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Thread: Time to "ACT" on A.C.T.A

  1. #1
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    Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

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    (go to that link to contact your reps!)

    "Time to Act on ACTA: Tell Congress to Open the Secret IP Pact

    Despite the new administration's policy of openness, the Anti-Counterfeiting Copyright Agreement (ACTA) still remains shrouded in secrecy. But language leaked from the negotiations reveal that it threatens to shift the balance of copyright law across the world, with little or no oversight from lawmakers.

    ACTA is currently being negotiated between the US, Europe and other states, including Japan, Australia, and Canada. It reaches a fifth round of deliberations in Morocco next month. Some expect the document to be ready for signing by then. Even though the process has taken over a year to reach this stage, the entire negotiation has been kept secret from the public.

    But some information has unofficially emerged from the closed meetings. Draft language indicates provisions that will include mandated disclosure of personal information in alleged IP disputes, a new global requirement that "commercial scale" piracy will also capture non-commercial copies, and new powers to place injunctions on IP violations with lowered standards of proof and limited due process. Much of the language is reminiscent of entertainment industry demands -- and nowhere in the draft is there mention of the rights of individual consumers and the IP balance driving innovation in the knowledge economy.

    Most disturbing of all, an entire section of the treaty is devoted to "rights management technology/the Internet," suggesting that both negotiators and lobbyists are choosing to ignore the failure of DRM in the market and the complex dangers of regulating the Internet across jurisdictions to match the demands of rightsholders.

    All of these radical changes are taking place behind closed doors. Of over 1300 pages of ACTA background documents requested by EFF in a Freedom of Information Act request last year, only 159 were released to the public by the United States Trade Representative (USTR). EFF and Public Knowledge are currently involved in a pending Federal lawsuit to obtain more information.

    Congress can and should do more. At a time when the competitiveness of the US economy is at stake, open debate about real changes to global technology policy is too important to ignore. Instead of the public relying on lawsuits and leaked documents, Congress can tell the USTR to open up the ACTA process to true oversight and deliberation, and demand it keep to its original agenda of fighting counterfeit fake products and commercial piracy on behalf of consumers.

    ACTA has been compromised by secrecy and privileged access for industry lobbyists. Tell Congress to open it up, or demand an alternative."


    If ACTA passes, every single article that we all quote in our alerts and information-passing - being copy-written material, generally - will be subject to this.

    Want to shut people up? Lock them up for a 'copyright' violation and neatly side-step any head-on confrontation over gun (or any other) rights.

    Sleazy, but predictable.

    Use that contact form at that link to demand answers. Pete

  2. #2
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    Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

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    "May 6th, 2009
    Government Still Blocking Information on Secret IP Enforcement Treaty
    Broken Promises from the Obama Administration Keep Americans in the Dark About ACTA

    Washington, D.C. - Two public interest groups today called on the government to stop blocking the release of information about a secret intellectual property trade agreement with broad implications for privacy and innovation around the world.

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Public Knowledge said that the April 30th release of 36 pages of material by the United States Trade Representative (USTR) was the second time the government had the opportunity to provide some public insight into the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), but declined to do so. More than a thousand pages of material about ACTA are still being withheld, despite the Obama administration's promises to run a more open government.

    "We are very disappointed with the USTR's decision to continue to withhold these documents," said EFF Senior Counsel David Sobel. "The president promised an open and transparent administration. But in this case and others we are litigating at EFF, we've found that the new guidelines liberalizing implementation of the Freedom of Information Act haven't changed a thing."

    EFF and Public Knowledge filed suit in September of 2008, demanding that background documents on ACTA be disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Initially, USTR released 159 pages of information about ACTA and withheld more than 1300 additional pages, claiming they implicate national security or reveal the USTR's "deliberative process." After reconsidering the release under the Obama administration's new transparency policies, the USTR disclosed the additional pages last week, most of which contain no substantive information.

    However, one of the documents implies that treaty negotiators are zeroing in on Internet regulation. A discussion of the challenges for the pact includes "the speed and ease of digital reproductions" and "the growing importance of the Internet as a means of distribution."

    Other publicly available information shows that the treaty could establish far-reaching customs regulations over Internet traffic in the guise of anti-counterfeiting measures. Additionally, multi-national IP industry companies have publicly requested that ISPs be required to engage in filtering of their customers' Internet communications for potentially copyright-infringing material, force mandatory disclosure of personal information about alleged copyright infringers, and adopt "Three Strikes" policies requiring ISPs to automatically terminate customers' Internet access upon a repeat allegation of copyright infringement.

    "What we've seen tends to confirm that the substance of ACTA remains a grave concern," said Public Knowledge Staff Attorney Sherwin Siy. "The agreement increasingly looks like an attempt by Hollywood and the content industries to perform an end-run around national legislatures and public international forums to advance an aggressive, radical change in the way that copyright and trademark laws are enforced."

    "The USTR's official summary of the process, released last month, recognized the lack of transparency so far while doing nothing to broaden stakeholder input or engage public debate," said International Affairs Director Eddan Katz. "The radical proposals being considered under the Internet provisions deserve a more transparent process with greater public participation."

    Litigation in the case will now continue, with USTR asking U.S. District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer to uphold its decision to conceal virtually all of the information that EFF and PK seek concerning the ACTA negotiations.

    For the documents released so far: "

    Have you responded to that action alert I posted above? Because I can tell you, right now and without any doubt whatsoever, that if that bill is over a thousand pages, then there's not a single legislator out there who will read it before voting on it.

    I can similarly guarantee that if they're hiding the contents of this thing that it will be a privacy/Constitutional nightmare when finally presented.

    ACT on this: Pete

  3. #3
    Campaign Veteran
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    Jul 2008
    Lobelville, Tennessee, USA

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    What exactly is your concern here with this issue. I'm assuming that IP= Intellectual Property, right? If so, this is a © Copyright issue and not related to OC or gun rights in general.

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