The Possibility of US Involvement in an anti-piracy treaty
// Posted by Molly on 03/20/2012 (6:30 PM)
Copyright laws in the United States are tricky things to understand, especially in a digital age. Some aspects of the laws are stricter than others, while some have loopholes that many young adults know and use. With sites such as Megaupload being shut down and piracy laws being modified, we are watching as new laws take shape and as the government decides what will be available to us in the future. In an article published in Wired, David Kravets reports on possible new restrictions on sharing and using information on the internet. An international treaty called the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is an anti-piracy treaty that is similar to one that already exists in the United States. Currently, there are no countries that have ratified this treaty but it has been up for discussion in the past, and is being brought up again as a serious possibility. You can find the article here. It is definitely worth reading and goes into more detail than I am able to. Though at first glance the treaty seems distant and improbable, it is gaining support and Congress has been discussing it as a real possibility. Because the United States already has a Copyright Act that comes with a $150,000 per infringement penalty, much of the issue is whether the government will want to change this and, if the international agreement is different, whether that will deter the government from agreeing to it. The process is not simple and there are many sides to the debate, but one thing that is undeniable is how important it is to stay informed on the possibility of the treaty. Sean Flynn, an American University, Washington College of Law intellectual-property scholar was quoted in Kravets’s article.
“The reason it is a big deal, because this is what this agreement does, it tells domestic legislatures what its law must be or not be. These type of agreements are the most important to go through legislative approval and go through a public process and commenting on what the norms are of that agreement. The reason, it locally restricts what the democratic process can do.”
This agreement is important to learn about, follow and take a stance on in the future. With legislation changing and the government revising to stay with other countries, it will be interesting to see what side the United States chooses to take. What do you make of this agreement? Do you think other countries will be quick sign it, or will the United States lead the way? What will this mean for the future of intellectual property and copyright law?
There is definitely a lot to wrap your mind around on this issue and it will be interesting how much publicity this agreement will get in the mainstream media and outside of publications such as Wired.