Senators Begin Questioning ACTA Secrecy

from the this-ain't-the-transparency-we-were-promised dept

Despite some sweet talk from Hollywood about how important ACTA and its secret negotiations are to America (and, once again, no, the secrecy is not at all "normal," as some industry lawyers would have you believe), it looks like some Senators are finally beginning to question how ACTA is being handled. Senators Bernie Sanders and Sherrod Brown have sent a letter to US Trade Rep Ron Kirk asking for ACTA documents to be made public. The letter points out that "the public has a right to monitor and express informed views on proposals of such magnitude" especially considering that "there are concerns about the impact of ACTA on the privacy and civil rights of individuals, on the supply of products under the first sale doctrine, on the markets for legitimate generic medicines, and on consumers and innovation in general." The letter also takes on the bogus claims of state secrets in protecting ACTA documents:
We are surprised and unpersuaded by assertions that disclosures of basic information about the negotiation would present a risk to the national security of the United States, particularly as regards documents that are shared with all countries in the negotiations, and with dozens of representatives of large corporations. We are concerned that the secrecy of such information reflects a desire to avoid potential criticism of substantive provisions in ACTA by the public, the group who will be most affected by the agreement. Such secrecy has already undermined public confidence in the ACTA process.... We firmly believe that the public has a right to know the contents of the proposals being considered under ACTA, just as they have the right to read the text of bills pending before Congress."
Unfortunately, these are just two Senators. Supporters of ACTA likely have many more who will blindly fight to keep ACTA secret and get it approved with little or no substantive input from those it will impact most.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 8:32pm

    But everyone knows ACTA won't affect US law, because, umm...

    Oh look, a distraction!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 8:45pm

    $10 says...

    ...Both those Senators suddenly get career ending scandals.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 8:52pm

    Socialist Bernie? he must be a techdirt fave.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 8:59pm

    The senate is only pretending to do something because elections are coming up.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 9:14pm

    So when ACTA is finally introduced to the public, you know, after it's pretty much signed into law, can we have a breakdown of how much ACTA deals with copyright as opposed to counterfeiting?

    I'm guessing that 3/4 of it is copyright and 1/4 of it is counterfeiting.

    The Pro-Copyright Executive Decision Act, or, PCEDA.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 9:16pm

    Re:

    A copyright maximalist's "fave" is Joseph Goebbels. Truth hurts, doesn't it?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 9:31pm

    If you like this, say thanks...

    Hey, let's contact these Senators and let them know we appreciate their support:

    ">Bernie Sanders' Office
    Sherrod Brown's Office

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 9:33pm

    Use this link instead for Bernie Sanders

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 10:09pm

    Ideas for contacting your Government Represenative

    I just faxed a copy of the letter (warning:PDF) with a coversheet to my Senators and Representatives. In the coversheet, I (nicely) asked that they take a look at what Senators Brown and Sanders wrote, and let me know if "this ACTA thingie is something to be worried about".

    I finished it off by asking the Senator/Representative also request this same information from US Trade Representative Ron Kirk. I hope this gives you some ideas, and maybe you feel inclined to do the same.

    Here's a link to find Your Representatives

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 10:11pm

    Re: Ideas for contacting your Government Represenative

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    US pirate party, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 11:39pm

    IS the US pirate party a joke

    why aren't they organizing a massive senator letter campaign or some rallies.....must be like that canuck version all shilled out

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 24th, 2009 @ 1:31am

    Re:

    Elections were beginning of the month, moron.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Dom S, Nov 24th, 2009 @ 1:45am

    Re: $10 says...

    i second this...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), Nov 24th, 2009 @ 5:49am

    Re: Use this link instead for Bernie Sanders

    Thank you for the links to their contact sites. It is always good to our representatives actually care for a change. It happens so little.
    Now if only they all acted this way all the time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    known coward, Nov 24th, 2009 @ 6:33am

    Re: Re:

    Ha HA you brought nazi's up, you lose.

    but for the record i am with that commie bernie on this one.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 24th, 2009 @ 8:13am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Don't get me started on what Bernie is all into. A little knowledge would make you love him a whole lot less.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    icon
    The Groove Tiger (profile), Nov 24th, 2009 @ 8:33am

