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Friday 18.08.2017 | Name days: Liene, Helēna, Elena, Ellena, Liena
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Experts: ACTA frightens internet freedom supporters

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The greatest risk if Latvia is to ratify the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), is a stricter monitoring of intellectual property circulation in the internet and wider interpretation opportunities – which is a violation, representatives and experts of the industry believe.

Officials promise that only those people, who are caught distributing pirated copyright materials for commercial purposes, will be punished. On the other hand the opinion that piracy in the internet helps regulate the market does not mean that «we should be grateful to car thieves for cheap cars in Latvia», stresses State secretary to the Ministry of economy Juris Puce.

During a discussion, State and industry representatives agreed on the second scope of ACTA: tighter control of counterfeit products is in the interests of the Latvian people, especially – to protect them from counterfeit medications and dangerous toys.

«ACTA relates to export from the countries which have a weaker intellectual property protection to countries with high standards. The main emphasis is on counterfeit product control, and at the same time ACTA also relates to services and copyrights. I.e. the distribution of copyright materials for commercial purposes and amounts», – Puce stresses.

«I believe that the root of evil lies in definitions, which can be widely interpreted. There is no doubt about products – real damage can be done there. The risks concern moral matters. Copyright side has a large lobby, but the end users do not have their own organization, at least not in Latvia. Authors have the Copyright and Communication Consulting Agency/Latvian Authors Association (CCCA/LAA). Even in absolutely absurd cases the CCCA/LAA says, «we are only obeying the Law», but leave out the fact that they are actually participating in creating this Law», – says IT specialist and cyber-activist Poikans aka Neo.

Lawyer, trademark agent and university tutor Vadim Mantrov notes, that even now Laws protecting Latvian intellectual property can be used without proving that the person who caused damage did so either knowingly or with such negligence which is near willful misconduct.

«Anyone can be tried, if the so called significant damage has been found as a result of the violation. Standard of entries is extremely low – LVL 1 000. This means, that if we can prove a trademark violation, we can turn to criminal proceedings. It is not right, when we decline the necessity to prove one’s guilt», – notes the lawyer. According to him, this kind of change in the Laws appeared with the influence of ACTA.

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