Senators Urge for Public Viewing of ACTA Text

U.S. Senators Bernard Sanders (I-VT) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) have penned a letter that implores the government to make public the proposals behind the ultra-secret Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

The letter (PDF here), dated November 23, was addressed to Ron Kirk, The U.S. Trade Representative. In the correspondence, the duo notes that they are “concerned” that President Obama’s previous stress of the importance of transparency, public participation and collaboration in government were not being applied to ACTA negotiations.

From the letter:

The ACTA involves dozens if not hundreds of substantive aspects of intellectual property law and its enforcement, including those that have nothing to do with counterfeiting… There are concerns about the impact of ACTA on privacy and civil rights of individuals, on the supply of products under the first sale doctrine, on the markets for legitimate generic medicines, and on consumers and innovation in general.

Sanders and Brown added that they were “surprised and unpersuaded” by claims that the information concerning the negotiations present a risk to the national security of the U.S. and that the public “has a right to monitor and express informed views on proposals of such magnitude.”

The Senators further stated that the secrecy of ACTA has “undermined” public confidence and attempts to tie this to a point made by Dan Glickman, CEO of the Motion Picture Association (MPAA). Unfortunately, in a letter supporting ACTA, Glickman wrote, “Outcries on the lack of transparency in the ACTA negotiations are a distraction. They distract from the substance and the ambition of ACTA which are to work with key trading partners to combat piracy and counterfeiting across the global marketplace."

Another letter supporting ACTA, sent on November 19, was signed by the likes of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), Directors Guild of America (DGA), National Music Publishers Association (NMPA), NBC Universal, News Corp., The Walt Disney Company, Time Warner, Inc., Universal Music Group, Viacom Inc. and Warner Music Group.

Update: A European Commission examination of ACTA’s Internet chapter has leaked and can be viewed online here (PDF). Michael Geist gives it a going over here. Worth noting: it appears the U.S. proposal contains a three-strikes policy, similar to one enacted in France and proposed for the UK.

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  1. 0
    Craig R. says:

    I can guarantee you one thing, any more DMCA is just going to encourage people to pirate stuff, because they’ll see it as the only way to give the finger to the corporations that continue to steal their rights away.

  2. 0
    Vinzent says:

    It’s the tech that big brother is going to be using to enforce ACTA. You know… warrantless wiretapping, uploading trojans on to people’s systems so they can monitor what you are doing. It’s in the interest of National Security that we don’t know about them because they are illegal.

  3. 0
    hellfire7885 says:

    It has nothing to do with national security and everything to do with allowing corporate executives to keep their private jets and limos.

    It’s sort of like how Apple tried ot argue agaisnt Jailbreaking Iphones. They said it would allow terrorist acts by enabling oeople to mess with cell towers, when cheap gear to do that has existed long before the Iphone came along

  4. 0
    Roh02 says:

    what does this have to do with national security? unless this thing has detailed plans for their next weapon or a list of spy names I dont see the connection HA

  5. 0
    hellfire7885 says:

    This is either a genuine move to make the public more aware and able to speak out, or just a way for them to show us how we’re being screwed and won’t allow the public to do anything to stop them.

  6. 0
    Thomas McKenna says:

    Oh, I know that consumer groups have been stonewalled.  I was just pointing out that saying ACTA is supported by a large number of groups that stand to profit from its passage, as well as these groups being allowed access to and proposing parts of it, is not a very good argument. 

    I’m reminded of a crude joke Penn Jillette said at one point or another:

    "What do 9 out of 10 people support?  Gang rape." 

    Saying the groups that stand to profit or gain from an action support it is not justification for that action.  If it were, then the 9 raping the 1 would be justifiable since, when brought to a vote, the 9 won out in the decision. 

  7. 0
    E. Zachary Knight says:

    You will never see any letters of support from a consumers group because such groups are denied access to any information on the proceedings of ACTA negotiations. So far all attempts to get information have been stone walled.

    Well, you might see some support from the VGVN at some point only because they are owned and run by the ESA.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  8. 0
    Thomas McKenna says:

    When are we going to start seeing letters supporting ACTA by consumer groups?  So far all I see are groups that stand to profit from an overly draconic ACTA, so seeing their support does not ease my misgivings.

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