Group Of Prominent Law Professors Urge President Obama To Halt ACTA Endorsement

from the probably-too-late dept

A group of rather prominent law professors have sent an open letter to their former law professor colleague, now President, Barack Obama, asking him to "halt [his administration's] public endorsement of ACTA and subject the text to a meaningful participation process that can influence the shape of the agreement going forward." There's lots of good stuff in the letter, though I doubt it will make much of a difference. It highlights how the whole process left the public out of the discussions, contrary to Obama's promises. Furthermore, it explains why the agreement should be subjected to Congressional scrutiny, rather than just being signed as an "executive agreement," noting that, beyond the parts of ACTA that appear to conflict with US law, the President is not supposed to have authority over intellectual property issues:
The use of a sole executive agreement for ACTA appears unconstitutional. The President may only make sole executive agreements that are within his independent constitutional authority. The President has no independent constitutional authority over intellectual property or communications policy, the core subjects of ACTA. To the contrary, the Constitution gives primary authority over these matters to Congress, which is charged with making laws that regulate foreign commerce and intellectual property. ACTA should not be pursued further without congressional oversight and a meaningful opportunity for public debate.
The letter also points out that, beyond just the secrecy, the entire concept of ACTA is being "deliberately misrepresented to the American people."
The treaty is named the "Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement". But it has little to do with counterfeiting or controlling the international trade in counterfeit goods. Rather, this agreement would enact much more encompassing changes in the international rules governing trade in a wide variety of knowledge goods -- whether they are counterfeit or not -- and would establish new intellectual property rules and norms without systematic inquiry into effects of such development on process of economic and technical innovation in the U.S. or abroad. These norms will affect virtually every American and should be the subject of wide public debate.
Chances of this letter having much of an effect are slim, but it certainly does highlight the growing concerns that ACTA has serious problems among folks who actually understand this stuff .


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    ofb2632 (profile), Oct 27th, 2010 @ 5:09pm

    Change

    I voted for Obama because i actually believed he wanted a much more transparent government. I know that alot of what he wanted to accomplish was stopped by filibuster, but he does have power on his own to stop this.
    Mr. President, please don't lie to us. If you think this is a good idea, please come out and explain yourself. If this goes against the promises you made to America, then do not sign.

     

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

  2.  
    icon
    David Johnson (profile), Oct 27th, 2010 @ 6:02pm

    Re: Change

    The sooner people realize there is no buyer's remorse in voting, the better. Damn I hate sounding like a radical, but the current state of politics and twisting of the constitution makes me sick and cynical...but there's not really another country to move to where things are "right" either. While I agree this has a snowball's chance of making a difference, it's sad that there was even an ACTA talk to begin with. Something that obviously business driven and anti citizen/consumer that it should have never gotten off the ground, much less be this close to reality.

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 27th, 2010 @ 7:30pm

    I'm sure our resident Arrogant Lawyer Troll will arrive shortly to whine about "some members of academia" who "know nothing about the practice of IP law" who should just shut up until ACTA is signed.

     

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

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 27th, 2010 @ 7:37pm

    Of course, ACTA won't be "signed". That's the point of ACTA. Law without being law. I think we're now all on double secret probation . . .

     

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

  5.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Oct 27th, 2010 @ 7:38pm

    Re: Change

    I voted for Obama because i actually believed he wanted a much more transparent government. I know that alot of what he wanted to accomplish was stopped by filibuster, but he does have power on his own to stop this.
    Mr. President, please don't lie to us. If you think this is a good idea, please come out and explain yourself. If this goes against the promises you made to America, then do not sign.


    Obama is a typical politician. He doesn't care about the people he claims to represent. He told whatever lies were necessary to get in office and now that he's there, his promises don't mean squat.

    How can you tell when a politician is lying? His lips are moving.

     

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

  6.  
    identicon
    Vigo, Oct 27th, 2010 @ 8:07pm

    Re: Change

    Mr. President, please don't lie to us. If you think this is a good idea, please come out and explain yourself. If this goes against the promises you made to America, then do not sign.

    I'm sure if Obama made any promise against ACTA, its right up there on the list with his promises to balance the budget.

     

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

  7.  
    identicon
    Vigo, Oct 27th, 2010 @ 8:07pm

    Re: Change

    Mr. President, please don't lie to us. If you think this is a good idea, please come out and explain yourself. If this goes against the promises you made to America, then do not sign.

    I'm sure if Obama made any promise against ACTA, its right up there on the list with his promises to balance the budget.

     

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

  8.  
    identicon
    Vigo, Oct 27th, 2010 @ 8:10pm

    Re: Change

    Sorry about the double post. If it happens again, I'll bake cookies for everyone.

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 27th, 2010 @ 8:31pm

    What really bothers me is that you really dont hear much if anything about ACTA from the MSM. If people actually knew about it, and read some of the leaked drafts, you might see more accountability tho doubtful even then

     

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

  10.  
    icon
    The eejit (profile), Oct 28th, 2010 @ 1:36am

    Re:

    Accountability?

    BWAHAHAHAHAHA! You, sir, just made my day!

