Ok, I know what you are thinking…”Oh no, not another thread about ACTA and how evil, vile and disgusting it is”. Nope, not even close. The
evils of ACTA have been discussed and bantered about enough already I think. This thread is meant to be informative in so much as my limited
understanding will allow me to impart what I’ve learned on to you, the reader. I have to give some credit here to ATS member, The Redneck, for this
because he posted a copy of ACTA for us to read in another thread, which I did. In my quest to inform myself and research ACTA outside of just the
treaty itself, I came up with an enormous amount of information that I, at any rate, found terribly interesting and thought I would share it here with
you for those who may also be interested. The amount of info I found would totally bog down this thread, suffice to say this is only a small portion
of what I’ve been researching and will gladly share other information at a later date if requested.
Now, for the sake of discussion, or if you’ve never read ACTA prior to this, here is the final copy of the treaty as it has been signed by the US
and others. Copy of ACTA as signed - PDF Version
You will notice that in the ACTA treaty it mentions something called TRIPS. So what is TRIPS you ask? TRIPS stands for Agreement on Trade-Related
Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. TRIPS was created in 1995 by the World Trade Organization (WTO) of which, according to their
, there are 153 members. It is my understanding that all members of the WTO have
to be signatories of the above referenced TRIPS document. Please feel free to correct me there if I am wrong. For the purpose of discussion, here is
a copy of TRIPS as it appears on the WTO website. Text of TRIPS
. It is a rather
lengthy read and while I have given the whole thing a once over I have to admit I’ve not given it the scrutiny that I have ACTA. However, in the
cursory reading of TRIPS, I cannot help but notice similarities in wording and overall “feel” that the 2 documents possess and cannot shake the
feeling that TRIPS was used as the foundation for ACTA since it seems to tip the hat in recognition of this already established multilateral document.
Here in the last paragraph in the ACTA Preamble:
Recognizing the principles set forth in the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement
Here it is again in Article 1 of ACTA:
Nothing in this Agreement shall derogate from any obligation of a Party with
And again in Article 2, Paragraph 3 of ACTA:
The objectives and principles set forth in Part I of the TRIPS Agreement, in particular in Articles 7 and 8, shall apply,
mutatis mutandis, to this Agreement.
You can click on 'mutatis mutandis'
above to see the definition of the word in the legal world.
Not only this, but the US representative to the WTO has even said that sections of TRIPS can be found in the actual wording of the ACTA treaty. This
is just one such example:
As to Article 14.2 of the ACTA, on small consignments and personal luggage, Article 14.2 was taken from Article 60 of
the TRIPS Agreement.
As to the WIPO WCT and WPPT, ACTA implements key provisions of those treaties.
Couple that with the statements of other countries such as China and India that have dubbed ACTA as “TRIPS Plus”.
China, India to Raise
Concerns at WTO About "TRIPS-Plus" Measures, ACTA
“The idea is to raise
concerns about all the TRIPS-plus [activity] around us,” said a developing country official familiar with the issue. This includes bilateral and
regional free trade agreements and “its culmination in the form of ACTA,” the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement being negotiated among a group
of mostly developed WTO members (led by the United States and the European Union, which are actively negotiating bilaterals).
With regards to the above quote, I make the assumption they are saying that ACTA only provides a bigger set of teeth with regards to enforcement and
regulation and it’s really just a steroid laden TRIPS in sheep’s clothing.
My question then is why in the world do we need ACTA when we already have a recognized, well established and universally accepted guideline in place?
You may say “Because it’s an old treaty”. Sure, but Article 71 Paragraph 2 of TRIPS allows for amendments to be made to the treaty.
WTO Website Source
Amendments merely serving the purpose of adjusting to higher levels of protection of intellectual property rights achieved, and in force, in other
multilateral agreements and accepted under those agreements by all Members of the WTO may be referred to the Ministerial Conference for action in
accordance with paragraph 6 of Article X of the WTO Agreement on the asis of a consensus proposal from the Council for TRIPS.
It just seems to me that if you already have a decent house with ‘good bones’ (TRIPS) that may just need a bit of sprucing up, updating and minor
remodeling it would be far better to do that, than to tear it down and start from the foundations again (ACTA).
While TRIPS seems to be the most universally accepted multilateral treaty concerning intellectual property, it is certainly not the only one out there
that is still in use today. This is something that rather surprised me and I found an interesting page on Wikipedia showing the 5 most recognized
multilateral treaties still in use today. List of Parties to
International Copyright Agreements - Wiki
Even though this is a wiki page, I find it to be interesting because it shows the countries that have
signed specific treaties in the past along with their signing date. It also provides links to the 5 treaties outlining their scope and purpose. Keep
in mind these are just some of the treaties on the books that are multilateral and does not take into account the countless others that may be out
there that are bilateral in nature. It is well worth checking out.
So in closing I have to ask again, just why is it that we needed ACTA in the first place? Why is it we need to re-invent the wheel? Is it because if
the US and others proposed amendments to TRIPS, which they can do, it would shed light on what ACTA is really about? Don’t fool yourselves into
thinking this is only about the internet, it reaches farther than that by a long shot. It’s also about tipping the economic scales in favor of
already developed countries without regard to the up and coming developing countries…… follow the money.
I hope you've enjoyed the read and I look forward to your comments and additions to this thread!