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The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement: Fighting Piracy and Counterfeiting, Supporting American Jobs

ACTA will create a first-of-its-kind alliance of trading partners representing more than half of world trade to cooperate in the fight against piracy and counterfeiting.

ACTA provides a platform for the Obama Administration to work cooperatively with other governments to continue delivering on its commitment to protect aggressively the intellectual property that is essential to America’s prosperity.

ACTA will require that border enforcement authorities be empowered to act on their own initiative (“ex officio”) against both imports and exports of counterfeit and pirated goods.

This fixes a gap in existing standards that has sometimes meant customs officials are powerless to take action against fake goods. Application of this stronger standard will help protect U.S. consumers.

ACTA will require that criminal authorities be able to act on their own initiative in piracy and counterfeiting cases, rather than waiting for a complaint.

This fixes another gap – this time in the area of criminal law – that has sometimes left police and prosecutors powerless to take action against counterfeiters and pirates without a complaint from a right-holder.

ACTA will further clarify existing international requirements for the availability of criminal penalties when piracy or counterfeiting is carried out for commercial advantage.

Companies that get a leg up from using pirated products, such as pirated U.S. software products, will be exposed to criminal penalties. This will help make it harder for foreign companies to steal U.S. intellectual property and then use it to make themselves more competitive.

ACTA will require criminal remedies against importation or use of labels or packaging for counterfeit goods.

Counterfeiters cannot escape punishment by simply shipping labels or packaging separately from the products for which they are intended.

ACTA will include new rules on criminal seizure and destruction of fake goods, seizure of the equipment and materials used in their manufacture, and seizure of the criminal proceeds from piracy and counterfeiting offenses.

This ensures that police and prosecutors will have state-of-the-art tools to crack down on counterfeiters and pirates, and to take away both ill-gotten gains and the tools of illicit trade.

ACTA will clarify existing international requirements to protect against circumvention of digital security technologies (such as passwords or encryption).

This protects the ability of legitimate online content providers to create innovative business models for securely distributing movies, games, software, music, and other content to customers.

ACTA will require parties to address copyright piracy on digital networks, while preserving principles such as freedom of expression, fair process, and privacy.

ACTA will be the first agreement of its kind to include a binding commitment to address the scourge of piracy over digital networks, and to do so in a way that respects fundamental values, such as freedom of expression, fair process, and privacy.

ACTA will enhance the international framework for civil enforcement provisions dealing with issues such as damages, provicional measures, recovery of costs and attorneys' fees, and destruction of infringing goods.

Private parties will have access to effective civil systems that crack down on counterfeiters and pirates, and will be able to obtain court orders to stop illegal activity, and to secure meaningful damages to remedy violations of their rights.

ACTA will be the first agreement of its kind to promote several key best practices that contribute to effective enforcement of intellectual property rights.

ACTA will not only require strong laws on the books, but also promote key practices that make those laws effective in practice. For example, ACTA will call on parties to encourage the development of specialized expertise within, and coordination among, their enforcement authorities.