     

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

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2010 @ 3:11am

    >> I'm sure if Obama made any promise against ACTA, its right up there on the list with his promises to balance the budget.

    You all will be slaughtered like sheep. Follow the money man. Anyone find it odd that Net Neutrality is totally off the radar right now?

    http://www.sanfranciscosentinel.com?p=88257

    Do you expect "The Party Of No" to suddenly change and the next two years to get anything done? It will be more gridlock, and more corporate money funding loony grandstanding politicians to spout false oneliners.

     

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

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2010 @ 3:28am

    Tea Party & Republican strategy: manipulation of an Angry Crowd by Corporate Interests

    Here's what one of the Original Tea Party Founders, Karl Denninger said:

    "In short, The Tea Party was and is about the the corruption of American Politics and the blatant and outrageous theft from all Americans that has resulted. It is about personal responsibility and enforcement of the law against those who have robbed, financially ****d and pillaged the nation."

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XdhI6bwyL4

    You're anger has been bought by the Secret Contributors who tell you what you want up front, but it's all fake in the back. You've been had.

    The monied interests are using the Carrot-And-Stick approach: You take a carrot, stick it up the fucking voter's ass, followed by the stick, and followed by an even bigger and rougher carrot.

     

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

  13.  
    identicon
    Vigo, Oct 28th, 2010 @ 6:09am

    Re:

    Do you expect "The Party Of No" to suddenly change and the next two years to get anything done? It will be more gridlock, and more corporate money funding loony grandstanding politicians to spout false oneliners.

    I hate to break it to you, but gridlock is how the government was designed to work. For any law to pass, its suppose to go through a long, rigorous process of gridlock in both the house and senate, then to the presidency. You get too much of one party in place, and there is no longer the checks and balances. It's what keeps any ridiculous laws from getting expedited though. If you think that one political party is corrupt, and the other is not, then you are pretty out of touch with how the world works.

    If you want hope of anything good getting done in politics, then just best vote out any long-term "lifer" politicians in lieu of someone new and naive enough that they think they can go in and make a positive difference. Better to have an honest idiot representing you than a corrupted, power hungry idiot.

     

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

  14.  
    identicon
    Sean H., Oct 28th, 2010 @ 6:12am

    Re: Change

    "I voted for Obama because i actually believed he wanted a much more transparent government. I know that alot of what he wanted to accomplish was stopped by filibuster, but he does have power on his own to stop this.
    Mr. President, please don't lie to us. If you think this is a good idea, please come out and explain yourself. If this goes against the promises you made to America, then do not sign."

    Seriously?!

    Obama is just as untransparent as Bush was, and even worse since he promised transparency and has devilvered nothing.

    Name one CORE piece of legislation he promised that was blocked by fillibuster... Healthcare? Cap and Tax? Nope... they were all passed.

    Obama is systematically destroying the American way of life by trying to make us sheep dependant on the government for everything.

    People who like to follow the government to the slaughter might enjoy living off the taxes of others with their entitlement mentality... but those of us who actually work our butts off to get what we have see Obama and the demosocialist party for what it is really doing.

    At this point, the government needs to be scrapped and restarted. The only problem with doing that, is there are no leaders like our founding fathers living today who could cobble out a new and better constitution.

    In stead, we have a bunch of lazy people with an entitlement mentality expecting the American dream to be HANDED to them instead of getting of their butts and EARNING it.

    Get out there on Tuesday and send a message of REAL change to the government. Vote out the career politicians who give themselves raises and take breaks with doing something as important as deciding on whether or not to renew the tax cuts - which basically equates to tax hikes for EVERYONE if they expire.

    Out with the bad and in with the good.

     

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

  15.  
    identicon
    JEDIDIAH, Oct 28th, 2010 @ 6:44am

    Excessively Liberal Democrats

    Oddly enough, if you would have listened to the NPR coverage of the man you would have had a detailed enough picture of him to realize that he was and is just another politician like the rest of them. As one might expect from the fact that he has survived the relevant selection process: he's really nothing special.

    The idealized version of him that many people have simply would never have survived in the game long enough to be presented as an option.

     

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

  16.  
    identicon
    RD, Oct 28th, 2010 @ 6:47am

    Re: Re: Change

    "At this point, the government needs to be scrapped and restarted. The only problem with doing that, is there are no leaders like our founding fathers living today who could cobble out a new and better constitution."

    There is nothing wrong with our constitution. What is needed is a government that actually FOLLOWS it.

    "In stead, we have a bunch of lazy people with an entitlement mentality expecting the American dream to be HANDED to them instead of getting of their butts and EARNING it."

    Wow couldnt be more wrong. Which would I rather have: my unemployment that runs out in a few months that pays $300 a week, or the $55k/yr job I lost due to jobs being shipped overseas thanks to the Republicans policies? You tell me.

    "Get out there on Tuesday and send a message of REAL change to the government. Vote out the career politicians who give themselves raises and take breaks with doing something as important as deciding on whether or not to renew the tax cuts - which basically equates to tax hikes for EVERYONE if they expire."

