Why Would Countries Leave ACTA Negotiations If Text Was Public?

from the how-does-that-make-sense? dept

KEI's James Love ended up on an airplane with USTR Ron Kirk, and was able to ask him some questions about ACTA secrecy. Kirk's response was that the document would be revealed after it was finished -- i.e., after those who it will impact most could have a say in the matter. He also claimed that some of those in the negotiations would "walk away from the table" if the documents were made public. It's difficult to see how that makes any sense -- but if it's true, is that a bad thing? Do you really want to be negotiating a big treaty like this one if some of the countries are afraid to stand behind the document to the public they're supposed to represent? I think the fact that some countries would walk away from the negotiations if they were made public pretty much explains why this process is so broken in the first place.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Tor (profile), Dec 4th, 2009 @ 4:49am

    When representatives of the people want to hide things because the public wouldn't approve if they knew the details then something has really gone bad with democracy.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 4:56am

    Re:

    " ... then something has really gone bad with democracy."

    hmmm, then maybe it is not democracy

     

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  3.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Dec 4th, 2009 @ 5:08am

    Re:

    Not all countries in the negotiations are democracies. That still should be pretty telling that even they don't want to piss off their citizens that much.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 5:36am

    Some countries might want more of this, less of that. The idea is to come up with a completed document that every one of the countries can adopt without issue, knowing that their rules will be in line with everyone else. The negotiations, the "who wanted more" and the "who wanted less" would just be reason for a bunch of yoohoos (like Mike) to get up in arms over and over again for nothing. Some politicans won't want to take the heat at home, others don't want to look soft on crime, don't want to look like they support piracy.

    The end result is what you should worry about, not the way they get there.

     

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  5.  
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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Dec 4th, 2009 @ 5:36am

    Re:

    The USA was never a democracy.

     

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  6.  
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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Dec 4th, 2009 @ 5:42am

    Re:

    I don't know if you're being dense on purpose or if you really are slow, but we want more transparency in the process *because* we're worried about the end result.

    Once we're given the end result, it is, by definition, too late.

     

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  7.  
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    senshikaze (profile), Dec 4th, 2009 @ 6:18am

    Re: Re:

    a constitutional democratic republic is close enough.

     

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  8.  
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    senshikaze (profile), Dec 4th, 2009 @ 6:25am

    How come we have protests for the g20 summit, but absolutely none (that i have heard) over this ACTA?
    Nice to know we are all handing our rights away, along with the rights of the people of every other country in the agreement.

     

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  9.  
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    Call me Al, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 6:39am

    Re:

    I think you'll find that the best time to change such a document is when it is still being drawn up. Its no good starting your detailed complaints once its already finalised and being signed.

    I have no sympathy with politicians who "won't want to take the heat", quite frankly it is their job to do so. If they can't take the heat yada yada.

     

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  10.  
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    Perry K (profile), Dec 4th, 2009 @ 6:50am

    Re:

    "knowing that their rules will be in line with everyone else"

    Say what now? You've just described the ratchet effect. These 'anti-counterfitting' negotiations include so much copyright measures it should be called the pro-copyrightholders treaty. Here in Canada we already have had some semblance of public consultations on copyright. That feedback from thousands of citizens basically made it clear we don't need more draconian measure like 3 accusations and you're out. Yet, according to you, in order to be 'in-line' with everyone else, our government should institute copyright law against the wishes of it's citizens?

    Thanks, but no thanks.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 6:54am

    Re:

    Your assumption is that all of your rights will disappear, and that isn't true.

    Why not wait to see the final product, and then protest that, rather than protest what you don't know?

     

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  12.  
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    All copyrights are belong to us, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 7:04am

    One can only assume that those that would walk away from the table if the details are public are trying to get over on everyone. They are afraid of being caught with their pants down.

     

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  13.  
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    mikez (profile), Dec 4th, 2009 @ 7:06am

    He also claimed that some of those in the negotiations would "walk away from the table" if the documents were made public.

    Perhaps the "those" are the media execs and not countries. We all know the diplomats aren't writing this treaty.

     

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  14.  
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    Planespotter (profile), Dec 4th, 2009 @ 7:06am

    @ AC

    and that is the problem... they/we should know what it is about. We are the people, the governments are our servants, not the other way around.

