Michael Geist offers us a useful background on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) talks happening now in Mexico in The ACTA Guide, Part One: The Talks To-Date
He includes a chronology going back to 2004 on origins of the anti counterfeiting trade agreement. He also provides a summary of the leaked U.S. proposal from last November. See especially these provisions that tighten inducement and access (as the DMCA does).
Paragraph 2 – Third party liability.
The third party liability provisions focus on copyright, though an EU
document notes that it could (should) be extended to trademark and
perhaps other IP infringement. The goal of this section is to create
an international minimum harmonization regarding the issue of what is
called in some Member States “contributory copyright infringement”.
The U.S. proposal would include “inducement” into the standard,
something established in the U.S. Grokster case, but not found in many
other countries. This would result in a huge change in domestic law in
many countries (including Canada).
Paragraph 4 – Anti-circumvention Provisions.
ACTA would require civil and criminal penalties associated with
anti-circumvention provisions (legal protection for digital locks).
This goes beyond the requirements of the WIPO Internet treaties and
beyond current EU law which “leaves a reasonable margin of discretion
to Member States.” There is no link between the anti-circumvention
provisions and copyright exceptions. The U.S. proposal also requires
the anti-circumvention provisions to apply to TPMs that merely protect
access to a work (rather than reproduction or making available). This
would again go beyond current EU law to include protection against
circumventing technologies like region coding. From a Canadian
perspective, none of this is currently domestic law. As previously
speculated, the clear intent is to establish a Global DMCA.
Paragraph 5 – Civil and Criminal Enforcement of Anti-Circumvention.
As noted above, this section requires both civil and criminal
provisions for the anti-circumvention rules, something not found in the
WIPO Internet treaties. The anti-circumvention provisions are also
designed to stop countries from establishing interoperability
requirements (ie. the ability for consumers to play purchased music on
different devices). The EU notes that this not consistent with its
law, which states “Compatibility and interoperability of the different
systems should be encouraged.” Of course, might reasonable ask why
such a provision is even in ACTA.
Paragraph 6 – Rights Management Information protection. This section includes similar criminal and civil requirements for rights management information.