Does ACTA Secrecy Violate European Law?

from the too-much-secrecy dept

One of the most problematic aspects of the negotiations around ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, is how the entire process has been shrouded in secrecy. Those involved in the process try to brush off this complaint by saying something along the lines of "but we always negotiate treaties this way!" but that's hardly a good reason to do so -- especially when the impact of ACTA could be wide ranging. Some of the documents that have leaked out from the process suggest a pretty massive shift in copyright law could be pushed through via ACTA. You would think that it would make sense for such a process to be done in public. In fact, according to some, this level of secrecy it may be illegal in Europe. The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) has filed a complaint in Europe, noting that the secrecy goes against EU regulations. The group is demanding either that the documents involved in the negotiations be made public... or that the EU withdraw from the negotiations (which, of course, won't happen).

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Not Again !, Jan 19th, 2009 @ 6:31pm

    War on (insert here)

    Just what we need - another war on something.
    Because other wars on stuff have worked out so well.

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

  2. identicon
    gene_cavanaugh, Jan 20th, 2009 @ 5:25am


    Right on, Michael!

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

  3. icon
    bikey (profile), Jan 20th, 2009 @ 8:02am

    It's not a war. They think they've won. It's an insidious and highly successful on the part of US and to a lesser degree the EU IP (patent, trademark, copyright) rights holders to secure a hold on a world economy filled with things it no longer makes or consumes. This is particularly important now that their banking hold has tanked. It's being done through, get this, the World Customs Organization, because it's so little known that the other countries, who have managed to assert themselves first through WIPO and then through WTO, were taken by surprise. And even if they hear of it "it's secret". The gist: to make customs officials around the world responsible for searching travellers for allegedly infringing items, from downloads to handbags. For an insight into the mentality and to see what's next, here's an interesting quote from a recent article in IP Watch (US IP Attachés Take Hard-Line Position On Overseas IP Enforcement, Posted by William New):
    In October, US Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue announced that the GIPC, which had previously been focused on counterfeiters, would rise to the challenge of what the chamber characterised as a “second threat [from] a growing movement of anti-IP activists drawn from universities, foundations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), ideologically driven interest groups, and even governments.” Maybe it is a war after all...

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

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2009 @ 9:56am

    I totally agree with bikey, and I as a US citizen feel abandon my our elected officials. This is NOT what what we voted for!

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

  5. icon
    bikey (profile), Jan 20th, 2009 @ 10:55am


    So sorry for the grammar mistakes - I was hasty. Let's watch what President Obama does - his secretary of agriculture is rumored to have strong Monsanto ties (see films 'World According to Monsanto', 'The Future of Food' , and 'Patent for a Pig' - all on google video) and the copyright people are lobbying for all they're worth. OK, it is war.

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

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2009 @ 1:29pm

    " fact, according to some, this level of secrecy it may be illegal in Europe..."
    Doesn't that just underline the declining freedoms in the land of the free ? isn't it the terrorists that are supposed to hate freedom ?

    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
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Hide this ad »
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Hide this ad »
Techdirt Insider Chat
Hide this ad »
Recent Stories
Advertisement - Amazon Prime Music
Hide this ad »


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.