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Eight countries have signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)

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Eight countries have signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)
On Saturday, the U.S., Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea signed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, ACTA) is an agreement that protects intellectual property from piracy.
The European Union, Mexico and Switzerland are the only countries involved in the creation of the agreement that did not sign it at the ceremony in Japan, but said they "reaffirm their full support and undertake to sign it as soon as it becomes convenient."
The U.S. welcomed the deal. "Like many of the problems we face in today’s global economy, no government alone can eliminate the problem of global counterfeiting and piracy. The signing of this agreement is an act of shared leadership and determination in the international fight against intellectual property theft." – said Maryam Shapiro, deputy U.S. trade representative.
The agreement, which has been in the making for more than 3 years and is open for signature until May 2013, imposes on participating countries a similar intellectual property regime to that currently in place in the United States.
Rashmi Ragnat, in-house counsel at the restriction Public Knowledge (Public Knowledge) in Washington, D.C., said that the agreement is, in fact, "an attempt by the United States to impose its laws on other countries."
Among other things, the treaty requires governments to make it illegal to put on the market devices which bypass copyright, such as devices which let you make copies of protected DVDs without authorization. It is similar to one of the clauses in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in the U.S., which has been used by Hollywood companies to prohibit RealNetworks from distributing DVD ripping technology.
The agreement, which the U.S. says does not require congressional approval, also calls on participating countries to create serious laws to seize and confiscate products if those products are counterfeit and protected by trademarks and copyrights. Most importantly, countries should create a legal framework that allows victims of intellectual theft to recover their losses in unlimited amounts.
In the U.S., for example, copyright law covers up to $150, 000 for infringement. A Boston jury ordered a college student to pay $675, 000 for giving away 30 tracks on Kazaa, while in Minnesota a jury awarded the RIAA $1, 500, 000 for stealing 24 songs online.
A clause that was promoted in the U.S., which required Internet service providers to disable the accounts of users repeatedly found guilty of online violations, was removed from the agreement. Although ISPs still prefer to cooperate with authorities on the issue.
The Obama government kept saying that the agreement was a "national security" issue until the EU started "leaking" the document online.

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