USTR Posts ACTA Comments Online

Mike Palmedo
July 24, 2008

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), under negotiation by the US, EU, Japan, and a handful of other countries, would establish a norm of TRIPS-Plus intellectual property enforcement. Though negotiations have been highly secretive and the text has not been released, a four-page summary of the text has been posted on wikileaks.org. The summary indicates that ACTA could force ISPs to turn over information about internet users to police; force countries to impose criminal penalties on users who reproduce copyrighted materials “without motivation for financial gain;” and allow customs agents and border guards to search and seize laptops, MP3s and cell phones.

The Trans Atlantic Consumer Dialogue set up a June 30 meeting between civil society and USTR to discuss ACTA, and the secrecy surrounding the negotiations was one of civil society’s top concerns. Not only has the text remained hidden, but the input received by USTR in response to a Federal Register Request for Comments had been kept from the public. PIJIP pointed out that under the Electronic Freedom of Information Act (eFOIA), USTR could be obliged to make the comments public. (Section four of the eFOIA requires government agencies to place online documents that have been requested and "are likely to become the subject of subsequent requests for substantially the same records.” For more information on eFOIA, see this brief overview by James X. Dempsey, former National Security Archive Special Counsel.)

Since the meeting, USTR has placed online the comments it received on ACTA. The comments are still difficult to find on USTR’s website, and the twenty-eight documents are lumped together in four PDFs, but they are available to the public.

USTR received comments from the following companies, organizations and individuals:

  • Joint comment by the Center for Democracy and Technology, Computer and Communications Industry Association, Consumer Electronics Association, EDUCAUSE, Library Copyright Alliance, NetCoalition, and Visa, Inc.
  • Joint comment by the International Chamber of Commerce and the International Trademark Association
  • Recording Industry Association of America
  • British American Tobacco Group
  • Business Software Alliance
  • Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia
  • Colorcon, Inc. (Outterson paper attached)
  • Donald E. deKieffer
  • Distilled Spirits Council of the Untied States
  • Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • Entertainment Software Foundation
  • Essential Action
  • Generic Pharmaceutical Association
  • International Authentication Association
  • International Anticounterfeiting Coalition
  • Internet Commerce Coalition
  • International Intellectual Property Association
  • IP Justice
  • Knowledge Ecology International
  • G.G. Marck & Associates
  • Motion Picture Association of America
  • National Association of Manufacturers
  • National Electrical Manufacturers Associatio
  • Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America
  • Public Knowledge
  • Kevin Outterson
  • Aaron Shaw
  • Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America

 

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