Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Is It Time To Declare The USA An Outlaw State Yet?

The US (surprise, surprise) has circulated a draft "Discussion Paper on a Possible Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement" (ACTA) for the next G8 meeting, in Tokyo in July. The full text of the document has been published on Wikileaks (wikileaks.org).

The ACTA draft is a scary document. If a treaty based on its provisions were adopted, it would enable any border guard, in any treaty country, to check any electronic device for any content that they suspect infringes copyright laws. They need no proof, only suspicion.

They would be able to seize any device - laptop, iPod, DVD recorder, mobile phone, etc - and confiscate it or destroy anything on it, merely on suspicion. On the spot, no lawyers, no right of appeal, no nothing.
But of course it's not just Teh USA:
It is still illegal in Australia to copy a CD to another CD (only "format shifting" is allowed), or to record a TV show for any other purpose than watching it once.
Is this just another case of over-reach?
When the full details and consequences of this treaty become widely known, I believe the effect will be the opposite of what its authors intend. It contains so little understanding of the way the digital world works that the backlash against it will be massive, accelerating the inevitable death of the out-of-date business models it is vainly trying to protect.
You could say the same thing about a whole lot of Bush Agenda items, couldn't you? Have the bastards finally gone too far?