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Thursday, June 7, 2012

ACTA Asked for Congressional Support

While the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is currently not very favored by the presidential administration, Senator Ron Wyden has decided to ask the Obama administration to secure the success of the agreement.

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According to the treaty, American laws on piracy should be applied abroad. However, thus far neither the United States nor any other country passed the agreement into law. Senator Ron Wyden believes that Congress should approve binding international treaties before the United States is obligated to comply with their rules. Actually, this was the point where the administration and Senator disagreed, but it seems to be particularly true on matters that impact the country’s ability to implement policies meant to encourage innovation.

Meanwhile, the legislative proposal issued by Ron Wyden raised concerns within three branches of American government. A number of legal advisers have already suggested that the US Congress should approve ACTA, because it helps the country to keep its current copyright laws in line (if you remember, the financial penalties in the US are up to $150.000 per each case of infringement in a civil lawsuit).

Some industry experts believe that it is a huge deal whether Congress signs it or not, because the treaty actually tells domestic legislatures what its law must be or not be. That’s why such type of agreements should go through legislative approval and a public process and commenting on what its norms are. ACTA requires any participating nation to set statutory damages at a level to deter copyright violation.

The treaty will be passed only when at least six nations approve it. Currently a number of countries, including Australia, Canada, the EU, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea, are debating the treaty.

In response, the United State Trade Representative claimed that the presidential administration doesn’t need any congressional approval. American negotiators were careful to ensure that the agreement is entirely consistent with American law. That’s why Congress is claimed to have no need to enact legislation in order for the US to implement ACTA.

Meanwhile, the press reports all point out that despite claims that the treaty doesn’t allow authorities to monitor traffic, the abusive behavior of copyright outfits speaks otherwise.

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