Here's Michael Geist giving a talk on ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement):
Here are two US Senators who are trying to take a stand against this law (this is from the Knowledge Ecology International web site):
Senators Sanders and Brown ask White House to make ACTA text publicIt is hard as a citizen to live in a "democracy" if the legislators pass laws which do not allow the citizens to know what those laws are. I can accept the need for secrecy when it comes to deadly threats, but over copyright? Who are you hiding the legislation from? Obviously any big criminal syndicate will be able to buy lawyers and politicians and police so they will become experts on ACTA. The only people who will have no idea of what the law is about are the ordinary citizens. Nutty!
Submitted by James Love on 23. November 2009
Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VI) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) have written to USTR, asking that the ACTA text be made public. The strongly worded letter was sent to Ambassador Ron Kirk, the head of the United States Trade Representative, an office of the White House.
The letter states:ACTA involves dozens if not hundreds of substantive aspects of intellectual property law and its enforcement, including those that have nothing to do with counterfeiting. . . . There are concerns about the impact of ACTA on the privacy and civil rights of individuals, on the supply of products under the first sale doctrine, on the markets for legitimate generic medicines, and on consumers and innovation in general."The letter says "the public has a right to monitor and express informed views on proposals of such magnitude."
Senators Sanders and Brown say the ACTA negotiations have not been conducted in a manner consistent with the President's January 21, 2009 Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government. Noting in closing:We are surprised and unpersuaded by assertions that disclosures of basic information about the negotiation would present a risk to the national security of the United States, particularly as regards documents that are shared with all countries in the negotiations, and with dozens of representatives of large corporations. We are concerned that the secrecy of such information reflects a desire to avoid potential criticism of substantive provisions in ACTA by the public, the group who will be most affected by the agreement. Such secrecy has already undermined public confidence in the ACTA process, a point made recently by Dan Glickman, the CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) - a group highly supportive of the ACTA negotiation, as well as by the members of the TransAtlantic Consumer Dialogue -- a group more critical of the negotiations.
We firmly believe that the public has a right to know the contents of the proposals being considered under ACTA, just as they have the right to read the text of bills pending before Congress.
I'm extremely hostile to claims of IP (Intellectual Property) rights because I worked with a company that forced me to sign a statement that any ideas I created during or outside work belonged to the company, not to me. They were big, they had money, I needed a job, so I signed. This is very much like workers in the 19th century who had the "freedom" to refuse to work for big capitalists if they didn't like the wages. But they would starve. Those employees willing to sign up for low wages could scrape by. Meanwhile the rich got fabulously rich in the Gilded Era on the backs of underpaid workers. (Much like the new Gilded Age of Reagan/Bush/Clinton/Bush in which the rich got fabulously rich while the bottom 90% of society merely treaded water.)
There is a reason why the rich love lawyers. They use them to extract "property rights" from the poor. The claims of IP are an uneven fight in which the rich get what they want and the rest of us have the choice of comply or starve.