G8 states want anti-piracy treaty by year end
On the second day of the G8 meeting in Hokkaido, Japan, the rising price of food and oil were the focal points, along with climate change. But the heads of the G8 nations also found time to consider the troublesome issue of intellectual property. In their declaration on the global economy published today, they therefore called for an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) to be adopted by the end of the year.
Not all G8 states are equally enthusiastic about the ACTA and this quite controversial treaty is currently being drawn up behind closed doors by a small group of states that agree on what needs to be done. In an interview with heise, US political scientist Susan Sell has given her view on the issues. Sell says that the Bush administration wants to have ACTA adopted before the end of his term. Other insiders say that Japan wishes the treaty, which it initiated, played a larger role at the summit.
In addition to ACTA, the G8 governmental heads also praised the standards recently adopted for the enforcement of intellectual property – Standards to be Employed by Customs for Uniform Rights Enforcement (SECURE). Sell says that the standards of the World Customs Organisation already represent a major step towards the expansion of the rights of customs officials. As she put it, customs officials no longer need hard evidence before they press charges, and they are also authorised to impose harsh penalties.
Another clause in the G8 declaration underscores the need for international harmonisation of patent standards. The declaration states that the discussion at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) about the Substantive Patent Law Treaty has to be stepped up. The G8 are thus sticking to their guns despite all the other problems in the global economy: the protection of intellectual property is good for the economy. To this end, they call for more to be done in developing nations to increase awareness about intellectual property.