The site Wikileaks has published some details of a proposed new copyright treaty between the US, EU, Japan, Australia and Canada, under which customs officials could legally check portable media players to see if they contained pirated material.
Entitled the Proposed US-ACTA multi-lateral intellectual property trade agreement (2007), it’s not yet in force, but could bring longer sentences for those distributing pirated material, and it would eliminate the distinction that exists under many national laws between people who profit from intellectual property theft and those who do not.
But it’s the spectre of customs and law enforcement officials searching laptops and media players that worries a lot of people, since they’d also be able to confiscate the hardware and fine users, along with the fact that ISPs could be forced to hand over customer details, although this last provision could run into rocky ground in Europe where it might be a violation of human rights.
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