Press Release

ACTA Treaty ‘Anti-Consumer and Anti-Innovation’ Groups Tell Congress

November 9, 2009 , , ,

A treaty being negotiated by the U.S. government dealing with
intellectual property issues appears to have included parts of prior
agreements “most favorable to groups of intellectual property
holders” while leaving out those elements “most favorable to
consumers,” Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) and Public
Knowledge told Congressional leaders.

In a letter sent to Congress earlier today the two organizations, among
the most active in the debate over the proposed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade
Agreement (ACTA), said that while they have in the past expressed
concerns about the lack of transparency in the negotiations, this letter
deals with the substance of the agreement as gleaned from press reports
and “credible leaked documents.” A copy of the letter is
here.

The groups said that it appears that the proposed agreement
“implicates changes to international intellectual property norms
far broader than its name suggests,” incorporating elements of the
World Trade Organization’s Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual
Property (TRIPS) agreements.

According to the letter: “Rather than taking as their starting
point the entire TRIPS agreement, it would seem that the ACTA negotiators
have identified certain parts of the TRIPS agreement most favorable to
particular groups of intellectual property holders, including certain
publishers, media conglomerates, and pharmaceutical companies. Left out
of the ACTA text are the elements most favorable to consumers, including
those intended to curb anticompetitive practices, and to protect
innovation. The result is an agreement that is therefore unbalanced. ACTA
would appear to be an expanded version of the TRIPS enforcement sections,
but without the balance and safeguards that have given TRIPS such
legitimacy.”