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Pegoraro: ACTA draft looks weaker

Rob Pegoraro, author of Faster Forward, takes a look at the most recent global anti-counterfeiting negotiations. Take a look:

Almost-final, much weaker ACTA draft published
By Rob Pegoraro

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is this close to escaping its protracted, mostly secret negotiations -- and now that the Office of the United States Trade Representative has posted a copy (PDF) of the nearly finalized text, we can see how much of this accord has shriveled away.

As ACTA critics more conversant with international law than I have noted (see, for example, posts by American University law professor Sean Flynn and University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist), this week's draft amounts to a surrender by the U.S. Many of the obnoxious provisions I denounced last fall and again this spring are gone.

That represents an unimpressive win for people who don't want to be regarded as criminals when they treat a digital download as something they bought and own.

First, ACTA no longer exports the worst aspects of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act -- the 1998 law that, among its other flaws, makes it a crime to unlock a DVD to back it up to your computer. Although it has a loosely worded ban on tools used to unlock "digital rights management" technologies, a footnote frees states from requiring gadget manufacturers and software developers to ship products that obey DRM restrictions.

For full column, read here.

By Cecilia Kang  | October 7, 2010; 2:17 PM ET
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