has become the first major tech company to express concern about the Lizard People's ACTA Treaty. This isn't surprising. As the world's de facto governing body for all-matters-internet, Google doesn't like somebody muscling in on its patch. There's only one way to settle this, as Harry Hill might say.

"We're concerned ACTA could rewrite laws that have made the Internet a platform for economic growth, creativity and free expression," the Chocolate Factory said in a statement. It's particularly concerned about the expense of countries implementing a DMCA-style takedown regime.

As we pointed out yesterday, whatever tumbles out of the Counterfeiting Talks is voluntary, most of it deals with fertilisers and jeans, and the UK and Ireland are likely to ignore it - having knocked themselves out with their own online copyright legislation. If you're concerned about undemocratic supranational governance, and it's a reasonable concern, there are more obvious candidates.

But critics have pointed out there's a straightforward way to evade ACTA - simply move the operations to a country unlikely ever to implement the Treaty. Nations taking part include the USA, EU members, Japan and Korea, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland, and Australia. But participation doesn't mean cooperation or consent. The list also includes Canada, but Canada hasn't even implemented the 1996 WIPO provisions, which unlike ACTA are binding.

That leaves about 160 countries where a Facebook or a Google could choose to relocate. The safest, of course, being China. The People's Republic is unlikely to ever implement ACTA, and provides a "safe harbour" for any technology company fleeing copyright law.

Perhaps Google ought to rethink its China policy. Or get a Season Pass. ®

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