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).
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: acta, europe, openness, regulations


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Not Again !, 19 Jan 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 chronology ]

  • identicon
    gene_cavanaugh, 20 Jan 2009 @ 5:25am

    ACTA

    Right on, Michael!

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

  • icon
    bikey (profile), 20 Jan 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 chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jan 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 chronology ]

  • icon
    bikey (profile), 20 Jan 2009 @ 10:55am

    acta

    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 chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jan 2009 @ 1:29pm

    "...in 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 chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Essential Reading
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

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