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ACTA draft falls from skies

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The EU has published a final draft of the international counterfeiting treaty on behalf of the WTO. The process has been underway since 2007, and this version will become final, pending legal review.

It's principally aimed at commercial pirates and traders who counterfeit fashion goods and DVDs on an industrial scale - a formidable black economy that's sometimes indistinguishable from organised crime. And what gangster wouldn't want this in their 'portfolio'? Fake perfume smells a lot nicer than the waste disposal business.

ACTA also strays into trademarks and internet policy. The Union was an observer in the proceedings, and doesn't expect to do much with it.

"ACTA will not change the body of EU law as it is already considerably more advanced than the current international standards," it said last month (pdf), citing a bunch of legislation including the Commerce Directive the Copyright Directive, and IPR regulations and directives. Nation states such as the UK and France are even further down the line.

Australia confirmed it had no need to change its law, either, welcoming the clarifying of language to target "commercial scale" counterfeiting operations.

Over the past year ACTA has provoked much bin-shouting on the interwebs - based on a fairly simple misunderstanding of what it is. Unlike most of the WTO's agreements which are multilateral and therefore binding, ACTA is plurilateral, and voluntary. That hasn't stopped bloggers bloviating about dark conspiracies.

But then that's activist copyright bloggers for you. They seem to need to live in a perpetual state of persecution, and if something to persecute them doesn't exist, they'll just make it up. ®

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