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USTR: Acta won't include three-strikes; draft available in days

The office of the U.S. Trade Representative said Friday an international agreement to fight counterfeiting online and off won’t force Internet service providers to cut off users who steal music, movies and other intellectual property.

A draft of the agreement will be made available on April 21, the USTR said in a statement. The anti-counterfeiting agreement has been in negotiation since 2007 between the United States, several E.U. and Asian nations, Canada and Australia. The participating countries will meet again in Switzerland in June and expect to complete negotiations later this year.

Public interest groups and some intellectual property professors had complained that the trade negotiations were being conducted without public input. They disagreed with earlier suggestions to make Internet service providers such as Comcast, AT&T and Verizon in charge of policing pirated material. One suggestion, according to leaked drafts of the ACTA treaty, would cut users’ Internet connection after three intellectual privacy violations.

“While the participants recognize the importance of responding effectively to the challenge of Internet piracy, they confirmed that no participant is proposing to require governments to mandate a ‘graduated response’ or ‘three strikes’ approach to copyright infringement on the Internet,” the USTR said in a statement.

The office of the USTR said the treaty won’t require border guards to search travelers’ baggage or their personal electronic devices for infringing materials.

By Cecilia Kang  |  April 16, 2010; 2:19 PM ET
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