Some five years in the making, eight nations including the United States and Japan signed a trade agreement Saturday that aims to reduce the sale of pirated and counterfeit goods that include games.
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (full text
, PDF format) will see a new international governing body established in response to "the increase in global trade of counterfeit goods and pirated copyright protected works."
It aims to provide enhanced international cooperation against counterfeiters, promote enforcement practices, and provide a legal framework for criminal enforcement against offenders.
The Agreement has been the subject of some criticism, as early leaked drafts included intellectual property policies similar to those in the controversial U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which critics say prevents piracy at the cost of consumer rights.
Those policies have been toned down in later revisions, though critics still argue that the policies are inconsistent with U.S. copyright laws
, and could cause confusion should someone be prosecuted under the Act.
In all, eight governments signed the agreement in a ceremony in Japan on Saturday: Australia, Canada, Japan, Republic of Korea, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, and the United States.
The European Union, Mexico and Switzerland attended the ceremony but did not sign, though they said they will continue to show "strong support" for the agreement and will sign it "as soon as practicable."