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Says Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) negotiations shouldn’t be derailed over public concerns that they’ll have no say in an international agreement that could force their ISPs to monitor their Internet traffic and disconnect those accused of illegal file-sharing.I first discussed some of the emerging details of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) currently being negotiated in secret earlier this month.Instead of focusing on customs procedures and enforcement to fight large scale commercial piracy it has delved into the area of noncommercial illegal file-sharing at the behest of international entertainment corporations as many have feared.The MPAA, in an effort to codify its interest, sent a letter to Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, along with several other powerful members of the Senator, urging him to support the goals of the ACTA. It says that the ACTA is important to secure “both the legal and practical tools necessary to protect intellectual property rights online” which, in other words, certainly means agreement of the four big tools already being considered.To reiterate:ISPs would have to proactively filter copyrighted material from their networks and hand over the names of those accused of illegal file-sharingISPs, in order to benefit from safe harbor provisions, would have to disconnect the Internet connections of illegal file-sharers for up to a year. Copyright holders would be able to sue those ISPS that fail to stop customers from illegal file-sharing.Will force countries to prohibit circumventing DRM or the manufacture of traffic of devices that allow people to do so.Would create a “broad” global notice-and-takedown regime where ISPs will be forced to remove copyrighted material without first weighing evidence to the contrary.Being that each of these things have such dramatic repercussions for Internet users the public has been demanding transparency during the negotiations. The need for public input is great, especially since the MPAA and other entertainment organizations have been privy to the discussions every step of the way.In the letter the MPAA dismisses these calls for transparency as a “distraction” from the “substance and ambition of the ACTA.”Public Knowledge, a Washington, D.C.-based public interest group working to defend citizens’ rights in the emerging digital culture, blasts the “non-sequitor” comment, asking “what, pray tell, is so important in the substance of ACTA that it trumps the fundamentals of open government?” It adds: “Let me see: an international agreement, which could have binding or massively influential effects on how everyone transmits culture and knowledge, deserves to be hidden from the public because…why? Because its intentions are so good that it cannot even be seen?”The MPAA goes on to mention how Internet piracy is so rampant that it affects its very survival, but again conveniently leaves out the fact that it’s enjoying another in a series of years with record breaking profits. If Internet piracy was such a threat then why did the recently released vampire flic The Twilight Saga: New Moon shatter the single-day box office ticket sales record held by The Dark Knight since last July ($72.7 million vs $67.2 million)? It’s not and the MPAA knows it. It just wants to create a lockdown system for content distribution like the DVD for example, which it still insists making even one backup copy of for personal use is illegal.At least countries like Brazil and Pakistan are questioning the ACTA.Aside from both wondering why it’s being conducted outside the UN’s WIPO, Pakistan is skeptical of most of the existing piracy and counterfeiting statistics and criticizes copyright holders for charging so much for a product that it creates a huge profit margin for would be pirates.Brazil has taken to task the “one size fits all” approach to piracy, noting that copyright violations do not take place in a vacuum, they are not “disconnected from concrete political and social variables.”“But more importantly, the MPAA hasn’t shown how its proposed solutions would improve its industry, much less create jobs and help the economy,” adds Public Knowledge. “After all, how could it, when the solutions themselves, contained within ACTA, have to remain a secret?” Exactly.If South Korea, where ironically the recent ACTA discussions were held, it seems “three-strikes” legislation passed there this past July was not enough. The Korean Film Producers Association and the Digital Content Network Association are now demanding that all P2P sites install a digital content filtering system to prevent users from uploading copyrighted material to the Internet by the end of the year or face “severe measures.”So what kind of slippery slope can we expect here in the US and other countries who sign on to the ACTA?