"The president has no independent constitutional authority over intellectual property or communications policy, and there is no long historical practice of making sole executive agreements in this area. To the contrary, the Constitution gives primary authority over these matters to Congress, which is charged with making laws that regulate foreign commerce and intellectual property."
EFF contributors Eddan Katz and Gwen Hinze called US trade policy and intellectual property (IP) enforcement at a crossroads in governing the global knowledge economy.
Corporate enforcement demands "now threaten to undermine the balance of IP at the foundation of sustainable innovation and creativity. IP enforcement isolated from innovation policy ignore the legal flexibility that enables information technology to emerge, obstructs access to knowledge, and threatens citizens' civil liberties."
ACTA's an extralegal plurilateral agreement bypassing multilateral institutions like the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and World Trade Organization (WTO) where international IP norms are set. ACTA excludes checks and balances.
In America, presidential diktat authority's circumventing constitutional law. The founders gave executives power solely to negotiate treaties. The Senate alone may pass or reject them. ACTA undermines established law by shutting out Congress and popular sentiment.
Given its impact on America's knowledge economy and Internet, diktat presidential authority must be stopped. If enacted and enforced, corporations will control global Internet traffic. Censorship will follow. Offenders will be prosecuted. Existing laws will be undermined. So will global information flows and constitutionally protected speech.
As a result, open public debate is essential and Senate authority over foreign trade agreements enforced. So is saving constitutional freedoms. Existing laws should be enforced. Presidents have no right to violate them. Congress needs to act and enforce rule of law standards, especially on issues of fundamental freedoms.
US public interest groups and responsible politicians understand ACTA's problems. Others must be enlisted to publicly address them and demand Congress act. European Parliament ACTA rapporteur, Kader Arif , quit in protest, saying:
"I want to denounce in the strongest possible manner the entire process that led to the signature of this agreement: no inclusion of civil society organizations, a lack of transparency from the start of negotiations, repeated postponing of the signature of the text without an explanation being ever given, (and) exclusion of the EU Parliament's demands that were expressed on several occasions in our assembly."
"This agreement might have major consequences on citizens' lives, and still, everything is being done to prevent the European Parliament from having its say in this matter. That is why today, as I release this report for which I was in charge, I want to send a strong signal and alert the public opinion about this unacceptable situation. I will not take part in this masquerade."
Corrupted public officials signed ACTA. Doing so trashed fundamental freedoms in deference to corporate ones bribing and pressuring them to go along. When fundamental freedoms are risked, it's essential everyone get in the fight to save them.
A Final Comment
On January 26, EFF headlined, "Under Obama, the Freedom of Information Act is Still in Shackles," saying:
On his first day in office, Obama's infamous memo promised transparency and open government, saying:
"My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficient and effective(ness) in Government."