ACTA marches on, and the EFF drops the lawsuit…

The battle over the secrecy surrounding the ACTA gos on although EFF and PK have apparently dropped their lawsuit:
As carried on Slashdot:
mikesd81 notes a press release on the EFF website that begins
“The Obama Administration’s decision to support Bush-era concealment policies has forced the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Public Knowledge (PK) to drop their lawsuit about the proposed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

Federal judges have very little discretion to overrule Executive Branch decisions to classify information on ‘national security’ grounds, and the Obama Administration has recently informed the court that it intends to defend the classification claims originally made by the Bush Administration. … Very little is known about ACTA, currently under negotiation between the US and more than a dozen other countries, other than that it is not limited to anti-counterfeiting measures. Leaked documents indicate that it could establish far-reaching customs regulations governing searches over personal computers and iPods. Multi-national IP corporations have publicly requested mandatory filtering of Internet communications for potentially copyright-infringing material, as well as the adoption of ‘Three Strikes’ policies requiring the termination of Internet access after repeat allegations of copyright infringement, like the legislation recently invalidated in France.

While I can understand the reason why they dropped the lawsuit, I am very disappointed in the EFF. I suppose they are not just giving up yet, and neither should we.   The EFF release goes on:

“Even though we have reluctantly dropped this lawsuit, we will continue to press the U.S. Trade Representative and the Obama Administration on the ACTA issues,” said Public Knowledge Deputy Legal Director Sherwin Siy. “The issues are too far-reaching and too important to allow this important agreement to be negotiated behind closed doors,” he added.

Very little is known about ACTA, currently under negotiation between the U.S. and more than a dozen other countries, other than that it is not limited to anti-counterfeiting measures. Leaked documents indicate that it could establish far-reaching customs regulations governing searches over personal computers and iPods. Multi-national IP corporations have publicly requested mandatory filtering of Internet communications for potentially copyright-infringing material, as well as the adoption of “Three Strikes” policies requiring the termination of Internet access after repeat allegations of copyright infringement, like the legislation recently invalidated in France. Last year, more than 100 public interest organizations around the world called on ACTA country negotiators to make the draft text available for public comment.

EFF and Public Knowledge first filed suit against the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative in September of 2008 demanding that background documents on ACTA be disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Rather than pursuing a lawsuit with little chance of forcing the disclosure of key ACTA documents, EFF and Public Knowledge will devote their efforts to advocating for consumer representation on the U.S. Industry Trade Advisory Committee on IP, the creation of a civil society trade advisory committee, and greater government transparency about what ACTA means for citizens.

Thankfully, Knowledge Ecology isn’t going to surrender basic freedoms so easily:

KEI Statement on ACTA
Latest News – Latest News
Saturday, 13 June 2009

On June 12, 2009, USTR announced it would resume negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). On June 10, 2009, KEI co-hosted a briefing on IPR enforcement, and issued this statement:

“In a plethora of settings, publishers and pharmaceutical companies are pushing an aggressive new agenda to expand and enforce intellectual property rights. The proposals are often advanced in undemocratic and non-transparent fora, such as the top secret and highly classified ACTA negotiations. This is big government and big business at its worst, creating rules without input or sensitivity to the concerns of consumers, overriding civil rights, undermining privacy, increasing prices to consumers. The topics under review are not simple technical issues or directed at organized crime, they are big sweeping changes in our basic freedoms, and underhanded attempts to give lobbyists rules they can’t get in a normal democratic setting.” James Love, Director, KEI
Last Updated ( Saturday, 13 June 2009 )

So I suppose I won’t be renewing my membership in the EFF, but I will be making a very substantial donation to Knowledge Ecology. Of course, we can still contact our leaders. At least they will proceed knowing some are objecting to the loss of basic freedoms.

Contact the White House:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

Phone Numbers

Comments: 202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414
FAX: 202-456-2461
TTY/TDD

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ACTA marches on, and the EFF drops the lawsuit…

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