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Per Aspera ad ACTA–Worse than SOPA and PIPA?

| by Michael Stal Follow 0 Followers on Feb 09, 2012. Estimated reading time: 1 minute |

According to news magazines, people worldwide are more and more against ACTA. The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is intended to reduce copyright infringement and stealing of intellectual property rights. However, opponents fear the loss of civil rights. And the treaty may also have a large impact on software engineers.

wikipedia.org explains ACTA as follows:

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is a multi-national agreement for the purpose of establishing international standards for intellectual property rights enforcement.[3] The agreement aims to establish an international legal framework for targeting counterfeit goods, generic medicines and copyright infringement on the Internet, and would create a new governing body outside existing forums, such as the World Trade Organization, the World Intellectual Property Organization, or the United Nations.

The negotiations received public attention after a discussion paper had been published by Wikileaks.

A challenge software engineers might face is the section of ACTA that addresses “Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement in the Digital Environment.” In order to enforce ACTA on a digital environment, systems need to be available for surveillance. Applications and services providing and transferring data must be controlled. This way, as the Free Software Foundation FSF fears, the freedom required for creating Open Source Software could suffer. Software for P2P and sharing would be almost impossible to provide due to potential actions. And many more other challenges might emerge. The problem is worsened by the fact that no civil organizations are involved, but administrations and organizations such as MPAA. This would also increase the burden for engineering cloud applications, SOA applications, file exchange applications, even Wikis.

Obviously, the ongoing pressure to introduce treaties like ACTA, SOPA. PIPA increases. Especially, software engineers should feel much more affected. Otherwise they may pay the price.

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