    How unpatriotic and unamerican...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    icon
    jjmsan (profile), Nov 24th, 2009 @ 8:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    As opposed to you just accusing him of unspecified conduct anonymously

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    TheStupidOne, Nov 24th, 2009 @ 9:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, because a person does something you don't like it becomes impossible to applaud him when he does something good.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    icon
    The Mad Hatter (profile), Nov 24th, 2009 @ 4:04pm

    Cynicism seems called for in this instance

    Industry appears to want to railroad this through regardless of what the public wants or needs. And of course the problem is that we can't even comment sensibly about it, since they won't let us see the drafts.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    thepi (profile), Nov 24th, 2009 @ 7:17pm

    Wow, I agree with the socialist....that was weird to say....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 24th, 2009 @ 7:17pm

    Nice to see that the EFF finally got a couple politicos who know nothing about the issues to troll on its behalf.

    If a letter had been written by persons on the House and Senate Judiciary Committees then perhaps such a letter might hold sway.

    But this letter? Likely DOA, no matter how much the EFF wants to believe otherwise.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 24th, 2009 @ 7:59pm

    Re:

    Good job explaining why they're wrong. It's very convincing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 24th, 2009 @ 8:33pm

    Gotta say that Bernie also looks like the kind of guy that makes very neat and very tidy tin foil hats to wear at night, just in case.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 24th, 2009 @ 8:48pm

    Re:

    OR......... they are the only two with balls.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Forrest MacGregor, Nov 24th, 2009 @ 9:39pm

    Cool...

    Bernie rocks. I love living in Vermont.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 24th, 2009 @ 11:28pm

    Re:

    Nice to see that the EFF finally got a couple politicos who know nothing about the issues to troll on its behalf.

    Heh. Funny. Weren't you recently complaining about snide comments on this site?

    But this letter? Likely DOA, no matter how much the EFF wants to believe otherwise.

    What makes you think the letter had anything to do with the EFF?!? If it were from the EFF it would have come from the EFF's usual friends.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 12:01am

    bump

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Bryan, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 5:03am

    Take Action

    Don't just be a pawn to large corporation lobbying, Take Action.

    EFF Take Action Site on this issue:
    https://secure.eff.org/site/Advocacy?id=420&pagename=homepage

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 8:26am

    Re: Re:

    Weren't you recently complaining about snide comments on this site?

    With rare exception, if any, my so-called "snide comments" have been directed to personal put-downs in response to comments otherwise made in good faith.

    What makes you think the letter had anything to do with the EFF?!? If it were from the EFF it would have come from the EFF's usual friends.

    If others feel free to to decry MPAA and RIAA involvement in preparing materials for "drone-like" presentation by members of Congress, then it only seems fair to reciprocate in kind.

    Of course, there are some others who use the current ACTA negotiations to spread fear mongering. Public Knowledge is one such group, which is interesting since I believe it is one of the groups provided access. Michael Geist in Canada is another mouthing such fear mongering and "moral panic".

    I have stated before, but it bears repeating, there is to my knowledge nothing in the negotiations to date that in any way would require the United States to substantively amend its current copyright law. For example, some issues were noted in a post, to which post I replied by reference to specific sections of US law wherein provisions related to such issues are already embraced within US law.

    I believe it is worthwhile to note that while some persons and organizations heavily invested in the blogsphere have raise what I would call a misleading hue and cry, this is an activity that has not caused dissension within the ranks that under any reasonable interpretation can be faily characterized as a groundswell of opposition.

    I have asked before, and I ask again, if anyone is able to identify issues that would require amendment of US law, then bring those issues forward for discussion. Thus far the few issues that have been raised do no such thing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    icon
    The Groove Tiger (profile), Nov 25th, 2009 @ 9:45am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "With rare exception, if any, my so-called "snide comments" have been directed to personal put-downs in response to comments otherwise made in good faith."

    TRANSLATION: Well, um, in my case it's different because my farts don't stink.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 9:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Are you able to provide any substantive comments or are you merely trying to ingratiate yourself with others here?

    By the tenor of your comment I take it that you are still in school and removed from the business world. I could be wrong, in which case were I your employer I would worry about your skill level for critical analysis of what you read.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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