Why Is ACTA Being Negotiated In Secret?

from the and-why-isn't-the-press-asking-about-it? dept

We've already talked about the ACTA treaty, which is being used by the entertainment industry to basically do an endrun around the legislation process for intellectual property, and getting all its wishes encoded into an international treaty, so it can start running around claiming that every country absolutely needs to change its IP laws to "live up to" international treaties. William Patry has been asking why the mainstream press isn't covering this, and it's an excellent question.

His latest post on the topic covers the fact that the entire process is happening in secret behind closed doors and the folks negotiating the treaty seem to think this is fine:
"A spokesperson of the European Commission confirmed that consultation with different stakeholders had been on the agenda and would happen over the coming month at the domestic level. Draft text proposals still have not been published, the source said. Several parties contacted pointed to confidentiality agreed on by the negotiating partners."
Patry translates that paragraph accurately as really saying:
"Countries also discussed whether they should actually talk to those who would be affected by the agreement, and agreed that sometime they will, but everything we have done is super-secret because we agreed it would be super-secret."
So why aren't stakeholders invited into the process? Why is the whole thing being negotiated in secret, using notes in discussion with entertainment industry lobbyists but no consumer groups or other business groups who aren't necessarily supporters of more restrictive copyright regimes? And why isn't the press asking these questions?

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  1. icon
    Crosbie Fitch (profile), 10 Jun 2008 @ 6:38am

    The press?

    The press started the unnatural corruption of commercial privilege that is copyright in the first place.

    They're not exactly the first ones I'd to look to for unravelling the legal mess that's left behind when copyright starts creaking at the seams and the public sees that release from their rusted bonds into liberty is within reach.

    The public aren't 'stakeholders' - they're the ones that are bound to the stake that everyone else is holding.

    Sorry folk, but you're on your own.

    The press look out for themselves.
    The government look out for their corporate sponsors.
    The media corporations look out for control over communications channels, the raw material they pump along them, and the advertisers that harvest the crop from the opiated masses.

    Who else is there?

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

  2. identicon
    colony, 10 Jun 2008 @ 6:39am

    it ain't gonna happen.........

    we haven't had a free press in years. several media numpties control most of western media and are more likely to be lining thier pockets if this goes through. they can blow me, they think they have problems now. wait till i can walk past someone and swap my entire movie/music folders in seconds.

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

  3. icon
    Matt (profile), 10 Jun 2008 @ 6:42am

    maybe we can find out

    I submitted a FOIA request regarding this magically private ACTA information...which is supposed to be public.

    We'll see if anything comes out, although I'm rather skeptical.

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

  4. identicon
    Ima Fish, 10 Jun 2008 @ 6:43am

    Why Is ACTA Being Negotiated In Secret?"

    Because it's the only way it'll get enacted.

    "And why isn't the press asking these questions?"

    Because the mainstream press is either owned by large content companies or have a very strong bias in favor of protecting content.

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

  5. identicon
    Glurbie, 10 Jun 2008 @ 7:19am

    Who needs the press?

    The more the "Press" ignores things that matter, the more I ignore the "Press." I've got way too many other ways to find out what's going on for any one group to intentionally or unintentially keep me in the dark. I'm sure I'm not in the minority about that.

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

  6. identicon
    Overcast, 10 Jun 2008 @ 7:44am

    Just like most other thing in government now - all done in secret.

    Funny how technology, medical, and other areas of human development move forward - and how 'political science' moves backwards - it's more medieval everyday.

    "And why isn't the press asking these questions?"

    Because the mainstream press is either owned by large content companies or have a very strong bias in favor of protecting content

    Yes and because the same people running the entertainment industry, are the same ones running the press, as they are yet still the same ones running the governments.

    Too much 'power' concentrated on too few people/families now.

    Just an example of the above - politics moving backwards.

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

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Jun 2008 @ 7:49am

    Re: Who needs the press?

    Of the people who would actually use the internet, read this and see your comment, I'm willing to bet you're most definitely not in the minority, no.

    Unfortunately, the majority of the rest of the world are sheep who do blindly listen to the 'Press'. Sorry. :(

    (On a side note, I just read the word 'Press' enough times for it to lose all meaning. Man that's a weird word. No, I am *not* high.)

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

  8. identicon
    Jake, 10 Jun 2008 @ 7:50am

    In fairness to the mainstream press, or at least the small segment of it that's not a wholly owned subsidiary of an organisation that stands to gain rather a lot by the ACTA, we're currently getting on for saturation point for civil liberties stories; there's only so much that one organisation can cover, and I think we can all agree that prioritising this story over 'extraordinary rendition' or the British government's current crusade against the right not to be imprisoned without a trial would be perverse in the extreme.

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

  9. identicon
    sonofdot, 10 Jun 2008 @ 8:03am


    That makes a little bit of sense, but it doesn't mean this story shouldn't see the light of day at all. Sure, you have limits on column space, but I don't think there's a "saturation point" for civil liberties stories. Indeed, such a point can't exist, unless we're willing to sacrifice our civil liberties simply because the press finds it boring. You may have reached your saturation point, and are willing to accept come-what-may, simply because you're bored with the subject. I have not, nor will I, reach any "saturation point" when it comes to the erosion of my civil liberties.

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

  10. identicon
    Ferd, 10 Jun 2008 @ 8:16am

    The Press

    The real answer to the question is this:

    Think about the people who read the press for their primary window to the world... people who like their "information" processed, sanitized, editorialized, and served up to them without any active mental or physical process being taken on their own behalf.

    The press probably (and rightly?) feel that the reading masses have been sufficiently lobotomized by now to not wish to be upset by controversial issues and stories with words longer than five letters.

    Thank goodness for well informed and conscientious public servants looking after our best interests.... ummm, no? well thank goodness at least for excellent government run school systems that teach critical thinking in our youth... ok, uhhh, scratch that? darn it, help me out here... ok, the world is going to Hades in a hand basket but at least it will be college football season, soon! All hope is not lost.

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

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Jun 2008 @ 8:30am

    They're doing it again.

    Why doesn't wired do another story on this, like when they tried it in '96? http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/4.01/white.paper.html

    From Bruce Lehman's wikipedia page:
    Currently, he is President and CEO of the International Intellectual Property Institute (IIPI), a lobbying organization based in Washington, D.C., and is President of the U.S. Committee for the WIPO.

    He represents us at the U.N. for goodness sakes!

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

  12. identicon
    william patry, 10 Jun 2008 @ 11:32am


    Jake, how is that Canadian and Australian newspapers are covering it? What I find depressing about your remarks is that when you read newspapers daily, and I read about 5 hardcopy versions, there doesn't seem to be a saturation point for celebrity gossip, nor for journalists' favorite topic, themselves.

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

  13. identicon
    Clueby4, 10 Jun 2008 @ 4:09pm

    WTO and the smell of BS

    Well they were open before, ie WTO. But unfortunately the propaganda wasn't good enough to cover the smell of BS.

    So they reverted to the tried and true method of "what they don't know won't hurt them".

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

  14. identicon
    Darryl Epps, 15 Mar 2009 @ 4:13am

    IP Treaty and corporate control

    Wow, why are we surprised by this? It's the same story, same tune. The thing that worries me is that some corporate jock will discover a way to claim ownership of the air we breathe, have it legislated and we'll find we owe them our very lives. And when it happens we'll be the last ones to find out about it.

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

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