The European Commission has revealed details of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which is designed to help combat piracy.
The act has been shrouded in secrecy for years, but finally the European Commission has revealed a draft following threats of court action from the European Parliament.
ACTA features several measures to prevent the sale of pirated games, but also suggests laws to help protect IP rights in the digital space.
Most significantly for the games industry, is that ACTA would make digital rights management (DRM) enforceable by law, with each country having to impose legal restrictions on people that try and circumvent DRM.
The trade agreement also allows rights holders to get injunctions with the court if they feel copyright infringement will be imminent, rather than actually happening.
“The anti-counterfeiting trade agreement has been dealt with in an incredibly secretive way,” said Harbottle and Lewis solicitor Paul Groves.
“Normally there would be very public consultation, but this has been done behind closed doors. No-one has been aware what has been happening until the European Parliament threatened to take the European Commission to court. It is all very bizarre.
“The US is the driving force behind this, with the EU and about ten other countries in negotiations. Once this has been agreed we would have about a year to change English law so we can meet the minimum levels.”
The ACTA law is also set to see whether online service providers – such as YouTube – should be held accountable for user generated content that is made available on their sites.
This could potentially have an impact on the casual gaming space, including titles on social networking site Facebook.