SOPA Was a Distraction: ACTA Is Targeting the World
You know when you kill the bad guy, but it turns out he was just a foil for a greater villain?
Well, SOPA may be dead, but ACTA has been lurking in the shadows this whole time, gathering strength and support for the final climactic battle — not just with the US, but with the world. The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement seeks to establish international standards on intellectual property rights enforcement.
ACTA’s legal scope is as chilling as SOPA’s:
ACTA encourages service providers to collect and provide information about suspected infringers by giving them “safe harbor from certain legal threats”. Similarly, it provides for criminalization of copyright infringement on a commercial scale, granting law enforcement the powers to perform criminal investigation, arrests and pursue criminal citations or prosecution of suspects who may have infringed on copyright on a commercial scale. It also allows criminal investigations and invasive searches to be performed against individuals for whom there is no probable cause, and in that regard weakens the presumption of innocence and allows what would in the past have been considered unlawful searches.
United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea have already signed the treaty, and Poland will be doing so within the next few days. The European Union, Mexico, and Switzerland have to yet sign the treaty, but did profess their support and have until March 31, 2013 to sign.
The European Parliament allegedly has the final decision over whether the treaty will be dismissed or enacted, so don’t put down your torches and pitchforks just yet — there’s still more protesting to be done.