Information on ACTA first became public in 2007, but only after wikileaks posted a document called "Discussion Paper on a Possible Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement" several watchdog organizations specialized in digital rights realized the severeness and the implications. From that point on the development of the document was treated as a "state secret" and the public was refused access to the document. On the other hand the paper was freely shared with industry lobbyists. In 2009 two organizations, the EFF & Public Knowledge, were forced to drop a lawsuit where they were requesting information on the paper. Today ACTA was signed by 30 states and the EU so far. Its aim is to create an international regime for imposing civil and criminal penalties on internet piracy and counterfeiting. The problem with the document is that it is intentionally vague (signatories are left to draw up precise rules themselves). But it is potentially draconian. Infringers could be liable for the total loss of potential sales (implying that everyone who buys a pirated product would have bought the real thing). It applies to unintentional use of copyright material pressuring website owners to ensure they comply with the laws of…. who knows how many countries. It has been negotiated secretively and outside established international trade bodies (despite EU criticisms). This means it has ignored the views of other countries it will affect, chiefly emerging markets.
Most copyrights come almost exclusively with geographical restrictions and this is one of the main issues. The copyright owners deliberately (and freely) choose not to sell a product to certain countries. The main reason for this is that they want to stick to the old model of having several stages of release on different markets. The downside of this model is that some products are released much later or they never get released on a certain market. If people were able to legally purchase any content in any desirable language anywhere in the world there would be fewer "pirates" on the planet. But seriously, if i would have to wait for f.e. japanese or korean series, to be shown on ORF or to pop up in a shelve of a vienna store or at least to be available in original language(with proper subs!) on a digital store (i am allowed to shop), i can grow a long long beard in the meantime. It is about getting access to content not getting it for free. The old release system functioned back in the days when it was still necessary to deliver a physical product, but there is no more need for that and there is a benefit in not sending tons of stuff over oceans, i guess.
Join the protest on Feb. 25th!
& Stop ACTA