     

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  15.  
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    Greg, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 7:06am

    Re: Re:

    Because it's too late then? Duh. After the DMCA you still trust these people to get it right? Hey, did I mention that I own a bridge in downtown Manhattan that's for sale? :)

     

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  16.  
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    Call me Al, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 7:15am

    Re: Re:

    "Your assumption is that all of your rights will disappear, and that isn't true." - How do you know it isn't true?

    The parties involved in these negotiations and the few bits of information that have leaked out paint a bleak picture.

    Additionally you might want to look and notice most of the protests are about the fact that we don't know what is being negotiated. It is being kept secret from us and so people are right to be suspicious.

    As I said before its no good protesting the finial product as it is final. The protests need to happen during the negotiation so that they can be accounted for as they go along.

     

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  17.  
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    Tor (profile), Dec 4th, 2009 @ 7:26am

    Re:

    Who is the "who" in "who wanted more/less"?

    Is it the negotiators or the people in their countries? If there's a discrepancy between what those two want then that is a democratic problem and some transparency would help, no?

     

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  18.  
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    KevinJ (profile), Dec 4th, 2009 @ 7:56am

    Re:

    "The end result is what you should worry about, not the way they get there."

    Really? Let's say that you live in a peaceful neighborhood, that has recently turned into a very bad place, with rampant crime and drugs. The government decides to do something about it by leveling the entire neighborhood, just condemning everything and tearing everything down, leaving the residents nowhere to go with no compensation. End result no more crime in that neighborhood, but they got there by destroying the entire neighborhood.

    In that little hypothetical (where you are one of the residents) everything is just fine, because according to you the end justifies the means. Or would you worry about the means in that case?

     

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  19.  
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    zellamayzao, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 8:34am

    Re: Re:

    I would rather protest what I do not know so as to force the politicians to reveal what they are doing so I do know before its too late instead of waiting to find out that I got screwed and just sat around waiting to find out then go "But wait.....I want my voice to be heard" and then they go "Too late....you should have spoke up when we were still drawing little cartoon figures on our legal pad waiting for the media to tell us how to word this"

     

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  20.  
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    Chris (profile), Dec 4th, 2009 @ 8:35am

    That's the problem

    with transparaency, people can see what you are doing. For a a lot people that scares the crap out of them. The people with views outside of the mainstream (i.e the copyright extremists) know that if people knew what they really wanted they would never get it. So they resort to hiding behind secrecy.

     

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  21.  
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    Joe, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 8:42am

    Re: Re: Re:

    It kinda sounds like he is one of "these people."

    @AC -
    Who in their right mind thinks that one's government should be negotiating laws/treaties in private -- when these laws/treaties will be binding the public. Your argument is for us to wait and see, and then protest. Then what? We throw the whole thing out because it is outrageous and start over with public input? Why not just start off with public input?

    You are suggesting that if we don't like it, we can build enough support against it to stop it. But in general, the population doesn't consider this a big item -- so we need time to build support and show exactly what they are trying to do and what is wrong with it. Waiting until the last minute will allow them to push it through without giving opposition time to build.

    Building suspense via absence of information is only good for television previews -- not legislation and treaties.

    "Coming in the Summer of 2010 -- We've got an exciting new treaty in the works for our country! Will we be enslaving the entire population to a foreign country?! Or will we be giving everyone free donuts?! Who will we be voting off the planet?! Don't miss the premier of the ACTA of 2010!!!"

     

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  22.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Dec 4th, 2009 @ 8:46am

    This is a good thing .....

    Personally I want ACTA to go through. The unintended and in-direct consequences are so obvious.

    1) An increase in Encryption
    2) Greater privacy (because of pt 1)
    3) Better, more secure, encrypted, anon, file sharing apps
    4) Decreased revenue and the eventual fall of the record labels

    these are the ones that I am looking forward to ...

    5) Greater use of CC liscenses as the labels become more draconian in punishing people and the artist bail on them.
    6) The rise of business plans that are artist based not label based
    7) The re-recording and distribution of Albums by artists under some form of CC liscense (oops ... my bad ... for mentioning this)
    8) Decrease in revenue for the collection agencies

    286 note/entry) find out if the re-recording of albums by the same artist is legal under US, canadam and EU law.

