Will ACTA Ever Be A Real Treaty?

from the might-be-tough dept

With the EU Parliament rejecting ACTA over the summer, and the Japanese legislature doing a drive-by ratification, there are some legitimate questions as to whether or not ACTA will ever become a real, valid international treaty. Without the EU's support, it's a hell of a lot less likely, certainly. I'd been joking that it was beginning to look like it's going to become an agreement between the US... and Morocco, but the actual process to make ACTA official requires six participants to have "ratified" it. While a bunch of countries have signed, that's still a step short of ratification. And, to date, only Japan has done so (though there are arguments over whether or not the US needs Congressional approval for ratification). Monika Ermert, over at IP-Watch, details the current situation. Here's a snippet:
With an apparent stalemate between the US administration and legislators about ratification procedures and the European Union out after the Parliament voted against the agreement, it looks as if there is still an uphill battle to get to reach that number.

Besides the EU and Japan, seven governments have signed ACTA (Australia, Canada, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States). Switzerland has not signed nor ratified.

“Not much is happening on the Canadian front,” wrote Michael Geist, Canada Research Chair of Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa and long-time ACTA observer. “Canada signed ACTA, but has not ratified. Ratification would likely require some legislative amendments,” Geist said, and until those changes are introduced the country would not be positioned to ratify. There may be, according to Geist, linkage between ACTA and CETA (the Canada-EU Trade Agreement) under negotiation.

Britton Broun, media advisor of the Economic Group in the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment of New Zealand, responded to Intellectual Property Watch by saying: “While New Zealand has signed ACTA, the government has not yet taken a decision on its ratification.”
As we've discussed, Australia's Parliament has already recommended rejecting ACTA, and it appears that ratification has stalled out there as well. Ermert suggests that really the only way that ACTA might reach the necessary levels of ratification will be if other countries follow Japan's method of approval -- by which they effectively sneak it through.

Along those lines, her report confirms what we'd heard about how the ruling party in Japan effectively got ratification without actually bothering to allow the opposition to take part:
But on 31 August, a committee of the House of Representatives, and on 6 September, the full House of Representatives pushed ACTA through, each time counting only the votes of the ruling party.

“To ratify an international treaty without the attendance of all opposition parties means a collapse of democracy in Japan,” warned Suzawa.
While ACTA hasn't received that much attention in Japan, allowing the government to get away with such shenanigans, it seems likely that any attempt to do something similar elsewhere would be met with more widespread resistance. In other words, it seems unlikely that enough countries will actually get around to ratifying ACTA -- though we should never underestimate the tricks that lobbyists and diplomats will pull to try to shove this ugly pig over the finish line.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Prashanth (profile), Sep 14th, 2012 @ 12:06pm

    You know what this means

    TechDirt ("Tekku-datto"?) is required in Japan! Otherwise the status quo about people there not caring about this stuff will remain.

     

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    ahow628 (profile), Sep 14th, 2012 @ 12:30pm

    Pinocchio

    The title of this post reminds me of Pinocchio.

    "I've got some strings to hold you down. To make you fret, to make you frown. I didn't have strings, but now I do, I've got some strings on you!"

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2012 @ 1:02pm

    ACTA isn't a treaty in the US as long as congress does not ratify it. Since it hasn't gone through the process a treaty does to be binding, it isn't valid as a treaty in the US.

    This whole pony show needs only congress to get itself in an uproar and the whole thing will fall apart.

    Clearly, not calling it a treaty when it quacks, waddles, and looks like one, will not save executive privilege statements as to be something else.

    To me it looks like Morocco has agreed with itself.

     

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      Jay (profile), Sep 14th, 2012 @ 1:55pm

      Re:

      It's the one way that corporations can get around our Constitution. They tried for SOPA and they still want those requirements. What they will push for is more predatory capitalism where corporations are given priority over individual people.

      I rather blame Clinton for everything that happened here. When he signed NAFTA he gave US sovereignty to corporations. Sure, he was a good president, but he hurt the US in a number of ways by creating free trade zones that will allow for corporate control of copyright over what the people want.

       

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        Ed C., Sep 14th, 2012 @ 4:47pm

        Re: Re:

        I guess you didn't realize that Bush Sr. was the one who signed NAFTA, not Clinton. He tried to ramrod it through congress before his term was up, but it got stalled. Clinton, being a "global economy" proponent, picked it up and got it ratified. We can still blame Clinton for DMCA though, which is more than bad enough.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2012 @ 2:45pm

      Re:

      Any country can sign ACTA after may 1, 2013. Untill then the procedure for entry has been capped to only the kids considered cool by the original signatories. Either they expected ACTA to breeze through and a storm of other countries to try and gain access or they wanted to keep some countries out...
      All in all, it is just another brick in the wall between ACTA and reality.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2012 @ 1:19pm

    'we should never underestimate the tricks that lobbyists and diplomats will pull to try to shove this ugly pig over the finish line'

    particularly when those doing the 'pushing' are being 'encouraged' in particular ways that would make their bank managers even more happy that they probably already are!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2012 @ 5:39pm

    As we've discussed, Australia's Parliament has already recommended rejecting ACTA, and it appears that ratification has stalled out there as well.


    No. A Parliamentary Committee has recommended rejecting. That largely has little to no impact on what the Australian Parliament chooses to then do.
    I'd suggest that "stalled" is a premature claim as well. These things simply don't happen quickly. Stalled might be more accurate as a description come early to mid 2013.

     

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    Justin Beever, Sep 16th, 2012 @ 4:18am

    haha NAFTA

    Glad I'm not the only one who feels NAFTA contributed greatly to the global recession. Bill could have been one of the greatest US presidents, if not for that lame duck move.

    Seriously, I feel like the whole world is on the verge of a super depression, that will make the great depression look mild.

     

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