MED seeks further comment on ACTA

Second round of submissions on proposed treaty announced

The Ministry of Economic Development has issued a further request for comment on the planned international Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

A previous attempt to obtain local comment on the proposed treaty was widely criticised for the short timescale provided for replies and the fact that little detail was known about the provisions of the treaty at the time.

Most detailed material that has come to light has been through whistleblowers such as contributors to the Wikileaks website www.wikileaks.org.

Now, however, a little more has been revealed. As guidance for submissions, the MED has given a set of headings and subheadings for topics currently being discussed. These include border protection measures and civil and criminal enforcement, with a strong emphasis on pre-established scales of damages for an offence and tights of border agencies to detain shipments on suspicion of intellectual property infringement.

Comment is specifically requested on: Extending the existing measures concerning copyright and trade marks infringement to goods infringing other types IPRs, such as patents and industrial designs; Customs detaining shipments of goods suspected of infringing IPRs without having received notification from a right holder; and Customs targeting shipments being exported from New Zealand as well as imports for suspected infringing goods.

Local lawyer Rick Shera suggests discussion of whether “non-commercial” exchange of copyright material over peer-to-peer services should be criminalised.

Submissions are requested by June 29, giving slightly longer than the few weeks allowed last time.

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