Recent leaks suggest the 39 countries negotiating an international copyright protection treaty could require Internet service providers to ban repeat piracy offenders from using the Web. The German government, however, has now voiced its opposition to the proposal, which has been heavily criticized by civil rights activists.
Be it fake Rolex watches or stolen copies of songs and Hollywood films on the Internet, copyright abuse in recent years has become rampant -- to the dismay of companies and governments around the world. For the past three years, 39 countries have been secretly negotiating ways to combat the global piracy plague. But, so far, the talks have been held behind closed doors and governments have justified their secrecy by arguing that the ongoing negotiations are still at an early stage.
Nevertheless, working papers have been leaked several times, triggering concern about the developments within the Internet community. In early February, the IDG News Service reported that it had seen a document, apparently from negotiations of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), indicating the treaty would include a ban on Internet access for people who use file-sharing sites to exchange copyrighted data illegally. It would also place the legal liability on Internet service providers (ISPs) to block repeat offenders.
"An example of such a policy is providing for the termination in appropriate circumstances of subscriptions and accounts in the service provider's system or network of repeat offenders," the text reportedly states.
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