The Federal Government is set to sign-off on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) after negotiations wrapped overnight. But opponents have claimed it has no positive value for Australia.
Trade Minister, Craig Emerson, used a statement to welcome the agreement and said it followed three years of negotiations.
“This is good news for our film and music industries, our computer programmers and authors and for the protection of famous Australian brands,” he said. “Progress on the ACTA also sends a positive signal on the outlook for trade cooperation at the multilateral level.”
Minister Emerson also claimed Australia would not have to change any laws to comply with the agreement and that it will be ratified after being examined by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties.
But the Australian Digital Alliance argued against ratifying the agreement and claimed it could only mean negative things for content and information users in a statement.
“ACTA is ‘not as bad as it could have been’ because it’s more controversial requirements have been removed or amended following international and domestic pressure,” it said.
The ADA said there were two main problems with the ACTA and that too much emphasis had been placed on enforcement and not on the needs of Australia’s interests in promoting creativity and innovation.
“Even the obligations of ACTA that do not require changes to Australia’s laws may still limit our flexibility to implement positive changes,” it said. “The hidden danger of ACTA is its elevation of the status of rights holders and the ammunition it gives their lobbyists to demand domestic legislative reform.”
A total of 37 countries including 27 from the European Union, Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland and the US were involved in negotiations.