Access to Information and Knowledge

Access to Information and Knowledge

21st Century Challenges in Intellectual Property and Knowledge Governance

Elgar Intellectual Property and Global Development series

Edited by Dana Beldiman

Massive quantities of information are required to fuel the innovation process in a knowledge-based economy; a requirement that is in tension with intellectual property (IP) laws. Against this backdrop, leading thinkers in the IP arena explore the ‘access challenge’ of the 21st century, framed as the tension between the interest in the free flow of information and the fragmentation of knowledge resulting from strong IP laws.

Chapter 10: The ACTA/TPP country clubs

Peter K. Yu

Subjects: law - academic, intellectual property law


After three years and 11 rounds of formal negotiations among developed and like-minded countries, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) was finally adopted on 15 April 2011. Negotiated by Australia, Canada, the European Union, Japan, Morocco, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland and the United States, this highly controversial plurilateral agreement aims to set a new and higher benchmark for international intellectual property enforcement. Out of the 11 negotiating parties, all of them except the European Union and Switzerland have since signed the Agreement. As of this writing, ACTA is still awaiting ratification and has not yet entered into force. Japan, which serves as the Agreement’s depositary, remains the only country that has ever ratified ACTA.Commentators have widely criticized the ACTA negotiation process for its lack of transparency and accountability. They are also concerned about the multiple threats that the Agreement has posed to access to information and knowledge and the protection of due process, free speech, privacy and other civil liberties. In addition, by ushering in a new ‘country club’ approach to setting international intellectual property norms, the negotiations have raised important international concerns. This approach is likely to have serious ramifications for both the structural integrity and continued vitality of the existing international intellectual property regime.As China and India noted at the June 2010 meeting of the WTO Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, ACTA has raised a wide variety of systemic problems within the international trading system.

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