Letter to Obama Seeks ACTA Transparency

As the 6th round of Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) negotiations get underway in Seoul, Korea, a dispatch has been sent to President Obama expressing concern over the “lack of transparency and openness” surrounding the initiative.

The letter notes that “Unlike nearly all other multilateral and plurilateral discussions about intellectual property norms, the ACTA negotiations have been held in deep secrecy.”

While a curious mix of entities have been allowed to see ACTA documents, after signing a non-disclosure agreement, the letter states that “there were no opportunities for academic experts or the general public to review the documents,” adding that “very few” public interest or consumer groups were included as well.

Among the signees of the letter were The Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA), Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Knowledge Ecology International (KEI), Students for Free Culture and the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights.

Countries negotiating the agreement include the U.S., Australia, Canada, the European Union, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and Switzerland.

BoingBoing (thanks Torven) sums up a few leaked bullet points from ACTA, among them:

•    That ISPs have to proactively police copyright on user-contributed material. This means that it will be impossible to run a service like Flickr or YouTube or Blogger, since hiring enough lawyers to ensure that the mountain of material uploaded every second isn’t infringing will exceed any hope of profitability.

•    That the whole world must adopt US-style "notice-and-takedown" rules that require ISPs to remove any material that is accused — again, without evidence or trial — of infringing copyright. This has proved a disaster in the US and other countries, where it provides an easy means of censoring material, just by accusing it of infringing copyright.

•    Mandatory prohibitions on breaking DRM, even if doing so for a lawful purpose (e.g., to make a work available to disabled people; for archival preservation; because you own the copyrighted work that is locked up with DRM)

The EFF tears into the leaked material in a post on its website, saying that, “The leaks confirm everything that we feared about the secret ACTA negotiations.”

They continued:

The Internet provisions have nothing to do with addressing counterfeit products, but are all about imposing a set of copyright industry demands on the global Internet, including obligations on ISPs to adopt Three Strikes Internet disconnection policies, and a global expansion of DMCA-style TPM laws.

Disclosure: GamePolitics is a publication of The ECA

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  1. Truec says:

    Countries negotiating the agreement include the U.S., Australia, Canada, the European Union, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and Switzerland.

    So, that would leave… how many countries with this supposed ‘real freedom’?

  2. Pinworm says:

     That’s okay, we’ll just block USA off from accessing the real internet so we can have real freedom while you guys do not, but preach about how you have it more than anyone else.

    Same Shit, Different Medium.

  3. Speeder says:

    The most funny part of anti-piracy laws is how they can screw the creator…


    Example: Metal slug collection for PSP was been discovered to use roms pirated by players. The creator claimed that in fact they really did this, because they lost the source. So, thankfully the game preservation projects saved those games.


    Now with this law, this mean that for using a illegal rom of your own game to re-release it you will get arrested/fined/punished.



  4. Neeneko says:

    It is not just companies.. governments do not want popular access to information either.  Even democratic governments are generally against the idea since when it comes down to it, the same kinds of people end up runing things regardless of what structure the government or company takes.

  5. Austin_Lewis says:

    I wonder what effect this would have on Ripoffreport.com .  That site was a fantastic idea, and it’d be sad to see it go.

  6. GoodRobotUs says:

    What this seems to be, to me, when combined with the attack on Net Neutrality, is an attempt by larger businesses to turn the Internet into a purely business venture, where the ‘great unwashed’ are little more than a minority whose opinions are worthless, rather than the large social network it currently is.

    Without wanting to sound like a conspiracy theorist, it occurs to me that the last thing any organisation wants, is for customers to communicate with each other and share their experiences. They’d much prefer a feedback page that they can edit to suit themselves, destroying social groups like youTube, famous for exposing several bad practices by companies, attacking people who publicise problems with companies by accusing them of filesharing and having their page removed without trial, and the DRM thing is just a continuation of the attack on personal property, where companies feel they should still own the stuff you’ve bought, and should control your ability to criticise them.

  7. Neeneko says:

    Though we might start seeing the rise of darknets.

    It would be funny if all those technologies that the NSA developed for helping people get freedom in China end up being used by people wanting freedom in the US…

  8. Dejiko says:

    ok, this is weird.

    first we get the net neutrality bill, which keeps ISPs from abusing their power, and then we get this bill that will let other companies get even more abusive?

    Well, on the bright side maybe I can write a song and then repeatedly tell ISPs that companies like EA and activision are pirating it, since I won’t need to give them a single ounce of proof that they actually are.

  9. Ratros says:

    There’s no way this can work.

    I once had a dream about God. In it, he was looking down upon the planet and the havoc we recked and he said unto us, "Damn Kids get off my lawn!"

  10. Austin_Lewis says:

    If you’re hoping for transparency, you’re wasting your time.

    As for the leaked bullet points, this is fucked up.  It will destroy many, MANY sites, especially Youtube.

  11. hellfire7885 says:

    Well, goodbye internet, as sadly, if companies want this ,it will more than likely get passed. Despite what many claim, they can care less about consumers.

  12. sirdarkat says:

    And were going to put a Moat around our servers and demand the black knight be kept at the gates … Ah nothing like going back to the Medieval days and imposing Draconian Laws upon the public.  Maybe instead of just take down notices we can use the Pear of Anguish to force people to confess that they are trying to pirate music and movies; if they die they were innocent if they admit to it they were guilty.

  13. DarkSaber says:

    Better get pirating while I can before ACTA shuts down the internet!


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

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