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InternetNZ launches petition to limit ACTA

InternetNZ has launched an online petition following its "PublicACTA" session in Wellington on Saturday.

People are being asked to sign an endorsement of a statement formulated at the event, dubbed "The Wellington Declaration", that seeks to limit the scope of the pending Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.

The declaration is online here.

The conference was attended by around 100 people, with hundreds more observing the proceedings through a live video feed. Keynote speakers included Professor Michael Geist from Canada, and Kimberlee Weatherall from Australia.

The teach-in canvassed familiar themes for those who oppose ACTA.

Critics say the global copyright treaty say individual governments won’t see the final version until it is put before their respective parliaments.

They also say - based on a leaked draft version of ACTA, which is being constructed behind closed-doors - that the treaty it goes way beyond its original brief to tackle counterfeiting.

Among other objections, opponents say it will give customs officers the right to comb through people’s iPods, iPhones and laptops to see if they contain copyright-busting material.

Opponents say that the US is driving ACTA's more draconian measures in a bid to protect its movie and music industries.

A US delegation is in Wellington this week for the eighth round of ACTA negotiations.

"I urge everyone interested in protecting their digital rights online to sign this petition and endorse the Wellington Declaration," said Jordan Carter, InternetNZ's policy director and a spokesman for PublicACTA.

"The Wellington Declaration paints a broad picture of the need to limit ACTA to what it originally set out to do: tackle the problem of counterfeiting.

"It also makes some specific suggestions as to how the detailed provisions being negotiated in Wellington next week - that go far beyond counterfeiting - can be made more citizen-friendly."

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