Act Up Against ACTA
by Stephen Lendman
ACTA's worse than SOPA and PIPA. Net Neutrality and free expression are threatened. In October 2007, negotiations began secretly.
At issue is establishing a new intellectual property enforcement treaty - the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). If adopted, fundamental freedoms will be lost. Privatized online censorship will rule. Internet actors will be copyright enforcers. Offenders will face harsh criminal sanctions.
Transparency's entirely absent. So is major media coverage explaining an issue demanding headlines.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) says we've all got a "right to be furious about ACTA." Killing it's essential.
"If there's one thing....wrong with (how) government(s now function), ACTA is it," says EFF. Washington and other dominant countries drafted it. Others are pressured to comply per America's annual Special 301 process.
At issue is establishing new Internet rules, "bypass(ing) checks and balances of existing international IP norm-setting bodies, without any meaningful input from national parliaments, policymakers, or their citizens."
Moreover, the agreement creates a czar-like global "ACTA Committee." Unelected bureaucrats will oversee supranational interpretation and implementation. Arbitrary top-down rule will be imposed. In the process, democratic freedoms will be lost.
On January 26, 22 of 27 EU natons signed ACTA in Tokyo. Many steps remain before ratification. In June, the EU Parliament will vote up or down on approval. Global activism must stop it. Jeremie Zimmerman , spokesperson for the citizen advocacy group La Quadrature du Net, said:
"In the last few days, we have seen encouraging protests by Polish and other EU citizens, who are rightly concerned with the effect of ACTA on freedom of expression, access to (generic) medicines (and safe foods), but also access to culture and knowledge."
Anti-ACTA momentum's building. Citizens "must reclaim democracy, against the harmful influence of corporate interests over global policy-making." Acting up against ACTA is crucial.
In December, the Council of the European Union (one of two EU legislative bodies representing all 27 member states) adopted ACTA during an unrelated agriculture and fisheries meeting.
In America, constitutional issues remain. Last October, Obama signed it by "executive agreement." He falsely claimed ACTA's not a treaty requiring Senate approval. By law, executive agreements apply only to sole presidential authority issues. Treaties must be ratified by a two-thirds Senate supermajority.
Obama's stonewalling. He's circumventing legal issues like always. He also broke a campaign pledge to preserve Internet freedom. Instead, he's trashing it by diktat authority.
In 2010, Law Professors Jack Goldsmith and Larry Lessig questioned executive agreement constitutionality, saying: