More than 3 dozen countries OK trade agreement

More than three dozen countries have finalized a sweeping trade agreement designed to curb piracy around the world.

The U.S. Trade Representative said Monday that the few remaining issues had been resolved, after the final round of negotiations over the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement concluded in Tokyo last month.

Pact is essentially a framework for fighting copyright theft worldwide, including measures to increase the authority of customs agents in seizing counterfeit goods, as well as standards for civil courts in issuing injunctions to stop infringement.

When it comes to online infringement, the chief concern of the studios, the pact calls for each country to set up procedures to take quick action against pirates, but it leaves room for flexibility on the best approach. Tech firms and Internet providers had expressed concerns that stronger language would expose them to liability for infringing activity by third parties.

The proposed agreement now goes to legal verification, and then will be submitted to the respective countries for approval. The USTR said it can be implemented by executive order in the United States.

Countries part of the pact include Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland and European Union member states.

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