    Add it as an option to the accounting server, right server, media server, etc. Also add it to the business plan.

     

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  23.  
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    .-=RWW=-. (profile), Dec 4th, 2009 @ 8:54am

    @Anonymous Coward

    There is much more than just copyrights involved and punishing bad guys. For an indepth (if not unbiased) look at some of the issues (not to mention any conspiracy theories that may also be involved), take a look at the articles at the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

    http://www.eff.org/issues/acta

    Then, if you want to have some fun with it, look for any articles on the shadow government, or one world government.

    The USA needs to refurbish our governments, as they have fallen into disrepair, termites, cockroaches, dryrot, and purification has taken over. And we were the greatest government and we are being leveled to the lowest common denominator of noisey, powerful special intrests. 'nuff said from me.

     

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  24.  
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    .-=RWW=-. (profile), Dec 4th, 2009 @ 9:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: by Joe

    Cute. I like your analogy. Will 'voting off the planet' be on my ballot in June?

    Oh, in my other comment, I meant putrefaction, not purification, is taken over our governments.

     

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  25.  
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    Jason, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 9:40am

    Re:

    "The idea is to come up with a completed document that every one of the countries can adopt without issue, knowing that their rules will be in line with everyone else."

    NO. The idea is basic liberty, and there is no such thing if you exclude the people from the process, no matter what form of government you have.

    "The end result is what you should worry about, not the way they get there."

    I wonder whether you're aware that this sound like a threat.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 9:59am

    The Droid Sucks

     

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  27.  
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    harbingerofdoom (profile), Dec 4th, 2009 @ 10:13am

    for some reason, i have to think that the ISP provisions in here from what has leaked so far would be unconstitutional and unenforceable.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 10:16am

    Re:

    Since when has the constitution been followed?

     

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  29.  
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    bshock, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 10:39am

    Let's just say what they're admitting: They're screwing up, they know they're screwing us, and they know we'll complain when we get screwed.

     

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  30.  
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    jjmsan (profile), Dec 4th, 2009 @ 10:51am

    Reason for Secrecy

    I have been trying very hard not to think about this so I believe I have the answer. The people involved in writing the treaty understand how bad everything has become with the current rules so this treaty is being written to fix all of that. Since the result will be so awesome the writers being honest, self effacing public servants do not want their adoring public to overwhelm them with congratulations, offers to buy them drinks, etc. So everything has to be kept under wraps. What's really amazing is that they leak fictious draconian sections to throw everyone off track.

     

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  31.  
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    Laurel L. Russwurm (profile), Dec 4th, 2009 @ 11:06am

    @senshikaze... people need to know bad things are happening before they can protest. Since our governments are acting in secrecy ("national security") and since the big media companies are behind ACTA, surprise, it isn't talked about much if at all in mainstream media.

    @Hephaestus - maybe, but: since the entire negotiation it being done in secret we don't know what the law will entail... BitTorrent and encryption may well be completely illegal under ACTA. If I was a soulless major media company exec pushing for global domination that's what I'd be after. The point is WE DON'T KNOW.

    In Canada currently our backbone ISP carrier is allowed to use DPI to identify bitTorrent traffic so they can throttle it-- and since any encrypted traffic might be bitTorrent they are given a free pass to throttle anything encrypted as well. Stopping the same traffic dead would be child's play. they HAVE the technology. If ACTA should make file sharing illegal it will cause grave damage to open source software, Project Gutenberg, and the emerging independent music industry which uses file sharing for promo & distribution. This would be a shame as THIS MAGAZINE's article Pay indie artists and break the music monopoly — Legalize Music Piracy said “Independent musicians make up about 30 percent of the music industry now. That’s $150 million going to independent artists in Canada alone.”

    According to Bytesyle TV, AFTER ACTA is done negotiations will be TOO LATE for American citizens to make any complaints because this negotiation does not require congressional ratification (its being undertaken under an under an "executive order").

    This makes it incredibly important for American citizens with concerns to speak up NOW to your elected representatives. Spreading the word to your less technical friends would help too. Later will be too late.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 12:20pm

    Re: Re:

    I heard this secret treaty will be a YouTube Killer. It will also criminalize open source software. You'll be fined millions of dollars for sharing media with your frinds.

