Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement
The proposed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has received a lot of speculation due to the secretive nature of the negotiations, with some digital rights lobbyists criticizing the lack of detail. Information recently released shows how 37 countries are working to find a way to cut copyright infringement and counterfeiting globally. Interestingly, the summary indicates that the countries are trying to figure out how to (if at all) involve Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the fight against piracy.
ACTA also considers measures to stop the flow of copyright infringing material from moving across borders. This led to some fears that there would be checks of computers and MP3 players to find pirated content. However, the outline makes that very unlikely, as it makes it clear the interest is only with industrial-scale importing and exporting of counterfeit material.
In an attempt to bring negotiations into the open for everyone, instead of just entertainment industry lobbyists, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act. But the office of the USTR was less than forthcoming with information.
The EFF believe the USTR was trying to block the release of almost all the information requested. They turned over just 159 pages to the EFF, while insisting that 1300 pages need to be remain secret. A claim was made that some of the documents being released could be a national security risk, which doesn't make much sense. Some leaked ACTA documents have shown that each copyrighted work distributed should be accounted as a lost sale, with damages based on the assumption.
The worrying part is that it puts the responsibility to value the loss at the hands of the copyright holder, therefore even if a distributed song could have only cost the downloader 99c on iTunes, in a lawsuit the value can be whatever the copyright holder says it is.