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First off today, Poland, along with a series of other EU countries including Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Romania and Greece, signed the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) despite protests in many of the countries. The agreement seeks to harmonize piracy and counterfeit enforcement between various countries and has been previously signed by the United States, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. The protests have been particularly strong in Poland where thousands took to the streets in protests and denial of service attacks shuttered many of the country’s key government sites.
Next up today, Ireland has introduced its new anti-piracy legislation which is aimed at enabling copyright holders to more strongly enforce their rights against foreign sites. This is done through a legal regime that allows rightsholders to get courts to order ISPs in the country to block access to certain infringing sites. However, the similarities between it and the Stop Online Piracy Act in the U.S., which was recently shelved, has earned it the name “Ireland’s SOPA” and helped spark protests. However, ministers in Ireland say that the law is required by a set of EU directives and that the checks and balances in the law are different than SOPA. Furthermore, according to Ireland, other nations have implemented the same directives without issue.
Finally today, the exemptions to the DMCA to enable users to jailbreak their phones may expire shortly. Under the DMCA, the breaking of DRM and copyright protection schemes is generally prohibited save under exemptions approved by the U.S. Copyright Office. As part of the U.S. Copyright Office’s anti-circumvention rule making, which takes place every three years, the exemption may expire shortly. However, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other groups are making a concerted push to both extend and expand the exemption, which they see as valuable for consumer rights.
That’s it for the three count today. We will be back tomorrow with three more copyright links. If you have a link that you want to suggest a link for the column or have any proposals to make it better. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I hope to hear from you.
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