The worst parts of SOPA and ACTA restricting Internet freedom are included in two new bills.
The fighters for Internet freedom and civil rights face new challenges. Notorious the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) are partially reappearing. Politicians who favor them are implementing new tactics, warns WebProNews. And the chances of the new bills including parts of either SOPA or ACTA to be enacted are high.
SOPA is Coming Back
SOPA was introduced in Congress in October 2011. In was proposed to give U.S. law enforcement agencies and rights holders more opportunities to attack piracy of the copyrighted content online and counterfeit goods.
After numerous protest actions both online and offline, the bill was shelved in January 2012. However, Intellectual Property Attache Act (IPAA) was introduced in Congress by the same Rep. Lamar Smith at the beginning of July, 2012. No wonder the new bill holds some provisions of the SOPA.
Moreover, some parts of the new bill are even worse than those in SOPA. The most tricky part enhances the power of IP attaches, those who work with foreign counterparts to implement American intellectual property laws in their countries.
IP attaches are supposed to have their own agency apart from United States Patent and Trademark Office. Since no supervisory authorities stated in the bill, it would be harder for opponents to fight for fair use of intellectual property laws.
IPAA rushing through committee still is not as dangerous as the ACTA substitute, which is also being secretly discussed by legislators now.
The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), a free trade and copyright agreement between EU and Canada, includes the copyright provisions from ACTA as well, though the latter was rejected by the European Parliament early in July 2012.
The politicians' tactics is insidious. After EU signs the CETA, it will be easier for them to claim that ACTA is acceptable as well. But even if the European Court of Justice fails to revive ACTA, the EU and Canada will be obligated to apply CETA with its worst provisions from ACTA.
Neither EU nor Canada make the text of the agreement public. Due to the information leakage and public protests against CETA, the European Commission has removed some of the most controversial parts. But most of the articles from ACTA are left in the agreement text so far.
According to the opponents both the bills and the agreement can lead to Internet censorship and further control over technologies on the web, protecting the interests of the ruling elites in various countries around the world.