Congressman Darrel Issa (R-CA) issued a press release this morning waging a full frontal assault on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), saying that he was opening up the treaty to the public because it was negotiated in secret. He describes ACTA as "worse than SOPA and PIPA," and shows great disdain for it because it was negotiated without the input of "the American people and Congress."
Some might argue that the president did not have to include Congress in a treaty negotiation but under the U.S. Constitution the Senate does have some input. Others argue that the president was able to steer clear of Senate approval by calling it an "executive agreement." The press release goes so far as to call ACTA an "unconstitutional power grab begun by the Executive Branch to bypass Congress' Constitutional authority over international commerce and intellectual property rights protections."
"ACTA represents as great a threat to an open Internet as SOPA and PIPA and was drafted with even less transparency and input from digital citizens," Issa said. "This agreement was negotiated in secret and many of its vague provisions would clearly increase economic uncertainty, while imposing onerous new regulations on job creators, Internet service providers, innovators and individual Americans. As we have learned from the OPEN Act, opening ACTA to taxpayers and stakeholders in Madison will help gather crucial input, while delivering the transparency they deserve."
Issa has opened the contents of the treaty on his website, keepthewebopen.com.
The press release offers a number of bullet points on why ACTA is such a raw deal for the international community – and Americans. It notes the lack of transparency in negotiations, that it circumvented the Congress and checks and balances as require by the U.S. Constituion, and that the language of the agreement is vague and far reaching.
You can read the press release here.