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Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is a plurilateral treaty that seeks to improve the global enforcement of intellectual property rights through the creation of common enforcement standards and practices and more effective international cooperation.

Counterfeiting and piracy of intellectual property rights is recognised as a global issue. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) estimates that the international trade in goods infringing intellectual property rights accounts for more than $250 billion a year. In Europe alone, we are losing more than €8 billion annually through counterfeit goods entering the market. This impacts the competitiveness of our businesses depriving workers of jobs and can harm consumers through the distribution of dangerous products.

ACTA is about tackling these large-scale infringement activities, often pursued by criminal organisations and which frequently pose a threat to public health and safety. ACTA aims to establish shared international standards on how countries should act in these cases. Importantly, ACTA will not create new intellectual property rights, laws, or criminal offences in the UK or EU. It simply establishes efficient and broadly common rules for how intellectual property right-holders can enforce their rights in practice.

ACTA is not about how people use the internet in their everyday lives. It is not the intention of ACTA to restrict freedom of the internet and it will not censor websites. Internet users can continue to share non-pirated material and information on the web. As the agreement does not require any UK or EU law changes, anything you can do legally today is still legal after the ratification of ACTA. For example, people will be able to continue using their social networks such as Twitter and Facebook just as they have in the past - PCs, tablets and smartphones will not be checked or monitored.

More information regarding this agreement is available on the European Commission website External Link, this includes detailed FAQs, the final text of ACTA and next steps. Please explore our internet links section for useful factsheets on the facts External Link and myths External Link about ACTA.

If you wish to send any comments you may have concerning ACTA please e-mail us.

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