Night of the Living Dead (Trade Agreement edition)

Another manifestation of the zombie-like ACTA intellectual property provisions are now found in the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement:

As covered at Michael Geist’s blog:

U.S. Intellectual Property Demands for TPP Leak: Everything it Wanted in ACTA But Didn’t Get

Friday March 11, 2011

With the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement negotiation concluded, attention is now turning to the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement. The TPP currently includes the US, Australia, Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Singapore, Peru, Malaysia and Vietnam. Canada has not joined the negotiation, but there have been periodic rumours that wants in (it was apparently initially asked but declined due to the impact due to the agricultural impact).

Much like ACTA, there have been periodic TPP leaks, particularly on intellectual property issues. Last month, the New Zealand and Chilean proposals leaked online. Yesterday, the big one leaked – the U.S.’s 38 page intellectual property chapter. The U.S. plan is everything it wanted in ACTA but didn’t get.  For example, the digital lock rules are the U.S. DMCA, complete with exact same exceptions (no more, no less). The term of copyright matches the U.S. term of life of the author plus 70 years, beyond the Berne requirement and Canadian law. The ISP provisions including a copy of the U.S. notice-and-takedown system as well as provisions that go beyond U.S. law. In other words, the U.S. envisions using the TPP to export its copyright law to as many countries as possible while creating backdoor changes to its own domestic laws.  Moreover, the chapter extends well beyond copyright, with patent provisions that would restrict countries’ ability to restrict patentable subject matter.

KEI provides a good initial overview of some of the U.S. demands. While Canadians are not directly affected at the moment, it is certainly possible that pressure to join the TPP will increase in the months ahead with a deal that Canada did not have a hand in negotiating.

Night of the Living Dead (Trade Agreement edition)

It is time to Acta-up!

USTR has issued a request for comments on ACTA. The deadline for submissions is February 15, 2011. The notice gives very little guidance regarding the issues the USTR would like addressed in the comments.

Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement: Request for Comments from the Public

Agency: Office of the United States Trade Representative

Action: Request for written submissions from the public

Summary: The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has concluded negotiations on a proposed agreement to strengthen international cooperation, enforcement practices and legal frameworks for addressing counterfeiting and piracy. USTR is requesting written comments from the public on the final text of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in connection with consideration of U.S. signature of the agreement.

The deadline for submission of written comments is, 5:00 PM, Tuesday, February 15, 2011.

Address: All written comments should be sent electronically via http://www.regulations.gov, docket number USTR-2010-0014. Submissions should contain the term “ACTA Public Comments” in the “Type comment & Upload file” field on http://www.regulations.gov.

See further coverage at Knowledge Ecology: http://keionline.org/node/1037

http://www.ustr.gov/webfm_send/2379

Before commenting be sure to hear Michael Geist, a Canadian Law Professor, speaking about the ACTA threat: http://blip.tv/file/2837223

Or read his blog entries about ACTA here: http://www.michaelgeist.ca/index.php?option=com_tags&task=view&tag=acta&Itemid=408

Here is a list of those individuals and groups that have taken a critical look at ACTA and found it wanting, again from Michael Geist’s blog:

Elected Officials

Public Interest Group Letters

So what can the general public do?  One thing is to learn more and work together with groups already active on ACTA.  These include:

Every individual concerned with ACTA can also speak out.  Write to your local MP or national leader or participate in the specific activities sponsored by some of the organizations listed above.  These include the EFF ACTA Action Alert, the effort to encourage UK MPs to support the cross-party motion for ACTA transparency, and the signing of the A2K ACTA Petition.

It is time to Acta-up!

ACTA opposition goes mainstream (!) but where is mention of wikileaks (?)

Interesting that opposition to the ACTA has finally been picked up in several different media outlets. For example, a blog at Forbes magazine has an article about the sudden breakdown in transparency in the Obama administration.  Forbes had shown a fairly consistent bias against free and open source software, and issues concerning freedom.  Note especially the ACTA is one of those initiatives carried over from the Bush Administration, a fact that Gary Shapiro notes.

There is one downside of these reports though.  Although they all mention that it has been hard to keep the agreement secret because of leaks, there was not any credit given to wikileaks in the article.  The link to the leaked text in Gary Shapiro’s article doesn’t even link directly to wikileaks, but to another site:

Anti-Counterfeiting Agreement Undermines Efforts Toward Transparency
Gary Shapiro, 04.13.10, 01:40 PM EDT
The most dangerous global trade agreement you’ve never heard of.

