We all know about ACTA. What we don’t know is what ACTA contains. The US Government calls it a National Security issue, and points to Executive order 12958. The UK government is refusing to put the treaty on the Parliamentary record. It’s a den of shadows, where nothing is clear. All that there are are rumours and drafts.
So, it’s at least partially heartening that some pretense of listening to the people has occured to the US Trade Representative (USTR) in that he opened the door for comments. Naturally I, like others, jumped at the chance.
It’s all too easy to go off half-cocked, and start rambling, talking about things you’ve heard, think you think might happen, etc. That’s not the right way. If it sounds like a conspiracy theory, then odds are it’ll be treated as one, and ignored. Sticking to the facts in a clear and comprehensive manner work wonders.
With only a week’s timeframe, it could be hard to write something factually hard-hitting, but also short enough to avoid being ignored as ‘tl;dr‘. Luckily, the snowstorm that hit DC meant that there was a 2 day extension for submissions. This was not neccesary for myself, but for the US Pirate Party it meant we had enough time to get a statement out I feel was acceptable.
I’ll leave it to them to publish their statement, but I’m going to post mine, just for some thoughts, should you wish to contact your representative. Especially in light of the most recent leak, 3 days after the deadline close.
Success! Your Comment Has Been Submitted
Comment Tracking Number: 80aa7e65
Thank you for submitting a comment on the following NOTICES
Document ID: USTR-2010-0003-0001: 2010 Special 301 Federal Register Notice
Your attached files:
ANortonUSTR-2010-0003.pdf Successfully uploaded
Many of you will have heard about ACTA. For those that haven’t, ACTA (or in long form the “Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement”) is an agreement between countries that purports to reduce counterfeiting to benefit the consumer. What it actually will do, we don’t know. See, the treaty hasn’t been made public. In two years of negotiations, it’s been kept quiet. There was a leak in mid-2008, which made it to wikileaks, but apart from that, very little. Recently a number of companies, including one or two consumer based groups (the majority being movie, record and software companies – see the full list here) saw the ACTA agreements. Viewing the agreement only happened after non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) were signed, as apparently a treaty about copyright infringement is a national security issue, by Executive Order.
It’s not a National Security Issue, but a Job Security issue.
It’s fear of the outrage that public knowledge of the treaty would create. It’s fear that once the scope of the corruption these public officials, including President Obama, is known, they will be unelectable for life, and have to actually work for a living, losing all the power and prestige they have.
Knowledge Ecology International is one group not standing for it though. They found out the names of those who have viewed the documents, and it’s not a particularly voter-friendly list. There is now a petition circulating concerning the transparency aspect of this document, asking President Obama to make it open, and show there are no shenanigans, no illegal or unconstitutional activities being proposed and no false arguments and bad evidence being used to subvert rule of law, to bolster the coffers of another industry that is in a (self proclaimed) bad way.
While the physical copy of the petition was sent today, you can still sign the on-line version, and I would strongly urge people to do so. It’s your freedoms being bought and sold by your own politicians. Remember, they work for you, not for lobbyists.