It’s Not the Crime, It’s the Cover-Up

by on April 21, 2010 · 2 comments

Secrecy breeds suspicion, and little in the intellectual property area has garnered more suspicion than ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.

ACTA is a multilateral trade agreement that has been under negotiation since 2007. But the negotiations haven’t been public, and access to key documents has only been provided to people willing to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

It is inconsistent with the U.S. public’s expectations to have government officials negotiate public policies without providing public access to the deliberations and the documents. There are some limitations and exceptions to this principle. Generic diplomatic relations probably develop best in an environment where candor can prevail. Issues related to national security may require secret negotiations. But intellectual property issues affect all Americans’ communications, commerce, entertainment, expression, access to knowledge, medical care, privacy, and more.

The good news is that a text of the current draft agreement has now been released. According to James Love of Knowledge Ecology International, ACTA “goes way beyond counterfeiting and copyright piracy, into several categories of intellectual property rights, including patents, semi conductor chip designs, pharmaceutical test data and other topics.”

Public debate on ACTA can now begin, but it begins with doubts surrounding it, doubts that were sown by the non-public process in which ACTA has developed so far.

  • http://enigmafoundry.wordpress.com eee_eff

    Thanks for (finally) covering this important issue. Although the text has finally been made public, the damage has already been done, as the ACTA is so tilted towards those who have been given access to the process that the whole process has to be restarted.

    Michal Geist has been doing an excellent job of covering this to, and he basically agrees with James Love.

    You say “But the negotiations haven’t been public, and access to key documents has only been provided to people willing to sign a non-disclosure agreement.” however, you make no mention of the role of wikileaks in distributing several leaks of the ACTA text. Wikileaks was instrumental in flushing out the text of the ACTA.

    I have given the money I would normally give to Democratic Party to Knowledge Ecology and wikileaks, BTW.

  • http://enigmafoundry.wordpress.com eee_eff

    Thanks for (finally) covering this important issue. Although the text has finally been made public, the damage has already been done, as the ACTA is so tilted towards those who have been given access to the process that the whole process has to be restarted.

    Michal Geist has been doing an excellent job of covering this to, and he basically agrees with James Love.

    You say “But the negotiations haven’t been public, and access to key documents has only been provided to people willing to sign a non-disclosure agreement.” however, you make no mention of the role of wikileaks in distributing several leaks of the ACTA text. Wikileaks was instrumental in flushing out the text of the ACTA.

    I have given the money I would normally give to Democratic Party to Knowledge Ecology and wikileaks, BTW.

Previous post:

Next post: