C Net News
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Internet service providers could become copyright cops encouraged to block access to suspected pirate Web sites, according to a previously secret draft treaty made public on Wednesday.
One section of the proposed digital copyright treaty says that immunity from lawsuits would be granted to Internet providers “disabling access” to pirated material and adopting a policy dealing with unauthorized “transmission of materials protected by copyright.” If the ISPs choose not to do so, they could face legal liability.
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Both the Obama administration and the Bush administration had rejected requests from civil libertarians and technologists for copies of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA. Last year, the White House went so far as to invoke an executive order saying disclosure would do “damage to the national security.”
But after the European Parliament voted last month by a 633-to-13 margin to demand the release of ACTA’s text, keeping it secret became too politically problematic for the countries represented in the closed-door negotiations. Besides the United States, the European Commission, Australia, Canada, Japan, and New Zealand are among the nations participating. They’ve been egged on by copyright lobby groups.
This article was posted: Wednesday, April 21, 2010 at 8:05 am