Items tagged "ACTA"

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Options for Public Participation in the TPP

April 6, 2012 ACTA , TPP , Transparency

The Transpacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) negotiations are being conducted in extreme secrecy and that is a problem. In this post, I suggest some options that would end the secrecy and allow members of the public or their representatives to participate in the TPP negotiation process.

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Is ACTA Binding? Depends on Where You Ask

March 8, 2012 ACTA , Enforcement , Forum Shopping , International , Transparency

There’s been a fair bit of coverage about this letter sent from the State Department in response to Senator Ron Wyden’s questions about how much the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (“ACTA”) binds the U.S. It’s a current question because among the many questions swirling around ACTA, one is whether it “binds” the United States to its terms. The answer from the State Department is “yes”—but that may not actually mean what it appears to at first, and the reason for that has to do with why I’ve placed the word “binds” in scare quotes above.

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Public Knowledge Unveils Internet Blueprint Project

February 28, 2012 ACTA , DMCA , Enforcement , Internet Blueprint , Press Release

Today Public Knowledge launched the Internet Blueprint, an ambitious project to develop bills that will help make the internet a better place for everyone. The site consists of six new bills Congress could pass today, as well as a way for the public to submit and vote on their own ideas.

“There are lots of people with great ideas about what rights and protections Internet users should have.  Public Knowledge is taking the next step by putting those ideas into a form that Congress and other policymakers can consider,” said Michael Weinberg, the PK senior staff attorney who is coordinating the project.

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Tell The USTR Not to Do Big Content’s Bidding

February 1, 2012 ACTA , DMCA , DRM , Enforcement , Special 301

The United States Trade Representative (USTR) is asking for public comment in its Special 301 inquiry for 2012. Special 301 is an annual report that the USTR compiles listing countries that allegedly fail to provide adequate and effective protection for intellectual property rights of US persons. As we have said before, this report has turned into an exercise that arm-twists countries into instituting laws and policies that serve the interests of big content even where these policies hurt the free expression and due process rights of citizens.

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The TPP: Closed-Door Negotiations, Worse than ACTA, Lessons from SOPA/PIPA

January 30, 2012 ACTA , International , SOPA , Special 301 , TPP

This week trade negotiators from 8 countries (including the United States) are meeting in LA behind closed doors to discuss the intellectual property chapter of a new international trade agreement.

The recent outpouring of opposition to SOPA/PIPA was an indication of citizens’ outrage, not only at the actual bills, but also at the fact that Congress could be so blind to the public interest in order to please the content industry. While SOPA/PIPA are unprecedented incursions into the Internet architecture, the mindset that caused these bills to go as far as they did, has been at play for a very long time: ratcheting up protections for IP rights holders with little regard for preserving balance in IP laws or due process rights of citizens. 

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ACTA: the Big Deal

January 27, 2012 ACTA , Enforcement , Forum Shopping , International , Special 301

ACTA (the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) is making a lot of news these days, with lots of people comparing it unfavorably to PIPA and SOPA. A lot of that coverage has been focused on Europe and particularly Poland, where the Polish government’s signing of the agreement has sparked considerable protest.

So is this a big deal, and if so, why is domestic coverage of it so muted in comparison to SOPA and PIPA?

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What the State of the Union “Piracy” Reference Means

January 25, 2012 ACTA , Enforcement , International , SOPA , TPP

It doesn’t take much to excite the Twitterverse. President Obama in his State of the Union speech made a passing reference to intellectual property enforcement, perhaps to try to appease the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).  It was relatively benign, as he said only that foreign piracy hurts trade, but my reader exploded with “Obama’s flipping on PIPA/SOPA! Betrayal!” While I have no reason to believe that the Administration is backing away from its current hard-line position against PIPA/SOPA, it doesn’t have to in order to show MPAA some love.

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Public Knowledge Statement on Signing of Anti-Counterfeiting Agreement

September 27, 2011 ACTA , Press Release

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) will be signed this weekend in Japan, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced today.

The following is attributed to Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge:

“At the time ACTA is signed, the Obama Administration should make it clear that the Agreement is consistent with, and does not change, U.S. law, particularly the safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

“We believe such a statement is necessary because there are still sufficient ambiguities in some parts of the Agreement that could conflict with U.S. law.

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Was the TPP Stakeholder’s Forum Just Lip-Service?

September 13, 2011 ACTA , TPP

Trade agreements have often been used to secure intellectual property (IP) provisions that are harmful to ordinary citizens. The secrecy that generally surrounds trade agreements makes them the ideal vehicle to secure such provisions. These agreements are used to usher in international obligations that would require countries around the world to protect copyrights for longer, prosecute infringements with longer prison terms and higher fines, and generally subject more uses of works to the control of copyright owners. We have written extensively about the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which was called a trade agreement and concluded in great secrecy. The Transpacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) seems to be the sequel to ACTA, but with different participating countries.

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A Trade Agreement For The 21st Century

March 22, 2011 ACTA , DMCA , Enforcement , Limitations & Exceptions , TPP

Today, Public Knowledge, the Special Libraries Association and Internet NZ told the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) that an IP chapter in a truly “21st century trade agreement” should reflect the rights and interests of the wide variety of stakeholders affected by copyright. To demonstrate how this can be done, we submitted to the USTR our own discussion draft of a copyright chapter to be included in the proposed Transpacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) and a letter explaining the draft. In contrast to the U.S. proposed draft, recently leaked on the Internet, we believe that this draft represents a middle-ground position that begins closer to a position that respects the interests of the many different stakeholders that will be affected.

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