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The Struggle for Net Neutrality

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In May 2008, Wikileaks obtained a leaked four-page document titled, "Discussion Paper on a Possible Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement," saying:

"If adopted, (ACTA) would impose a strong, top-down enforcement regime, with new cooperation requirements upon (ISPs), including perfunctionary disclosure of customer information. The proposal also bans 'anti-circumvention' measures which may affect online anonymity systems and would likely outlaw multi-region CD/DVD players. The proposal also specifies a plan to encourage developing nations to accept the legal regime," with perhaps consequences for those refusing.

The document covers:

-- legal measures to encourage ISPs to cooperate with right holders to remove infringing content;

-- material on anti-camcording laws; and

-- network-level filtering to enforce a three-strikes-and-you're out rule. That is, consumers found three times to have infringed copyrighted content will have their Internet connections terminated.

These provisions way exceed current treaty obligations by imposing binding copyright demands requiring:

-- ISPs to police copyrighted material and deter unauthorized storage and transmission of alleged infringed content;

-- terminate Internet access of alleged "repeat infringers" or be liable;

-- remove alleged infringed material;

-- enforce digital rights management (DRM) rules relating to systems that identify, track, authorize and restrict access to digital media - to protect and enforce copyrights, patents, trademarks, and other forms of intellectual property; and

-- impose global US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) rules relating to intellectual property that will impose censorship, subvert free expression, and undermine innovation.

IP Justice is "an international civil liberties organization promoting balanced intellectual property laws and free expression." It addressed ACTA as follows:

Its "text will be 'locked' and other countries who are later 'invited' to sign-on to the pact will not be able to re-negotiate its terms....few countries will have the muscle to refuse an 'invitation' to join, once the rules have been set by the select few conducting the negotiations."

Other IP Justice concerns are over:

-- secret negotiations;

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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