Originally published: September 27, 2011
Last updated: September 27, 2011 - 8:57pm
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) will finally be signed Saturday, October 1, in Japan.
The agreement has been years in the making, but its final passage comes only after a vociferous campaign by civil society and digital rights groups demanding an end to the secrecy, a place at the negotiating table, and a scaled-back set of copyright and patent provisions. They did pretty well -- as we previously noted, US negotiators on ACTA were pushing for some of the toughest language on DRM, Internet disconnections, and more, but had to climb down in the face of international resistance and public pressure. The secrecy was so intense -- despite a blizzard of statements about transparency -- that leaked diplomatic cables showed other countries objecting. An Italian official complained that it was "impossible for member states to conduct necessary consultations with IPR stakeholders and legislatures under this level of confidentiality." In Sweden, an ACTA negotiator told the US embassy that "the secrecy issue has been very damaging to the negotiating climate in Sweden."
Gigi Sohn, head of Public Knowledge, is still venting her discontent with the process. "Although the final version of the Agreement was an improvement from earlier versions, we continue to believe that the process by which it was reached was extremely flawed," she said in a statement today. "ACTA should have been considered a treaty, and subject to public Senate debate and ratification or, in the alternative, debated in an open and transparent international forum such as the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Instead, public interest groups and the tech industry had to expend enormous resources to force the process open to permit public views to be presented and considered."
- Official ACTA text coming next week
- ACTA arrives (still bad, but a tiny bit better)
- US signs ACTA
- US cables reveal: ACTA was far too secret
- ACTA text shows US caved in on Internet provisions
- European parliament’s ACTA monitor quits in protest
- US told EU to hide ACTA from public
- EU Digital Agenda Commissioner Admits ACTA Is Probably Dead
- Beyond ACTA: next secret copyright agreement negotiated this week -- in Hollywood
- Europe 'will not accept' three strikes in ACTA treaty
- Top EU court to decide whether trade treaty with US violates rights
- Europe threatens web openness
- European Parliament rejects ACTA
- European Parliament passes anti-ACTA declaration
- Czech, Slovak governments backing away from ACTA, too