Darrell Issa Posts Text Of 'Unconstitutional' ACTA For Open Feedback; Something USTR Never Did

from the well-look-at-that dept

We've been really impressed (though we can see where it needs improvements in its next version) with the "Madison" platform that Rep. Darrell Issa put up to allow for open feedback and comments concerning the OPEN Act. And it appears he's not done using that platform, either. He's now posted the text of ACTA to the same platform to ask for feedback and comments. It comes with an initial statement showing that he's very concerned about the nature of ACTA (I believe this is the first time Issa has spoken out against ACTA:
Stopping SOPA and PIPA was a historic victory for digital citizens, but ACTA potentially poses a similar threat to the global Internet community. While the agreement’s stated goal of strengthening intellectual property rights is one all should support, it does so by undermining individual privacy rights and by empowering an unaccountable enforcement bureaucracy. And just like SOPA and PIPA, ACTA was crafted without input from citizens and key stakeholders in a secretive, closed-door process.

Worse, ACTA appears to be an unconstitutional power grab started by President George W. Bush and completed by President Barack Obama - despite the White House’s January 14 criticism of legislative solutions that harm the Internet and erode individual rights. The Constitution gives Congress the power to pass intellectual property legislation - like SOPA and PIPA - and gives the Senate the power to ratify treaties. But the Obama Administration maintains that ACTA is not even a treaty, justifying the exclusion of both American citizens and their elected representatives. It is a practice Vice President Joe Biden decried as a U.S. Senator.

Closed doesn’t cut it. We opened up ACTA in Madison so you can sign up, speak out and collaborate to build a better “treaty.”
For all of the USTR's ridiculous claims of unprecedented transparency, why couldn't it have done something like this before ACTA was "finalized"? The answer is that there's no reason at all. Instead, the USTR released the "final" draft of ACTA as a done deal, and any public comment was meaningless, because the document was not open for any additional changes.

Which raises another unfortunate point. The Obama administration has already signed ACTA. Hopefully this means that Congress is actually going to get serious about challenging the administration on its claimed authority to sign and ratify ACTA without Congress' approval. Until now, the only Congressional official who had questioned that right publicly was Senator Wyden -- though, we've heard of a few others who have sent pointed questions to the administration about its claims. With Issa going public and directly questioning this attempt to deny Congress the right to review ACTA -- despite the Executive branch not having the right to make copyright or patent law -- perhaps Congress will finally step up and make it clear that it won't let the President simply ignore Congress' mandate over both IP law and international treaties.

Also, when do we get the Madison'ed version of TPP?

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Mar 2012 @ 3:55pm

    Which raises another unfortunate point. The Obama administration has already signed ACTA.

    Everyone else in the world to sign it is calling it by what it is, which is a trade treaty. The only country not calling it a trade treaty is the US. The one and only reason to do that is to get around having the congress critters having a say in it, which might mean it won't pass unless the copyright industries get up off some money to bribe it's way through.

    I do hope congress does call the POTUS on this little evasion

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