November 28, 2008

ACTA Concerns

The Government of Canada is seeking the views of Canadians on the proposed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)

Michael Geist does not seem optimistic about the whole thing but I am going to be cup half full. I must admit it is going to be challenging to craft a coherent letter with the information that has been released so far.

The following is the first draft of my letter. Keep in mind I am not a English major. If you see any typos please leave a comment and I shall correct it.

Counterfeiting is a touchy issue and my concerns are with the ordinary Canadian consumer. My fear is that the "effective legal framework" is going to be over reaching and hurt business, artists, and consumers.

Strong intellectual property laws can hurt innovation though frivolous lawsuits and questionable patents. I find this is especially rampant in the tech industry. One quick look at Techdirt shows how intellectual property has been abused so far. My personal favorite is trying to patent the process of patent trolling. What needs to be kept in mind is intellectual property is a form of temporary monopoly enforced by the state with the goal of growing the economy and creating innovation. Having abusive intellectual property laws does not help that goal. I recommend intellectual property laws in moderation.

Any enforcement practice needs to respect peoples privacy. I am strongly against searching laptops at the border because I believe laptops to be a extension of the mind, especially in the business world. People should not be subjected to unwarranted searches under the ACTA.

Criminal enforcement needs to differentiate commercial piracy from non-commercial priracy as well having rules to protect the system from abuse. Without this separation lives can be ruined though expensive and long lasting lawsuits.

The ACTA should not target internet distribution and information technology. Any changes to that area can have far reaching and unpredictable effects which is why exhaustive public consultation is needed before even signing noncommittal treaties.

These are some of my recommendations and hopefully that will be taken into consideration.

Thanks for reading.

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