Day 26 -- ACTA

ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, is a proposed enforcement treaty between United States, the European Community, Switzerland, Japan, Australia, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand and Mexico, with Canada set to join any day now.

Although the proposed treaty's title might suggest that the agreement deals only with counterfeit physical goods (such as medicines), what little information has been made available publicly by negotiating governments about the content of the treaty makes it clear that it will have a far broader scope, and in particular, will deal with new tools targeting “Internet distribution and information technology”.

The ACTA threat

  1. It makes it more difficult to distribute legitimately: Without file sharing and P2P technologies like BitTorrent, distributing large amounts of data, cheaply becomes much harder, and more expensive. BitTorrent is a grassroots protocol that allows everyone to contribute to legally distributing creative works, such as this 3 gigabyte library of freely licensed samples

  2. It will make it harder for users to play media: Consumers will no longer be able to buy media without DRM.

  3. It increases the chances of getting your devices taken away: Portable media players that don't support DRM are much less common than the DRM-encumbered Zunes, iPods and iPhones -- devices which support DRM. Will this make them suspicious to border guards?