Obama's transparency commitment makes secret copyright treaty public - UPDATED

Glyn sez, "The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement designed to combat the 'increase in global trade of counterfeit goods and pirated copyright protected works.' is considering whether to involve internet service providers (ISPs) in fighting copyright infringement. Details of the negotiations have at last been published as a result of Obama's commitment to transparency in government.
Section 4: Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement in the Digital Environment This section of the agreement is intended to address some of the special challenges that new technologies pose for enforcement of intellectual property rights, such as the possible role and responsibilities of internet service providers in deterring copyright and related rights piracy over the Internet. No draft proposal has been tabled yet, as discussions are still focused on gathering information on the different national legal regimes to develop a common understanding
ACTA fact-sheet PDF -- US Trade Rep

Wikipedia on ACTA

(Thanks, Glyn!)

Update: Michael Geist sez, "I blogged this (partially) in response to your recent ACTA posting, which I think has an inaccurate headline and gives too much credit to Obama: 'There are many reports about the release this week of an ACTA summary document that was first made available on the USTR website. These articles suggest that this reflects new support for transparency from the Obama administration. While it may be true that the administration supports greater transparency, making that connection in this case is misleading. The document is a negotiated text between all the ACTA countries (this was made clear in the DFAIT consultation). Some countries (Canada among them) are supportive of greater transparency, others are not. It is not entirely clear where the U.S. stands. Moreover, it is not just the U.S. that made the document available - all ACTA partners are entitled to do so (the Canadian version is here). Finally, while it is not a bad document, there is still far more information available online from non-governmental sources. A commitment to transparency would mean making available actual documents including draft text and "non-papers" used as the basis for discussion.'"


  1. Oh, so THATS why it was classified under “national security” (insert eye roll here)

    also, I’m curious how we know this was published as part of Obama’s commitment to transparency. Did he release a statement saying so or are we just assuming?

  2. This is a fantastic step forward- this thing has been locked in a basement, as it were. I will RTFA, but did this really come out of the dark because of Obama?

    Excuse me if I’m skeptical, but after that post with the EFF explaining the whole “sovereign immunity” concept the DoJ goons thought up, supposedly under Obama’s view, I have a hard time believing this was anything but leaked by someone.

  3. Help me understand.

    The ISPs could enforce copyright only by massively eavesdropping on our every packet of information, right? Much like phone companies could act on improper phone calls only by massive wiretapping. And the USPS could enforce mail fraud only by opening every piece of mail and reading it.

    But for phone and mail service, it doesn’t work that way. You have to have some evidence of the crime, first, and then postal inspectors get involved.

  4. @ #1 and 2:

    Obama adminstration pledges “transparency” on ACTA

    Today, Kirk’s office released a “detailed summary” of the ACTA talks that outlines the treaty’s main areas, saying that the document “reflects the Obama Administration’s commitment to transparency.”

    Sheesh… Some lawyers in the DOJ release a brief related to state secrets, and everyone decides that it may as well have come from Obama himself. Other information gets released after public pledges and memos regarding more transparency through FOIA, and everyone figures that it has nothing to do with Obama.

  5. The hypocrisy of blaming Obama for everything coming out of the DOJ, but then not giving him any credit for things coming out of the DOJ is emanating from the EFF.

    Look at EFF.org, notice their main banner at the top left. Now look at CDT.org, notice that the issues they think are important to defending internet freedom are different issues. EFF really hate Obama.

  6. @#4 Yes, this is where you get to play the “spot the bias” game. Wheeeee!

    Personally, I would like it if people discussed the actual facts of the cases, rather than making each decision a referendum on the entire Obama presidency. It seems like most of these decisions are complicated by legal/bureaucratic issues. I am more interested in understanding the hows and whys of the decisions than either exculpating or condemning Obama.

    While the basic issues of civil liberties are often black and white, the infrastructure for deciding those issues is complex and muddy.

  7. So basically Obama didn’t do this – and was against it for quite some time – and the ‘transparency’ that we now see is not courtesy of his administration but Canada?

    That’s lame.

  8. @4,5: I also like how Cory had to post an update saying “wait wait wait! There’s no evidence that this has anything to do with Obama. So Obama probably still sux. kthxbye.”

    Was there any update to the DOJ state’s secrets post, after it was equally pointed out that Obama had little if anything to do with it..?

  9. Awesome Lives forever: …because his administration released documents that were secret? Huh?

  10. This just seems to a be a vague and rough summary of the work on the treaty and, to me, hardly constitutes transparency.

    Even this small release of information gives the the gravest sense of foreboding that Russia Today was correct when they suggested that the treaty would give the signatory governments the authority to search computers and data devices for infringing works with no probable cause to believe they contained such contraband.

  11. isn’t it that only the SUMMARY is given? not the DETAILS

    it should not be a summary, it should be the full
    details, the people has the right to know the DETAILS of what is written in ACTA

    by just showing the summary, it’s like equivalent to saying that the people are not that IMPORTANT and dont matter. the public’s opinion don’t matter and people in power can do whatever they want and make into law whatever they want

    Electronic Frontier Foundation have been fighting for the bloggers, coders, webmasters, etc rights since 1990s

    if you’re in america send an e-mail to CONGRESS by going to their website http://www.eff.org/action

    forward this website to everyone you know!!!

    I am not in america, but i know that whatever happens to the “internet rights” there, would happen to us here in our country, that’s why im really advocating http://www.eff.org and spread the word

    we should not lose our freedom of speech and any of our rights on the INTERNET

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