    What do you mean these things might not be in this secret treaty?

    Why not make it public and allay any fears the general public might have? No, they won't do that? Then fuck it.

    I heard this secret treaty is going to force a global tax on everyone that goes straight to the RIAA and the MPAA.

     

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  33.  
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    crade, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 1:30pm

    no need for secrecy

    I'm sure if they just gave us a simple and clear list of all the things everyone does now legally that would be illegal under ACTA, people would flock to it from all corners of the globe.

     

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  34.  
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    Chargone (profile), Dec 4th, 2009 @ 1:51pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I'd go with constitutional oligarchic republic with democratic trappings, myself.

    [I'm sure trappings wasn't the word i had in mind when i started, but the one i wanted escaped me

     

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  35.  
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    .-=RWW=-. (profile), Dec 4th, 2009 @ 1:53pm

    It's a crying shame.

    Some details that have leaked, so far:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Counterfeiting_Trade_Agreement

    Who is going to be brave enough to leak the whole fam-dangled thing and who is going to be brace enough to publish it?

    Step-up insiders.

    I did what little I could do, I complained to my Senators: https://secure.eff.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=383

     

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  36.  
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    YEA i know, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 6:44pm

    OHHHHHH Canada

    and our minister says ACAT will be subservient to Canadian law
    hrm does that mean it has to then get ratified
    OR are you secretly about to table a bill to make what it does tame? LIKE you tried with bill c61.

    PEOPLE are saying we should walk away as we have no need to be there

     

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  37.  
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    slander (profile), Dec 6th, 2009 @ 9:44am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The way I heard it, this secret treaty raped and murdered a girl in 1990...

     

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  38.  
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    slander (profile), Dec 6th, 2009 @ 10:24am

    Re: This is a good thing .....

    1) An increase in Encryption
    Encryption will only be allowed for governments, copyright holders and member corporations of the BSA, RIAA, MPAA, IACC, ASCAP and SIIA. Any entity that is not one of the aforementioned and uses encryption shall be liable for criminal and civil penalties.

    2) Greater privacy (because of pt 1)
    (see #1)

    3) Better, more secure, encrypted, anon, file sharing apps
    (see #1)

    4) Decreased revenue and the eventual fall of the record labels
    Member corporations of the above listed organizations (which includes any entity assigned to represent them) shall receive material reimbursement should projected earnings fall below a threshold, which shall be determined by the aforementioned organizations and adjusted on a yearly basis.

    5) Greater use of CC liscenses as the labels become more draconian in punishing people and the artist bail on them.
    No artistic work shall be created, distributed, performed or duplicated in any fashion without the expressed consent, oversight and control of the aforementioned organizations. Any entity which attempts to circumvent this limitation shall be liable for criminal and civil penalties.

    6) The rise of business plans that are artist based not label based
    (see #5)

    7) The re-recording and distribution of Albums by artists under some form of CC liscense
    (see #5)

     

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  39.  
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    cackus, Dec 7th, 2009 @ 8:31pm

    What about Linux?

    Until I can legally play my purchased HD DVD's on my Linux Box, I'm a criminal anyway.

    I also refill print cartridges, I should be in jail for Life I guess as I'm such a hardenned criminal.

    I have also been known to backup every software I own, and I visit the LIBRARY, home to the subversive agents of Fair use known as Librarians!

     

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  40.  
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    Yeebok (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 2:02am

    My very simple views on ACTA are that it's going to be held as a prerequisite for any trade agreement with countries, in particular the US. So any country with an existing trade agreement likely considers their existing agreement potentially under threat if they don't sign.
    I suspect it's mainly led by US entertainment companies and their lobbyists, or in more general terms, those already responsible for the RIAA and MPAA. Why would we be concerned about those organisations coercing our countries into accepting an agreement they likely don't want.

    I dare say the laws in Australia on this are messy enough, this'll just make it tons worse.

    All we need to do to avoid the problem is not consume any media which originated in the US between now and whenever it's ratified.. lol

    Disclaimer : Some sarcasm, sure you can spot it.

     

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  41.  
    identicon
    Negotiation Techniques, Mar 17th, 2010 @ 7:16pm

    Negotiation

    Things around the world is very complicated.

    WE have to settle on things that should not be overly problematized.

     

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


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