UK Opposes Sanctions for Illegal File-Sharing, Copyrights

Dennis Faas's picture

A recently leaked document (PDF) by La Quadrature du Net reveals that European Union (EU) negotiators want criminal sanctions introduced into the international Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). Chapter 2 of the proposed ACTA treaty states that "each party shall provide for effective proportionate and dissuasive penalties" which would include "imprisonment and monetary fines" for those caught in illicit activities such as music file-sharing. (Source:

ACTA Treaty: Can Seize, Destroy Your PC, Electronics

According to the document, anyone believed to have "incited, aided and abetted" copyright infringement could be held liable.

Seizure of "any related materials and implements used in the commission of the alleged offence" -- which could lead to people having their PCs seized -- is also proposed by the European Union. The UK Government, however, will oppose the attempt to criminalize illegal file sharing, citing that the penalties are not appropriate. (Source:

UK Wants Better Enforcement of Existing Laws

A representative of the UK's Intellectual Property Office (IPO) told Computeractive that the UK is opposed to the creation of new criminal offenses, and suggests the treaty should provide a framework for better enforcement of existing laws. (Source:

The EU and U.S. governments have pushed for the ACTA, which has been surrounded by controversy because little of its provisions are known by the public since talks have been held in secret.

As noted by Daily Tech, the UK's decision not to support the most extreme U.S. and EU proposed copyright enforcement measures is a troublesome to the governments and corporate lobbyists that support this proposed legislation. (Source:

More Negotiations Expected in Six Months

ACTA negotiations, which began in October 2006, have been taking place regularly between the EU, U.S., Japan, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Canada and Mexico, allegedly to address copyright, counterfeiting, and other intellectual property issues.

According to Computeractive, more than 80 non-governmental organizations from all over the world have condemned the talks' secrecy and strongly oppose ACTA. (Source:

Lucerne, Switzerland was the site of the ninth round of negotiations. More negotiations are expected to be held in about six months.

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