    While they may "Equate", that doesnt make them ACTUAL tax hikes. Blame Bush for this if you must, it was his cuts with HIS expiration date.

    "Out with the bad and in with the good."

    Seriously, anyone who thinks voting BACK in the same group that damn near ruined the GLOBAL ECONOMY and put us into the worst depression since the 30's is seriously deluded. We need NEW blood, not yet another round of Repubs vs Demos and the current 2 party system, and sure as hell not the watered-down version of Republicans called the Tea Party.

     

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

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2010 @ 7:05am

    I doubt if he will even read it.

     

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

  18.  
    icon
    Thomas (profile), Oct 28th, 2010 @ 8:11am

    Obama and the government..

    are being paid good money to support ACTA. They are not going to bite the hand that feeds them. ACTA is simply something dreamed up by content industries that feel they need government protection. They pay money to the government to get it passed plain and simple.

     

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

  19.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Oct 28th, 2010 @ 8:12am

    Re: Re:

    "I hate to break it to you, but gridlock is how the government was designed to work."

    I was thinking the same thing. A federal governmnet that can't pass any laws because of gridlock is a good thing.

     

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

  20.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Oct 28th, 2010 @ 8:25am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "I was thinking the same thing. A federal governmnet that can't pass any laws because of gridlock is a good thing."

    Right. Except when that same federal govt. also tries to take the power of smaller governments, like state and municipalities, from also acting. Then you get the kind of total gridlock that is so easily taken advantage of....

     

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

  21.  
    icon
    harbingerofdoom (profile), Oct 28th, 2010 @ 9:31am

    Re: Excessively Liberal Democrats

    you didnt even have to listen to NPR to get that feeling. you only had to listen to what his talking points were during the campaign to realize this.

     

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

  22.  
    icon
    harbingerofdoom (profile), Oct 28th, 2010 @ 9:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Change

    you should probably get your political world view from something other than the standard playlist thats being tossed around on every single website with an agenda. (both liberal and conservative).

    the moment anyone tosses out "worse depression since the 30's" and blames either party (and yes, both sides are blaming the other for this) your ideas are pretty much not going to be taken seriously.

    the problem has come to the enevitable outcome that the current two party system was doomed to result in.
    the only way we as citizens are going to be able to have any faith in the political process is to stop electing those people who are just creating their talking points based on the latest polls and doing nothing more than finger pointing while they keep lining their pockets with corporate interest money from all sides.

    The two party system must end and we need to all stop being little children who take whatever the government hands us be it policy, excuses or cheese and start actually holding them accountable and getting rid of those who are not actually helping fix the problem.

     

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

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2010 @ 9:42am

    Re: Re: Change

    "but there's not really another country to move to where things are "right" either.

    Australia. They tell you straight up your getting fucked without lube or a reach-around. That's better IMO than our government trying to dupe us, knowing full well we're being duped. tell us were not being duped, knowing they are lying sacks of shit. Then duping us.

    Teach your kids to use guns. They will need it

     

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

  24.  
    icon
    harbingerofdoom (profile), Oct 28th, 2010 @ 9:46am

    Re:

    i think im just going to spend the next two days hitting topics and pointing out "thats what the other side says too" just to see how much both sides are actually saying the exact same thing and blaming eachother on the exact same items in the exact same way.

    which after all is all they are interested in doing because making sure that we are all staying focused on blaming the other side keeps our collective eyes off of them enough for them to make sure that we dont actually see what they ARE doing (which is generally either stripping away our rights or...well, nothing at all)

     

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

  25.  
    identicon
    RD, Oct 28th, 2010 @ 11:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Change

    "the moment anyone tosses out "worse depression since the 30's" and blames either party (and yes, both sides are blaming the other for this) your ideas are pretty much not going to be taken seriously."

    Sorry, but I have to respectfully, and completely, disagree with this assessment. NEVER in my 40+ years on this planet have gone 2 YEARS without being able to land a job. NEVER. I've NEVER submitted over 200 resumes only to get 3 actual rejections and a single "thank you for applying" and SILENCE on all the rest. If that isnt as bad as the 30's, then I dont know what other era was. Not even the early 80's was this bad. Hell, I even HAD a job in 1982 that I CANT NOT get TODAY!

    "The two party system must end and we need to all stop being little children who take whatever the government hands us be it policy, excuses or cheese and start actually holding them accountable and getting rid of those who are not actually helping fix the problem."

    I completely agree with this.

     

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

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2010 @ 8:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Change

    Top tax rate in Australia is 45c in the dollar and there is also GST, fuel tax, capital gains tax etc. etc. etc. You just put your hand in your pocket and keep giving. It's impossible to get ahead, most people probably sit on a nominal tax rate of 65%. Makes me want to laugh when I see people from the US complaining about 25% tax rates.

    The upshot of which is that if you ever get out of work, injured, in a car accident.. there's a thorough public welfare system. There's a decent public health system. Rebates of drugs (when necessary). A complete pension plan.

    Sure, we're all getting fucked. But at least sometimes it feels good. That's the real difference in the 51st state.

     

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This