ACTA One Step Closer To Being Done; Concerns About Transparency Ignored

from the getting-closer dept

Despite widespread demands from politicians around the globe, combined with promises from the USTR to be more open and transparent (despite unsubstantiated and totally ridiculous claims that countries would leave the negotiations if details were made public) and even entertainment industry lobbyists admitting that the process could be more transparent, ACTA negotiations are continuing in a veil of total secrecy to the public (unless you're a big industry lobbyist -- then it's open). The latest meetings in Mexico were again held in total secrecy, where public concerns were mocked, but appear to have continued to move the negotiations forward with claims coming out that the document is in "final drafting stages."

Yes, without any transparency or participation allowed from those who it would impact most: the public.

How is it that any government is willing to participate in such a process? It's a massive travesty. The details that have been revealed suggest that this is a sneaky way to significantly impact copyright laws around the world, greatly in favor of a few industries that have been unwilling to adapt to a changing marketplace. This is protectionism at its worst. At the same time that US politicians are slamming China for its internet restrictions, ACTA seeks to place the same type of limitations on ISPs around the world that the Chinese government places on its ISPs, all done through a secret process with no public input -- even from many elected officials who are greatly concerned about both the content of the agreement as well as the way in which it has been drafted.

That the US government is orchestrating the whole thing at the behest of the MPAA and the RIAA, among others, is a disgusting display of industry influence in government policy. The administration should be massively ashamed of itself for not just participating in such a travesty, but in many ways leading the way and providing cover for the bogus claims of industry representatives and lobbyists that this is a minor trade harmonization issue, rather than a significant change in policy and an attempt to route around existing venues (that are willing to listen to the public and consumer concerns) in order to push through these changes on a widespread level.

Filed Under: acta, copyright, mexico, transparency

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2010 @ 9:42am


    I will assume for purposes of this reply that you are in fact well educated since I have no reason to believe otherwise.

    My answer transcends Title 17. It is directed to a basic principle under our trilateral separation of powers; in this case the separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches of our federal government.

    As a general rule the truism applies that laws are enacted by Congress and executed by the President and his/her administration. I say "general rule" because there are circumstances under the provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act, coupled with Supreme Court precedent demarcating the extent of what is known as "The Non-Delegation Doctrine" (in essence that under apporpriate circumstances Congress is empowered to delegate certain quasi-legislative functions to the Executive Branch). In this circumstance involving ACTA the doctrine does not come into play.

    Thus, in the matter of ACTA the USTR is authorized to promote positions on various matters, but in all cases such positions must not deviate from the provisions of our copyright laws as expressed in Title 17.

    Also try to bear in mind that ACTA involves many countries whose laws may depart significantly from US law. Thus it is to be expected that they would offer proposals that may very well be broader in scope than US law. As to such proposals the USTR is foreclosed from taking any position contrary to US law that would mandate amendment of US law.

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