Okay, hit and run today, but I found this comical beyond belief.
First, what am I talking about:
What is ACTA?
In October 2007 the United States, the European Community, Switzerland and Japan simultaneously announced that they would negotiate a new intellectual property enforcement treaty, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA. Australia, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Mexico, Jordan, Morocco, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and Canada have joined the negotiations. 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 targetting "Internet distribution and information technology".
Why You Should Care About It
ACTA has several features that raise significant potential concerns for consumers’ privacy and civil liberties, for innovation and the free flow of information on the Internet, legitimate commerce, and for developing countries’ ability to choose policy options that best suit their domestic priorities and level of economic development.
ACTA is being negotiated by a select group of industrialized countries, outside of existing international multilateral venues for creating new IP norms such as the World Intellectual Property Organization and (since TRIPs) the World Trade Organization. Both civil society and developing countries are intentionally being excluded from these negotiations. While the existing international fora provide (at least to some extent) room for a range of views to be heard and addressed, no such checks and balances will influence the outcome of the ACTA negotiations.
The Fact Sheet published by the USTR, together with the USTR's 2008 "Special 301" report make it clear that the goal is to create a new standard of intellectual property enforcement, above the current internationally-agreed standards in the TRIPs Agreement, and increased international cooperation including sharing of information between signatory countries’ law enforcement agencies. The last 10 bilateral free trade agreements entered into by the United States have required trading partners to adopt intellectual property enforcement obligations that are above those in TRIPs. Even though developing countries are not party to the ACTA negotiations, it is likely that accession to, and implementation of, ACTA by developing countries will be a condition imposed in future free trade agreements, and the subject of evaluation in content industry submissions to the annual Section 301 process and USTR report.
So of course this was gonna get leaked:
Draft of Secretive International Copyright Treaty Leaked -- Confirms Fears About Internet Freedom
By Michael Geist
Negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) resumed last week in Wellington, New Zealand, with Canada, the United States, the European Union, and a handful of other countries launching the eighth round of talks. While even the most optimistic ACTA supporters do not expect to conclude an agreement before the end of the year, the next five days may prove to be a pivotal point in the negotiations since over the past several weeks, there have been two major leaks that could dramatically alter the still-secret discussions.
The Dutch leak succeeded in blowing the issue wide open by identifying precisely which countries posed barriers to transparency. The document identified the U.S., Singapore, South Korea, and a trio of European countries as the remaining holdouts. Once publicly identified, the European countries quickly reversed their positions. The E.U. now unanimously supports the releasing of the text alongside Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Switzerland. With the outing of the transparency issue, it will fall to the U.S., which is widely viewed as the critical stumbling block, to justify its insistence on keeping the treaty secret.
On the other, the text confirmed many fears about the substance of ACTA. If adopted in its current form, the treaty would have a significant impact on the Internet, leading some countries to adopt three-strikes-and-you're-out policies that terminate subscriber access due to infringement allegations, increasing legal protection for digital locks, mandating new injunction powers, implementing statutory damages provisions worldwide, and engaging in widespread data sharing across national borders.
So we want to keep the trade agreement secret? And if the powers that be decide you are not in compliance with their wishes they want to kick people off the internet?
Good luck with that.
So what is with the US? Here, let me get my first strike:
Section 1: Civil Enforcement
Civil enforcement refers to providing courts or other competent authorities with the authority to order/take specific actions when it is established that a party has violated intellectual property laws, and the rules on when and how to use those powers.
Oh, that's sweet. So the USA will join international courts to make sure WikiLeaks and other such sites are forbidden, but they won't sign the International Criminal Court treaty?
Seriously? Bravo State Department!
Not to mention campaign Obama was all about transparency, transparency, transparency. And here we are talking digital information, and his administration is all secretive.
That my friends, is utter bullshit.