ACTA as a New Kind of International IP Lawmaking
Volume III, Issue III, 2020
The latest Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has been viewed as a potentially existential threat to the existing World Intellectual Property Organization ( WIPO) — as a new plurilateral institution that could replace the old multilateral organization. There are a number of predecessors to ACTA ‘s threat to WIPO. The central role of the WIPO in setting standards for international intellectual property encountered its first major challenge in 1952, when the UNESCO Convention on Universal Copyright was created. It experienced a second major challenge with the creation of the Intellectual Property Trade-Related Aspects Agreement (TRIPs Agreement). Throughout this paper the author would examine past instances in which an outside norm-setting organization has questioned WIPO and the responses to those challenges. Secondly, the author would outline the key proposals for an ACTA entity. Thirdly, drawing on past instances, would outline the various possible forms that a relationship between ACTA and WIPO could take, and different strategies that WIPO could use to maintain its role in the international system of intellectual property. Lastly, will discuss a range of public policy issues raised by the institutional ACTA proposals. It’s more than just another effort to enhance compliance and update standards — even though it’s that too. Broadly put, ACTA offers valuable lessons in the complexities of international IP law that we will all do well to learn from as researchers, activists, non-governmental organisations, governments and negotiators of treaties alike. This author is hoping different aspects of the above analysis will provide food for thought. The morsel that emerges most clearly, however, is the importance of developing alternative models that give a realistic perspective on what we can support, not just what we can oppose.