Free Trade Agreement bills

Glen Turner glen.turner at
Wed Jun 23 04:55:09 CST 2004

Things are hotting up with the US-Australia Free Trade Agreement.

Seeking a political advantage the government has rushed legislation into
the House of Representatives

US Free Trade Agreement Implementation Bill 2004

US Free Trade Agreement Implementation (Customs Tariff) Bill 2004

You can see the influence of the politics in the placement of all the
amendments to all the Acts into one Bill. This is highly unusual.

The rubber hits the road in Section 569 of the USFTA Implementation
Bill, where the modifications to implement DCMA-style laws happen. The
Bill is worse than could have been reasonably expected:

 - the "for the purpose of trade" protections are removed, these
   gave a shelter to not-for-profit open source authors.

 - mechanisms which circumvent protections incidental to a
   non-infringing use of the work (eg, playing a DVD) are
   illegal if they are "reckless as to whether the removal
   or alteration of the ERMI will induce, enable, facilitate
   or conceal an infringement of the copyright."  That is,
   because DeCSS can be used in an infringing way it can't
   be used to play a DVD. And owning a copy of DeCSS is

Tomorrow the Senate committee looking into the FTA releases its interim

Glen Turner         Tel: (08) 8303 3936 or +61 8 8303 3936 
Network Engineer          Email: glen.turner at
Australian Academic & Research Network

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