The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (probably) contains provisions outlawing certain technologies, and requiring DRM. But we don’t really know this, because all the negotiations are happening in secret. This veil of secrecy is being maintained despite the fact that over 100 organizations have called for the ACTA process to be made transparent.
But that veil of secrecy has been partly lifted by documents published at wikileaks.
But why do we have to fight for provisions of a proposed treaty to be made public, after all is this Europe and America we are talking about, or some banana republic, run for the benefit of just a few?
Of course, everyone is paying attention to the bailout/stimulus packages, so what if a few freedoms evaporate while no one’s looking? It’s not like anybody every sacrificed anything to get those freedoms, they were just handed to us, we don’t have any responsibility to protect them, and preserve them for future generations, do we?
In Europe, the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure:
EU Council deliberately obstructs access to ACTA documents Brussels, 13 January 2009 —
The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) has filed a complaint with the Ombudsman against the EU Council for deliberately obstructing access to Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) documents. As stated by an other participant in the negotiations, the EU has agreed to keep ACTA drafts secret. This way the EU hinders the proper application of Regulation 1049/2001 regarding public access to documents. The FFII asks for immediate publication of the documents. Public interest organisations are concerned ACTA may limit access to medicines, limit access to the internet, give patent trolls free reign and harm the most innovative sectors of the economy. According to a New Zealand government website, participants in the ACTA negotiations “have agreed that the draft final text will be made public at the end of negotiations before governments consider signing.” FFII analyst Ante Wessels comments: “This implies that the EU has agreed to keep earlier draft texts secret. Regulation 1049/2001 for public access to documents does list some exceptions to transparency, but those exceptions must be interpreted and applied strictly. Making agreements to keep texts secret goes much further than allowed. The Council deliberately obstructs access to ACTA documents.” As a solution the FFII proposes that the documents have to be made accessible. The EU may also withdraw from the ACTA negotiations.
And in America, the Free Software Foundation:
Speak out against ACTA
ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, is a proposed enforcement treaty between United States, the European Community, Switzerland, Japan, Australia, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand and Mexico, with Canada set to join any day now. Although the proposed treaty’s title might suggest that the agreement deals only with counterfeit physical goods (such as medicines), what little information has been made available publicly by negotiating governments about the content of the treaty makes it clear that it will have a far broader scope, and in particular, will deal with new tools targeting “Internet distribution and information technology”.