This week the White House sent out a press release touting the Obama administration’s efforts to increase transparency in government. “For too long Washington has closed itself off from the oversight of the American public,” President Obama said. “That’s why my administration is taking concrete steps to build a government that’s more transparent, open and accountable.”

Unfortunately, such openness and transparency is absent from the administration’s negotiation of a very important global agreement, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

ACTA is a multilateral global copyright agreement backed by the big-content companies, originated in the Bush administration and now being pushed by the Obama White House. The fact that you know little or nothing about ACTA is not coincidental. Supporters of this unwise agreement know that if it were exposed to the light of day, consumer outrage would stop the agreement from becoming law.

A small number of groups, including CEA, were allowed to read ACTA’s Internet-related provisions, in return for signing a non-disclosure agreement. That means we know what’s in the agreement, but are forbidden from talking about it under penalty of law. Fortunately, in the Internet age, it’s tough to keep people in the dark for long. Some nations that are uncomfortable with ACTA have leaked the text…Needless to say, all CEA’s public commentary on ACTA is based solely on these leaked drafts.

Thankfully, reason is beginning to prevail. Last month the European Parliament rejected ACTA by a vote of 666 to 13…

Several more links below the fold:
Continue reading “ACTA opposition goes mainstream (!) but where is mention of wikileaks (?)”

ACTA opposition goes mainstream (!) but where is mention of wikileaks (?)

Demand Accountability Now

Michael Geist takes note of the leak of the most recent Mexico City round of discussions regarding the ACTA, it appears just a few countries continue to oppose transparency, the USA is, of course, among them:

New ACTA Leak: U.S., Korea, Singapore, Denmark Do Not Support Transparency

Thursday February 25, 2010

Outside of the Europe, the memo identifies three problem countries.  While Japan is apparently supportive, both South Korea and Singapore oppose ACTA transparency.  Moreover, the U.S. has remained silent on the issue, as it remains unconvinced of the need for full disclosure.  In doing so, it would appear that the U.S. is perhaps the biggest problem since a clear position of support might be enough to persuade the remaining outliers.

And then he makes a very important point:

This is an important leak, since it provides at least one perspective on who remains a barrier to ACTA transparency. Those in the U.S., South Korea, Singapore, Belgium, Portugal, Germany, and Denmark should be demanding answers from their leaders.

Which I have just done on my Senator’s web comment form. Since we have the leak, we now know what to complain about. It is so depressing that after Obama made such a big deal about transparency, he is doing his very best to forget what he had promised.

Demand Accountability Now

Letter to US Trade Representative from Ron Wyden (D) Oregon

Finally, another Senator, Ron Wyden joins his colleagues  Bernie Sanders of Ohio and Sherrrod Brown of Vermont in criticizing the ACTA process, as well as some of the content.  That seems to be as far as Senators can go, because the terms of ACTA are secret, and are being promulgated as a possible “Executive Rule” so they may never come to a vote, just get enacted into law by executive fiat.  If you are one of the few corporations or the RIAA or the MPAA you get access to the ACTA documents.   If you are just a citizen, too bad.

Here’s the Letter:  Wyden_Letter_to_USTR_on_ACTA_Jan_2010

Letter to US Trade Representative from Ron Wyden (D) Oregon

ACTA roundtable at Google DC offices January 11, 2010

Finally, the ACTA is getting some attention.  Here’s a roundtable discussion with Rob Pegoraro of the Washington Post moderating.  I am so happy to hear James  Love of Knowledge Ecology make the case for transparency, openness and inclusion of all stake holders.  Steven Metalitz represents clients like the MPAA and RIAA, and is clearly in a tight spot, as he should be.  Ryan Clough, a legislative aide for Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) whose district includes Silicon Valley, makes some interesting points, too.

I am so happy I have donated to Knowledge Ecology. You can do so here: Support Knowledge Ecology

And here’s a story by the moderator at the Washington Post:

Copyright Overreach Goes on World Tour

And here’s an article on ACTA at ARS:

Adding up the explanations for ACTA’s “shameful secret”

And lastly, a link to the page at Knowledge Ecology International regarding this debate: http://keionline.org/actadebate

ACTA roundtable at Google DC offices January 11, 2010