Mobile // Mobile Applications
Commentary
1/6/2010
06:53 PM
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn
Commentary
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
Twitter
Google+
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Google Seeks Input On Secret Copyright Treaty

Google has asked Internet users to submit questions for a discussion it's hosting next week about the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), an international treaty that the U.S. and other countries have been negotiating for the past two years.

Google has asked Internet users to submit questions for a discussion it's hosting next week about the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), an international treaty that the U.S. and other countries have been negotiating for the past two years.ACTA aims harmonize and strengthen copyright enforcement among signatories, though the exact details remain unknown to the public as the treaty has been negotiated in secret.

That alone should be enough to convince anyone that it's a bad idea. Secret laws are antithetical to the American democratic tradition. If you disagree, I hope you'll be willing to allow me to draft a binding contract for you to sign before you've read it.

Washington Post technology columnist Rob Pegoraro, who's moderating the Google discussion, wrote in an article last September that one of ACTA's flaws is that it attempts to globalize the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) prohibition on circumventing technological protection measures (TPMs, or digital locks).

In a 2008 paper covering its concerns about ACTA, Google laid out some issues with the DMCA's application:

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) prevents a wide range of legitimate activity that has nothing to with counterfeiting (e.g., TPMs are the reason that you cannot: load a lawfully purchased DVD on to your iPod; play a legitimate DVD bought in the U.K. at full-price on your DVD at home in the U.S.; transfer songs lawfully purchased on iTunes to a different music service; operate a device like a DVD player on Linux, an open source program, even though there is no question of copying a single work of authorship). Indeed, the DMCA was used by original equipment manufacturers of printer toner cartridges and electric garage door openers to shut out cheaper substitutes.

If ACTA is more of the same, a broader set of stakeholders ought to be included in the treaty's formulation.

If you have questions about ACTA that you'd care to have raised at Google D.C.'s discussion next week, submit them through Google Moderator.

InformationWeek has published a new report on cloud governance, risk, and compliance Download the report now (registration required).

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Among 688 respondents, 46% have deployed mobile apps, with an additional 24% planning to in the next year. Soon all apps will look like mobile apps and it's past time for those with no plans to get cracking.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest - August 27, 2014
Who wins in cloud price wars? Short answer: not IT. Enterprises don't want bare-bones IaaS. Providers must focus on support, not undercutting rivals.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Howard Marks talks about steps to take in choosing the right cloud storage solutions for your IT problems
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.