Good news today: the European Parliament has voted down the proposed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) – an act which has some parallels with the SOPA / PIPA legislation that was proposed in the US.
ACTA sought to tighten up rules on intellectual property, but proposed to do so in ways that would have been highly restrictive, and detrimental to the idea of the internet as a ‘commons.’ It was also massively criticised for being worked out in secret, without proper consultation.
If you want to get a sense of the major problems that exist around patent law – and why it really needs looking at, but does not need strengthening – then check out the brilliant This American Life episode When Patents Attack!
For a lighter sense of the problems, you just need to understand how close to the bone the joke going around is: ‘I’ve been stuck in this toilet for 3 days. It’s got a slide-to-unlock device, and I’m worried Apple will sue me…’
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